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Brahms - Piano Works Four Hands CD


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Brahms - Piano Works Four Hands + Brahms: A German Requiem + Brahms - Four Hand Piano Music, Vol 10
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Product details

  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (30 Aug 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0002TB2B0
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 488,334 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111 (arr. piano 4-hands): Allegro non troppo, ma con brioChristian Kohn14:02Album Only
Listen  2. String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111 (arr. piano 4-hands): AdagioSilke-Thora Matthies 8:08Album Only
Listen  3. String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111 (arr. piano 4-hands): Un poco allegrettoChristian Kohn 5:53£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111 (arr. piano 4-hands): Vivace ma non troppo prestoChristian Kohn 4:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 (arr. for piano, 4 hands): AllegroChristian Kohn14:42Album Only
Listen  6. Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 (arr. for piano, 4 hands): Intermezzo: Allegro ma non troppoSilke-Thora Matthies 8:28Album Only
Listen  7. Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 (arr. for piano, 4 hands): Andante con motoChristian Kohn10:05Album Only
Listen  8. Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 (arr. for piano, 4 hands): Rondo alla zingarese: PrestoSilke-Thora Matthies 8:55Album Only

Product Description

NAX 8554412; NAXOS - Germania; Classica da camera Quintetto archi

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Oct 2004
Format: Audio CD
String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111 &
Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25,
played by Christian Köhn and Silka-Thora Matthies, piano four hands
What a joy this series has been. We're up to volume twelve and although I know it has to come to an end sooner or later - Naxos hasn't told us yet how many volumes there will ultimately be - I frankly don't know when I've been so enthralled by a series of CDs. (I thank a friend in Cambridge, Massachusetts for putting me onto it in the first place.) I suppose there are those who sniff and say that we should simply stick with the music that Brahms himself wrote, and leave these piano reductions alone. But that's the point: Brahms DID write these arrangements and they are every bit as expert as the more familiar versions. In this volume we have two of his most beloved chamber works, and in smashing performances by the piano duet of Christian Köhn and Silka-Thora Matthies (who, btw, don't just play Brahms--they have a CD of music by contemporary German composer Giselher Klebe coming out this month and I'll be reviewing it soon).
As to the performances, they are, as we've come to expect, not only technically completely secure, they are musicianly and full of that inimitable Brahmsian warmth. One may miss the sound of the cello in the Quintet's vaunting opening theme or the sustaining quality of string chords in the slower passages, but there is much to be said for the clarity added by the piano timbre. (Need I add that I'm a pianist myself and willingly admit that I love the sound of the piano above all others, but perhaps only by a small margin.) Somehow Köhn and Matthies manage to give the illusion of string instrument legato in, say, the long-limbed melodies of Quintet movements II and III.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An Unalloyed Joy! 22 Sep 2004
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111 &
Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25,
played by Christian Köhn and Silka-Thora Matthies, piano four hands

What a joy this series has been. We're up to volume twelve and although I know it has to come to an end sooner or later - Naxos hasn't told us yet how many volumes there will ultimately be - I frankly don't know when I've been so enthralled by a series of CDs. (I thank a friend in Cambridge, Massachusetts for putting me onto it in the first place.) I suppose there are those who sniff and say that we should simply stick with the music that Brahms himself wrote, and leave these piano reductions alone. But that's the point: Brahms DID write these arrangements and they are every bit as expert as the more familiar versions. In this volume we have two of his most beloved chamber works, and in smashing performances by the piano duet of Christian Köhn and Silka-Thora Matthies (who, btw, don't just play Brahms--they have a CD of music by contemporary German composer Giselher Klebe coming out this month and I'll be reviewing it soon).

As to the performances, they are, as we've come to expect, not only technically completely secure, they are musicianly and full of that inimitable Brahmsian warmth. One may miss the sound of the cello in the Quintet's vaunting opening theme or the sustaining quality of string chords in the slower passages, but there is much to be said for the clarity added by the piano timbre. (Need I add that I'm a pianist myself and willingly admit that I love the sound of the piano above all others, but perhaps only by a small margin.) Somehow Köhn and Matthies manage to give the illusion of string instrument legato in, say, the long-limbed melodies of Quintet movements II and III. And one must say that the ability to convey both the string sound AND the piano sound in the Piano Quartet is astounding. (How do they manage to do that without getting their fingers tangled up with those of their partner?)

