Mari Kodama presents “New Paths” on PENTATONE – the new CD featuring Brahms’ first piano sonata, his Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann and his Theme with Variations, and Clara Schumann’s arrangement of Robert Schumann’s song Widmung, focuses on the young Johannes Brahms and his fascinating friendship with Clara and Robert Schumann. The album derives its title from Robert Schumann’s famous essay “Neue Bahnen”, in which he heralded the young Brahms as the most eminent musical voice of the future. The recording will be available worldwide on 18 November.
“Hardly any relationship is as well-documented as that of Robert and Clara Schumann to Johannes Brahms: a lifelong three-way friendship in which Robert Schumann remained ever present even after his early death. The fascination that emanates from this connection of lives has touched me so much over the years that it has always been a concern of mine to musically tell the story of its beginning at some point. A 20-year-old from Hamburg came to Düsseldorf to visit the Schumanns, who were more than enthusiastic about his talent. “Your son Johannes has become very precious to us, his musical genius has created joyful hours for us. To facilitate his first walk into the world, I have publicly expressed what I think of him,” Robert wrote to Brahms’s father. The enthusiasm was mutual. For the young Brahms, the Schumanns became a point of reference, the collaboration with Clara a constant inspiration, the mutual trust, which was not limited to artistic creation, ultimately vital — not only for Brahms, but also for Clara during the very difficult phase of her husband’s illness and afterwards. I have always been moved by the depth of this bond, its absolute reliability, which became so significant for artists in the mid-19th century, in a world where traditional norms began to dissolve and society became increasingly individualised.” – Mari Kodama