The Piano Quintet in A minor is "grand" in more ways than one. It lasts more than 37 minutes. Each movement possesses its own fascination. The first offers heaving, swelling romantic music and engages all the instruments in daunting fashion. The second is a haunting, relentless scherzo that starts off with a lighter sound to build suspense. The slow third, major key movement starts off in rather saccharine style but turns persuasive in its own way.
This cd brings out some amazing aspects of the Brahms sextets. Brahms playing in general have never been close to this! The instruments are strung with gut strings, as the instruments were at the time it was written, which creates some really unique sounds and gives an amazingly free bowing phrasing. When the steel-string sonorities and the constant vibrato has been removed, a pure and vital sound is created which gives so much to the music of Johannes Brahms, at least in the sextets.
As well as Brahms’ 175th birthday in 2008 inspired these recordings in the “Kunsthaus” in Mürzzuschlag. Ronald Fuchs and Chanda VanderHart play, in addition to the two cello sonatas, six Brahms lieder transcriptions in their original keys. The lieder selected have a special connection to both the Streicher piano and with Mürzzuschlag itself. Brahms played severel of them, including “Wie Melodien zieht es mir” with Hermine Spies, and composed both “Sapphische Ode” and “Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht” during his time in Mürzzuschlag.
As complete sets of Brahms piano music go, it's hard to get more complete than this set by Martin Jones on Nimbus. Jones includes not only the canonical two Rhapsodies, three Sonatas, four Ballades, six sets of variations, ten Hungarian Dances, sixteen Waltzes and twenty-eight short piano pieces, but also the almost forgotten sarabandes, gigues, gavottes, studies, canons and transcriptions. Listeners looking for the most complete Brahms available need look no further. Listeners who do look no further, however, will have to settle for good but by no means great performances. Jones has a big tone coupled to an impressive technique and many of his performances are quite fine. But too often here he seems to be merely going through the motions, turning in accomplished but unexciting sometimes even dutiful performances. When extroverted virtuosity is called for in the Paganini Variations, Jones is almost but not altogether on top of the notes.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest DSD / HR Cutting remastering. Comes with a description. Features the original LP designs. Less heralded than their collaboration with Thelonious Monk (as documented on Bags' Groove and Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants), this August 5, 1955 session with vibraphonist Milt Jackson was Davis' last all-star collaboration before the formation of his first classic quintet. It marked a farewell to an older generation of acolytes and fellow travelers; Davis was entering a new era of leadership and international stardom, and generally he would only record with his working groups.