“Here I have freed myself from my last love.”
This Sextet was inspired by Brahms’ failed romance with Agathe von Siebold, a singer from Göttingen, for whom he’d already composed several Lieder.
Three times in the tremulous first movement the violins spell out Agathe’s name in musical notation. The second movement is a rather gloomy Scherzo; the pensive Adagio third movement finds the composer still working through his pain, and only in the stormy last movement do we sense Brahms finally setting himself free.
This is the second of his two Sextets and, typically of Brahms, it is tightly constructed, with all four movements related by recurring intervals and themes.
Amici Ensemble: Donald Armstrong and Malavika Gopal (violins), Julia Joyce and Andrew Thomson (violas) and Andrew Joyce and Ken Ichinose (cellos)
Recorded 15 May 2016, St Andrew's on the Terrace, Wellington by RNZ Concert
Engineer: Graham Kennedy