Johannes Brahms’s late chamber works are surely among the most splendid music ever written for the clarinet. In the last years of his life, Brahms seems to have become weary of composing – but fortunately for posterity, in 1891 he met the solo clarinettist of the Meiningen court orchestra, Richard Mühlfeld, whose mellifluous art of performance captivated him and inspired him to new works. The Trio op. 114 is melancholy and autumnal in character, and is loved by all clarinettists. It is now available from Henle in a revised edition. Brahms’s manuscript of his op. 114 lies in Munich, the home city of G. Henle Publishers. The musical text follows that of the New Brahms Complete Edition, and thus guarantees the highest degree of precision and reflects the current state of research. The pianist Klaus Schilde has added valuable fingerings to this Urtext edition.
- Clarinet Trio for Piano, Clarinet (Viola) and Violoncello a minor op. 114
Johannes Brahms (1833 – 97) wrote his Clarinet Trio in a minor op. 114 in the summer of 1891 in Bad Ischl. Its composition was preceded by a creative crisis for Brahms. After finishing the protracted and arduous revision of his Piano Trio op. 8, he seemed to have grown tired of composing. He made this quite clear to his publisher Fritz Simrock in late 1890: “You can … more
About the composer
His significant output comprises chamber music, piano works, numerous choral compositions and songs (including settings of folk-song lyrics), as well as large-scale orchestral works in the 1870s and 1880s. His compositions are characterized by the process of developing variation. He is considered an antithesis to the New German School around Liszt, and an advocate of “absolute” music.
|1833||Born in Hamburg on May 7, the son of a musician. His first piano instruction with Willibald Cossel at age seven, then with Eduard Marxen; first public performances from 1843.|
|1853||Concert tour through German cities; he meets Schumann, who announces him as the next great composer in his essay “Neue Bahnen” (“New Paths”). A lifelong, intimate friendship develops with Clara Schumann.|
|1854–57||Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15.|
|1857–59||Choir director, pianist, and teacher at the royal court in Detmold.|
|1859–61||Director of the Hamburg Women’s Choir.|
|1860||Manifesto against the New Germans around Liszt.|
|1863||Cantata “Rinaldo,” Op. 50.|
|1863–64||Director of the Wiener Singakademie.|
|1868||Partial performance in Vienna of “A German Requiem,” Op. 45 (the complete work premiered in Leipzig in 1869)|
|1871–74||Artistic director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of Friends of Music) in Vienna.|
|1873||Haydn Variations, Op. 56a, for orchestra.|
|from 1877||His symphonic output begins with the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (begun 1862); composition of the Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73; the Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 (1883); and Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (1884–85): cantabile themes, chamber-music-like style.|
|from 1878||Travels in Italy.|
|1878||Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, for Joseph Joachim.|
|1881||Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83, with a scherzo movement.|
|1886||Honorary president of Vienna’s Tonkünstlerverein (Association of Musicians).|
|1897||Four Serious Songs, Op. 121. Dies in Vienna on April 3.|
About the authors
Approximately one dozen notes and placements of dynamic signs are corrected in the piano and cello parts of this scholarly edition. As usual with G. Henle editions, the readability of the music engraving is excellent.
This meticulous new Henle text with separate clarinet and viola parts is all that one could wish for in its fine detail, layout, a Preface detailing its genesis, and informative Comments on the sources for this edition.