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William Primrose (viola)
Louis Kentner (pianoforte)
Early in 1891, when Brahms went to stay with the Duke of Meiningen, he heard Miihlfeld, principal clarinet of the Meiningen Orchestra, whose tone was as beautiful as his execution was clean and brilliant. Brahms was so impressed that he asked Miihlfeld for a private recital, at which Miihlfeld played many examples of clarinet music and explained the finer technical points of his instrument. The result was that Brahms composed four works in which the clarinet played a predominant part: two
Sonatas for clarinet, a Trio for clarinet, 'cello, and piano, and a Quintet for clarinet and string quartet.
But though actually inspired by clarinet tone, these works retain much of their beauty when the clarinet part is taken by a viola. This is particularly true of the two Sonatas, for in the viola versions Brahms did not merely transfer the part from one instrument to the other but rewrote it to a considerable extent.
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Feedback about A SONATA RECITAL, National Programme Daventry, 22.20, 14 August 1937
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