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CHAN 10817
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CHAN 10817

Brahms: String Quartet/Clarinet Quintet

The Classical Shop
release date: March 2014

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2013


Michael Collins


Brodsky Quartet


Britten Studio, Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, England


Rachel Smith


Jonathan Cooper

Rosanna Fish


Record Label



String Quartet

Total Time - 75:36
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String Quartet, Op. 51 No. 2

  in A minor - in a-Moll - en la mineur  
  Theodor Billroth gewidmet  
1 Allegro non troppo - Più animato sempre 13:50
2 Andante moderato 10:25
3 Quasi Minuetto, moderato - Allegretto vivace - Tempo di Minuetto - 4:57
  Allegretto vivace - Tempo di Minuetto  
4 Finale. Allegro non assai - Più vivace 7:23

Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115

  in B minor - in h-Moll - en si mineur  
  for Clarinet, Two Violins, Viola, and Cello  
5 Allegro - Quasi sostenuto 13:02
6 Adagio - Più lento - Tempo I 12:20
7 Andantino - Presto non assai, ma con sentimento 4:39
8 Con moto 9:00
 Michael Collins clarinet
  Total Time 75:36      
  Daniel Rowland violin  
  Ian Belton violin  
  Paul Cassidy viola  
  Jacqueline Thomas cello  
  12-14 November 2013  

The Brodsky Quartet present the first of two albums that will feature Brahms’s complete string quartets. This recording includes the String Quartet Op. 51 No. 2 with the Clarinet Quintet in B minor. The second string quartet was written alongside its contrasting companion, the String Quartet Op. 51 No. 1. They were both finally published in 1873 after being held back for years by a typically self-doubting Brahms until he had brought them to his own standards of perfection. Of the two, the second is warmer, more affirmative and relaxed, with few extremes of tempo or mood. It is a work that often looks backward, incorporating hints of baroque devices in his lyrical writing.

The Clarinet Quintet in B minor was the last expansive piece Brahms wrote, written after his first intended retirement from composition. It was the artistry of clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld that inspired him to return to composition and write his last four chamber works, including the quintet recorded here. It explores an atmosphere of elegy and nostalgia, producing a mood of autumnal resignation. The clarinet is rarely treated as a prima donna soloist, rather it is organically integrated into the work’s closely woven textures. Having performed this work in concert many times, the Brodsky Quartet and Michael Collins come together once again in this recording of the Brahms Quintet.


 “… if you’d like to hear a blended, patient, elegant interpretation, here you are. For an hour Brahms is given the peace he never achieved in life. Excellent, clear sound.”

Huntley Dent – Fanfare – January/February 20

                                   ***** (Exceptional album)

Bernardo Pieri - Musica magazine (Italy) - July/August 2014

“… Here and throughout, Michael Collins’s awareness of his role as primus inter pares rather than prima donna is one of the special joys of this outstanding disc. Both he and the Brodskys erase all possible strenuousness and opacity (always dangers in contrapuntal writing) with supreme clarity, vigour and refinement. Finely recorded, this is outstanding even by Collins and the Brodsky’s standards.”

Bryce Morrison – Gramophone magazine – May 2014

                                          IRR Outstanding

"...This is a lovely performance, appreciatively recorded, one to cherish... The Brodskys are excellent in their intelligent presentation of the music, so that often very complicated textures assist rather than confuse the action of the music and the presentation of the themese. Therecording engineers have brought an intelligent ear to the style of the music and the richness yet lucidity of the playing."

John Warrack - International Record Review - April 2014

                            Performance ***            Recording ****

"Perhaps no clarinettist around today is capable of floating a purer, smoother, more beautifully contoured melodic line than Michael Collins, and he is often heard at his best in the four late masterpieces that Brahms dedicated to the artistry of the clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld..."

Bayan Northcott - BBC Music magazine - April 2014

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