Béla Hartmann at the Clevedon Music Club
Clevedon 16th Nov 2021
Bach: Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903
Beethoven/Liszt: An die ferne Geliebte, Op.98 (1816)
Béla Hartmann: Paraphrase on a Folk Song by Brahms “Des Abends” (2020)
Beethoven: Sonata in A, Op.101
The works in tonight's programme have in common a sense of longing, a tenderness for something or someone absent. Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue with its unparalleled pianistic recitative clearly mirrors the recitatives of the Cantatas and Passions, no doubt searching for some fulfilment, be it religious or personal. The miraculous first movement of Beethoven's Sonata in A was Wagner's favourite, and a similarly clear model for his opera Tristan and Isolde in its constant avoidance of harmonic resolution – the third movement says it openly: Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll – slowly and full of yearning. Beethoven's only song cycle, here faithfully transcribed by Liszt, is addressed to the distant beloved, calling for nature and art to be witnesses to an enduring but unfulfilled love. Finally, my own Paraphrase on one of the many German folk songs set by Brahms is a tribute to the composer most associated with a certain yearning that is full of warmth and completely without regret.