The album includes Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet, one of the most seminal works for the instrument – combined with Hungarian dances and waltzes by Brahms, all newly arranged to include additional material from Brahms' original musical sources, with an authentic folk twist.
Mercury Classics/Deutsche Grammophon has released the debut album of Austrian clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer, the first ever solo clarinettist to sign an exclusive agreement with the Yellow Label. Portraits – The Clarinet Album features concertos by Copland, Spohr and Cimarosa, plus arrangements of short pieces. Andreas Ottensamer is accompanied on the recording by the Rotterdam Philharmonic under Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Not autumnal, not reflective, not reserved, and definitely not restrained, this coupling of Brahms' two string sextets may seem to some to be at best wrong-headed and at worst simply wrong. After all, isn't Brahms the composer for whom the adjective autumnal was coined and to whom the adjectives reflective, reserved, and restrained are reflexively applied? Yes, but that doesn't mean all of Brahms' music is autumnal: he was young once, too and the expansive and exuberant young Brahms is emotionally far from the reflective, reserved, and restrained composer of later years.
With the proliferation of more and more recording labels and still more ensembles getting the opportunity to record their work, it is obviously increasingly difficult to bring anything truly original when performing works from the standard repertoire. Unfortunately, this fact may lead to some questionable performance decisions in striving for originality. Such seems to be the case with the Leopold String Trio and Marc-André Hamelin and their performance of the Brahms piano quartets.
Celebrated German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter is joined by pianist Lambert Orkis for this performance of three violin sonatas by Johannes Brahms