Brahms set very high standards for himself. It was not uncommon for him to write a complete work, a string quartet, for example, only to destroy it because it felt it wasn’t up to his standards. Any other composer would have been proud to have written music that he threw away, and that, alas, we shall never hear.
One of Brahms’ most famous works is his Piano Quintet in f minor. I started life as a string quintet, but his friends Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim told him the piece needs a piano. Well, Brahms rewrote the work as a sonata for 2 pianos. He performed the work (probably with Clara Schumann) and was relatively pleased with the result. He then promptly destroyed the string quintet version. 2 years later, he took that sonata for 2 pianos and decided that he really wanted to hear that music played by strings, but that a piano was necessary. After another revision, he came up with the famous Quintet for Piano and Strings in f minor. Fortunately, for us, he must have been pleased with the 2-piano version, because he did not destroy that score. Listen on Sunday for the Paratore brothers with the Sonata for 2 Pianos by Brahms, along with organ music played by the great Virgil Fox, and a concerto movement attributed to Beethoven. Hope you can join me Sunday at 6 for “Toccata.”