Takacs Quartet performs Brahms
Johannes Brahms was certainly a self-critical composer. He kept working on his Symphony number 1 for ten years, before he felt that he was ready to have it performed. He destroyed a whole lot of works that we will never know, because he was not satisfied. It is believed that Brahms destroyed as many as 20 string quartets, but three survived. These are the Op 51, numbers 1 and 2 and the Op. 67.
The String Quartet Op. 67, was written in the year 1856, soon after Brahms released his first symphony. It is a marvelous work, and actually quite “symphonic” in character. There a lot of long, romantic phrases, and there are places where several instruments are doubled, playing the same melody, reminiscent of, say, an entire viola section of the orchestra.
In the typical Brahms style, the music moves constantly from one theme to the next always exploring, always moving forward, and always providing the listener with a wonderful journey of creative auditory material. Brahms spent so much time exploring the detailed aspects of Quartet writing, that this led him to find an intensely personal language for it, with an unmistakable quality of melody and a unique texture.
The Takacs Quartet provides a fine interpretation of this work. The sound has a strong balance between the 4 instruments. I particularly love the Andante; and the 4th movement may well have a story behind it: There is a wonderful opportunity for any Violist to demonstrate his/her instrumental capability because of the great solo in this final movement.
This CD also has the Takacs Quartet performing Brahms’ C-minor quartet Op. 51, No. 1.