"For me, Brahms is one of the greatest story tellers. When he speaks, I’m intoxicated by the disarming beauty of his voice. Through his music, Brahms so eloquently paints pictures that words cannot. His is the most companionable music. Music that feels as if it is listening, understanding, and even comforting you as you listen to it".
Lloyd Van't Hoff
"Brahms’ chamber music is very special to me, as it allows me to share this generosity of spirit with my musical friends, and the clarinet sonatas in particular have a wonderful autumnal fascination. I love the way, as an old man, Brahms is unafraid to give phrases extra time to breathe than he might have earlier, commenting and fondly meditating on their meaning. It is paradoxical that one should find this sense of time and space when one’s own time on earth is running short.".
Peter de Jager
About the album
Throughout many years of collaboration the music of Johannes Brahms has been a constant shining light in Lloyd Van’t Hoff and Peter de Jager’s oeuvre. Inspired and stimulated as they are by the beauty and technical prowess of Brahms’ works, the pair have grown together joyously sharing their thoughts and love for his music. This album is a timely outpouring of affection that Van’t Hoff and de Jager share for this great composer, celebrated through a thoughtfully curated selection of works that warmly embrace their respective instruments.
The album opens with the two Clarinet Sonatas Op. 120. Glowing like fading embers, these Sonatas share a summative quality that is typical of Brahms’ late chamber music, shining with an introspective, generous — if melancholic — spirit. Three of Brahms’ much-adored Hungarian Dances take central position on the album, complimented by a selection of Lieder, paying homage to the singing quality of clarinet playing that was exhibited by Brahms’ muse, Mühlfeld. The inclusion of the beloved lullaby Wiegenlied at the close of this disc is apt, then, if we are to take the Clarinet Sonatas as Brahms’ own “Good evening, good night” to the world.
Sonata no. 1 in F minor op. 120 no. 1
1. Allegro appassionato
2. Andante un poco adagio
3. Allegro grazioso
Sonata no. 2 in E flat major op. 120 no. 2
5. Allegro amabile
6. Allegro appassionato
7. Andante con moto - Allegro
Hungarian Dances (selections)
8. Hungarian Dance no. 2 in D minor
9. Hungarian Dance no. 6 in B flat major
10. Hungarian Dance no. 7 in A major
11. Feldeinsamkeit from op. 86
12. Wie Melodien zieht es mir from op. 105
13. Es träumte mir from op. 57
14. Wiegenlied from op. 49
Produced and engineered by Thomas Grubb and Mano Musica
Recorded in the Windsong Pavilion, Four Winds, Bermagui, NSW
To Buffet Crampon, Four Winds Australia, Sweet Creative for valuing this project.
To my friends Graeme Steele Johnson and Cameron Jamieson for their lovingly crafted contributions to this album.
To Martin Comte, and Barry and Joan Miskin for their continued unwaivering support.