If you take a peek at the concert poster for Monday and Tuesday’s “German Romanticism” concert by Brightmusic Society of Oklahoma, you’ll find a dapper-looking German guy hanging out on it. It’s Johannes Brahms, whose Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, op. 26, will be performed.
Wait, wasn’t Brahms a crazy dude?
“It’s early Brahms. Later in life, he turned into an eccentric, but this was the handsome young German man who wrote ‘Requiem’ and this piece,” said David Johnson, chair of Brightmusic’s executive committee.
Much like how the early truth of Brahms doesn’t match the later stereotype, this concert will go against classical music’s gnarled opinion in the ears of many. The two guest pianists, Ning An and Gloria Chien, will make sure of that.
“Part of their act is pieces for four hands,” said David Grizzard, chair of Brightmusic’s audience development and publicity committee. “It’s a flurry of notes that is very exciting for the audience.”
And, unlike the past concert that featured a contentious and provocative piece by modern composer Arnold Schoenberg, this concert will be all for those in attendance.
“I told someone at our last concert that it was three-quarters comfort food and one-quarter Schoenberg,” Johnson said. “This concert is 100 percent comfort food. It’s three of probably the most famous and certainly beloved composers of the romantic period. They’re all three the kinds of composers that people love.”
Among them is Franz Schubert’s Fantasy in F minor, op. 203, D.940, which Johnson was quick to highlight.
“It strikes what Schubert was good at doing. It has a touch of melancholy, but isn’t depressing,” he said.
In addition to the two pianists, four Brightmusicians will play throughout the evening. They will be accompanying, leaving the heavy lifting to the guest pianists. “Any people who are interested in piano should check it out,” Grizzard said. “It will be a very piano-heavy evening.”
It actually will be two evenings — both with admission via donation — with Monday’s concert at Casady School, and Tuesday’s at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. Grizzard warned attendees to arrive early to the St. Paul’s show, which will fill up quickly. Brightmusic’s last concert there resulted in a standing-room-only situation. The Casady show, however, is in a larger venue and shouldn’t be a problem.
However, with the mass appeal that Grizzard sees for this concert in particular, one never knows.
“It will be a real crowd-pleasing show,” he said. “Romanticism is very popular with audiences. It’s familiar, and it sounds like classical.”