"Through Brahms" Music by Brahms, Schumann and many other composers (TrackList follows) – Music@Menlo Live (7 CDs)

by | Apr 19, 2012 | Classical CD Reviews

“Through Brahms” Music by Brahms, Schumann and many other composers (TrackList follows) – Music@Menlo Live, 7 CDs, available singly or boxed in paper wrappers, TT:7:57:00 ****:
Music@Menlo chose Brahms as the inspiration for its 2011 chamber music festival and so out comes yet another seven-disc set, available singly or in a convenient slipcase, of programs that highlighted some of the composer’s most beloved chamber works, complemented by music by his most important influences, contemporaries, and artistic heirs.
As with past sets, the performances, featuring stars and newcomers, vary unpredictably. Each disc seems to have its own personality, and it is worth noting that there are nuggets of Brahms and Schumann Lieder (with neither texts or adequate synopses) as well as of instrumental gold strewn about.  Disc one, for example, begins with Arnaud Sussmann sublime in Mozart, Eric Kim showing what a cello can do for a unassuming Vivaldi continuo, three dreary Schumann songs, and then a miraculous Brahms Op. 18 Sextet in which Kim gives perhaps the most lyrically beautiful and inventive reading of the first movement’s opening in memory—and that’s just for starters! On disc seven, Paul Neubauer plays Brahms’s Second Viola Sonata with incomparable supernal beauty, as if his instrument were a human voice. Neubauer also collaborates on disc six in a performance of Brahms’s great G Major Quintet that is both sumptuous and totally light and airy.
The collection yields some sequences of extraordinary ingenuity, or just plain foolish daring: Disc 3 starts with Bach at his most studious but increasingly highly prestigious, exquisitely played, followed by Fritz Kreisler, Wieniawski, then the obscure (except to violists) Hermann Schulenberg and Charles Robert Valdez before returning to Brahms. Disc 5 starts out with Laurence Lesser’s honest playing of the Bach Solo Cello Suite No. 2, with the great Sarabande played with deep sadness and the composer’s invitation to improvise at the end of the opening Prelude declined in favor of the long, held broken chords. Ian Swensen’s Schoenberg Phantasy startles with the clarity and beauty of his tone, then the oddly desolate, isolated FAE Sonata movement by Brahms compounded by the stupefying intensity of Ravel’s Tzigane.
The sound throughout is exemplary, tonally honest and intimate, though the liner notes are minimal.
TrackLists, performers, timings:
1 Through Brahms
1–2 Violin Sonata in e minor, K. 304 (1778)
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756–1791)
JUHO POHJONEN, piano; ARNAUD SUSSMANN, violin
3 Trio Sonata no. 12 in d minor, op. 1, 8:43 RV 63, La Follia (1705)
ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678–1741)
SOOYUN KIM, flute; ALESSIO BAX, harpsichord; YEHONATAN BERICK, violin; ERIC KIM, cello
4–6 Selected Lieder
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810–1856)
“Lehn’ deine Wang’ an meine Wang’,” op. 142, no. 2 0:47 “Du bist wie eine Blume,” op. 25, no. 24 1:43 “Heiß mich nicht reden,” op. 98a, no. 5 3:31
KELLY MARKGRAF, baritone; WU HAN, piano
7–10
Sextet in B-flat Major, op. 18 (1859–1860)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
I. Allegro ma non troppo 11:07 II. Andante, ma moderato 9:15 III. Scherzo: Allegro molto 3:11 IV. Rondo: Poco allegretto e grazioso 10:05
