Johannes Brahms wrote one of his most famous orchestral pieces by taking a deep look into the classical generation. Ludwig van Beethoven’s and Franz Joseph Haydn’s music are the paradigm of minimal motif work in which Brahms mirrors himself, aware of his role in continuing the Viennese symphonic tradition. In the same way as the classics resorted to apparently simple themes to develop variations going well beyond the original theme, Brahms uses a theme from the Divertimenti attributed to Haydn to produce eight variations that use the entire palette of orchestral resources.
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The works of Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály are inextricably linked to the vast knowledge of Hungarian popular music that they both had. Kodály relives the sound landscapes of his childhood in his Dances of Galánta, based on verbunkos – 18th-century dances – with a great deal of vitality.
Georg Philipp Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G Major is the first viola concerto we know of, as well as – together with György Ligeti’s Sonata – one of the most performed viola works. This concert is headed by the music of Manuel Pla, one of the leading Catalan composers of the 18th century.