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Brahms: The String Quartets / The Nash Ensemble

Album Summary

>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 88
>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 111
Performer Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The two String Quintets are considered to be among Brahms' greatest chamber works. The first was a favorite of the composer, and he wrote to his publisher that, "you'll never receive anything more beautiful from me." The second was written when Brahms had all but retired. When he delivered the work to the publisher he wrote, "with this note you can take leave of my music, because it is high time to stop." The Nash Ensemble, having recently celebrated their 40th anniversary, are having something of a golden period.

Sunday Times
These Nash accounts are exalted and exalting, alive with subtlety.

The Guardian
It's the viola playing that is the highlight of these performances by the Nash Ensemble's regulars; Laurence Power and Philip Dukes provide a wonderfully rich and expressive core to the group's sound which gives it the perfect blend of power and flexibility, as well supplying the perfect pivot around which all the music's harmonic shifts can rotate.

The Independent
[The G Major Quintet]is played like a miniature string symphony in this recording from the Nash Ensemble. There's a wonderful physicality to their sound: the violins intensely sweet, the violas pungent, the single cello limber and long-legged. The Schubertian F-major Quintet is a technical tour de force, again beautifully played.

BBC Music Magazine
One of the glories of their performances of both quintets is the fullness and richness of sound, something Brahms clearly strove to cultivate in his scoring. Paul Watkins's heroic, thrusting statement of the cello theme at the outset of the Op. 111 quintet reminds us that this opening started as a sketch for a symphony... The subtle, elegiac melancholia of the middle movements is superbly realised, with a wonderful earthy vigour to the finale. ...a marvellous version, in superbly natural sound.

Gramophone Magazine
The Nash Ensemble are nothing less than the London regiment of chamber music's crack troops and they yield nothing in interpretative power and consistency of concentration to the Hagen Quartet and Gérard Caussé, the comparison favoured in the Gramophone Classical Music Guide. Both discs present this joyful, compelling music in its best light; the Nash are recorded with a touch more immediacy.



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Works Details

>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 88
  • Performer: Philip Dukes (Viola)
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: Great Hall, City of London Boys' School, London (12/07/2008-12/21/2008)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1882

>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 111
  • Performer: Philip Dukes (Viola)
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: Great Hall, City of London Boys' School, London (12/07/2008-12/21/2008)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1890