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Johannes Brahms: Piano Quartet No.2 in A major Op.26 (orchestrated by Kenneth Woods)

NI6364
£10.99

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The idea for this orchestration of the Brahms Piano Quartet in A Major came to me spontaneously in a flash of inspiration while I was coaching chamber music at the Ischia Chamber Music Festival in 2008. I vividly remember the bright blue sea and cloudless sky over Mount Epomeo that morning as I listened to a group play though the first movement of the piece in its original form. As I began to work with them, I found myself speaking to the pianist, as I often do, in orchestral terms. “Can you try playing the opening phrase more like…. a quartet of hunting horns?” I asked. His playing sounded more convincing with that in mind, but that sound concept had also planted itself firmly in my inner ear. After the coaching I had a bit of free time, and found myself listening to an imaginary orchestral version of the entire first movement emerging from that horn quartet. I was fascinated by the ways in which I thought an orchestral realisation could bring to the fore some the nature imagery and vernacular music that is present in the original. By the end of that morning, I’d decided to try to undertake a realization of the orchestration. It took several years from that morning on Ishcia to complete this orchestration. After my initial work on it in 2008, the piece was set to one side while I attended to other projects with firmer deadlines. The final version was premiered on 21 November, 2017 with the English Symphony Orchestra in Cheltenham Town Hall.

The scores of Brahms’ Four Symphonies are like a sacred text for me. They are among the most studied, most loved, most performed works in my library. In trying to understand his use of the orchestra well enough to translate this Piano Quartet into a symphonic sound world, I’ve found my admiration for Brahms’ achievement continuing to grow. [Kenneth Woods]

Johannes Brahms: Piano Quartet No.2 in A major Op.26 (orchestrated by Kenneth Woods)

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