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‘Astronomic’ chamber music by Brahms serenades

Terrie Baune, John Chernoff and Dan Nebel perform Horn Trio in E Flat major. “The horn isn’t typically an accompaniment of piano and violin,” Nebel said, but the French Horn addition enhanced the composition of the piece. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

There were many events happening on and around campus Saturday night. But the melodious tune from the trickling of piano keys and plucking of violin strings from within the Zingg Recital Hall of the Arts Building drew quite the audience.

The concert was hosted by the North State Symphony and consisted of the musical talents of; Terrie Baune on violin, John Chernoff on piano, Carol Jacobson on Cello, Dan Nebel on horn and Leah Carl on viola. Between the musicians, they have over 128 years of collected experience of playing their instruments.

They played three lesser-known pieces written by nineteenth-century composer Johannes Brahms. Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Horn Trio in E Flat major and Piano Quartet in A major.

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Zingg Recital Hall was filled with over 75 people Friday night to come to listen to Brahms chamber music. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

“Brahms is more astronomic in how he develops things,” Chernoff said, describing the virtuoso, organic style of the music.

The musicians played chamber music, which is a smaller ensemble of instruments. Two of the pieces were played with only three instruments while the piece in the key of A major had four instrumental components.

“It’s fun to be just the only person playing that part,” Baune said, “instead of an orchestra where you’ve got 10 people playing the same part.”

“There’s something about Brahms as he’s the center of the Chamber Music Universe,” Chernoff added, “It has to do with the 19th century in the whole aesthetic of chamber music at that time.”

Baune is a concertmaster in North State Symphony and said that when she gets to pick the program herself, she likes to include pieces composed by Brahms because “it’s so satisfying to play and something everyone likes doing.”

“Brahms is a real master of form and the way he uses the forms and stretches the boundaries,” Baune said. “He uses these tremendous contrasts and as a ‘Romantic composer,’ that means there is a lot of passion involved.”

And though Brahms is best historically described as a Romantic composer, pianist Chernoff said Brahms still did not fill that mold.

“Brahms is not the quintessential Romantic composer and he has classical aspects,” Chernoff said, “He writes on these big symphonies and stuff, but he’s a very intimate composer.”

The group plays together as often as they can. Leah Carl was even Baune’s violin student when she was still in college.

“We like to read a lot of stuff together and just rehearse and play pieces,” said Carol Jacobson, the cellist.

“Part of the reason we went for the all-Brahms concert is because we’re doing Brahms’ fourth symphony on the final North State symphony concert in May,” Baune said.

The Masterworks 4: Pathos and Hope, Brahms’ final symphony will be performed in Laxson on May 12. More information available online at

Olyvia Simpson can be reached at [email protected]or @OSimpson15 on Twitter

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