|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 Joachims divorce by siding with the virtuosos 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 Capuçons smoldering cello sparking off brother Renauds 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 Capuçons, 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