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CHAN 10833
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CHAN 10833

Brahms: Works for Solo Piano, Volume 3

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2014

Originally recorded in 2014


Barry Douglas



West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge


Ralph Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Record Label




Total Time - 67:15
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Waltzes, Op. 39

  Dr. Eduard Hanslick zugeeignet  
1 1 Tempo giusto - 0:50
2 2 [ ] - 1:17
3 3 [ ] - 1:05
4 4 Poco sostenuto - 1:31
5 5 Grazioso - 1:10
6 6 Vivace - 1:03
7 7 Poco più Andante - 1:57
8 8 [ ] - 1:23
9 9 [ ] - 1:10
10 10 [ ] - 0:34
11 11 [ ] - 1:31
12 12 [ ] - 1:24
13 13 [ ] - 0:35
14 14 [ ] - 1:20
15 15 [ ] - 1:33
16 16 [ ] - 1:21

Theme with Variations

  in D minor - in d-Moll - en ré mineur  
  after the second movement of String Sextet No. 1, Op. 18  
  in B flat major - in B-Dur - en si bémol majeur  
  Arranged by the composer for solo piano  
  Für Clara Schumann gesetzt: Zum 13. September 1860 als freundlichen Gruß  
  Andante, ma moderato  

Intermezzo, Op. 119 No. 1

  in B minor - in h-Moll - en si mineur  
  from [Four] Piano Pieces  

Intermezzo, Op. 119 No. 3

  in C major - in C-Dur - en ut majeur  
  from [Four] Piano Pieces  
  Grazioso e giocoso  

Intermezzo, Op. 116 No. 5

  in E minor - in e-Moll - en mi mineur  
  from [Seven] Fantasies  
  Andante con grazia ed intimissimo sentimento  

Sonata No. 2, Op. 2

  in F sharp minor - in fis-Moll - en fa dièse mineur  
  Clara Schumann zugeeignet  
21 Allegro non troppo, ma energico - Più mosso 6:12
22 Andante con espressione - Largo - Tempo I 6:19
23 Scherzo. Allegro - Trio. Poco più moderato - Tempo I - Più moderato - Tempo I 3:58
24 Finale. Introduzione. Sostenuto - Allegro non troppo e rubato - Animato - 12:04
  TT 67:26      
 Barry Douglas piano
  31 March and 1 April 2014  

Barry Douglas returns for the highly anticipated third volume in his series devoted to Brahms’s solo piano music, the first two volumes having been met with widespread critical acclaim. Of Vol. 2, International Record Review wrote, ‘this is indeed Brahms playing of the utmost integrity and authority... this cycle looks set to become a benchmark’.

The selected Intermezzi performed here come from the collections of short piano pieces which Brahms published in 1892 – 93, his last works for piano. A sense of wistful, melancholic reflection pervades these exquisitely crafted masterpieces of Brahms’s late maturity. 

Composed at the other end of his life, at the age of twenty, the Piano Sonata in F sharp minor is full of a youthful, strident energy. It was among the pieces that, when he heard them privately, convinced Robert Schumann of Brahms’s genius. It was dedicated to Robert’s wife, Clara, who was to remain a key figure in Brahms’s life. Indeed it was Clara who, having heard the movement, begged Brahms for a piano transcription of the noble Andante from the String Sextet in B flat major, the Theme with Variations in D minor heard here.

Brahms’s set of sixteen Waltzes, Op. 39 were originally conceived for piano four hands and were arranged, by popular demand, for solo piano soon after, in 1867. They capture the sense of joyful abandon often associated with the genre but their romanticism and nostalgia are uniquely Brahmsian.

 “… The Waltzes are deservedly popular and should always be performed as a set. Douglas ties them together into a neat package that is a joy to listen to. There is plenty of contrast between them, and his pacing, expression, and flexibility make the disparate elements into a unified whole. It is one of the most effective and satisfying performances I have heard of his first solo piano version from 1867. The Intermezzos are seductively performed … The recording is well up to the high standards set by this label, and the notes by Nicholas Marston do what they are supposed to with distinction.”

Alan Becker – American Record Guide – May/June 2015

                               **** (Excellent Disc)           ***(Good Sound)

Michel Le Naour - Classica magazine (France) - June 2015

 “… Barry Douglas’ conspectus of Brahms solo piano works continues with this well-recorded and well-chosen programme … The Chandos recording is top notch, enabling granitic chords and trill-encrusted lines alike to shine.”  ****

Colin Clarke – International Piano magazine – March/April 2015

                               **** (Album Recommended)                              Sound 3.5/5 

Bertrand Boissard - Diapson magazine (France) - February 2015

"...The Chandos recorded sound is very good indeed, and this early sonata – and the superb account of the Waltzes – make this a fine addition not only to Barry Douglas’s series, but to the Brahms solo piano discography more generally."

Roy Westbrook - - January 2015

"...Outstandingly recorded and presented, this is a fine addition to Brahms, to music which in such hands leaves you ’a different person’.

Bryce Morrison - Gramophone magazine - January 2015

                          Performance ****          Recording ****

“… I have never heard the op.30 Waltzes turned into such graceful single utterance. There’s a conversational directness, yet each waltz is vividly characterised: the caressing quality of the second gives way to the hesitant questioning of the third, the spaciousness of the fourth, and the hushed whisper of the fifth. Brahms created the Theme with variations for piano from the majestic second movement of his first String Sextet. Douglas delivers the pared-down theme with massive power, and finds the necessary visionary quality for the closing variation.”

Michael Church – BBC Music magazine – January 2015   

“…This is Brahms playing of the highest order. The recording is fabulous …”

Nicholas Salwey – International Record Review – December 2014

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