In his youth (1881-86), Strausss left chamber music worthy of a young prodigy: his Piano Quartet was written at the very end of his early period, when he developed a keen interest in the music of Johannes Brahms. Letters to his family and his friend/composer Ludwig Thuille reveal a good knowledge of the symphonies and the quartet itself is certainly modelled on the Brahms piano quartets. Despite this pervasive influence, much originality and talent is displayed in the complexity and thorough nature of this composition. Unlike some of his other works for smaller ensembles, this work was obviously an ambitious effort at creating a serious chamber piece. The fact that he submitted it to the Berlin Composer's Guild (for which he won a prize) shows that he took some pride in this work. As late as 1921, on his American tour, he was still performing it in concerts. Though it is not often played today, it was obviously a favorite of the composer's and is particularly interesting in the context of his developing musical style. Much later, in 1940, Strauss bequeathed a final page of magic and deadly charm: the Sextet-overture to Capriccio. The juxtaposition of these two pieces illustrates the art of a post-romantic composer initially inspired by to Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms before becoming the untiring bard of feminity, of infinite subtlety in the music of his late operas.
“Miguel Borges Coelho and the members of the Prazak Quartet play it with gusto and are especially persuasive in the witty scherzo with its almost dreamy lyrical central section...Michal Kanka and Miguel Borges Coelho, similarly, give a highly persuasive account of the Cello Sonata, lyrically passionate in the generously themed first movement, gently expressive in the rather melancholy Andante”
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