Brahms: Quintets Op.34 & Op.115 (2012)

Brahms

Tokyo String Quartet

Two quintets from two very different periods in Brahms’s life. The Piano Quintet is the work of a frustrated but ambitious man. The Clarinet-led piece is an autumnal serenade by an experienced master. The journey between these two milestones was one marked by criticism, soul searching and ultimate triumph. Weighed down by the inheritance Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, Brahms often hibernated from public statements in the more modest realm of trios, quartets and quintets. But his symphonic ambitions soon found voice, not only in the composition of his first symphony, which he began in 1862, but also in the rich and radical landscape of his chamber music. Conviction and talent paid off and by the time we revisit Brahms in 1891, the year of the Clarinet Quintet, aggravation becomes reflection. 1862 was a crucial year. As well as starting that first symphony, the 29-year-old Brahms travelled to Vienna for the first time. There he met Wagner. Although history relates that Brahms’s conservative abstraction was at the opposite end of the musical spectrum to Wagner’s extremely theatrical music, Brahms felt nothing but admiration for his compatriot.
While in the city, Brahms performed many of his new piano and chamber works, garnering the enviable support of Eduard Hanslick, the city’s most-feared music critic. With Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim already on his side, Brahms was set to become a major figure in European music. But rather than pandering to his ego, Hanslick, Schumann and Joachim gave Brahms vital input and criticism. Such friendships fostered genius, though Brahms wasn’t always as grateful as he should have been. 

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Tokyo String Quartet

Regarded as one of the supreme chamber ensembles of the world, the Tokyo String Quartet has captivated audiences and critics alike since it was founded 42 years ago. Performing over a hundred concerts worldwide each season, the quartet has a devoted international following that includes the major capitals of the world and extends to all four corners, from Australia to Estonia to Scandinavia and the Far East. The Tokyo Quartet has served on the faculty at the Yale School of Music since 1976 and is quartet-in-residence at New York’s 92nd Street Y. Deeply committed to coaching young string quartets, the musicians regularly conduct master classes throughout NorthAmerica, Europe and Japan.
 Officially formed in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music, the Tokyo String Quartet traces its origins to the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where the founding members were profoundly influenced by Professor Hideo Saito. Soon after its formation, the quartet won First Prize at the Coleman Competition, the Munich Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. An exclusive collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon (more than 40 landmark recordings) firmly established it as one of the world’s leading quartets. The ensemble now records for harmonia mundi usa and has recently concluded an acclaimed cycle of Beethoven’s complete string quartets.

Jon Nakamatsu

Californian Jon Nakamatsu gained immediate international attention in 1997 when he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Tenth Van Cliburn Inter-national Piano Competition. He has since pursued a busy performing career, ap-pearing in recital and with major orchestras throughout the world. His playing is acclaimed for its combination of effortless virtuosity and elegant singing piano sound.
Nakamatsu has made seven prior recordings for harmonia mundi usa: his Gold Medal performance at the Cliburn Competition (hmu 907218); the First Piano Concerto by Lukas Foss (hmu 907243); the Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Piano Concerto No. 3 (hmu 907286), four Piano Sonatas by Joseph Wo?lfl (hmu 907324), and much-praised recitals of the music of Brahms (hmu 907339), Chopin (hmu 907244) and Liszt (hmu 907409).

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Brahms: Quintets Op.34 & Op.115 (2012)

Brahms

Tokyo String Quartet

Mastering Engineer: Brad Michel
Producer: Robina G. Young
Recording Engineer: Brad Michel
Recording location: Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, Indiana
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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807558DI: Brahms: Quintets Op.34 & Op.115
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Tracks.
1.
Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op.115 - I. Allegro
Brahms
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2.
Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op.115 - II. Adagio
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3.
Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op.115 - III. Andantino
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4.
Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op.115 - IV. Con moto
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5.
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op.34 - I. Allegro non troppo
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6.
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op.34 - II. Andante, un poco adagio
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7.
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op.34 - III. Scherzo: Allegro
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8.
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op.34 - IV. Finale: Poco sostenuto - Allegro non troppo
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