Brahms String Sextets op. 18 & 36
arranged for piano trio by Theodor Kirchner
Grand Trio Vilnius
Dalia Kuznecovaitė, violine
David Geringas, violoncello
Petras Geniušas, piano
catalog number 21149
Kirchner and Brahms met in Baden-Baden in 1865, but had already heard of each other in the years before through their mutual friend Clara Schumann and held each other's compositions in high esteem. Thus, in a letter to Brahms on August 14, 1862, Clara Schumann informed him: "I wish you could hear [Kirchner] talk about your things, with what warmth and clarity he judges each one, as it must give you pleasure to hear. For a long time, he said, only your music has been on his mind, and he already has many happy hours to thank for it." Two weeks later, in another letter to Brahms, she added: "Every day we [Clara Schumann and Theodor Kirchner] hum another melody of yours that we can't get out of our minds." Brahms was equally enthusiastic about Kirchner's piano pieces, as he told his publisher on April 2, 1859: "I look forward to new works by Kirchner and ask you to kindly send them to me." Brahms and Kirchner shared a lifelong friendly relationship. They even went on vacation together, and later Brahms also supported his friend financially.
Kirchner’s two arrangements were first played in public in 1988 in Lockenhaus by a piano trio with pianist Alexander Rabinowitsch, violinist Philippe Hirschhorn and cellist David Geringas, who had prepared the score for concerts in collaboration with Kurt Hofmann.
Johannes Brahms to his publisher Fritz Simrock on March 13, 1883:
“The trios give me extraordinary pleasure! If you have had the idea, I congratulate you, but Kirchner has also executed them magnificently.”
Kirchner to Johannes Brahms, March 16, 1883:
“Dear Brahms, it was a great relief to me that you do not seem to be completely dissatisfied with my arrangement of your sextet. At least I made an effort with it, but it is always a delicate matter when one senses the author’s fine nose in the background.”