Brahms: Piano Quintet, Op. 34; String Sextet in B flat, Op. 18

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COMPOSERS: Brahms
LABELS: DG Classikon
WORKS: Piano Quintet, Op. 34; String Sextet in B flat, Op. 18
PERFORMER: Christoph Eschenbach (piano), Cecil Aronowitz (viola), William Pleeth (cello), Amadeus Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 439 490-2 ADD (1967/68)
Brahms’s chamber music is not yet familiar to most people on period instruments, so the full-blooded approach of the Amadeus and colleagues, in these recordings from the Sixties, won’t sound dated in the way that their Mozart or Haydn might.

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In the turbulent Piano Quintet, Christoph Eschenbach gels well with the group, occasionally adding a particularly personal vision, as in the first movement when he leads them tiptoeing into the mysterious realms of the development, as if anything might happen. The more serene Sextet opens with the delightfully muzzy sounds of violas and cellos; the players go on to relish with Brahms the varied textures available to him, from which Peter Schidlof’s passionate viola emerges with notable eloquence. Janet Banks