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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Once Upon the Internet - Brahms works for the Clarinet

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Today's instalment of Once Upon the Internet is (like many of our features this month) part of a month-long look at Brahms for his 180th birthday.

In the early 1880's Brahms decided he would never compose music again. In an Indian summer of creativity near the end of his career, Johannes Brahms wrote the two Sonatas, Op. 120 (1894), the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op. 114 (1891), and the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 115 (1891) especially for Richard Mühlfeld, a clarinetist he much admired.

Richard Mühlfeld (1856-1907)

When Clara Schumann first heard the clarinet quintet, she wrote: "It is a really marvelous work, the wailing clarinet takes hold of one; it is most moving. And what interesting music, deep and full of meaning!" Brahms wasn't quite as priaseful: "[It is] a far greater piece of foolishness." This quintet falls in-line with similar compositions by Mozart and Weber, and holds it's own quite well, thyatk you very much.

Of the two clarinet soinatas of the op. 120, the most heard is the first - and the recording I chose today is an orchestration by the 20th Century composer Luciano Berio, intended for the Los Angeles Phuharmonic's principal clarinettist, Micjele Zukovsky. Here is a separate performance of the sonata in its original chamber form:

I apologize for the poor quality of the sonata recording, which I assume to be a bootleg of what was likely the world premiere of the work.

Happy listening!


Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op.115
Avrahm Galper. Clarinet
Pratz Quartet

Clarinet Sonata in F Minor, Op.120, No.1
(Orch, L., Berio, 1986)
Michele Zukovsky, clarinet
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Luciano Berio, conducting

Downloaded from MP3.COM on 18 December 2001
Performances @

January 18 2013, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Btahms Festival, Part 3" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel. Read more January 18 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Jan-15-2013 at 11:31 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Recorded Music