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Brahms: Clarinet Quintet; Clarinet Trio Import

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Audio CD, Import, February 18, 1993
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Brahms: Clarinet Quintet; Clarinet Trio + Brahms/Beethoven: Clarinet Sonatas/Clarinet Trio
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Product Details

  • Performer: Thea King, Karina Georgian, Clifford Benson, Gabrieli Quartet
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (February 18, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000002ZH9
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,464 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Clarinet Quintet In B Minor Op. 115: I Allegro
2. Clarinet Quintet In B Minor Op. 115: II Adagio
3. Clarinet Quintet In B Minor Op. 115: III Andantino - Presto on assai, ma con sentimento
4. Clarinet Quintet In B Minor Op. 115: IV Con moto
5. Clarinet Trio In A Minor Op. 114: I Allegro
6. Clarinet Trio In A Minor Op. 114: II Adagio
7. Clarinet Trio In A Minor Op. 114: IIIAndantino grazioso
8. Clarinet Trio In A Minor Op. 114: IV Allegro

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Alan Lekan on January 3, 2006
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Sometimes even the most prolific and creative talents need an occasional boost of inspiration. Such was the case with the composer Johanas Brahms, who later in his life during a period of dearth, proclaimed that he would cease composing anything else. Yet, fate or Divine Favor would have it that he heard the ravishing playing of clarinettist Richard Muhlfeld one evening ... and the rest is history. After that life-changing event, Brahms would go on to compose several works for clarinet and Muhlfeld: the Clarinet Trio Op. 114, the Clarinet Quintet Op. 115 and two Sonatas for Clarinet Op. 120. While Brahms might be better known for his monumental symphonies, he wrote abundant and superlative works in the chamber genre - all of which are masterful and none are second-rate.

Amongst these, the Clarinet Quintet and Trio featured on this CD are among the finest, most staturesque chamber works for clarinet in the repertoire - and some of Brahms' best. Although Brahms (1833-1897) composed during the "Romantic era," his forms often followed in the classical tradition of Mozart and Beethoven. Music writer Melvin Berger summarizes Brahms' style this way: "In his music Brahms succeeded in reconciling Classism and Romanticism, these two seemingly irreconcilable musical styles. The use of traditional (sonata) forms and avoidance of extra-musical associations indicate his kinship with the music of the past (Mozart, Haydn). At the same time, his soaring melodies, fluid rhythms and rich harmonies show he was spiritually and musically in tune with his own era."

The Clarinet Quintet Op. 115 is often felt as Brahms' finest chamber work and one that showcases the clarinet's magnificant range of expressivity - the high, soprano voice in the clarino register ...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jt52 on March 16, 2011
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This disc's highlight is a well-conceived, sensitive recording of Brahms' Op. 114 Trio for clarinet, cello and piano. The Trio is a difficult work from late in Brahms' career, full of subtle contrasts, motivic interplay and musical crosscurrents. While Thea King, clarinet, and Clifford Benson, piano, do very creditable jobs, the real kudos go to cellist Karina Georgian, who I think cements the entire rendition. Personally, I find the cello to be a more naturally expressive instrument than the clarinet and the piano, which makes it a particularly important member of the trio in melancholy, "autumnal" (the adjective always applied to these late Brahms works - hey, but cliches are true) music such as Op. 114. I was very happy to hear this performance and think you will like it, too.

The more famous b-minor clarinet quintet, Op. 115, is one of Brahms' most famous works and a favorite of mine. King and the Gabrieli Quartet deliver a quality interpretation. At times I thought it lacked structure - meaning that the large-scale contrast between sections could have been brought out more rather than smoothed over - but that is a minor flaw. In particular, the performers deliver a very engaging and vivid finale, a set of variations in which the sad opening measures are recalled at the end. Unlike the other reviewer, I found the clarinet well integrated with the quartet.

The recording sound quality is pretty good. I typically find Hyperion recordings to be a bit bright and that goes for this one. But let's not let some smaller criticisms detract from a fine recording of some brilliant music. Recommended.
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