Julie Baumgartel violin
Andrew Chung violin
Jody Davenport viola
Ben Bolt-Martin cello
70 Brunswick St
Quintet Op. 115 for Clarinet and Strings by Johannes Brahms
Quartet Op. 77, No. 2 by Joseph Haydn
SUNDAY 30 APRIL 2023
By 1891, Johannes Brahms had retired from composing. Always a ferocious critic of his own work, perhaps he felt that he had contributed all that there was in him to give. However, on hearing the playing of clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld, an ember was breathed into life inspiring him to add a Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, two Clarinet Sonatas, and this Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 115. The pump thus primed, he went on to put into the world sets of Fantasies, Intermezzi and other Pieces that put the finishing touches on a prodigious career.
Around 1799, shortly after he had asked the same of Ludwig Beethoven, Prince Lobkowitz commissioned Joseph Haydn to write a set of six string quartets. Haydn managed to finish two brilliant quartets before acknowledging to himself and the world that he could do no more. Aside from an incomplete quartet and a few minor works, his 67th quartet, Op. 77, No. 2, is really his last work.