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Brahms: Four-Hand Piano Music, Vol. 13
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Brahms: Four-Hand Piano Music, Vol. 13

1 février 2005 | Format : MP3

EUR 7,99 (TVA incluse le cas échéant)
Également disponible en format CD

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x99087600) étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x991910e4) étoiles sur 5 The piano duo vigorously celebrates Brahms's chamber works 24 décembre 2006
Par Hexameron - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
A little disclaimer for the reader of this review: I've not heard any of these works on this CD in their original form. Before exploring the Naxos Four Hand Series, I had not heard any orchestral/chamber work from Brahms except the Variations on Haydn and a few Hungarian Dances. I'm on an outlandish and rare path of exposing myself to Brahms exclusively through Naxos' Four Hand Piano series. My first taste was the German Requiem for Four Hands, and I was breathless. I still feel stunned by Brahms's music.

Having already reviewed 10 volumes from this Naxos series, I wasn't sure what to expect from the String Sextets. Would they rival the String Quintets and the Piano Quartet, which are my favorite Brahms chamber works from this series? Yes. They may not dethrone those favorites of mine, but these piano arrangements of the String Sextets definitely rival them. This disc contains some of the most tender, magnificent, subtlely beautiful and endearing music I've encountered from Brahms's chamber pieces (so far). Having not heard a string ensemble play these, I don't need the Brahmsians to tell me what I'm missing. But I don't see my lack of exposure as an impediment to review these performances. Indeed, this piano duo and the four-hand arrangements themselves are always superlative. Matthies and Kohn imbue Brahms with all the necessary attributes to make any work of his sound like a brilliant and noble piano composition. Instead of asking does the duo pick up the tone colors, the intimacy, and richness of a string ensemble, one should ask: do they play with sensitivity, control, gusto, and excellent technique? I can answer yes to all of those.

The first String Sextet is my favorite of them all. The first movement is just a delightful escapade full of lush piano phrasing and beautiful harmonies that lilt on the piano. This is not the stereotypical dark or heavy Brahms, but a cheerful romantic Brahms; the duo plays this with such delicacy and sweetness. The second movement is the shining star of this entire disc. It's a titanic and majestic movement in the style of Bach. On the piano, it sounds like some glorious long-lost Variations on a Theme. This is a powerhouse of a piece and the piano duo plays it with grandeur, perfection of dynamics, and heroic virtuosity. The following Scherzo is bursting with melody and rhythmic excitement. It's a compact Scherzo, just under 3 minutes, with an agreeable trio; the separate voices that verge on the point of becoming polyphonic sound crisp and clear on the piano. The last movement, is perhaps Brahms's loveliest: a Rondo with a somewhat feminine and pastoral theme. As we can expect, the piano duo plays their heart out, treating the canonic passages and forte moments with passion.

The second String Sextet is another jewel of immensely satisfying piano music. The first movement is unique in that it takes its time to identify a theme. There is a mystical and foggy mood that hovers over the piece; with the exquisite dynamic control, one anticipates but never really knows when the piano duo will suddenly play stronger or louder. Surprises abound everywhere and the movement itself is wholesome and masculine Brahms. The Scherzo movement is another melodious gem with splendid moments of pianistic brio, but the the poco adagio movement is the stunning winner here with a kind of serenity only heard from the piano. The duo whisper to each other as they communicate Brahms's ideas. There is an air of Baroque flavor with its various contrapuntal outbursts, and the piano emphasizes this quite nicely, I think. The final movement is full of contrasting lively rapidity and lyrical reflection. On the piano, the entire work emanates with warmth and refinement, a perfect display of the piano's versatility.

Bottom line: I share Scott's (the review below me) enthusiasm about this entire series. Indeed, I find the piano performances on each disc and the entire series itself an invaluable contribution to Brahms and Romantic piano discography. The String Sextets are early but brilliantly beautiful music, perfectly represented with all nuances, textures and themes and given impeccable treatment by the piano duo.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a8d61e0) étoiles sur 5 Glorious! 22 février 2005
Par J Scott Morrison - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
I'll admit it: I want this series to go on forever. I know it won't but I haven't had the heart to check the Grove Dictionary or Jan Swafford's Brahms biography to see how many more four-hand arrangements Brahms made of his own orchestral compositions that this sterling piano duo hasn't yet recorded. Thirteen discs so far! And this one contains arrangements of two of my all-time favorite Brahms compositions, the two String Sextets, Opp. 18 and 36. What marvelous music this is. And how marvelously they sound as piano duets. By now, we know that Matthies and Köhn are spectacularly good at Brahms and this disc is no exception. Even for someone who knows and loves the Sextets in their original garb, it takes only a few seconds to be seduced by their recasting as piano duets. I thought, in Op. 18's first moments, that I would be disappointed not to hear the dark lower strings intoning that glorious melody, but after about two nano-seconds I didn't miss the celli and violas at all. To be honest I have only one very minor quibble with these performances: I think they take the tempo of Op. 18's Rondo (4th movement) just a tad too fast. Other than that I can't think of a single criticism. And I'm pretty picky about my Brahms. As for high points, and there are many--and to pick a couple of the subtle ones--just listen to the wistful, spare Adagio of the Second Sextet or the delicate beginning of that sextet's second movement, the fugato that ensues with Matthies-Köhn delineating the threads of polyphony so subtly, and then the outburst of Gypsy music.

So there you have it. Another marvelous addition to this continuing triumph for a previously unknown piano four-hand team. (Now, I wonder, did Brahms ever get around to making a piano duet arrangement of his Second Piano Concerto, as he did of the First? If he did, it would be SOMETHING. I'm crossing my fingers.)

Urgently recommended for Brahmsians of all stripes.


Scott Morrison
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x99705adc) étoiles sur 5 Gorgeous transcription, wonderful performance 27 juillet 2008
Par T. L. Adams - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
I have really loved almost everything in this entire series, and Vol. 13 is no exception. The performances are an example of a GREAT duet team who really feel each other and feel the music. Brahms wrote such gorgeous harmonies, and sometimes the layers are hard to distinguish in his orchestral works. It's nice to have many of them on piano where you can really hear the harmony and chord progression clearly. Don't get me wrong - I love all of his string and orchestral works played on those instruments, too, but this is a wonderful way to appreciate those works all over again. Beautiful addition to my music library! (German Requiem is the only one in this series that I really don't like. You MUST have strings, or at least an organ, and voices for that work!)
Par J. R. Trtek - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
I pretty much go along with the comments of previous five-star reviewers. I've greatly enjoyed this series from Naxos, though some transcriptions have not really worked, in my estimation. The transformation of purely string works into keyboard pieces can be hit or miss -- I don't think that the rendition of the Brahms String Quintet No. 2 on another disc in the series worked very well -- but in this case the two String Sextets make the change of instruments in grand style, allowing us to hear the same works in different garb and so get a different and illuminating grasp of each one. Indeed, even if one had never heard the originals, it would be hard to deny that these renditions can stand independently on their own. Among the different albums in this series, this is one of the best. Highly recommended.
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