Program Note

Brahms’ Third Quartet truly sounds like the work of a man on his summer holiday.  Especially in its outer movements there is a feeling of the countryside, of sunshine.  The first movement has strong ties to the same movement of Mozart’s “Hunt” Quartet.  Aside from sharing its key and its meter — fairly superficial traits — the Brahms evokes the atmosphere of the hunt from the very opening, imitating hunting horns perhaps even more faithfully than Mozart’s music.

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Program Note

Each of Brahms’ quartets might be interpreted as a sort of homage: the driven c minor confronting Beethoven, the more genial B-flat Major tipping its hat to Haydn, with shades of reference to Mozart’s “Hunt” quartet as well. The Op. 51 No. 2 in a minor must have somewhere in its ancestry the Schubert quartet in the same key. A minor was a particularly evocative key for Schubert, lonely, bereft and lyrical.

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Program Note

Many have argued that the Clarinet Quintet is Brahms’ most profound chamber work, despite a number of awe-inspiring rival claimants (the Horn Trio, the G Major Sextet and the c minor Piano Quartet spring to mind, among others).

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