2nd Concert -

Sun 28.8

It is with great pleasure that the Chamber Music Festival Chania invites a horn player to join its staff for the first time. Kostas Siskos, the Athens State Orchestra’s first horn, perform Brahms' lyrical horn Trio accompanied by the great Greek violinist George Demertzis and the leading pianist Mario Montore. The concert ends with one of the most impressive quintets ever written. The Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, for whom Brahms was an important mentor, channelled all his melodic talents and expressiveness into his quintet, serving up a long, dramatic narrative that literally takes your breath away.

JOHANNES BRAHMS - Trio for horn, violin and piano in E flat major, opus 40

Mario Montore - Piano
Kostas Siskos - Horn
George Demertzis - Violin

Antonín Dvořák - Piano quintet no. 2 in A major, opus 81

Vassilis Varvaresos - Piano
Noe Inui - Violin
Iason Keramidis - Violin
David Bogorad - Viola
Angelos Liakakis - Cello

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Minoa Chamber Music Festival - JOHANNES BRAHMS -


The French horn is an instrument that often enjoys pride of place in Brahms' symphonic work, though it plays a particularly prominent and essential role in the first two Symphonies, the first Serenade, and the second Piano Concerto. The composer himself had studied the horn at a young age, when he was taught by his father. For a time in the late 1850s, he was a horn player in the Detmold Orchestra. However, despite his proven love for the horn as a component of the symphony orchestra, Brahms wrote only one chamber work featuring the instrument, namely the Trio for horn, violin and piano. The Trio was written in the summer of 1865, shortly after the death of his mother, Christiane (in February that year), during a summer holiday spent near the Black Forest. Although this combination of instruments does feature, albeit infrequently, in the work of lesser composers, Brahms' Trio is considered the first major work for the three instruments, and perhaps the greatest to date. Curiously, the composer had a "natural horn" (Waldhorn) in mind when he wrote the Trio, not the sophisticated valved version which is now standard and was already in widespread use when the Trio was written. Although the natural horn has a more limited range of notes that the valve horn, Brahms considered the former the most suitable instrument for his Trio, thanks to its darker and ‘nobler’ timbre, which was a good match for the style of his music and could achieve a better balance with the violin, as well. Of course, today, the Trio is generally performed on the modern instrument, without this seeming to betray the composer's intentions in any way. The first and third movements focus mainly on the horn's lyrical abilities (and the violin’s, too), while the second and fourth showcase its virtues as a virtuoso instrument. The slow first movement is built around two sensual and nostalgic themes that do not receive further development, while the second is an airy and light scherzo whose middle section stands out for its elegiac eloquence. The Adagio mesto is one of Brahms' most deeply-felt melancholy slow movements, a total contrast to the extroverted and euphoric finale, which pays homage at times to the horn’s role as the instrument of the hunt.


1. Andante
2. Scherzo. Allegro
3. Adagio mesto
4. Finale. Allegro con brio

Minoa Chamber Music Festival - Antonín Dvořák -

Antonín Dvořák

In the spring of 1887, the Czech romantic composer Antonín Dvořák decided to return to his First Piano Quintet (opus 5), which he had written fifteen years earlier, with a view to removing its youthful imperfections. However, having quickly realized that his efforts were not going to bear the fruit he sought, he began work on a new Piano Quintet (in A major, like the first one) on 18 August; he would complete the work on 3 October. The new Quintet was written during the composer's stay at his beloved country house in the village of Vysoká, 60 kilometres south-east of Prague, and it seems that the idyllic atmosphere of the countryside left a positive mark on the music. On 6 January 1888, the premiere performance of the Quintet was given in Prague and proved a remarkable success. By the end of the year, the work had been published by Simrock and received performances in Hamburg, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London—twice. It remains one of the composer's best known and best-loved works of chamber music to this day.

The Quintet’s indubitable value places it in the same league as similar earlier masterpieces by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Franck. Written when the composer was both mature and acclaimed, it displays all the characteristics that distinguish Dvořák's music: rich melodic ingenuity, effective scoring which exploits the virtues of the instruments, a masterful handling of form and, above all, an astoundingly unforced melding of the Czech musical tradition and the pan-European passion of late Romanticism. The first and last movements employ sonata form, and are based around themes which, sometimes lyrical and sometimes more energetic and dance-like, are developed exhaustively, even including a clearly polyphonic finale. The two middle movements have more stylistic affinities with the realm of traditional music: the slow movement is described as a dumka, which is a melancholic dance of Ukrainian origin whose salient feature are the fast, intensely dance-like sections interspersed between the restatements of the sad main theme, while the scherzo is based on a rhythmically lively, traditional Slavic dance called the furiant. A traditional Czech song is used for one of the themes.


1. Allegro, ma non tanto
2. Dumka. Andante con moto
3. Scherzo (Furiant). Molto vivace - Poco tranquillo
4. Finale. Allegro

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