Levit. Sternath. Chen. Lipman. Hagen. Fuchs
The story is well known: It was Richard Mühlfeld, the solo clarinetist of the Meininger Hofkapelle, whose enchanting playing inspired the creatively tired Brahms to write his four late masterpieces for the reed instrument. Apparently, the man in his late fifties found in the darkly sensitive timbre of the clarinet exactly the color that corresponded to his melancholy inclination in those years. Krzysztof Penderecki's Quartet, composed in 1993, some one hundred years after Brahms' Trio, is also a work full of melancholy: its last movement is titled with the German word "Abschied," and it is an entire epoch – from Schubert to Shostakovich – that seems to be coming to an end here. That Brahms himself could also do things quite differently can be heard in his A major Piano Quartet, the emphatically generous, cheerfully tuned work that Igor Levit loves so much.