This piece is one of the most favorite works among Brahms' chamber musics for me. Rather the most favorite music among all chamber musics, maybe.
The reason is the music itself. You may listen Brahms closely uttering of his thoughts to you in this music. Yes, it is the intimacy that characterizes this music most. Brahms, in the latest days of his life, speaks, from heart to heart, to you with low voice in this music.
Another memory of this music for me is that I used to practise this piece with close friends in my med student days. It was at a class room in an afternoon of fall. The sunray, not very bright but seemingly close to sunset, was coming through the window. It was so quiet. The initial thema in 3 degree harmony sung by the two parts of violin started abruptly breaking the silence. It is a little bit unstable but flows like fall breeze. It was a real pleasure for us to breathe for the music together.
This performance by Guarneri Quartet and Shifran may sound not exciting nor brilliant like the other modern performances. This modesty in performance is rather preferable with this piece. A feeling of resignation to life. I believe this Guarneri Quartet was expressing it in this performance. They say it was the last concert for them before retirement. I don't know why they have chosen this piece for the memorable concert. But I still could imagine what thought they had put to this piece. They have expressed what Brahms wanted to, I believe. Modestly expressed feeling of resignation to life despite of an eagerness for living going on sometimes.
Listen to Brahms uttering to you as if the closest friend of yours.