Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Johannes Brahms - Albumblatt for Symphony Orchestra

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) is well known as a master composer for piano, and this short work for piano was completely unknown until it was discovered in 2011. It was written in an album belonging to Arnold Wehner, director of music at the University of Göttingen, probably in 1853 when Brahms was visiting. Brahms’s contribution is unusual in that is a complete work (on one page) with dynamics and expression markings, and one that seems to be a new composition. More fascinating still is that Brahms reused almost all the material in his later Horn Trio of 1865, in the ‘trio’ section of the second movement Scherzo. It has the maturity of a later Brahms work, with its autumnal qualities of regret and nostalgia. This orchestration was made in 2012 and is in keeping with Brahms’s own orchestral world, rich and darkly coloured, but not for a large symphony orchestra. It follows the piano score closely, until the end where the coda is extended slightly (as in the Horn Trio) for a more satisfying close.

Listen to a performance here: Brahms - Albumblatt (2’41”)

Available to purchase from Aria Editions here

Instrumentation: 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, timpani, strings