"Listening to these works reveals Brahms' love of chamber music. The composer of only four symphonies, two piano concertos and a violin concerto created these 24 works which are as complex and beautifully formed as any of the large-scale works. One example is the Horn trio: this haunting performance is, for me, one of the highlights of the set. Other highlights include the Clarinet Quintet and the Piano Quintet, but I don't hear any weak links in this set. Each CD features liner notes detailing the circumstances surrounding the creation of the work. Highly recommended - one of the best sets from Brilliant classics."
D. Crane | Portland, OR United States | 07/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As classically educated violinist, I am very skeptical of box sets. Frequently, the low price is reflected by the low quality of recording. I still have a recording of the Mendelssohn Concerto I got in one set in which you can clearly hear plenty of mistakes from the soloist. I would be inclined to say that you get what you pay for, except that this set may make me eat my words. In the two days that I have had the set, I have loaded the entire 12 CDs into my iPod and taken them with me wherever I have gone. Like another reviewer, I think the Horn Trio is a remarkable recording, and arguably the best of the set. Anyone who has played a horn before can appreciate the skill and artistry present. I also think that the clarinet sonatas are very good, and I am very impressed with the violin sonatas which are performed with an impressive depth and sensitivity. Instead of having these works performed entirely by people you haven't heard of, some of the performing ensembles include the Tokyo Quartet, the Brandis Quartet, and the Nash Ensemble. Some of the other performers that I have never heard of give performances that rival those with household names. I did notice that this compilation curiously does not include Brahms' "Sonatensatz" in c-minor for violin and piano, which falls squarely into the "chamber" catagory, and is often published with the rest of the violin sonatas. I guess, with this omission, one could argue this set is not complete. Notwithstanding, this is a great way to start a chamber music collection. I may look at buying the Mendelssohn set next..."
Wonderful Performances at an Extraordinarily Low Price
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 03/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been on a Brahms chamber music kick lately. (Just last night I heard a concert by the up-and-coming Albers String Trio -- three young sisters -- and pianist Pei-Yao Wang playing the Brahms Second Piano Quartet, adding to my Brahms delirium.) I've owned this big box of Brahms Chamber Music for a couple of years and I return to it often. There is not a weak performance among the twelve (12!) CDs included. The Brilliant label has been, excuse me, brilliant in buying up the rights to recorded performances that meet a high standard of artistry. Among the performers here, for instance, are the Tokyo, Alberni and Brandis Quartets, clarinetist Karl Leister, the Nash Ensemble, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, violinist György Pauk, pianists Roger Vignoles and Philippe Entremont et al.
The Piano Quartets, on which I've been focused in the past few days, are played by pianist Derek Han, violinist Isabelle Faust, violist Bruno Giuranna and cellist Alain Meunier -- a marvelous collection of musicians.
My point, of course, is that Brahmsians wanting the complete chamber music could certainly make a killing (and derive much pleasure) by purchasing this very low-price box from Brilliant.
My highest recommendation.
Better than you'd think for such a cheap box!
C. Matheson | Vancouver, Canada | 10/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although few of the artists in this compact box are household names, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better complete series of performances of Brahms' exquisite chamber works. Indeed, many of these performances, such as the Cello Sonatas, the Piano and String Quartets, and the Trios, to name a few, are some of the finest I've ever heard performed - far more passionate and musical/romantic than some of the better-known performers. Look no further than the Cello Sonatas as compared to, say, Ma and Ax's somewhat academic and emotionless performance on a much more expensive label.