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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Opus 115
Piano Quintet in F minor, Opus 34
Ralph Manno (clarinet), Alfredo Perl (piano), Michaela Paetsch Neftel, Rahel Cunz (violins), Hartmut Rohde (viola), Guido Schiefen (cello)
Rec 14-15 August 1995, Iglesia San Francisco de Telde, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
ARTE NOVA 74321 30493 2 [74.24]

 

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Two great works of chamber music, two excellent performances, two splendidly balanced and atmospheric recordings, and all at super bargain price.

Given the need for close co-operation in this type of music, it is surprising that the assembled musicians did not give themselves a collective name by which to advance their careers as chamber musicians. Both quintets are founded upon the four strings of the string quartet, of course, and these recent (as recorded in 1995) international prize-winners produce interpretations to challenge the best. But there it is.

The Clarinet Quintet glows with that unique autumnal warmth so characteristic of the best of Brahms's later music. The tempi confirm this view, though there are sufficient contrasts to bring the breadth of the work to our attention too.

The Piano Quintet too is suffused with sensitive feeling, which is particularly due to the sensitive shadings of dynamic from the pianist, Alfredo Perl. Thus the more meditative aspects of the music catch the attention in a special way. On the other hand, this remains one of the most sweepingly powerful of the composer's chamber compositions, and that aspect remains important, of course. Therefore we are given the ideal combination: energy and poetry.

There are other performances of either of these pieces which will give equal pleasure, but none are available at remotely so competitive a price.


Terry Barfoot

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