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Boris Giltburg|Brahms: Quintets Opp. 34 & 111

Brahms: Quintets Opp. 34 & 111

Boris Giltburg, Pavel Nikl, Pavel Haas Quartet

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When I can’t be the only one who has the Pavel Haas Quartet’s magnificent Dvořák quintets collaboration with Boris Giltburg and Pavel Nikl still ringing in my ears (and indeed making repeat returns to my stereo), I equally can’t be the only one whose heart is beating faster upon first sight of this Brahms-shaped reunion for them. So, to all of you for whom the above does indeed apply, know that these readings will if anything exceed your already-high expectations.

First up is the Op. 34 Piano Quintet in dark F minor, an early-career work which began life in 1862 as a string quintet with two cellos, channelling Schubert’s great C major String Quintet, but which ultimately – at the suggestion of both Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim – needed a second look. In 1864, therefore, Brahms reworked the original to create both a sonata for two pianos and this piano quartet – drawing from Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata, while also still very audibly paying homage to the Schubert Quintet, heard especially clearly at the close of the Scherzo via its final C being preceded by a dramatic D-flat. As for the Pavel Haas Quartet and Boris Giltburg, think multi-timbred, metrically fleet-footed, heart-filled playing, spanning the dynamic range, which thoroughly realises both the work’s turbulent passion and its highly symphonic feel, with the ability to switch the emotional dial in a heartbeat. Highlights include an absolute blinder of a Scherzo for the conviction of its emotional extremes, and at its most high-octane moments the rhythmic drive and spring of their attack, and the overall sound’s satisfyingly powerful, woody thwack.

Then next we jump to 1890 and to the Op. 111 two-viola String Quintet in G major Brahms is said to have initially intended as his last musical work, its language thus nodding to his musical life’s influences – from Beethoven to Schubert, and from waltzing Johann Strauss to Wagner, with further colour by way of the Hungarian motifs he loved to pepper his work with. And again, it’s a rare treat to have such a sensation of unbridled freedom and singing exuberance at the music’s most impassioned climaxes as we have here. Equally affecting are the moments where the music suddenly retreats into whispers either sweetly tender or darkly tragic (head to the first movement for some beauty). There’s also the delicious rhythmic swing of their dance impetus when things get folky.

Essentially, don’t hesitate. This is an album for life. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

More info

Brahms: Quintets Opp. 34 & 111

Boris Giltburg

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1
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34: No. 1, Allegro non troppo
Pavel Haas Quartet
00:15:35

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Boris Giltburg, Soloist, MainArtist - Pavel Haas Quartet, Orchestra, MainArtist

2022 SUPRAPHON a.s. 2022 SUPRAPHON a.s.

2
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34: No. 2, Andante, un poco adagio
Pavel Haas Quartet
00:08:32

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Boris Giltburg, Soloist, MainArtist - Pavel Haas Quartet, Orchestra, MainArtist

2022 SUPRAPHON a.s. 2022 SUPRAPHON a.s.

3
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34: No. 3, Scherzo. Allegro - Trio
Pavel Haas Quartet
00:07:14

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Boris Giltburg, Soloist, MainArtist - Pavel Haas Quartet, Orchestra, MainArtist

2022 SUPRAPHON a.s. 2022 SUPRAPHON a.s.

4
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34: No. 4, Finale. Poco sestenuto - Allegro non troppo
Pavel Haas Quartet
00:10:31

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Boris Giltburg, Soloist, MainArtist - Pavel Haas Quartet, Orchestra, MainArtist

2022 SUPRAPHON a.s. 2022 SUPRAPHON a.s.

5
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111: No. 1, Allegro non troppo, ma con brio
Pavel Haas Quartet
00:13:14

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Pavel Haas Quartet, Orchestra, MainArtist - Pavel Nikl, Soloist, MainArtist

2022 SUPRAPHON a.s. 2022 SUPRAPHON a.s.

6
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111: No. 2, Adagio
Pavel Haas Quartet
00:06:09

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Pavel Haas Quartet, Orchestra, MainArtist - Pavel Nikl, Soloist, MainArtist

2022 SUPRAPHON a.s. 2022 SUPRAPHON a.s.

7
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111: No. 3, Un poco allegretto
Pavel Haas Quartet
00:05:29

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Pavel Haas Quartet, Orchestra, MainArtist - Pavel Nikl, Soloist, MainArtist

2022 SUPRAPHON a.s. 2022 SUPRAPHON a.s.

8
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111: No. 4, Vivace ma non troppo presto
Pavel Haas Quartet
00:04:57

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Pavel Haas Quartet, Orchestra, MainArtist - Pavel Nikl, Soloist, MainArtist

2022 SUPRAPHON a.s. 2022 SUPRAPHON a.s.

Album Description

When I can’t be the only one who has the Pavel Haas Quartet’s magnificent Dvořák quintets collaboration with Boris Giltburg and Pavel Nikl still ringing in my ears (and indeed making repeat returns to my stereo), I equally can’t be the only one whose heart is beating faster upon first sight of this Brahms-shaped reunion for them. So, to all of you for whom the above does indeed apply, know that these readings will if anything exceed your already-high expectations.

First up is the Op. 34 Piano Quintet in dark F minor, an early-career work which began life in 1862 as a string quintet with two cellos, channelling Schubert’s great C major String Quintet, but which ultimately – at the suggestion of both Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim – needed a second look. In 1864, therefore, Brahms reworked the original to create both a sonata for two pianos and this piano quartet – drawing from Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata, while also still very audibly paying homage to the Schubert Quintet, heard especially clearly at the close of the Scherzo via its final C being preceded by a dramatic D-flat. As for the Pavel Haas Quartet and Boris Giltburg, think multi-timbred, metrically fleet-footed, heart-filled playing, spanning the dynamic range, which thoroughly realises both the work’s turbulent passion and its highly symphonic feel, with the ability to switch the emotional dial in a heartbeat. Highlights include an absolute blinder of a Scherzo for the conviction of its emotional extremes, and at its most high-octane moments the rhythmic drive and spring of their attack, and the overall sound’s satisfyingly powerful, woody thwack.

Then next we jump to 1890 and to the Op. 111 two-viola String Quintet in G major Brahms is said to have initially intended as his last musical work, its language thus nodding to his musical life’s influences – from Beethoven to Schubert, and from waltzing Johann Strauss to Wagner, with further colour by way of the Hungarian motifs he loved to pepper his work with. And again, it’s a rare treat to have such a sensation of unbridled freedom and singing exuberance at the music’s most impassioned climaxes as we have here. Equally affecting are the moments where the music suddenly retreats into whispers either sweetly tender or darkly tragic (head to the first movement for some beauty). There’s also the delicious rhythmic swing of their dance impetus when things get folky.

Essentially, don’t hesitate. This is an album for life. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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