I’m doing this at the suggestion of my friend Jenn. It’s only fitting that I talk about music since I’m a musicology grad student. I’m starting off with a new favorite composition of mine.
Brahms’ Op. 25 Piano Quartet was started in 1855 and worked on through 1859. It was completed in 1861, with the first private performance coming in November of 1861 and the public premiere coming a year later. The reception was mixed, with everyone from critics to his closest friends struggling with parts of it. Schoenberg orchestrated this piece in 1937 because he liked it, it was seldom played, and was often badly played.
The movement I want to highlight is the fourth, Rondo alla Zingarese. This movement is a Gypsy Finale that traces back to the finales of Haydn. It’s a flamboyant example of Brahms’ love affair with exotic Hungarian idioms that he picked up from Remenyi and Joachim. It features extremes of pulse, virtuosity, and emotional affliction. It is an absolute joy to listen to. Hope you enjoy it!