The clarinet trio by Brahms has been one of my favorite chamber musics since student days. Maybe, I have already quoted this piece somewhere in this blog. I clearly remember as if yesterday when I listened to this music for the first time. It was at a hall in a temple near to my school in Tokyo at some late afternoon. When the cello played by Sumiko Kurata in her young days started singing the first theme in solo, it has fully grasped my mind. I have imagined how Brahms had felt for his last years in his life. A passion in loneliness. Compromise and resistance. It was attractive to me but was just a thing away from me.
It was natural that it was difficult for me, in my twenties, to understand this piece in its depth originally Brahms had intended to express. Now I could fully appreciate the passion in the loneliness in the last years of his life, which Brahms might intend to represent with this piece.
In addition, I listened a kind of clarity in this piece. Its style and ensemble both sound clear and transparent. Not like his earlier chamber musics. Of course, it might be due to the number of the instruments playing it. However, whether the composer has intended to do that or not, this sounds simple and clear. It won't ruin the deep emotion and thought proper to the age Brahms composed it at. Through the simplicity and clarity of this piece, we could sympathize it even deeper.
The cellist, Hagen, from the Hagen Quartet, suppresed vibrato on the most parts except for the solistic melody line in his performance. This style in his performance also contributed, I believe, to express the clarity of his piece.
Aging is not bad. We could become to understand more of such music as this one when we get older.