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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goodish, and Budget-Priced, but Not Quite Good Enough, 14 Feb 2005
J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: String Sextets - Brahms (Audio CD)
There are many recordings of Brahms's two sextets. They are such favorites of string players that just about any time the appropriate six instruments get together, out comes the Brahms. It is no surprise, then, that this group of which I'd never heard (and about which Naxos doesn't tell us much, even to omitting the names of the individual players) would play and record these gems. The players are clearly very good, and the traversals are clearly well thought out. And there are some felicities worth mentioning. For instance, each of the variations in the second movement of the First Sextet is neatly characterized, possibly as well as I've ever heard. But overall there is rather a bashful quality to the playing, almost as if the players were afraid to dig into their strings. And the entire Second Sextet seems to lose rhythmic point. Listen to the tentative first and third movements of the Op. 36. It's nice, but is it Brahms? It almost sound like their trying to make him sound like Fauré.
Still, for someone on a tight budget and unfamiliar with these well-beloved works, this might be an option. As for me, I think I'll stick with the performances of the Raphael Ensemble on Hyperion or the St.-Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Players on Chandos.
Scott Morrison
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Brahms: String Sextets Nos. 1 And 2
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