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Hyperion Records

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Postcard depicting Brahms composing his Symphony No 1 (c1900). Austrian School, 20th century
Private Collection / Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDS44331/42
Recording details: September 1984
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Mike Clements
Release date: April 1987
Total duration: 20 minutes 41 seconds

'The pick of this crop has to be Brahms's Complete Chamber Music from Hyperion. Spanning more than two decades, this box contains the finest, mainly British, performances, some very recent … Brahms's two dozen chamber works are among his greatest achievements, and yield little or nothing in quality to the better known output of Mozart and Beethoven. This box contains much buried treasure' (The Mail on Sunday)

'Immerse yourself in this set of 12 CDs of Brahms's chamber music … in the last 25 years, Hyperion has managed to persuade some of the finest of chamber musicians to reveal their affection for Brahms in recordings of remarkably consistent quality … altogether life affirming music in life enhancing performances: surely one of the best buys of the year?' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This magnificent 12-CD collection … Marc-André Hamelin and the Leopold String Trio find the right gypsy touch in the First Piano Quartet … the Florestan Trio is movingly intense in the piano trios … Lawrence Power's playing of the viola alternative to the clarinet sonatas is magical. And there's much more! A superb bargain' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Stellar artists, fine sound, splendid presentation. Superb!' (ClassicalSource.com)

Clarinet Sonata in E flat major, Op 120 No 2
composer
Summer 1894; first performed by Richard Mühlfeld and Brahms in Berchtesgaden, Meiningen, on 19 September 1894; also for viola and piano

Allegro amabile  [8'05]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
This music is less overtly determined than its companion, but no less terse in fact. The main theme stretches itself comfortably and does not eschew repetition like the one in the F minor sonata; it is also more persistent in the movement as a whole, especially its opening phrase. The development uses quick arpeggiated triplets that may remind the ear of Beethoven’s first Rasumovsky Quartet or of his Triple Concerto (the first movement in each) – Brahms was in any case so fond of this sort of locomotion that it by now had become purely characteristic of himself.

The other two movements are markedly contrasted with each other. The scherzo, Allegro appassionato, is in E flat minor and begins in a flowing vein that at first seems to follow easily what has gone before – but it becomes intense and full of measured energy, and there is a trio in B major, one of Brahms’s most splendid melodies. In the third movement, Andante con moto, he relaxes into five variations and coda on a beautiful theme that shows no inclination to activity until a stormy variation interrupts in E flat minor. But the sun soon comes out again, and the sonata ends happily, as it began.

from notes by Robert Simpson © 1986

Other albums featuring this work
'Brahms: Clarinet Sonatas' (CDH55158)
Brahms: Clarinet Sonatas
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDH55158  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service; also available on CDS44331/42  
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