YEHONATAN BERICK, ARNAUD SUSSMANN, violins; YURA LEE, PAUL NEUBAUER, violas; ERIC KIM, LAURENCE LESSER, cellos
2 Through Brahms
1 Rondo all’ongarese (Gypsy Rondo) from Piano Trio in G Major, Hob. XV: 25 (1795) FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732–1809)
JON KIMURA PARKER, piano; ELMAR OLIVEIRA, violin; DAVID FINCKEL, cello
2–4 Selected Lieder 3:18
8–10 Selected Slavonic Dances, opp. 46 and 72 (1878 and 1886)
ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841–1904)
Slavonic Dance in D Major, op. 46, no. 6 4:25 Slavonic Dance in e minor, op. 72, no. 2 4:56 Slavonic Dance in C Major, op. 46, no. 1 3:58
FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
“Liebesbotschaft” 2:30 “Nachtstück” 5:00 “Auflösung” 2:10
PAUL APPLEBY, tenor; WU HAN, piano
5–7 Selected Hungarian Dances, WoO 1, Book 1 (1868–1869)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
Hungarian Dance no. 1 in g minor 2:58 Hungarian Dance no. 6 in D-flat Major 3:10 Hungarian Dance no. 5 in f-sharp minor 2:36
WU HAN, JON KIMURA PARKER, piano
JON KIMURA PARKER, WU HAN, piano
11–14 Sonata for Two Pianos in f minor, op. 34b (1864)
JOHANNES BRAHMS
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Andante, un poco adagio III. Scherzo: Allegro
IV. Finale: Poco sostenuto
ALESSIO BAX, LUCILLE CHUNG, pianos
10:22 7:24 7:20 10:17
3 Through Brahms
1–4 Trio Sonata from Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (1747)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685–1750)
I. Largo 4:04 II. Allegro 5:45 III. Andante 2:53 IV. Allegro 3:18
SOOYUN KIM, flute; ALESSIO BAX, harpsichord; ARNAUD SUSSMANN, violin; LAURENCE LESSER, cello
5 La gitana (1919) 3:09 FRITZ KREISLER (1875–1962)
WU HAN, piano; ELMAR OLIVEIRA, violin
6 Mazurka, op. 19, no. 2 (1860) 3:56 HENRYK WIENIAWSKI (1835–1880)
WU HAN, piano; ELMAR OLIVEIRA, violin
7 Puszta-Märchen 4:11 (Gypsy Romance and Czardas) (1936)
HERMANN SCHULENBURG (1886–1959)
WU HAN, piano; PAUL NEUBAUER, viola
8 Serenade du Tzigane (Gypsy Serenade) 4:30 CHARLES ROBERT VALDEZ
WU HAN, piano; PAUL NEUBAUER, viola
9 The Canary 3:39 ANONYMOUS
WU HAN, piano; PAUL NEUBAUER, viola
10–13 Piano Trio in C Major, op. 87 (1880–1882)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
I. Allegro moderato 9:37 II. Andante con moto 8:04 III. Scherzo: Presto 4:34 IV. Finale: Allegro giocoso 5:50
JON KIMURA PARKER, piano; ELMAR OLIVEIRA, violin; DAVID FINCKEL, cello
4 Through Brahms
1 Notturno in E-flat Major, D. 897 (ca. 1828) 10:51 FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
JUHO POHJONEN, piano; CHO-LIANG LIN, violin; DAVID FINCKEL, cello
2–5 Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales) for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, op. 132 (1853)
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810–1856)
I. Lebhaft, nicht zu schnell 3:13 II. Lebhaft und sehr markiert 3:21 III. Ruhiges Tempor, mit zartem Ausdruck 3:54 IV. Lebhaft, sehr markiert 4:51
CAREY BELL, clarinet; WU HAN, piano; YURA LEE, viola
6–7 Zwei Gesänge, op. 91 (1884; 1863–1864)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
“Gestillte Sehnsucht: In gold’nen Abendschein getauchet” 6:37 “Geistliches Wiegenlied: Die ihr schwebet” 5:47
SASHA COOKE, mezzo-soprano; GILBERT KALISH, piano; PAUL NEUBAUER, viola
8 Vocalise, op. 34, no. 14 (1912, rev. 1915) 5:45 SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873–1943)
ALESSIO BAX, piano; IAN SWENSEN, violin
9–26 Liebeslieder Waltzes, op. 52 (1868–1869)\
JOHANNES BRAHMS
