Brahms: Piano Quartets Nos. 1-3 (Complete)
The chamber music compositions by Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) are a good indicator of Brahms’ intricate approach to composition, and his overall style. This is particularly true of the three piano quartets. In their individual character, they are an integral aspect of Brahms’s creative chamber music output.
The Piano Quartet in G minor Op.25, the earliest of Brahms’s works in this form, and it reveals the composer’s great creativity. Based on short themes that are continuously extended and combined to form larger structures, it draws on song-like melodies in the first movement and some wonderful Hungarian folk music in the finale, to create a work that, at times, seems to predict the composer’s later orchestral music.
The second Quartet in A-Major Op.26 is expansive with its flowing, extended melodies that retain a sense of control and structure.
The Piano Quartet No.3 in C minor is, for me, the most dramatic of all three.
1. Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25: Allegro
2. Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25: Intermezzo, allegro ma non troppo
3. Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25: Andante con moto
4. Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25: Rondo alla Zingarese
5. Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor (‘Werther’), Op. 60: Allegro non troppo
6. Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor (‘Werther’), Op. 60: Scherzo, allegro
7. Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor (‘Werther’), Op. 60: Andante
8. Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor (‘Werther’), Op. 60: Finale, allegro comodo
1. Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26: Allegro non troppo
2. Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26: Poco adagio
3. Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26: Scherzo, poco allegro
4. Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26: Finale, allegro
Performed by Derek Han (piano), Isabelle Faust (violin), Bruno Giuranna (viola), and Alain Meunier (cello)
While Isabelle Faust has already created a reputation as one of the leading international violinists, Derek Han, Bruno Giuranna and Alain Meunier are some of the most acclaimed musicians in their fields, as well.
There are only audios of the above artists, playing these works. So I opted to bring you videos by others:
First, here is the Brahms Piano Quartet No.1 Op.25, first movement, as performed by Emanuel Ax, Isaac Stern, Jaime Laredo, and Yo-Yo Ma (Wow… some of these folks were really young then!)
And next is the Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor (as orchestrated by Arnold Schoenberg!) with Sir Simon Rattle, conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker
Now back to Brahms’ original scoring of his chamber music: Here are four musicians from the Colburn School playing the Brahms Piano Quartet in C minor op. 60.
Nigel Armstrong -Violin
Juan Miguel Hernandez – Viola
Paul Wiancko – Cello
Ryan McCullough – Piano
Tags: Brahms, Piano Quartets, Derek Han, piano, Isabelle Faust, violin, Bruno Giuranna, viola, Alain Meunier, cello