Act I: Jazz & Romance

November 24, 2019

Three Romances for Oboe and Piano, Op. 22 by Clara Schumann
Lush and affectionate, the genius of composer Clara Schumann shines through

Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano, Op. 86 by Nikolai Kapustin
A jazzy trio of kaleidoscopic colors and dazzling energy

Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11 by Johannes Brahms
The original nonet version of one of Brahms’ most sunny and tuneful pieces

 

The Stories

Clara Wieck Schumann was the first true female star musician in Europe. She gained fame as a touring pianist while still a child, and continued to perform throughout her life, supporting the family through her husband’s (Robert Schumann) health troubles, raising eight children, and through 40 years of widowhood. She was considered one of the finest musicians ever on the stage, popularized Schumann’s and Brahms’ music and somehow, through all that, found time to compose her own beautiful pieces as well.

Nikolai Kapustin, a composer and pianist in Moscow, first heard jazz on Voice of America broadcasts in the 1950s. Kapustin’s music was barely known in the West until after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when his jazz-infused piano works exploded on the scene thanks to several pianists who performed and recorded them.