Brahms Chamber Music Concert

IN-PERSON Free Concert in Hockett Family Recital Hall on the Ithaca College campus, honoring the 125th anniversary of Brahms' death

Concert Program

Chamber Music of Johannes Brahms
Masks required

Vadim Serebryany, piano
Kyle Armbrust, cello
Greg Hesselink, viola

Post-concert talkback with the musicians immediately following


Sonata for viola and piano in E-flat, op. 120 #2
Allegro amabile
Allegro appassionato
Andante con moto

Sonata for viola and piano in F minor, op. 120#1
Allegro appassionato
Andante in poco adagio
Allegretto grazioso

Trio for viola, cello and piano in A minor, op. 114
Andantino grazioso

Brahms event

Brahms, Chamber Music, and Melancholy

Brahms wrote no music for amateurs.

In his piano music, he put his most important notes in the weakest fingers.

His music is dense, hard to hear, and extremely contrapuntal with bass lines moving contrary to melody. Underneath its surface smoothness,  dissonance, rhythmic games, cross rhythms, and meter changes propel constant transformations and variations. It entangles together classical and romantic style, throwing the listener into endless dialectics.

And this is exactly why we need a concert of Brahms' exquisite chamber music as we enter year three of the pandemic. This music that takes us somewhere else speaks what we can not find words for right now. Resolutely secular, the music of Brahms traffics in melancholy, but satisfies emotionally in profound ways.

Chamber music is often seen as somewhat less than on some musical hierarchies, ranking below an individual virtuoso. 

But right now in the midst of a pandemic whose rhythms we might better understand through Brahms, chamber music reminds us that there is almost nothing in the world more powerful than making music—and listening—with people you love. And seeing musicians play off each other in unexpected ways, together.

Chamber music is often not over-rehearsed, amplifying a sense of spontaneity.  And this deep listening and reacting travels deeply into the audience, the exhilaration transporting us somewhere we need to be but did not know.