Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music
12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)CDS44331/42
Movement 1: Allegro non troppo
Movement 2: Scherzo: Allegro non troppo
Movement 3: Poco adagio
Movement 4: Poco allegro
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 © 2000