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Future Imperfect:
Brahms and the Passage of Time

Future Imperfect: Brahms and the Passage of Time places one of our newest acquisitions — an 1857 J. B. Streicher (gift of Alan Bostrom) that closely resembles Brahms’s personal instrument from the 1860s until his death — in close dialogue with other “Brahmsian” instruments from our keyboard collection that together provide a holistic picture of Brahms’s pianistic thought.

We open with complete performances of both versions of the Op. 8 piano trio. The rarely played 1854 version features the Streicher (with Roger Moseley, Rebecca Anderson, and John Haines-Eitzen) while the 1889 revised version features our early 20th-century American Steinway (with Miri Yampolsky, guest artists Miriam Fried, and Clancy Newman). The series continues with a panel discussion with Brahms scholars Jacquelyn Sholes and Ji-Young Kim on the composer’s early pianism and allusions to preexisting music. This is then followed by a solo performance of the Intermezzo in A major, Op. 118, no. 2 (Malcolm Bilson), and a live performance of two variations cycles — on a theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 9, and the Handel variations, Op. 24 (Ji-Young Kim and Mike Lee) — that explore Brahms’s special relationship with Clara Schumann through the lens of our 1835 Simon, a piano that closely relates to the Schumanns’ Graf which Brahms inherited.

The series ends with a live reprise of the 1854 version of the Op. 8 trio on our 1878 Blüthner, paired with songs by Beethoven and Schubert (with Amy Crouch) that appear as fragmentary allusions in the work.

With support from the Central New York Humanities Corridor, from an award by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.