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Infodad.com, July 2012

The Juilliard Quartet’s recording of Brahms’ three string quartets and his Clarinet Quintet is not as recent—the recordings date to 1993-94—but is every bit as strong as when it was first released. These chamber works are particularly personal statements by the composer, and the Juilliard Quartet brings that personal element effectively to the fore. The first quartet, in C minor…is dark-hued throughout, united by thematic references in the finale to the first movement and also by a sense that the turmoil of the opening must be wrestled with to the end (which is in the minor). The second quartet is also in a minor key—A minor—but is more expansive and even charming, its intensity muted in particular because of its final two movements: a minor-key minuet with major-key trio, and a finale featuring a syncopated and dancelike main theme. The Juilliard Quartet makes both of them weighty indeed, but never at the expense of lyricism or of their lighter, contrasting sections. The third quartet, in B-flat major, also predates the symphony, but only by a year, and here Brahms explores in different ways. There is greater calm in this quartet, with some unusual forms of emotional expression, such as a kind of pathos in the Agitato third movement, in which the viola takes the lead and is the only instrument not muted…the Clarinet Quintet of 1891 is a work in which the fully mature composer offers the mellowness and slight melancholy that together are usually described as “autumnal.” The quintet is beautifully constructed in a way that is quite personal to Brahms, with a highly unified first movement that is followed by second and third movements in which certain sections contrast strongly with others until Brahms reconciles them. And then the finale, another set of variations, caps the whole with both beauty and subtlety—two words that also describe the performance by the Juilliard Quartet with clarinetist Charles Neidich. © 2012 Infodad.com Read complete review






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11:39:36 AM, 16 September 2014
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