Brahms clarinet quintet

December 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

Grove Classics Concert Series

ANAM graduate and Yale postgraduate student, Perth expat Ashley Smith performs Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet this Sunday 5th of June at The Grove Library from 4.30 pm. In the same programme Irina Vasil’eva-Thoo performs Schumann’s piano Quintet.

For further details of this and other concerts in the Grove Classics series, visit

Johannes Brahms

The quintet was written in the summer of 1891, when Brahms had officially retired from major composition. He was so inspired by the playing of the Meiningen orchestra’s clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld that he wrote the Clarinet Trio in A minor op 114, Clarinet quintet opus 115 and two sonatas opus 120.

Profoundly autumnal, nostalgic and dark it expresses Brahms acceptance of his own mortality interspersed with nostalgic looks at the bohemian gypsy music that informs much of his oeuvre.

This is probably one of the greatest gifts by Brahms to the clarinet repertoire. All clarinettists owe a debt of gratitude to Richard Mühlfeld, who Brahms himself dubbed “Fraulein Klarinette”.

“Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” – Johannes Brahms


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