"... a collection of exceptional interpretations from a masterly duo." Gramophone
"We owe an immense debt to Richard Mühlfeld. Brahms had retired when the Meiningen clarinettist’s artistry drew him back to composition, as a result of which we have the clarinet trio and quintet, and these two sonatas, as well as the late piano pieces and the Four Serious Songs. I have heard more fiery accounts of the F minor sonata’s first movement, but none that bring out so well its profound sadness. The 15-year-old Mendelssohn’s E flat sonata is a delightful discovery: any danger of excessive blandness is banished by Johnson’s beautiful phrasing and rich colours, and by Lenehan’s powerful playing." Sunday Times
“Emma Johnson and John Lenehan make a fine partnership ..” Robert Anderson, Music & Vision
"A landmark disc."
At first it seems surprising that Emma Johnson has waited until now to record two pillars of the repertoire, Brahms's opus 120 clarinet sonatas, but it soon becomes apparent why: these are the fruit of Brahms's sunset years, works of profound maturity that require a deep understanding that only years of careful performance and interpretation can produce. The result is definitive; Johnson's gorgeous tone evoking the reputed delicate, warm and unaffected sound of the sonatas' dedicatee, Richard Mühlfeld. The Mendelssohn sonata, written when he was just 15, is a charming contrast, its youthful confidence beautifully captured by Johnson's winning partnership with John Lenehan, which is most strikingly apparent in their triumphant reading of the Schumann Phantasiestücke. A landmark disc.
Stephen Pritchard, Sunday Observer
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