Brahms | Double Concerto in A minor Op.102 & Clarinet Quintet in B Minor Op.115

Virgin Classics 3951472 • www.emiclassics.com

This is a benchmark recording of two pieces inspired by friendship. Brahms composed the Double Concerto as a gift to his estranged friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim, whom Brahms had let down during Joachim’s divorce by siding with the virtuoso’s wife. Joachim accepted the gift, performed the piece, and their connection was renewed.

Brahms wrote the Quintet for Richard Muhlfeld, the virtuoso who connected the aging composer to the full possibilities of the clarinet, “the voice…of heroic love.” The Quintet is one of the last things Brahms wrote.

What makes this a benchmark recording is the feeling of ‘connection’ apparent in the Concerto from the first statement of Gautier Capuçon’s smoldering cello sparking off brother Renaud’s violin, and sustained with gripping intensity through the melting tones of soloist Paul Meyer in the Clarinet Quintet.

Though the works are middle and late Brahms respectively, the Capuçon’s, their Quartet, and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under the direction of Myung-Whun Chung combine to allow a youthful freshness of surprise to sing in the phrasing of the soloists. The sharply contrasted sense of detail in this performance is recorded with telling fidelity.

by Stanley Fefferman May 2008

The musicians
Renaud Capuçon (violin)
Gautier Capuçon (cello)
Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester/Myung-Whun Chung
Paul Meyer (clarinet)
Capuçon Quartet
We welcome your comments and feedback
Stanley Fefferman
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The Live Music Report
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Stanley Fefferman is a writer/photographer on the Toronto music scene and elsewhere. His work appears online at www.showtimemagazine.ca and here at The LMR.

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