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Brahms: Quintette, Sextette / Amadeus Quartet


Release Date: 10/25/1990 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 419875   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  William PleethCecil AronowitzChristoph EschenbachKarl Leister
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 21 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The playing of the Amadeus Quartet now lives on through recordings only, alas, so this set assumes extra importance as a document of how the most renowned string quartet of its day performed in Brahms's quintets and sextets. Although the late-1960s recordings are tonally mellow and lifelike the performances already seem to reflect older styles and attitudes: certainly no modern group play in a similar fashion. The Amadeus have warmth and wisdom, and interpretatively they do not put a foot wrong, it seems to me, for every tempo is well judged, and their phrasing has naturalness and conviction. Yet not everybody will warm to the style of the playing itself, which seems to reflect the romantic element in Brahms's music at the expense of its Read more strength and its classical aspects. Other famous older groups, such as the Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet and the Hollywood Quartet, have conveyed on record a more balanced view of this composer. The violin solo at the beginningof the Op. 34 Sextet seems a little too soft-centred, and in general the style of the quartet's leader, with his wide vibrato and slight portamento, becomes a little cloying after a time.

Christoph Eschenbach's playing in the Piano Quintet presents an ideal fusion of the music's classical and romantic elements, and although he and the quartet enjoy a good rapport, a difference in their styles is evident. Karl Leister is a smooth-toned, slightly self-effacing clarinettist in the Clarinet Quintet, and in the string quintets and sextets the extra string players combine admirably with their Amadeus colleagues.

-- Gramophone [12/1987]
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Works on This Recording

1. Sextet for Strings no 1 in B flat major, Op. 18 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  William Pleeth (Cello), Cecil Aronowitz (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859-1860; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1966 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 33 Minutes 19 Secs. 
2. Sextet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 36 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  William Pleeth (Cello), Cecil Aronowitz (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864-1865; Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1968 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 38 Minutes 43 Secs. 
3. Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 34 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Christoph Eschenbach (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861-1864; Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1968 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 41 Minutes 13 Secs. 
4. Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B minor, Op. 115 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Karl Leister (Clarinet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1967 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 36 Minutes 18 Secs. 
5. Quintet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 88 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Cecil Aronowitz (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/1968 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 25 Minutes 24 Secs. 
6. Quintet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 111 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Cecil Aronowitz (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1967 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 24 Minutes 57 Secs. 

Sound Samples

String Sextet No.1 in B flat, Op.18: 1. Allegro ma non troppo
String Sextet No.1 in B flat, Op.18: 2. Andante ma moderato
String Sextet No.1 in B flat, Op.18: 3. Scherzo (Allegro molto)
String Sextet No.1 in B flat, Op.18: 4. Rondo (Poco allegretto e grazioso)
String Sextet No.2 in G, Op.36: 1. Allegro non troppo
String Sextet No.2 in G, Op.36: 2. Scherzo (Allegro non troppo)
String Sextet No.2 in G, Op.36: 3. Poco adagio
String Sextet No.2 in G, Op.36: 4. Poco allegro
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op.34: 1. Allegro non troppo
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op.34: 2. Andante, un poco adagio
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op.34: 3. Scherzo (Allegro)
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op.34: 4. Finale (poco sostenuto - Allegro non troppo)
String Quintet No.1 in F, Op.88: 1. Allegro non troppo, ma con brio
String Quintet No.1 in F, Op.88: 2. Grave ed appassionato - Allegretto vivace - Tempo I - Presto
String Quintet No.1 in F, Op.88: 3. Allegro energico

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