In 1891, Brahms met clarinettist Richard von Mühlfeld from whom, he discovered the secret possibilities of the instrument. Three years later, in the summer of 1894, Brahms composed the two Sonatas op. 120. These are his last chamber music compositions, still evidently inspired by Mühlfeld. After op. 120, Brahms composed only two other works before his death: the Vier ernste Gesänge for bass and piano, and the eleven organ choral preludes inspired by Bach.

Teatru Manoel presents a unique opportunity to hear two Clarinet Sonatas by Johannes Brahms, composed during an extremely creative season. This was soon after the composer had decided that he would not write anything anymore.

Renowned pianist Charlene Farrugia and clarinettist Dimitri Ashkenazy will perform the Johannes Brahms Clarinet Sonatas at the Museum of Archeology on Republic Street in Valletta. The second half of the concert will open with Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie. After Debussy took a position on the Paris Conservatorie’s Board of Directors, he wrote this piece as an examination for the school’s clarinet students.

The result was a vigorous test of the clarinettists’ ability to project a lyrical singing tone and demonstrate command of technical challenges ranging from chromatic runs to trills and rapid changes of articulation. The other work on the program is Bernstein’s first published work, his Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, written between 1941 and 1942.

Charlene Farrugia is recognised as Malta’s leading and most successful pianist, appearing on major international concert platforms in recitals, concerto performances and in chamber groups, with partners such as Joseph Calleja and Ning Feng.

Pianist Charlene Farrugia

Dimitri Ashkenazy performs widely as both a soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin at the Hollywood Bowl, SBS Youth Orchestra at Sydney Opera House, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, and Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and Mito Chamber orchestras in Japan.

Clarinettist Dimitri Ashkenazy. Photo credit Stefan Schweiger

He has made numerous CD, radio and television recordings, and been invited to give master classes throughout Europe and in Japan, Australia and the USA.

The concert on Tuesday 27th March 2018 at the Museum of Archeology, Republic Street, Valletta starts at 8pm. You can purchase tickets on the website, by calling 2124 6389 or emailing