Brahms & Mozart: Clarinet Quintets Alexander String Quartet & Eli Eban

Cover Brahms & Mozart: Clarinet Quintets

Album info



Label: Foghorn Classics

Genre: Classical

Artist: Alexander String Quartet & Eli Eban

Composer: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791): Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581:
  • 1Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581: I. Allegro09:28
  • 2Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581: II. Larghetto06:20
  • 3Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581: III. Menuetto07:07
  • 4Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581: IV. Allegretto con variazioni09:33
  • Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897): Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115:
  • 5Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115: I. Allegro13:13
  • 6Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115: II. Adagio11:28
  • 7Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115: III. Andantino04:50
  • 8Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115: IV. Con moto09:27
  • Total Runtime01:11:26

Info for Brahms & Mozart: Clarinet Quintets

Electrifying clarinetist Eli Eban and the Alexander String Quartet celebrate the two masterpieces widely considered the preeminent works in their form: the clarinet quintets by Mozart and Brahms. Eric Bromberger writes: Composers have been drawn to the combination of clarinet and string quartet ever since the clarinet began to take shape in the eighteenth century. The mellow sound and agility of the clarinet make it an ideal complement to the resonant warmth and harmonic richness of the string quartet, and the range of composers who have written for this pairing is extraordinarily diverse, including Weber, Meyerbeer, Reger, Busoni, Hindemith, and more recently Carter and Widmann. Yet all these compositions, varied as they are, exist within the shadow of the two towering masterpieces composed for clarinet and string quartet, the quintets of Mozart and Brahms. Those two quintets are invariably paired in recordings, as they are on this album. And it is quite right that they should be. They are two of the finest chamber works by two of the greatest composers, and there are many parallels between them: both were written late in their creators lives, both were inspired by contact with a particular clarinetist, and both beautifully integrate the quite different sonorities of clarinet and string quartet. Neither work is in any way valedictory, yet coming near the end of each composers life they represent some of the most refined and expressive music of Mozart and Brahms.

Alexander String Quartet
Eli Eban, clarinet

Eli Eban
was appointed principal clarinetist of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra under Lukas Foss immediately after graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music. Shortly thereafter he joined the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the invitation of Zubin Mehta. During thirteen seasons with the Israel Philharmonic, he performed and recorded all the major orchestral repertoire with the world's leading conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Simon Rattle, Georg Solti, Kryzstof Penderecki, and Lorin Maazel.

Eban was the featured soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on many occasions, and he has also performed concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Salzburg Camerata Academica , the City of London Sinfonia, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Louisville Orchestra, and the Israel Camerata/Jerusalem, among others. He tours extensively as a chamber musician, collaborating with renowned artists and ensembles. He has been guest artist with the Alexander, Audubon, Orion, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv and Ying quartets and was a frequent participant of the famed Marlboro Music Festival. While at Marlboro, Eban was selected by legendary violinist Sandor Vegh to be the first wind player to perform at the prestigious IMS Prussia Cove festival in England, drawing acclaim from the London "Guardian" for his "high-powered, electrifying performances". His subsequent recordings for Meridian Records, London, were cited by critics as being "full of life and highly sensitive". He has also recorded for the Saphir, Crystal and Naxos labels. He was a member of "Myriad" (a chamber ensemble formed by members of the Cleveland Orchestra) and has often traveled to Eastern Europe to perform and teach at the invitation of the European Mozart Foundation.

Eli Eban was a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music for two years before joining the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he holds a distinguished ranks' Rudy professorship. His former students are pursuing active solo careers and have won orchestral positions in Israel, Denmark, Korea, Poland, Singapore, and South Africa. In the USA they can be heard in the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, New Mexico, Toledo, the New World Symphony and in the premier service bands in Washington, D.C. He divides his time between teaching at the Jacobs School of Music, touring as a soloist and chamber musician, and serving as the principal clarinetist of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. His summers are spent performing and teaching at the Sarasota Music Festival and playing principal clarinet in the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

Alexander String Quartet
Having celebrated its 35th Anniversary in 2016, the Alexander String Quartet has performed in the major music capitals of five continents, securing its standing among the world’s premier ensembles. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, Shostakovich, and Brahms, the quartet’s recordings of the Beethoven cycle (twice), Bartók, and Shostakovich cycles have won international critical acclaim. The quartet has also established itself as an important advocate of new music through over 30 commissions from such composers as Jake Heggie, Cindy Cox, Tarik O’Regan, Samuel Carl Adams, Augusta Read Thomas, Robert Greenberg, Martin Bresnick, Richard Festinger, Cesar Cano, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Wayne Peterson.

The Alexander String Quartet is a major artistic presence in its home base of San Francisco, serving since 1989 as Ensemble in Residence of San Francisco Performances and Directors of The Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University.

Among the fine musicians with whom the Alexander String Quartet has collaborated are pianists Joyce Yang, Roger Woodward, Anne-Marie McDermott, Menachem Pressler, Marc-André Hamelin, and Jeremy Menuhin; clarinetists Joan Enric Lluna, David Shifrin, Richard Stoltzman, and Eli Eban; soprano Elly Ameling; mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato; violinist Midori; cellists Lynn Harrell, Sadao Harada, and David Requiro; and jazz greats Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez, and Andrew Speight. The quartet has worked with many composers including Aaron Copland, George Crumb, and Elliott Carter, and has long enjoyed a close relationship with composer-lecturer Robert Greenberg, performing numerous lecture-concerts with him annually.

The Alexander String Quartet was formed in New York City in 1981 and captured international attention as the first American quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition in 1985. The quartet has received honorary degrees from Allegheny College and Saint Lawrence University, and Presidential medals from Baruch College (CUNY).

Booklet for Brahms & Mozart: Clarinet Quintets

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