JOHANNES BRAHMS “VIER ERNSTE GESÄNGE” TAKE TWO

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The longer the rehearsals go on, the deeper into the music travel the musicians.

Last week, when I sat in on Seth Knopp (piano) and William Sharp (voice) entering into Brahms’ “Vier Ernste Gesänge,” the two performers kept aloof from the piece’s heavy subject matter, joking throughout. As I noted in the blog entry for the first drawing I made, William even commented on this necessary emotional distancing.

(It’s no wonder I too made a drawing that to me – especially as time passes – feels more and more shallow; an illustration of meaning, not an embodiment.)

Not so now.

The Big Barn swelled with Bill’s luscious baritone voice, the piano dancing with it, a transcendent, melancholy, joyous piece made transparent by the two artists plumbing its depths, no hold back.

You can’t skirt along the surface forever: love calls you in, and you need to sink, and rise.

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