Chamber Music by Candlelight
Brahms took great interest in the expressive possibilities of the clarinet at the end of his career with a series of stunning works for the instrument, forming the very core of its repertoire as a solo instrument. It was for one brilliant performer, Richard Mülfeld, that he wrote two sonatas under Op. 120. He included, as a practical option, that these parts could be played on viola with his provided edits. It is for this very reason that I took the liberty to transcribe the Clarinet Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120, No. 1 for trumpet, making minor adaptations from the original clarinet version. Also, Brahms did in fact compose twelve very hastily written études for trumpet in order to nudge his friend at The Hedgehog, the pub where they played, to practice more and acquire greater proficiency. –Andrew Balio
Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Minor, Opus 138, was completed in August 1970. This dark and disturbing but highly innovative work illustrates the new voice, which Shostakovich had found in his last quartets. The work requires the players to tap on the bodies of their instruments with their bows at several points; such techniques had become almost commonplace in the west by this time, but were not typically used in Soviet music of this period. The piece is the only quartet in the cycle that consists of just one movement.