- String Sextet No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 18
- String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36
Not autumnal, not reflective, not reserved, and definitely not restrained, this coupling of Brahms' two string sextets may seem to some to be at best wrong-headed and at worst simply wrong. After all, isn't Brahms the composer for whom the adjective autumnal was coined and to whom the adjectives reflective, reserved, and restrained are reflexively applied? Yes, but that doesn't mean all of Brahms' music is autumnal: he was young once, too -- and the expansive and exuberant young Brahms is emotionally far from the reflective, reserved, and restrained composer of later years. As England's Nash Ensemble proves in this outstanding coupling of his early sextets in B flat major and G major, Brahms was once an ardently impetuous, even a passionately reckless composer whose themes were big, whose modulations were bold, whose developments were brave, and whose climaxes were just this side of earth-shattering. The Nash's tone is warm and full, its technique is agile and muscular, its ensemble is strong and, at times, a little scrappy, but this only serves to make points more forcefully. While older listeners may prefer the Amadeus Quartet's more autumnal performances, younger listeners -- and listeners who find Brahms sometimes too stodgy -- will enjoy the Nash's performances. Onyx's sound is a bit close, but clean and direct.
|Label:||Onyx Classics Uk|