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Brahms: Quintets, Opp. 34 & 115 / Jon Nakamatsu, piano; Jon Manasse, clarinet; Tokyo String Quartet

Album Summary

>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B minor, Op.115
>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 34
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Washington Post
If the Tokyo String Quartet isn't the world's greatest chamber music ensemble, it's hard to imagine which group is.

The Tokyo String Quartet is joined by pianist Jon Nakamatsu and clarinetist Jon Manasse in a recording of chamber music masterpieces by Johannes Brahms dating from two very different periods in his life. The tumultuous Piano Quintet, Op.34 is the fiery work of an ambitious young man and the Clarinet Quintet, Op.115 is an autumnal serenade by an experienced master. The composer's journey between these two milestones was one marked by criticism, soul searching and ultimately, triumph.

American Record Guide, March / April 2013
It was a great pleasure to follow the transcription recording with the Tokyo Quartet's recording of Brahms's original pieces, partly because the music is the way it should be, and partly because these musicians play it so beautifully. This kind of playing requires a great deal of physical and psychological control.

The Strad, December 2012
Nakamatsu and the Tokyo String Quartet are on fine form ... playing with an effortless command and sophistication that reveal details of texture and articulation ... [a] beautifully played, radiantly engineered performance that is especially alluring in the SACD's surround sound.

The Herald (Glasgow), 4th November 2012
Here is a glorious set of performances that find its way onto somebody's Pick of the Year list (certainly mine). The immaculate and wise Tokyo String Quartet are joined by two American soloists, clarinetist Jon Manasse and pianist Jon Nakamatsu, in pristine and moving performances ... an important and revealing new recording of two great and very different masterpieces.

BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012
Both works receive performances that understand and warmly identify with Brahms's intentions: the playing is expressive and there is an obvious love of the music throughout. The Tokyo Quartet players, in both, are a rock-steady basis for the ensemble, and the two soloists...temper virtuosity with a fine sense of their role as an integral part of a chamber group.

International Record Review, December 2012
What lovely music this is and how elegantly both pieces are played here.

MusicWeb International, 12th February 2013
This is a fine version of this masterpiece [Clarinet Quintet].

Gramophone Magazine, December 2012
The extraordinary homogeneity of sound that comes from a complete quartet of matching instruments is most apparent [in the Piano Quintet]...[the Clarinet Sonata] does occasionally suffer from being a little muscled along. However, the beauty of the blend is so total that it is not difficult to put that to the back of your mind and allow yourself to be mesmerised by the overall perfection.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, Indiana (11/2011).


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Works Details

>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B minor, Op.115
  • Performer: Jon Manasse (Clarinet)
  • Ensemble: Tokyo String Quartet
  • Running Time: 37 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1891

>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 34
  • Performer: Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
  • Running Time: 40 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1861