Brahms - String Quintets | Pentatone PTC5186663

Brahms - String Quintets

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Label: Pentatone

Cat No: PTC5186663

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 21st April 2017



WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players


Brahms, Johannes

String Quintet no.1 in F major, op.88
String Quintet no.2 in G major, op.111


WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players


Radiant, expansive, lyrical and utterly compelling, Brahms’s richly rewarding string quintets are exuberantly unleashed by the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players in this album.

These technically demanding works contain everything one could wish for from the mature Brahms: searching melodies woven into glowing, luxuriant textures, lyrical introspection with subdued sonorities, to youthful abandon in breathless, rhythmic passages.

“You have never before had such a beautiful work from me”, Brahms told his publisher about his Quintet No.1 in F major, Op.88. This was no idle boast. The amiable and leisurely first movement with its warmly inviting opening melody is followed by a haunting second movement based on a sarabande with exquisite interplay between the instruments. In a nod to Beethoven, the energetic final movement is a masterly combination of fugue and sonata form but the result is pure Brahms.

The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne was formed in 1947. It has recorded extensively and is renowned for its interpretation of 20th-century and contemporary music in addition to the standard classical repertoire. Its chief conductor is Jukka-Pekka Saraste. The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players are all members of the orchestra as well as pursuing their own international careers: Ye Wu (violin, leader), Andreea Florescu (violin), Tomek Neugebauer (viola), Mischa Pfeiffer (viola) and Susanne Eychmüller (cello). The WDR Symphony Orchestra has, as part of the season, its own regular chamber music subscription series. The concerts take place in the WDR Radio Hall and all concerts are recorded and broadcast on the radio. This is their first recording for Pentatone.


The central Grave ed appassionato is unusually introspective, convincingly trading full-throated threnody for delicate wistfulness.  Andrew Farach-Colton
Gramophone July 2017

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