Elena Bashkirova and Wenzel Fuchs perform Brahms, Op. 120 (II/II)

Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in E-flat major

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Elena Bashkirova — Pianist

Wenzel Fuchs — Clarinetist

Program notes

Like a crocus blossoming in the snow, Brahms's final years produced some of his most extraordinary compositions. Indeed, it was only after officially ending his career that the German composer rediscovered the expressive possibilities of the clarinet—and thus were born, thanks to Brahms's clarinetist friend Richard Mühlfeld, the Clarinet Sonatas of Op. 120. While these sonatas demonstrate a lucid compositional structure, their intimate and poetic character seems to announce the dissolution of forms post-Brahms by composers like Debussy, Schoenberg, and Mahler.

In the spirit of calm control that guided the composer, Elena Bashkirova and Wenzel Fuchs present to us an undersung part of Brahms's artistic testament with a riveting interpretation of the three movements of the Sonata Op. 120, No. 2 in E-flat major. The composer's genius can be heard throughout, especially in the clever dialogue between the two instruments.

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