Fritz Dolezal / Werner Hink / Jasminka Stancul / Hans Peter Ochsenhofer

Brahms: Piano Trio No. 1; Piano Quartet No. 1

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This is exactly the way Brahms' early chamber music should sound: richly sonorous, passionately lyrical, and wholly idiomatic. But how could it not sound idiomatic? The three string players -- violinist Werner Hink, cellist Fritz Dolezal, and violist Hans Peter Ochsenhofer -- are all members of the Wiener Philharmoniker while pianist Jasminka Stancul frequently performs in Vienna's active chamber music scene. Together, they really lean into Brahms' B major Piano Trio and G minor Piano Quartet with portamento aplenty from the strings, occasional rolled chords from the piano, and soulful tempo rubato at the drop of a hat from the whole ensemble. But it all works because of the musicians' intuitive sense of the young Brahms' highly Romantic style. The Trio's expressive opening Allegro con brio and brooding central Adagio along with the quartet's elusive central Intermezzo and dashing closing Rondo alla Zingarese are all prime examples of Brahms' playing at its best. Recorded in deep, full, but detailed sound by Camerata, this disc deserves to be heard by any sufficiently dedicated Brahms fans.

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