Podcast #3: Exploring The Late Styles Of Schumann, Gesualdo, Brahms and Mozart

By Erik Petersons on June 5, 2017.

The defining characteristic of Schumann’s music is its intimacy…the sense of it communicating something achingly personal and almost unsayable.  In his case that becomes so extreme in the late pieces.  He is writing the music that is like the words that are caught in your throat when you can’t speak anymore.

Brahms wasn’t particularly old when he [stopped composing] but then of course it is particularly interesting that someone having made that decision decided to come back.  I think it makes the idea of late style all the more interesting—that someone who at one point thought they had no more to say, found motivation to say something.  Brahms fits very much in the category of these late pieces that are about knowing that there isn’t much time left…not necessarily racing against the clock because of it, but having something new to say because he knew that he was not long for the world.

- Jonathan Biss