Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Johannes Brahms

Brahms' Op. 76 collection of eight pieces was his first effort for solo piano in 13 years, the last being the Waltzes (16) from 1865. In the intervening years, he wrote many sets of songs, the first two symphonies and chamber works. There is a deepening of his language here, a sense that even in these rather brief compositions -- each lasting about three to four minutes -- Brahms' palette of colors had grown richer and his expressive range wider. In the jaunty playfulness of its outer sections, this Capriccio in B minor contrasts well with the agitated and dark character of the opening F sharp minor work. The main theme is graceful and witty in the feline-like patter of its scampering notes and deftly inserted accents. The theme has a peasant-like manner in its festive joy and bubbly energy, especially in its heartier second subject. The brief middle section mixes the nostalgia of the right-hand theme with the left's lingering vigor. The main theme returns and a brilliant variant on the second subject is soon heard, after which the music peters out and the piece quietly ends. This is another highly imaginative, masterful work from the pen of Brahms.