The Brodsky Quartet presents this second volume in its exploration of Brahms’s complete string quartets. The first, which also featured the Clarinet Quintet with Michael Collins, received numerous enthusiastic reviews, The Guardian praising the players for their ‘immaculate’ performance. The String Quartet, Op. 51 No. 1, featured here, was written alongside its contrasting companion, Op. 51 No. 2. Both were finally published in 1873 after having been held back for years by a typically self-doubting Brahms, until he had brought them to his own high standards of perfection.
Gabriel Fauré’s musical language bridges a gap between the romanticism of the 19th century and the new worlds of music which appeared in the 20th, employing subtle harmonic changes and a gift for melody to combine innovation with an entirely personal idiom. His First Piano Quartet is filled with characteristic French colour and lyricism, and the Piano Trio in D minor is a late work whose musical language is familiar from his songs. Both the Pavane and the popular Sicilienne express nostalgia for earlier times, and the short Pièce has great simplicity and charm.