Many of us can relate to the desire to retire early. Johannes Brahms retired at age 57, announcing, "I've achieved enough; Here I have before me a carefree old age and should enjoy it in peace." Sounds good, doesn’t it?
A year later, he heard the 35-year-old clarinetist, Richard Mühlfeld, a former violinist who taught himself the clarinet and rose to become the principal player in one of Europe’s elite symphony orchestras. Brahms loved the young man’s playing so much, he called off his retirement to write music for him. It’s a bit like Quincy Jones coming out of retirement to write music for Adele!
Resuming his composing career, Brahms first wrote the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. Brahms himself played the piano at the premiere with Mühlfeld on the clarinet and Robert Hausmann on cello. To perform the Trio at "Cellissimo," our upcoming Nth Degree concert on Sunday, March 11, “jaw-dropping pianist” Amy Yang will join Cape Symphony’s own Mark Miller on clarinet and Jacques Lee Wood on cello.
Brahms wrote three other pieces for Mühlfeld, and they became close friends, last seeing each other a week before Brahms died in 1897. We are all fortunate that Brahms happened to hear Mühlfeld play and was inspired to write more music.