Sinfonia in B is Joseph Swensen’s orchestration of the little-known original version of Brahms’ B major piano trio. In Swensen’s own words: 'Completed in 1854, it is the largest and arguably the most important of Brahms' published early works, yet it remains nearly unknown to most musicians and music-lovers alike'. The original Opus 8 is, for me, intriguing for many reasons. Not only is it a work of extraordinary quality and emotional depth, written by a composer just 21 years of age, but it is a quintessential example of Brahms' ultra-romantic and forward looking early style.'
This album also explores the young Brahms' connection with Robert and Clara Schumann, with orchestrations and performances (as a violin soloist) by Swensen of miniature works by both composers—as well as extracts from the ‘F-A-E’ sonata (a joint composition by Brahms, Robert Schumann and Joseph Joachim based on the motto Frei aber einsam/free but lonely—Joachim’s personal motto).