- Piano Quartets Nos. 1-3 (Complete)
While Johannes Brahms only composed three piano quartets, these works demonstrate his masterful control of musical material, and they are an integral aspect of Brahms’ chamber music output, which includes string quartets, quintets and Sextets.
The works on this 2-CD set are:
- Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25
- Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60
Performed by Derek Han (piano), Isabelle Faust (violin), Bruno Giuranna (viola) and Alain Meunier (cello).
The Piano Quartet in G minor Op. 25, the earliest of Brahms’ works in this form, reveals the composer’s great creativity. Based on short motifs that are continuously extended and combined to form larger structures, it draws on song-like melodies in the first movement and Hungarian folk music in the finale, to create a work that forecasts Brahms’ orchestral music.
The second Quartet in A Op. 26 is melodic, passionate and expansive with flowing, extended melodies that retain a sense of control and great beauty.
My personal favorite is the Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor. It is the most dramatic, and practically operatic in its style. I am nuts about the third movement, because it is so dramatic and lyrical. The second movement is a syncopated Scherzo that is clever, delightful and with much inventiveness.
The third movement, Andante, begins with a luscious melody played by the violoncello in its upper register, with only the piano as accompaniment. Later the violin joins in, and the melody fortunately repeats several times. I have been known to sing and play this movement many times during the day. Check out the video, below, to listen to that amazing movement.
The performers on this CD, Derek Han, piano, Bruno Giuranna, viola, and Alain Meunier, cello, are some of the most acclaimed musicians in their fields. Violinist Isabelle Faust has created a reputation as one of the leading international violinists, particularly in chamber music.
Here is Brahms’ Piano Quartet #3 Op. 60, third movement, Andante, as performed by Menachem Pressler, Salvatore Accardo, Antoine Tamestit, and Gautier Capuçon:
Tags: Johannes Brahms, Piano Quartets, Andante, Scherzo, Number 3, Opus 60