For acclaimed pianist Pina Napolitano, there is no better way of looking at art and history than through the lens of inverted time, from the present to the past. This seems to be what Schoenberg invites us to do in his essay, Brahms the Progressive, in which Brahms, often considered a musical “conservative”, becomes instead the father of modernism. This provides the essence of this album: traversing time in two directions, looking at Brahms from the future of the modern Viennese, and vice versa, looking at the Second Viennese School from the past of Brahmsian romanticism.
For Pina Napolitano there are romantic echoes in the works of the Second Viennese School; an enormous expressive force distilled and compressed, all the way up to Webern’s rarefied language where even the silences are charged with music and significance. And on the other hand she has always perceived Brahms’ music as a magic prism, in which an entire musical past (encompassing Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann…) merges together, before breaking off into rivulets that will give birth to 20th-century music.