After a period as a court composer at Detmold, Brahms returned to the city of his birth, Hamburg, in January 1860. Here, in relative tranquillity, he explored the then rare piano quartet repertoire. The Piano Quartet No. 2 received a very sympathetic hearing in Vienna, Clara Schumann even preferring it to its immediate predecessor, the Piano Quartet, Op. 25 [Naxos 8.572798]. Its lyricism is heightened by a romantically beautiful Adagio. Mahler’s vibrant Piano Quartet in A minor dates from 1876, the end of his first year at the Vienna Conservatory, where the only completed movement was first performed.
Listen to an extract from Piano Quartet No. 2:
IV. Finale: Allegro
Johannes Brahms is considered Beethoven’s successor in terms of his orchestral output, but for chamber music it was more the Romantic mantle of Robert Schumann that he assumed, vastly expanding its scale and ambitions in the 19th century and remaining a towering influence until well into the 20th. The First Piano Quartet has a deeply felt Andante con moto at its heart, and a sprightly ‘Gypsy Rondo’ finale. Brahms started writing the Third Piano Quartet during the difficult period of Schumann’s final illness, later re-composing it to create a work of symphonic proportions, distinctive power and striking beauty.
Listen to an extract from Piano Quartet No. 3:
II. Scherzo: Allegro
A Naxos 30th anniversary greeting from Eldar Nebolsin
About the Artists
Eldar Nebolsin enjoys a busy international career as a soloist, recitalist and chamber music player, appearing with conductors, orchestras and colleagues of international distinction. In 2005 he was unanimously awarded the Sviatoslav Richter Prize in the First International Piano Competition in Moscow, where he was also honoured with the special award for The Best Classical Concerto Performance.
Anton Barakhovsky is first concertmaster of the Bayerische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra. His chamber music partners include Leon Fleisher, Maurizio Pollini, Sabine Meyer, Kolja Blacher, Maxim Vengerov, Vadim Repin, Wolfram Christ and Natalia Gutman.
Alexander Zemtsov was principal viola of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 2002 to 2011. He has appeared as soloist with numerous renowned orchestras in Europe, USA, Asia and Australia. He regularly performs as soloist with distinguished conductors, including Alexander Vedernikov, Vladimir Jurowski and Neeme Järvi.
Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt is a prize-winner of many international competitions, including the International Rostropovich Competition, Paris and the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He is the founder and music director of the Chamber Orchestra Metamorphosen Berlin, alongside violinist Indira Koch.