Hyperion Records

String Sextet No 2 in G major, Op 36
composer
mainly autumn 1864, with finale added spring 1865

Recordings
'Brahms: String Sextets' (CDA66276)
Brahms: String Sextets
'Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music' (CDS44331/42)
Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £40.00 CDS44331/42  12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Details
Movement 1: Allegro non troppo
Track 5 on CDA66276 [14'39]
Track 5 on CDS44331/42 CD1 [14'39] 12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Scherzo: Allegro non troppo
Track 6 on CDA66276 [7'11]
Track 6 on CDS44331/42 CD1 [7'11] 12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 3: Poco adagio
Track 7 on CDA66276 [9'28]
Track 7 on CDS44331/42 CD1 [9'28] 12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 4: Poco allegro
Track 8 on CDA66276 [8'32]
Track 8 on CDS44331/42 CD1 [8'32] 12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

String Sextet No 2 in G major, Op 36
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Of the Second Sextet Sir Donald Tovey wrote that it was ‘the most ethereal of Brahms’s larger works’. Beginning with a theme built on rising fifths, the first movement, in sonata form, illustrates Brahms’s mastery of the art of counterpoint. The development section is an effortless demonstration of this art, and one can but listen and admire both the technical ingenuity and the poetic inspiration which bring this lovely music to life. The music itself contains a motif based on the name Agathe—that is, of course, without the ‘unmusical’ letter T. The letter H in German refers to the note B in English, thus the succession of notes AGAHE enshrines the first name of Agathe von Siebold, the one and only young lady to whom Brahms was ever betrothed, though destined never to marry. Following the appearance of Agathe, the movement ends with a coda memorable for a reprise of the first subject containing a most beautiful modulatory passage.

The succeeding G minor Scherzo wavers between melancholy and gentle playfulness with a well-contrasted middle section, ‘Presto giocoso’, incorporating a thumping Ländler rhythm. The Adagio is in E minor and once more finds Brahms using his beloved variation technique to great effect. A slow, sad melody, supported by distinctive chromatic harmonies, is followed by a succession of varied renditions of the thematic material whose melodic connections are less obvious than are the rhythmic and cadential ones.

The last movement sustains Brahms’s sunny mood and the music has an unhurried gait, despite the fugal writing in the development section. The main theme is first marked ‘Tranquillo’ and, later, ‘Semplice’, and it moves effortlessly in triple time. The return of the fugue ensures a rousing conclusion to one of Brahms’s most happy inspirations.

from notes by Peter Lamb İ 2000

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66276 track 7
Poco adagio
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-88-27607
Duration
9'28
Recording date
26 April 1988
Recording venue
St Paul's Church, New Southgate, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Arthur Johnson
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Brahms: String Sextets (CDA66276)
    Disc 1 Track 7
    Release date: November 1988
  2. Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music (CDS44331/42)
    Disc 1 Track 7
    Release date: October 2008
    12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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