Caroline Shaw on Brahms

At Lunch is Britten Sinfonia’s series of intimate chamber concerts which make bold connections across over 400 years of repertoire, and include a newly commissioned work in each concert. Ahead of At Lunch Three concerts in Cambridge, London and Norwich, we caught up with Caroline Shaw to find out why she wanted to pair the world premiere performances of her new work with Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor.

This new piece for piano quartet is a kind of deep dive into my own memories of rehearsing and performing Brahms’ Piano Quartets as a violinist. I fell in love with his harmonies and vocal melodic lines, and when I think of really thrilling, moving chamber music experiences I’ve had I always come back to the fun and joy and effort of playing Brahms. I couldn’t possibly write a piece for this combination of instruments without constantly revisiting that feeling and that music, so there will be odd echoes and transformations nested throughout. I mean, I literally have a pair of sneakers that have the words “BRAHMS IS THE GOAT” printed inside…

At Lunch Three will feature Britten Sinfonia musicians Thomas Gould (violin), Clare Finnimore (viola), Caroline Dearnley (cello) and Tom Poster (piano), and will be at Cambridge’s West Road Concert Hall on 17 April, London’s Wigmore Hall on April 18 and Norwich’s St Andrew’s Hall on April 20.

You can help commission Caroline Shaw’s new work via our Musically Gifted scheme. There are some excellent gifts up for grabs including signed scores, and even tea with the composer.