String Quintet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 88
String Quintet in G Major, Op. 111
Following on their successful release of Mendelssohn's complete string quartets, the Mandelring Quartet is now turning to Brahms in a recording of all the composer's string quintets and sextets. With its new roster (featuring Andreas Willwohl, viola), the ensemble joins with Roland Glassl, the quartet's long-time violist, in a recording of the two string quintets for audite.
Brahms's string quintets resemble self portraits. In them he presents, in concentrated form, the contrasts that characterize his musical thinking: drawing from musical history and his own creative output, he achieved a vision of something that is both new and eternally valid. He made use of the larger instrumentation to suggest expansiveness, at the same time casting the work in a terse and concise expressive form.
The musicians' rich and varied experience, gained from many concerts and recordings of repertoire ranging up to the present day, greatly enriches this production. Brahms's quintets, masterworks of his late style, demand a precise and sensitive approach to their conjunction of contrasts: combining cheerfulness and melancholy, expansive ideas and compressed form, reminiscences of the past (including his own early works) and the desire to express a new and valid musical message - all this needs to be both perfectly balanced and clearly articulated. The Mandelring Quartet with Roland Glassl has pulled off such a "knowing" interpretation, masterfully balancing the works' inner tensions.