Richard Muhlfeld 's His Quintet For Clarinet, 2 Violins, Viola, And Cello

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In his Quintet for Clarinet, 2 Violins, Viola, and Cello Op. 115, Brahms creates an important and influential work in the chamber music repertoire. By writing his Quintet for the specific clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld’s artistic brilliance, and by taking musical liberties with conventional forms and expectations, Brahms crafts the intimacy and seriousness one has come to expect from chamber music. Towards the end of his life, Brahms had intended on retiring from composing. Around 1891, the Meiningen orchestra, with whom Richard Mühlfeld held his career with, frequently featured Brahms’s music at well known festivals in the area. Previous to meeting Mühlfeld, Brahms had no interest in centering his writing onto the clarinet. He felt the…show more content…
The Joachim Quartet concerts were known for being a major series performing strictly string chamber music. Brahms had convinced Joachim with his manuscripts that the work was worthy of the sacrifice of adding clarinet and piano to the series. The highly regarded reputation of the Joachim concerts certainly allowed for the seriousness of the Quintet to be featured, for all of the cleaver composition techniques Brahms employed were certainly appreciated by the intellectual audiences the Quartet frequently attracted. The Quintet follows the general guidelines for form that audiences of the time have come to expect from serious string chamber music pieces. The first movement acts as a Sonata form with some unexpected variation, the second as a three-part song form. The third and fourth movements begin to some unconventional practices. In the third, instead of a scherzo movement in 3/4 time, we get a sonata allegro in 4/4 and 2/4 time. In the fourth, the audience gets a theme and variations, but the tempo is considerably slower than what one would normally expect from a concluding movement. In 1891, the only memorable clarinet quintet was composed by Mozart. If one were to come into a performance of the Brahms Quintet with Mozart’s Quintet in mind, they would expect the clarinet to take the most important role, with the strings accompanying more often than not. This is certainly not the case in Brahms’s work, as the
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