The Brahms Piano Quintet Op. 34 is one of my favorite pieces in the chamber music repertoire. I reviewed it earlier in this Blog, as interpreted by Glenn Gould, with the Julliard Quartet in an old, historic recording.
This recording, with Mr. Stephen Hough along with the Takacs String Quartet is interesting, because it offers quite a different interpretation. Note that Gould was known for occasional extremes in selecting the Tempi for his interpretations. Yet in this Takacs performance, some of the tempi seem even more rapid than with Gould! It is unlikely that Gould would have agreed to any tempi that were not to his liking in the previously-mentioned recording…
Mr. Stephen Hough along with the Takacs String Quartet give us a reading that is actually quite exciting. Tempi are a matter of taste. And I actually like the rapid pace of the third movement, Scherzo, in this interpretation. The group’s playing is filled with beautiful melodic sound, a strong sense of rhythm and a good emphasis of Brahms’ many sonorous, dark harmonies.
Stephen Hough and the Takacs Quartet conquered the many challenges of this work, and they gave us the great contrast of Brahms’ wonderful rhythmic content as well as his musical tenderness and lyricism.
Mr. Hough is a multi-talented person, who is interested in matters of religion, cooking, puddings, piano, and Art. I find his interpretation of the Brahms quintet to be highly musical, with fine phrasing, and a strong sensitivity to assure that the other voices of Brahms’ work come through to the listener.
Here is Stephen Hough, playing the slow movement form Mozart’s piano concerto # 23. Wonderful, sensitive playing!