One particular highlight: in the exciting gypsy rondo of the Piano Quartet the duo amaze with their breakneck tempo. They play it faster than I've ever heard it, and I can tell you from having played the piano part of this quartet myself, that is no small feat--those sixteenths notes come faster than the speed of light, particularly in the theme immediately after the first statement of the rondo theme. My goodness, this is exhilarating playing!

Need I say this CD is an unalloyed joy and an urgent recommendation to anyone who is even the least bit curious about Brahms's way with transforming two of his most treasured chamber works into piano duets. Yes!

TT=75:17

Scott Morrison
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Another enjoyable collection of Brahms pearls 14 Dec 2006
By Hexameron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A little disclaimer for the reader of this review: I've not heard any of these works on this CD in their original form. Before exploring the Naxos Four Hand Series, I had not heard any orchestral/chamber work from Brahms except the Variations on Haydn and a few Hungarian Dances. I'm on an outlandish and rare path of exposing myself to Brahms exclusively through Naxos' Four Hand Piano series. My first taste was the German Requiem for Four Hands, and I was breathless. I still feel stunned by Brahms's music.

In my opinion, this disc contains some of the best chamber music I've heard from Brahms so far. The previous volume disappointed me a bit because the Op. 67 String Quartet seemed inferior to the Op. 51 String Quartets. The String Quintet No. 1, however, made up for it and now with this volume, I feel the Op. 111 String Quintet is the King of Brahms's string chamber pieces. That may be a bold assertion coming from someone like me who hasn't even heard the chamber version at the time of listening to this, but the piano proves its competency and remarkable powers in showcasing these premium works. As I've said many times when reviewing previous volumes in this series, I believe there is an inherent quality in Brahms's music which always sounds original and fresh on the piano. These arrangements do not bow to the chamber versions; they should be considered like individual piano compositions.

The String Quintet Op. 111 is superlative Brahms, filled with abundant ideas, pleasant harmonies, thrilling modulations, and beautiful melodies. And how compact it is too. The whole thing, with its hefty four movements, is only 32 minutes. Each movement is a jewel in the crown of the whole composition. The piano glorifies this music and it adequately emulates the intimacy and tension undoubtedly found in the original chamber work. The first movement is just pianistic grandeur. The cheery opening bars and the splendidly attractive themes are stellar examples of the greatness of Brahms's music. The second movement is even more profound, with its meditative mood and gorgeous harmonies. I can't stress enough how beautiful this music is when the rich piano tones give it such flavor. The third movement is a short and delightful allegretto with a melodious main theme that gets stuck in your head for days. As they've demonstrated before, this piano duo plays with an agreeable touch and a wonderful intensity which provides a crisp and deep sound. The fourth movement is short but unique: lively rhythms contrasted with slower lines of music. With its tasteful trills and furious moments it sounds almost like a Beethoven piano composition.

If the awesome second String Quintet wasn't enough to stupefy, the early Piano Quartet No. 1 reveals Brahms's talent and budding genius; it exceeded my expectations by all means. Conceptually, the work oozes with orchestral attributes: epic length, four large movements, and multiple layers and lines of music which have a quasi-symphonic strength, especially in the first movement. And it's the first movement, a massive tour-de-force of an Allegro, which remains as the most memorable part of this entire work. Brahms writes some incredibly robust and beautiful music here. And the piano duo plays this titanic movement with passion, aplomb and virtuosity. Describing the movement itself is like communicating the effect of an aurora borealis. The second movement and third movement are a little lighter in content, but still endearing; I love the lyrical but rousing Andante. The last movement is an invigorated Hungarian rondo. It sounds Lisztian, especially with the flurries that suggest Liszt's Transcendental Etude No. 5 "Will-o-Wisps." It progresses further with a charming and majestic theme which sounds richly harmonized and augmented on the piano. This is quite a spectacular ending to a superior chamber piece.

Bottom line: This four-hand piano arrangement is absolutely monumental. With this recording, Brahms's high caliber chamber pieces become colossal solo piano works of astounding suspense, drama, and beauty. I have no curiosities about the original chamber version because this breathtaking piano duo has quenched my thirst with these outstanding Brahms arrangements. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Really Excellent... 16 Jan 2005
By B.E.F. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a very fine performance, recording of a great transcription by old papa Brahms. The whole four-handed series by Matthies & Kohn is highly recommended.

