It’s one of the biggest no-nos in classical music. Brahms represents form at its purest, Tchaikovsky represents raw emotion. They are polar opposites. To mix one into the other is anathema, right?
Last night at the Bristol Proms, Daniel Hope and friends played alterante movements of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence and Brahms’ String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Opus 111.
It worked. Better than worked, it triumphed. The applause increased after each and every alternate movement.
Somehow, the expressionism of Tchakovsky added warmth to Brahms while the meticulousness of Brahms mitigated the excesses of Tchaikovsky.
There was some entertaining chit-chat between movements about the rivalry between the composers, but the music made the best argument.