The Takács Quartet’s first CD with Hyperion was heralded as a uniquely successful collaboration: ‘the best string quartet in the world’ working under ideal recording conditions, creating a release that is ‘a model for what chamber music should be’ (The Guardian). They now turn to Brahms’s celebrated Op 51 No 2, a work which the composer held back for years despite frequent requests for it until it had reached his requisite standard of perfection. Brahms’s struggle with the string quartet medium eventually led him to find an intensely personal language for it, with an unmistakable originality of melody and texture.
The Tákacs Quartet’s recent performance of Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F minor with Stephen Hough elicited the following review: ‘Hough and the Takács are about to record this, and the result will be something to listen out for: chamber music does not get much better’ (The Guardian). Acclaimed for his concerto and solo playing, Hough is proved here also to be a truly great chamber musician; this recording is the product of a deep musical relationship. The Piano Quintet in F minor is a highly charged work of dark passion, often deeply sombre, yet always suffused with drama, requiring (and receiving here) the highest standards of musicianship.