Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34; Horn Trio in E flat, Op. 40

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms
LABELS: CRD
WORKS: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34; Horn Trio in E flat, Op. 40
PERFORMER: Nash Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: 3489 Reissue (1993)
Two of Brahms’s instantly likeable chamber works, the turbulent Piano Quintet and the gloriously bucolic Horn Trio, make an excellent, generous coupling. The performances are accomplished and well thought out – I particularly like the way the Nash holds the finale of the Quintet together (in less carefully cohesive performances it can lose its way). Balancing horn or piano against solo strings is tricky, but the CRD recording carries it off convincingly, and gives an almost orchestral bloom and grandeur of sound in the Quintet. The only problem with the playing is that it can be a little detached – more polish than passion. For a demonstration of the kind of spontaneity the Nash lack, try Curzon and the Amadeus Quartet (BBCLegends) in the Piano Quintet; and no modern version beats the 1933 Adolf Busch, Dennis Brain, Rudolf Serkin recording when it comes to ebullience and affection in the Horn Trio – especially in the rousing hunting finale. Stephen Johnson

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