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So you’ve heard our Brahms: A German Requiem concert and you’re hungry for more Brahms. Our co-principal viola Simone Jandl recommends four unique pieces Brahms wrote after a eureka moment later in his life.
“Rather than recommending a specific recording of my favourite work by Johannes Brahms, I’d like to share a wonderful story about his life with you. In 1891, it so happened that when he had just decided to give up composing and made his last will, he heard Richard Mühlfeld playing the clarinet. Mühlfeld was a violinist (!) at the Meininger Hofkapelle, the orchestra which premiered Brahms’ 4th symphony, and had taught himself to play the clarinet.
Brahms was so spell-bound with Mühlfeld’s clarinet playing that he changed his mind about retiring and wrote four of the most wonderful chamber music pieces that exist: the trio op. 114 for clarinet, cello and piano, the quintet op. 115 for clarinet and string quartet and the two sonatas op. 120 for clarinet and piano, which also belong to the standard repertoire for the viola.
To my ears, these masterpieces have a new quality about them, a certain ease of someone who has finally let go of destructive self-criticism and just accepted that perfectionism is not for the human – and thus acquired another kind of wondrous perfection.”
This Spotify playlist includes Simone’s own recording of the viola version of Op. 120, No.1 with the Baden-Badener Philharmonie.