In three informal evenings, pianist Clive Swansbourne will play and discuss music by some of the great early Romantic composers. He will consider stylistic, formal, and technical aspects of the music, sometimes concentrating on a single composition in detail.
Schubert: Classical Romantic
Schubert’s music spans the Classical and Romantic styles and includes elements of both. There is ongoing debate even now about which style dominates and whether to categorize Schubert’s music as either Classical or Romantic. Although such categorization is unnecessary, this line of inquiry does lead us to investigate more deeply the vast range and variety of his music, how he transformed his Classical influences, and how he paved the way for the new generation of composers.
Schumann: Young Revolutionary
Schumann’s youthful compositions are among his most original and are some of the finest examples of early Romanticism. They disobey all the “rules” of proportion, balance, and structure that guided the Classical masters, and yet they succeed through the power of Schumann’s uniquely vivid imagination and style.
Brahms: Reluctant Romantic
Brahms was an admirer of Schumann but sought to model his music on that of the Classical masters, especially Haydn and Beethoven. His early piano sonatas and variations are examples of these influences. However, his embrace of the Romantic ideal in his piano music is most evident in his later, more personal, short pieces, which we will enjoy in this session.
Clive Swansbourne studied at the Royal College of Music in London and received his doctorate from the Yale School of Music. He has won prizes in international competitions and performed with orchestras and at music festivals in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. In Houston he has performed the complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle and the piano works of Schubert to packed houses at the Rothko Chapel. He and cellist Barrett Sills founded the Village Chamber Players, which recently completed its inaugural season of Village Concerts.