I may or may not have dashed this together this morning.
Excerpted from program for August 15 concert:
Completed in 1875, Brahms’ op. 60 (his third and final piano quartet) can be understood in terms of its classical heritage but also its progressive harmonic forms. Brahms, a consummate craftsman, spent his formative years steeped in the music of the past—Bach and Haydn, for example. With this in mind, the listener is innately cognizant of classical forms and thus can apply a classical listening model: the quest of antiquity. Analogous the previous example of the salon with respect to the eighteenth century, the works of Homer (the Iliad and the Odyssey) were integral to nineteenth century education and socialization. In this sense, Brahms’ op. 60 is analogous to Odysseus’ trials: the listener departs from Ithaca—from that which is familiar—traverses the wine-dark sea, battles Trojans and Cyclopes (thus engendering Poseidon’s scorn) and finally returns to a home vaguely reminiscent of what once was. As proverbial dawn with her rose red fingers shines once more on each movement, the quest continues.