Brahms' First String Sextet
The Pro Arte Quartet plus two, remastered for finest sound quality
It may be assumed from the sheer quantity and breadth of Brahms'
writing for small ensembles that Chamber Music was his favourite mode
of expression. He uses a wide variety of instrumental combinations and
numbers, the largest ensembles of which are the string sextets, the
first of which we're delighted to present here.
When I approached this recording I admit it was with some trepidation - the piece is amongst my all-time favourites, and I feared that this early interpretation may not do it justice, or at least that the sound quality might let it down. I could not have been more wrong. Brahms' frequently dense sextet writing is ideal for the 78rpm medium, effectively blanking out much of the inherent surface noise with a wall of sound (with apologies to Phil Spector!).
Couple this with a superlative performance by the Pro Arte Quartet, with Alfred Hobday and Anthony Pini supplying second viola and cello respectively, and in this brand new Pristine Audio remastering you have an irresistable combination.
BRAHMS String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat major, op. 18
Recorded Abbey Road Studio 3, London, 8-9 March, 1935
Originally released in 1935 as HMV DB2566-2569
Matrix nos: 2EA1325-II, 2EA1326-II, 2EA1327-II, 2EA1328-ii, 2EA1329-II, 2EA1331-III, 2EA1332-II, 2EA1333-I
The Pro Arte Quartet:
Alphonse Onnou, violin
Laurent Halleux, violin
Germain Prevost, viola
Robert Maas, cello
Alfred Hobday, viola
Anthony Pini, cello