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Str Sextets Import

1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Dec 1 1988)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B000002ZKC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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1. String Sextet No. 1 In B Flat Major, Op. 18: Allegro ma non troppo
2. String Sextet No. 1 In B Flat Major, Op. 18: Andante, ma moderato
3. String Sextet No. 1 In B Flat Major, Op. 18: Scherzo: Allegro molto
4. String Sextet No. 1 In B Flat Major, Op. 18: Rondo: Poco allegretto e grazioso
5. String Sextet No. 2 In G Major, Op. 36: Allegro non troppo
6. String Sextet No. 2 In G Major, Op. 36: Scherzo: Allegro non troppo
7. String Sextet No. 2 In G Major, Op. 36: Poco adagio
8. String Sextet No. 2 In G Major, Op. 36: Poco allegro

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Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on Jan. 29 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent performance. The sound is clean but still full and solid. They understand Brahms. Of the five recordings I have of the Sextets, this one is the best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Performances and Recording of Great Chamber Works April 9 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The two Brahms string sextets, Opp. 18 and 26, are among the glories of Brahms's chamber music. People who don't particularly like chamber music tend to like these because of the fuller sound obtained from six string instruments. Indeed, one friend said that it sounded like a string orchestra, a sound he particularly liked, and 'not that scrawny fiddling you get with string quartets.' I don't endorse that view of string quartets, but I certainly understand what he meant.

As a regular attendee at the Aspen Music Festival for almost forty years, I have heard a number of performances of each of these works. They are favorites of players, amateurs and professionals alike. And I have several recordings of the sextets. I like this one by the Raphael Ensemble as well as any of them. It was their very first recording; they were young London musicians at the time. They went on to record the two String Quintets equally well. Hyperion has given them extremely lifelike sound.

This recording is a winner. One knows from the very first few bars that the music is in the hands of a solid, musicianly group and that the recording will be satisfying. After all these years -- the CD came out in 1989 -- it is still the one I reach for most often.

Scott Morrison
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Superb performances Nov. 29 2009
By G.D. - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This disc was highly praised when it was released and still remains one of several gems of Hyperion's impressive catalogue (it was also the Raphael Ensemble's first recording). The characterfulness yet warmth of the playing strikes the listener from the very opening bars of the first sextet, conveying a depth and making an impact that few if any other recordings can match. This is carefully shaped, warm and alluring playing, yet with profundity, commitment and indeed even boldness, excellently phrased and with a feeling of freshness these works need (they are, to be honest, not among Brahms's very best chamber works). Perhaps surprisingly, the highlight of the performance of the first sextet is the finale (but perhaps in particular because of the wonderful, contrastive continuity they manage to bring between this movement and the preceding scherzo).

The second sextet is maybe even more impressive than the first. It is quite remarkable, in fact, how unforced the music sounds, how natural and freshly it flows through the first movement, slowly gathering momentum to a radiant close. But the Raphaels are no less impressive in the other movements, and again the finale is particularly impressive, imparting the feeling that it couldn't have sounded differently; delightful. The recorded sound is bright and spacious, but perhaps just a little bit artificial-sounding. Still, this is a thoroughly recommended release.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A must buy for chamber music lovers Nov. 20 2007
By Paul T. Greco - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Brahms is a master of chamber music and this recording really brings out the moving melodies of his sextet. Sextets are pretty rare in the genre and this one is a real gem to experience. This album can be enjoyed by anyone from the novice classical music listener to the romantic expert who will appreciate the subtle nuisances of the Raphael Ensemble. Either way you cannot go wrong with the CD. Enjoy.
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Solid Brahms Jan. 29 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent performance. The sound is clean but still full and solid. They understand Brahms. Of the five recordings I have of the Sextets, this one is the best.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Superb Raphael Ensemble playing tarnished by poor sound Jan. 31 2014
By jt52 - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I've spent years searching for the consistently excellent recording of Johannes Brahms' two String Sextets. This may be the most frustrating experience yet. The UK-based Raphael Ensemble, a chamber group with a track record of fine playing, delivers an outstanding performance of these two beautiful works, one that is probably superior to the many alternative releases I have sampled over the years. Alas, Hyperion - a label with generally high standards for sound engineering - has saddled this release with abrasive and subpar sonics - too bright, too harsh, lacking in depth. These sonic defects also afflict the Raphael Ensemble's well-played Bruckner disc, as well. For that reason, I am grading this item 4 stars. It's a darned shame.

The excellence of the Raphael Ensemble's interpretation is particularly evident in the first two movements of the awesome 2nd Sextet Op. 36 (1865). The long and ambitious opening allegro is given a rich, seamless reading that evokes an image of oceanic surging. The ensuing Scherzo, in what I think is the disc's highlight track, jumps out to my ears as a notable, either with perfectly-judged pizzicato notes or, in the "furiant" middle section, with controlled and proficient energy. The better-known and popular 1st Sextet Op. 18 (1860, written when Brahms was just 27) is also done very well. The Raphael players are able to handle the different textures and moods well, for instance, in Op. 18's playful and musical scherzo.

Those who don't care about sonics or listen on cheaper equipment should get this recording. Excluding sound considerations, it's really the reference version of the sextets. Those who do care about sonics should be cautioned on the release's unfortunate flaws.

Note that my criticism is apparently shared by the label, which has re-issued a special edition remastered version of this disc. You might want to take a look at that.