Notes and Editorial Reviews
The clarinet occupies a very special and unusual place in the career of Johannes Brahms. By 1890, he had more or less gone into retirement, the flow of new compositions almost completely stopped, but a burgeoning friendship with the great clarinetist Richard Muhlfeld caused him to reconsider, and in the next few years he wrote a trio, quintet, and two sonatas featuring the instrument. These works are his last masterpieces and all have a mellow, resigned, somewhat melancholy quality.
Michel Portal, known for his interpretations of modern music, brings a 20th-century sensibility to the Brahms sonatas. His readings are straightforward, relatively cool, and objectified, underlining the chill in the autumn air of these pieces rather
than their Indian summer glow. However, considerable heat comes from the passionate accompaniment of Georges Pludermacher and, as the piano is a very aggressive partner in the sonatas, there is an interesting fire-and-ice quality to these performances, almost as if one is eavesdropping on a good-natured quarrel between two old friends. Read less
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title