Brahms’s two sonatas for clarinet and piano, Op 120, composed in 1894, were followed only by the four Serious Songs and a set of organ chorale preludes (some of which may have been written at earlier times). His farewell to chamber music was also his farewell gift to the clarinet. The two works recorded here were preceded by the Clarinet Trio in A minor (Op 114) and the great Clarinet Quintet in B minor (Op 115), and all four masterpieces were inspired by the playing of Richard Mühlfeld, principal clarinettist of the Meiningen Orchestra.
All three of Brahms’ string quartets appear in this 2-CD set, along with his piano quintet, recorded live at the Vienna Konzerthaus, where Elisabeth Leonskaja joined the members of the Alban Berg Quartett. The ensemble’s name honours the continuity and vigour of Vienna’s long musical tradition, which reached one of its Romantic highpoints with these chamber masterworks, composed in the 1860s and 1870s.
Johann Georg Lickl, also Ligkl, Hans-Georg Lickl, Hungarian: Lickl György (11 April 1769 – 12 May 1843) was an Austrian composer, organist, Kapellmeister in the main church of Pécs, and piano teacher. He wrote operas, one wind quintet, three string quartets, and served as a Kapellmeister at several churches. From 1807 until his death he was choirmaster at what is now Pécs. A large portion of his output is sacred music, including masses and requiems…
EMI Classics pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and Virgin Classics' string quartet, the Artemis, have joined their formidable musical forces to record two of the most beautiful piano quintets of the Romantic chamber music repertoire. Their collaboration makes for what will certainly be considered a landmark recording, bringing a new vigour to these well-known masterpieces. The programme couples 2 major piano quintets by Brahms and Schumann. Brahms' Piano Quintet in F minor Op.34 is the composer's only piano quintet and is considered one of his finest compositions. The work began life as a string quintet, later evolving into a sonata for two pianos, before taking its final form in 1866. Of Schumann's Piano Quintet in E Op 44, Clara Schumann, who premiered it said: "A glorious piece, extremely brilliant and effective. Schumann's sole composition for piano quintet was composed in 1842, a year practically devoted to the composition of chamber works for piano and strings.
Jascha Heifetz was a Lithuanian-born American violinist. He was born in Vilnius. As a teen, he moved with his family to the United States, where his Carnegie Hall debut was rapturously received. He had a long and successful performing and recording career; after an injury to his right (bowing) arm, he focused on teaching. The New York Times called him "perhaps the greatest violinist of all time."
Among the most cherished of all chamber works, the Quintet was written after Brahms visited the ducal court of Meiningen and heard Richard Mühlfeld, whom he considered one of the greatest woodwind players he had ever heard. It is a heartfelt work, and seems to sum up Brahms's life, with a mood of resignation-without-bitterness prevailing. This is one of Brahms's finest achievements.
The Takács Quartet have been recently described as ‘one of the world’s most distinguished ensembles’. Here they collaborate with Britain’s greatest living viola player, Lawrence Power, who with his long association with The Nash Ensemble among others has also proved himself a remarkable chamber musician.