Brahms - Trio in A minor op.114

The Clarinet Trio in Am, Op. 114 is one of four chamber works composed by Johannes Brahms featuring the clarinet as a primary instrument. It was written in the summer of 1891 for the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld, and is considered by scholars as part of a rebirth for the composer who in 1890 declared his String Quartet in G Major to be his final work. On his fifty-eighth birthday, Brahms was busy writing his will to his publisher, initially providing for his siblings and stepmother, and secondly for his landlord and faithful landlady, Celestine “Mandy” Truxa. Shortly afterwards, when visiting the Ducal Court in March 1891, he was deeply fascinated by the beautiful playing of the clarinetist, Richard Mühlfeld. The serious mood of his later compositions was made appropriate by the tone of the instrument. To emphasize how much he loved his performance, Brahms called Mühlfeld his Fräulein Klarinette, or “his dear nightingale.” Following his performance, Brahms wrote the score of the Clarinet Trio and sent it to his beloved landlady. In addition, a historical painter, Adolf Menzel was in the audience during the first performance of Brahms’ Op. 114 on December 12th, 1891, with Robert Hausmann on cello and Brahms on piano. Menzel was so moved that he made a sketch of Mühlfeld as some sort of Greek god, saying to Brahms, “We often think of you here, and often enough, comparing notes, we confess our suspicions that on a certain night the Muse itself appeared in person for the purpose of executing a certain woodwind part. On this page I have tried to capture the sublime vision.” The following month they had a triumph with the public premiere in Berlin. VIDEO: Martin Fröst clarinet, Clemens Hagen cello, Leif Ove Andsnes piano, International Chamber Music Festival, ICMF 2010,

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