R. Strauss, Piano Quartets - Complete Chamber Music, v. 1, Sawallisch et al.
Stephen Brookes, Kennedy Center Chamber Players (Washington Post, June 6)
Kennedy Center Chamber Players Knock the Wind out of Poulenc (February 19, 2006)
Kennedy Center Chamber Players (November 17, 2005)
Chamber Music at the Terrace Theater (September 24, 2005)
Of the big Romantic composers Bruckner, Mahler, and Strauss, all wrote a Piano Quar- or Quintet in their youth, all of them with plenty worth hearing – but of them the barely 20-year-old Strauss’s Piano Quartet in C Minor is the finest; much more than just a curiosity. It should not be too surprising because – pace Richard Freed’s comment to the contrary in the program notes – Strauss wrote quite a bit of chamber music, even if mostly in his youth and indeed largely without even assigning opus numbers to them. Again expertly played and easily capable of absorbing (indeed: benefiting from) Nurit Bar-Josef’s glowing, determined performance, the quintet is a big, emboldened work in the line of Brahms (Orkis assures there is plenty of Mendelssohn to be found in it – alas, somehow not to these ears). In this highly valuable and hopefully soon-to-be expanded series, it was the most successful of many good concerts I have heard so far.