BBC Radio 4
The FAE Sonata
1 June 2010
Presented by Tom Robinson
Produced by Alan Hall
Frei Aber Einsam - or 'free but lonely' - was the motto of the great 19th century violinist Joseph Joachim. It's also the name of a Violin Sonata played by Joachim, accompanied by Clara Schumann, that resulted from a collaboration between the composer Robert Schumann and two of his pupils, Johannes Brahms and Albert Dietrich.
On the 200th anniversary of Schumann's birth, Tom Robinson examines the complex relationships between these romantic artists through the prism of this piece of music. Schumann's passionate love for his wife, Clara, is matched only by Brahms' devotion to her during and following Schumann's decline into mental illness. Brahms was also a close champion of Joachim, until the violinist's divorce, when they fell out due to the composer's support for Joachims' wife. And the FAE Sonata itself was neglected - an innocent victim - until long after Brahms' death.
Tom unpicks the romantic and turbulent story of a musical collaboration with the help of pianist and Schumann champion Lucy Parham, violinist Tasmin Little, Robert John Godfrey of 'The Enid' and Radio 3's Andrew McGregor.
The programme is co-produced by Alan Hall and Sara Parker