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The Tokyo String Quartet is joined by pianist jon Nakamatsu and clarinetist Jon Manasse in these Brahms masterpieces dating from two very different periods in his life: the tumultuous Piano Quintet, Op.34 - the work of an ambitious young man - and the Clarinet Quintet Op.115, an autumnal serenade by an experienced master. The journey between these two milestones was one marked by criticism, soul searching and ultimate triumph.
This is the penultimate recording from the Tokyos. Next May will see their Dvorak and Smetana offering, also on hybrid SACD.
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115
Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34
Allegro Non Troppo
Andante, Un Poco Adagio
Finale: Poco Sostenuto, Allegro Non Troppo
The Herald (Glasgow)
4th November 2012
“Here is a glorious set of performances that find its way onto somebody’s Pick of the Year list (certainly mine). The immaculate and wise Tokyo String Quartet are joined by two American soloists, clarinetist Jon Manasse and pianist Jon Nakamatsu, in pristine and moving performances … an important and revealing new recording of two great and very different masterpieces.”
“Nakamatsu and the Tokyo String Quartet are on fine form … playing with an effortless command and sophistication that reveal details of texture and articulation … [a] beautifully played, radiantly engineered performance that is especially alluring in the SACD’s surround sound.”
“both works receive performances that understand and warmly identify with Brahms's intentions: the playing is expressive and there is an obvious love of the music throughout. The Tokyo Quartet players, in both, are a rock-steady basis for the ensemble, and the two soloists...temper virtuosity with a fine sense of their role as an integral part of a chamber group.”
“the extraordinary homogeneity of sound that comes from a complete quartet of matching instruments is most apparent [in the Piano Quintet]...[the Clarinet Sonata] does occasionally suffer from being a little muscled along. However, the beauty of the blend is so total that it is not difficult to put that to the back of your mind and allow yourself to be mesmerised by the overall perfection”
“This is a fine version of this masterpiece [Clarinet Quintet].”
12th February 2013
“What lovely music this is and how elegantly both pieces are played here”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.