Day 328: Viola Sonatas, Piano Trio in A

BrahmsCD22There’s something about the first composition (Sonata for Viola & Piano in F minor Op. 120 No. 1) that drew me in from the opening notes.

It still sounds like two instruments – piano and viola – are playing different pieces of music.

But, at least the music they’re playing is compelling.

What I’m listening to today:

Sonata for Viola & Piano in F minor Op. 120 No. 1

All four movements of this sonata are well done. I even detected a bit of melody amidst all the notes.

I thought Movement III (“Allegretto grazioso”) was good. But Movement IV (“Vivace”) kicked my keister.

Op. 120 No. 1 is terrific.

Here’s an article about it publishing on the LA Philharmonic web site. It indicates that this sonata was composed in 1891. If that’s true, Brahms was 58.

Sonata for Viola & Piano in E flat Op. 120 No. 2

This sonata is also quite good. The piano is well recorded. As is the viola. Very crisp. But organic. Real sounding.

My favorite of the three movements is Continue reading

Day 321: Clarinet Trio, Clarinet Quintet

BrahmsCD15A clarinet quintet, eh?

I had no idea such a thing existed.

But, apparently, it does.

Because here it is on today’s Brahms CD, which is a clarinetist’s dream come true.

There are two compositions on Brahms CD 15:

Clarinet Trio in A minor Op. 114

Performed by:

Karl Leister clarinet
Wolfgang Boettcher cello
Ferenc Bognar piano

According to its entry on Wikipedia:

The Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A minor, Op. 114, was one of four chamber works featuring clarinet composed by Johannes Brahms in rapid succession after emerging from retirement toward the end of his life.

It is one of a small number of compositions for clarinet, cello and piano, and one of the very few to have entered the standard repertoire. Eusebius Mandyczewski, a scholar and friend of Brahms, wrote of the trio that “It is as though the instruments were in love with each other.”

Brahms was inspired to compose these works by the playing of clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld.

Brahms was 58 when he composed this trio in the summer of 1891.

Clarinet Quintet in B minor Op. 115

Performed by:

Karl Leister clarinet
Brandis Quaratett
Thomas Brandis, Peter Brem violins
Wilfried Strehle viola
Wolfgang Boettcher cello

According to its entry on Wiki:

Johannes Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 was written in 1891 for the clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld.

The piece is known for its autumnal mood. It consists of a clarinet in A with a string quartet and has a duration of approximately thirty-five minutes.

At the time Brahms started composing his Clarinet Quintet, only a few works had been composed for this type of ensemble and even now there are not many. Examples include those by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Anton Reicha, Carl Maria von Weber, Franz Krommer, Alexander Glazunov, Heinrich Baermann, and Thomas Täglichsbeck. Brahms modeled his composition after Mozart’s.

Brahms was 58 when he composed this clarinet quintet.