“Rede, Mädchen” 1:08 “Am Gesteine rauscht die Flut” 0:42 “O die Frauen” 1:20 “Wie des Abends schöne Röte” 0:46 “Die grüne Hopfenranke” 1:39 “Ein kleiner, hübscher Vogel” 2:36 “Wohl schön bewandt was es” 1:19 “Wenn so lind dein Auge” 1:14 “Am Donaustrande” 2:08 “O wie sanft die Quelle” 0:50 “Nein, es ist nicht auszukommen” 0:35 “Schlosser auf, und mache Schlösser” 0:44 “Vögelein durchrauscht die Luft” 0:48 “Sieh, wie ist die Welle klar” 0:56 “Nachtigall, sie singt so schön” 1:09 “Ein dunkler Schacht ist Liebe” 1:16 “Nicht wandle, mein Licht” 2:01 “Es bebet das Gesträuche” 1:28
ERIN MORLEY, soprano; SASHA COOKE, mezzo-soprano; PAUL APPLEBY, tenor; KELLY MARKGRAF, baritone; GILBERT KALISH, WU HAN, piano
5 Through Brahms
1–7 Cello Suite no. 2 in d minor, BWV 1008 (ca. 1720)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685–1750)
I. Prelude 3:53 II. Allemande 3:49 III. Courante 2:22 IV. Sarabande 4:50 V. Menuet 1 1:27 VI. Menuet 2 2:10 VII. Gigue 3:11  LAURENCE LESSER, cello
8 Phantasy for Violin and Piano, op. 47 (1949) 9:06 ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874–1951)
LUCILLE CHUNG, piano; IAN SWENSEN, violin
9 Scherzo in c minor, F-A-E (1853) 5:27
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
WU HAN, piano; ARNAUD SUSSMANN, violin
10 Tzigane (1922–1924) 9:31 MAURICE RAVEL (1875–1937)
WU HAN, piano; ELMAR OLIVEIRA, violin 11–15 Piano Quintet (1981)  JOHN HARBISON (b. 1938)
I. Overtura 7:55 II. Capriccio 2:50 III. Intermezzo 4:45 IV. Burletta 2:03 V. Elegia 7:55
LUCILLE CHUNG, piano; JORJA FLEEZANIS, IAN SWENSEN, violins; YURA LEE, viola; LAURENCE LESSER, cello
6 Through Brahms
1–10 Spanische Liebeslieder, op. 138 (1849)
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810–1856)
“Vorspiel”
“Tief im Herzen trag ich Pein”
“O wie lieblich ist das Mädchen”
“Bedeckt mich mit Blumen”
“Romanze” 2:33 “Intermezzo” 1:36 “Weh, wie zornig ist das Mädchen” 1:31 “Hoch, hoch sind die Berge” 2:06 “Blaue Augen hat das Mädchen” 1:51 “Dunkler Lichtglanz” 2:22
ERIN MORLEY, soprano; SASHA COOKE, mezzo-soprano; PAUL APPLEBY, tenor; KELLY MARKGRAF, baritone; GILBERT KALISH, WU HAN, piano
11–14 Piano Trio in g minor, op. 17 (1846)
CLARA SCHUMANN (1819–1896)
I. Allegro moderato 10:21 II. Scherzo: Tempo di minuetto 4:51 III. Andante 4:44 IV. Allegretto 7:20
JUHO POHJONEN, piano; YURA LEE, violin; ERIC KIM, cello
15–18 String Quintet no. 2 in G Major, op. 111 (1890)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
1:29 I. Allegro non troppo, ma con brio 9:48 2:27 II. Adagio 6:06 2:25 III. Un poco allegretto 5:41 2:37 IV. Vivace ma non troppo presto 4:57
ANI KAVAFIAN, PHILIP SETZER, violins; PAUL NEUBAUER, YURA LEE, violas; PAUL WATKINS, cello
7 Through Brahms
1–3 Sonata no. 2 in E-flat Major for Viola and Piano, op. 120, no. 2 (1894)
7–10
Clarinet Quintet in b minor, op. 115 (1891)
JOHANNES BRAHMS
I. Allegro 13:14 II. Adagio 11:25 III. Andantino – Presto non assai, ma con sentimento 4:57 IV. Con moto – Un poco meno mosso 8:55
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897) I. Allegro amabile
II. Allegro appassionato
III. Andante con moto
GILBERT KALISH, piano; PAUL NEUBAUER, viola
8:48 5:01 7:17
DAVID SHIFRIN, clarinet; PHILIP SETZER, ANI KAVAFIAN, violins; YURA LEE, viola; PAUL WATKINS, cello
4–6 Intermezzo in e minor, op. 116, no. 5 (1892) 3:08 Capriccio in d minor, op. 116, no. 1 (1892) 2:48 Intermezzo in b minor, op. 119, no. 1 (1893) 3:45
JOHANNES BRAHMS
GILBERT KALISH, piano
—Laurence Vittes

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