Brahms Chamber Music.


Johannes Brahms:

This CD brings us the beauty of Brahms’ cello sonatas and Clarinet Trio. In these performances, Paul Watkins is joined by two outstanding musicians: Pianist Ian Brown, his established duo partner, and clarinetist Michael Collins.

We hear the following wonderful compositions:


  • Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114, with Michael Collins (clarinet)

Performed by Paul Watkins (cello) and Ian Brown (piano)

Brahms was an accomplished pianist, and he toured throughout Europe giving concerts, often with violinist Joseph Joachim. Brahms was also passionate about the cello and wrote many glorious chamber music parts for the instrument. However, he had difficulty writing his own Cello Sonata No. 1, eventually destroying an Adagio to leave the sonata as the three-movement work we know today.

Completed in 1865, it is somewhat reserved in character, with an elaborate fugal finale that, looking backwards, pays homage to Bach.

A little over twenty years later, in 1886, Brahms composed his Cello Sonata No. 2, the expansive form and extrovert character of which stand in graphic contrast to the first. The writing also shows a more adventurous approach to the cello, heard right from the outset in the leaping, passionate theme with which the first movement opens.

One of his last works, the Clarinet Trio was written after Brahms had decided to retire from composition. It was the artistry of clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld that inspired Brahms to return to composition and to write a series of works for the clarinet, considered some of the supreme masterpieces in the instrument’s repertoire.

I love this album cover: Seems to be a photo of Vienna’s old streetcars, the way they looked when I lived there in 1950.

Here are Jacqueline Du Pré and Daniel Barenboim, playing Brahms’ Cello Sonata op.99 – 1st Movement:


And next, here are Paul Watkins and Mark Wigglesworth rehearsing the Elgar Cello concerto: (Listen to that powerful tone!)



Tags: Brahms, Cello Sonatas, Paul Watkins, Jacqueline DuPre, Clarinet Trio