This concert is truly a family affair. Robert Schumann said of the young Johannes Brahms that he was ”destined to give the ideal expression to the times.” Brahms in turn admired Schumann and became a lifelong friend of the composer’s widow Clara after Schumann’s tragic death at age forty-six. Everything we love about Brahms is in his Haydn Variations- a reverence for the past, a seemingly endless gift for melody and invention and even flashes of humor. Schumann wrote his piano concerto for Clara-a renowned virtuoso before, during and after their life together. We begin with the work Schumann himself considered his second symphony, written towards the end of his now famous ‘year of song’ the most productive twelve months of his all-too-short artistic life.