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Catalogue | Chamber Music

Brahms: Complete String Quintets
audite 97.724|Nov. 2016
EUR 19.99 CD
 
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Brahms: Complete String Quintets

Brahms’s string quintets, masterworks of his late style, demand a precise and sensitive conjunction of contrasts: combining cheerfulness and melancholy, expansive ideas and compressed form, reminiscences of the past (including his own early works) and the desire to express a new and valid musical message – all this needs to be both perfectly balanced and clearly articulated. The Mandelring Quartet with Roland Glassl has pulled off such a “knowing” interpretation, masterfully balancing the works’ inner tensions. more...

Roland Glassl
Mandelring Quartett

Johannes Brahms

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Following on their successful release of Mendelssohn's complete string quartets, the Mandelring Quartet is now turning to Brahms in a recording of all the composer's string quintets and sextets. With its new roster (featuring Andreas Willwohl, viola), the ensemble joins with Roland Glassl, the quartet's long-time violist, in a recording of the two string quintets for audite.

Brahms's string quintets resemble self portraits. In them he presents, in concentrated form, the contrasts that characterize his musical thinking: drawing from musical history and his own creative output, he achieved a vision of something that is both new and eternally valid. He made use of the larger instrumentation to suggest expansiveness, at the same time casting the work in a terse and concise expressive form.

The musicians' rich and varied experience, gained from many concerts and recordings of repertoire ranging up to the present day, greatly enriches this production. Brahms's quintets, masterworks of his late style, demand a precise and sensitive approach to their conjunction of contrasts: combining cheerfulness and melancholy, expansive ideas and compressed form, reminiscences of the past (including his own early works) and the desire to express a new and valid musical message - all this needs to be both perfectly balanced and clearly articulated. The Mandelring Quartet with Roland Glassl has pulled off such a "knowing" interpretation, masterfully balancing the works' inner tensions.

A release of Johannes Brahms's two string sextets is planned for spring 2017.

    www.musicweb-international.com
    www.musicweb-international.com | Thursday March 30th | Michael Cookson | March 30, 2017 | source: http://www.music...

    On Audite the Mandelring Quartett with violist Roland Glassl has recorded the Brahms String Quintets, works written when the composer was at the peak of his powers. Brahms displayed a fondness and propensity for composing many of his works in pairs such as the Piano Concertos, Orchestral Serenades, Academic Festival and Tragic Overtures, Cello Sonatas, Song of Fate and Song of Triumph, String Sextets and Piano Quartets. The two String Quintets on this release form part of that pattern, both being written whilst Brahms was on vacation in the Austrian Lakes at the spa town of Bad Ischl, an environment he found very inspiring. Like the string quintets of Mozart, Brahms scored both his String Quintets for two violins, two violas and cello. The selection of two violas is characteristic of Brahms who admired the register and warm texture of the instrument.

    Composed in 1882 the three movement String Quintet No. 1 in F major is sometimes referred to by the title ‘Spring’. Brahms was delighted with his efforts and described it to Clara Schumann as one of his finest works and to his publisher Simrock as a “beautiful work.” In the sunny and optimistic opening movement, the Mandelring underline a glorious song-like lyricism. Reflective yearning and cheerful optimism imbue the middle movement with its section of relative calm. A combination of fugue and sonata the vibrant final movement feels resolute and ardent, with playing that does not lack sensitivity. Always alert and perceptive the string playing throughout the contrasting moods of the score is commanding

    Brahms projected his Quintet No. 2 in G major as his last chamber work although that proved not to be the case. It was composed in 1890, some eight years later than the F major Quintet, when Brahms was fifty-seven. One contemporary of Brahms even heard in the music “the cheerful, relaxed atmosphere of the Vienna Prater” and the composer corroborated this impression with the reply “Isn't it so! And the many pretty girls in it!” Consequently the four movement score is occasionally known as the ‘Prater’. Feeling upbeat and resolute, the opening movement retains an inspiring dignity. In the contrasting Adagio, the intense disposition of this deeply sorrowful music is compellingly displayed. Marked Un poco Allegretto the third movement, even with its ravishing dance rhythms contains a slight impression of restraint. A spring-like feel pervades the buoyant Final movement, conveying a fulsome sense of freedom and renewal.

    These are profoundly satisfying performances of both works from the Mandelring and Roland Glassl. Refinement and intense concentration are the watchwords, together with the impeccable unity one has come to expect from these players. Agreeably, if fairly closely, recorded at Konzertsaal, Abtei Marienmünster there is a warm edge to the string sound. There is an excellent booklet essay too, written by Habakuk Traber, that has been translated into English.

    There are several alternative accounts of these String Quintets in the catalogue worthy of attention. Intensely rewarding is the admirable performance by the Leipziger Streichquartett with violist Hartmut Rohde recorded in 2003 at Lindensaal Markkleeberg on MDG. The Raphael Ensemble, recorded in 1995 at St. Georges, Bristol, on Hyperion and the Hagen Quartet with Gérard Caussé, recorded in 1998 at the Mozarteum, Salzburg on Deutsche Grammophon are worthy accounts providing considerable satisfaction. Nevertheless these are masterclass performances from Mandelring and Roland Glassl standing comparison with the finest recordings.

    A note in the booklet explains that Mandelring Quartett also plan to record the Brahms Sextets – a project I keenly anticipate.

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Brahms: Complete String Quintets (audite 97.724)

article number: 97.724
EAN barcode: 4022143977243
price group: BCA
release date: 4. November 2016
total time: 54 min.

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