- Trio for Clarinet (or viola), Cello & Piano in A minor, Op. 114
- Sonata for Clarinet (or viola) & Piano No. 1 in F minor, Op. 120/1
- Sonata for Clarinet (or viola) & Piano No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 120/2
For those who love the music of Brahms, the late works for clarinet hold the same place in their hearts that the late quartets hold in the hearts of Beethoven lovers. In the late clarinet works, the essential qualities of Brahms' music -- its heroic resignation, its autumnal colors, its ineffable yearning -- are distilled to their quiet quintessence. For those who love Brahms, the intimacy, even the poignancy, of the late clarinet works give them an appeal beyond the dramatic orchestral symphonies and concertos of his maturity, a sense of Brahms' alone at the end of his compositional life singing only to himself. With their clear yet warm tone, their relaxed yet attentive ensemble, and especially their deep affection for the music, these 2004 recordings of the "Trio in A minor for clarinet, piano and cello" plus the pair of sonatas in F minor and E flat major for clarinet and piano performed by clarinetist Karl-Heinz Steffens with pianist Michal Friedlander and cellist Ludwig Quandt are as good as the best ever recorded. While the list of the best performances of these works runs to at least a dozen candidates, Steffens' meltingly warm lower register and his uncanny talent for making the upper register sing surely matches even Karl Leister's velvet legato, Sabine Meyer's eloquent expressivity, and Alfred Boskovsky's charming chalumeau register. For listeners who don't already know Brahms' late clarinet works, this is a fine place to start. For listeners who already know and love Brahms' later clarinet works, another superb recording will always be welcome. Tudor's sound is rich and deep, but wonderfully detailed.