Evening Masterwork: Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet

Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897) c. 1890

Clarinet Quintet in b by Johannes Brahms

Evening Masterwork for September 23, 2019 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

The Clarinet Quintet by Johannes Brahms was actually one of the final works the composer would produce. Not only that, it marked a surprise re-emergence from retirement for Brahms: at the age of 57, he declared that his creative output had finished. That was, until he heard clarinetist Richard Mühlfield perform. It is a somewhat melancholic work that has an autumn-like energy to it, with a kind of sadness that is not always present but always just below the surface.