The two works featured here seem to me to work very well as 4-handed transcriptions because of the nature of their original forms of string quintet & piano quartet. I have a few reservations about Brahms' 4-hand setting of his string quartets, because of the essential timbral nature of the string quartet form: it works so well for his quartets, that I'm afraid that something is lost in transcripton to piano 4-hands. Nevertheless, these two pieces work very well.

Recorded sound is excellent.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Words cannot do justice to this fine series of Brahms renditions. 3 Jan 2010
By Tom Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This disc contains two pieces, the String Quartet No. 2 at 32 minutes and 57 seconds, and the Piano Quartet No. 1 at 42 minutes and 20 seconds. The sound quality is excellent. The sound is not muddy. The sound is not characterized by echos (some piano recordings sound like they were recorded in a bare apartment). The sound of the two pianos is just right.

The following is about the String Quintet:

ALLEGRO. The Quintet begins with a sparkling-sounding motif. This motif, which lasts some 60 seconds, would be good for accompanying a Disney cartoon where fairies flutter about casting spells with their wands. At 2 1/2 minutes, we hear a 20 second tune that is skittering and rapid, reminding me of running up a flight of stairs. At 3 1/4 mintues, the sparkling tune returns. The sparkling tune has a grandiose, optimistic sound, like a typical John Denver folk song. At 5 3/4 minutes, the flight-of-stairs tune is repeated, and again at 11 min and 15 sec, the flight-of-stairs motif occurs once again. In this entire piece, I liked the ALLEGRO movement the best.

ADAGIO. The ADAGIO is slow and quiet, and it begins with a tune having pop-sensibilities. The tune is reminiscent of IF I LOVED YOU, from Rogers and Hammerstein's musical called, Carrousel. At 4 minutes, IF I LOVED YOU is repeated, only louder. AT 5 1/2 minutes, we hear 10 seconds of noisy banging by the pianos. At 5 min, 15 sec, IF I LOVED YOU occurs yet again, only at a whisper-level volume.

POCO ALLEGRETTO. The tune is a whispy waltz in a minor key. At 2 1/2 minutes begins a segment lacking any distinct tune, but it is still a waltz. At 3 min, 50 sec, begins yet another segment, a quiet segment, not having any distinct tune, aside from a repeated rocking-chair motif, where the chords shift forcefully from dominant to subdominant to dominant again.

VIVACE. This begins with a lively, skittering tune, reminiscent of Mozart's RONDO ALLA TURCA. AT 50-60 seconds, we hear a little hornpipe. At 1 min, 20 sec, RONDO ALLA TURCA returns. At 2 min, 25 sec, begins a ten second episode of inspired liveliness. Again, at 4 min, 15 sec, until the very end, what occurs is another episode of inspired liveliness.

The following is about the next piece on this disc, Piano Quartet No. 1. Words cannot do justice to the regular chamber group version of this piece, or to the 2-piano version of this piece, as found on this disc. The only thing that I dare say is that this is one of the most listenable and enjoyable pieces of music ever composed and recorded.

I am glad that I discovered this series of Brahms recordings by Silke-Thora Matthies and Christian Kohn. These two artists have enriched our world with their devoted recordings of the available 2-piano transcriptions of the Brahms symphonies, piano concertos, German Requiem, and chamber ensemble pieces.
Yet Another Version of Op. 25 16 Mar 2014
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In general, I love orchestrations of instrumental or chamber works, and piano reductions can be fun as as well. This disc, one a quite a few devoted to Brahms' own transcriptions of his compositions into piano, four hands format, is largely a joy to listen to. The Op. 25 quartet was orchestrated to nice effect by Schoenberg, and here we get it reduced to two pianos, also with charming results. The interplay between the two keyboards works marvelously well most of the time, contrasts preserved and in some cases perhaps made more stark. The String Quintet No. 2, on the other hand, fares a bit differently. The Op. 25 is a piano quartet, after all, and so the translation to pure piano still retains many of the qualities of the original. On the other hand, the string quintet morphed into a purely keyboard work transforms the piece quite entirely. In this new shape, the composition can stand on its own legs, though I confess I strongly prefer the original. Still, it's worthwhile to get a different perspective on what is deep down the same work. Like most of the other discs in this series, this album is refreshing if nothing else.
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