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Paul Lewis: Brahms – Late Piano Works op.116-119 (24/96 FLAC)

Paul Lewis: Brahms - Late Piano Works op.116-119 (24/96 FLAC)

Paul Lewis: Brahms – Late Piano Works op.116-119 (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Johannes Brahms
Performer: Paul Lewis
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Harmonia Mundi
Catalogue: HMM902365
Release: 2022
Size: 1.18 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Fantasies (7 piano pieces), Op. 116
01. No. 1, Capriccio in D Minor. Presto energico
02. No. 2, Intermezzo in A Minor. Andante
03. No. 3, Capriccio in G Minor. Allegro passionato
04. No. 4, Intermezzo in E Major. Adagio
05. No. 5, Intermezzo in E Minor. Andante con grazia ed intimassimo sentimento
06. No. 6, Intermezzo in E Major. Andantino teneramente
07. No. 7, Capriccio in D Minor. Allegro agitato

Intermezzi, Op. 117
08. No. 1, Intermezzo in E-Flat Major. Andante moderato
09. No. 2, Intermezzo in B-Flat Minor. Andante non troppo e con molto espressione
10. No. 3, Intermezzo in C-Sharp Minor. Andante con moto

Klavierstücke, Op. 118
11. No. 1, Intermezzo in A Minor. Allegro non assai, ma molto appassionato
12. No. 2, Intermezzo in A Major. Andante teneramente
13. No. 3, Ballade in G Minor. Allegro energico
14. No. 4, Intermezzo in F Minor. Allegretto un poco agitato
15. No. 5, Romanze in F Major. Andante
16. No. 6, Intermezzo in E-Flat Minor. Andante, largo e mesto

Klavierstücke, Op. 119
17. No. 1, Intermezzo in B Minor. Adagio
18. No. 2, Intermezzo in E Minor. Andantino un poco agitato
19. No. 3, Intermezzo in C Major. Grazioso e giocoso
20. No. 4, Rhapsody in E-Flat Major. Allegro risoluto

In his beautifully written sleeve notes to this late Brahms solo recital from Paul Lewis, Brahms authority Matthias Kornemann draws our attention to the uniqueness of Brahms’s late oeuvre being one that Brahms himself consciously sectioned off from the rest of his output. That having made the unusual decision to cease composing aged 59, driven by the conviction that he had said all he had to say, Brahms was then lured back to his manuscript paper after hearing the playing of clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld and being suddenly possessed of a desire to penetrate, as Arnold Schoenberg put it, to the “uttermost limit of the still-expressible”. And without doubt there is a palpable autumnal quality to the ensuing late period’s works, both for clarinet and for solo piano, because while Brahms on the one hand cleaved resolutely to his faith in absolute music with no programmatic subtext, he simultaneously produced works that feel suffused with autumnal expression; of melancholic thoughts of reminiscence, farewell and death.

Consequently, the late piano works – the 7 Fantasien Op. 116, the 3 Intermezzi, Op. 117, the 6 Klavierstücke Op. 118 and the 4 Klavierstücke Op. 119 – always tend to weave an especial spell when grouped together in their own recital. However that feeling does feel especially palpable across these readings from Paul Lewis, recorded in January 2018 and January 2019 at the Teldex Studio Berlin. A lot has to do with the gentle, soft-focus quality to his tone, which reaps especial dividends in pieces such as the first Op. 117 Intermezzo in E-flat with its simple cantabile intimacy, or the dreamy trills of the Op. 118 Romance in F major – and yet equally without negating the impact of high-drama declamations such as the opening of the Op. 118 Ballade in G minor.

Lewis’s poetic capabilities, and his range of colour and dynamic, are giving you fresh things to appreciate with every new emotional twist and turn. Take the Op. 118 Intermezzo in E-flat minor, for instance, as he moves from despairing, whispered lines that appear lost and floating in darkness, to his defiant central climax. Or the way in which he harnesses metrical push and pull, and rubato, into helping every piece unfurl as an outpouring of constantly developing rhetoric. Sticking with Op. 118, listen to his heart-breaking hesitation just before exiting the flowing pathos of the Intermezzo in A major’s central F minor section.

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