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Celebrating Music And Romance

Schumann and Brahms — two names linked to Romanticism and to the tale of love for the same woman, Schumann’s brilliantly talented wife Clara — come to life in a performance by Close Encounters with Music this weekend at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA. As part of CEWM’s 20th anniversary season, the ensemble of Lydia Artymiw, piano; Arnaud Sussman, violin; Tony Appel, viola; and Yehudi Hanani, cello, will play piano quartets by the two friends: Schumann’s Opus 47 in E flat minor, and the Brahms Opus 25 in G minor. Schumann’s bipolar personality is represented in his music, even by the use of initials placed at the end of movements of one or the other pseudonym he used in his journalistic writing, representing his manic and depressive sides. Hanani points out that Schumann used a fugue at the end of his piano quartet.  “In his mental frailty, he was seeking support and stability from Bach and his musical forms,” he says. Schumann famously tried to drown himself in the Rhine, and later died in an asylum.  Brahms took over many of his friend’s functions in the Schumann household. Whether he and Clara were lovers has never been confirmed. Close Encounters with Music presents Grand Piano Quartets at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington March 24, at 6 p.m. For tickets and information, call the Mahaiwe box office at 413-528-0100 or go to www.mahaiwe.org.

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