Continuing with my little obsession of the last couple of years: Brahms! Some of his works, are of a more immediate appeal, I think, those where his romanticism is less restrained and perhaps more youthful. His first piano concerto, his Tragic overture, his first symphony or his first sextet are maybe examples of this. They tend to be some of his more popular works, possibly. Then some of others are more elusive at first contact, and they are slow-growers. At least for me his second string sextet is/was one of those.
Ah, but what wonderful music! Take just his first movement. The first theme is almost strange in its understated and almost hidden appeal, with a quirky accompaniment (is that tremolos?) that will gain a structural importance later on in the development. Then in wonderful contrast the sweeping second theme in the cello (one of his great melodies, and a very Brahmsian one) brings back his fully romantic and inhibited heart.
The whole movement is wonderful from beginning to end, in one of those musics where you feel each note is just right and none can be spared.
I’m usually not bothered about repeats, and in general I prefer not to have them. But three works by Brahms I feel they greatly enhance the music, and are needed structurally. The first movement of his third symphony, his second string quintet and this, his second string sextet.
The version I know and I cherish is the Raphael Ensemble. They play it beautifully, but I’m sure there will be other notable recordings. Any pointers welcome.
Do other people know and love this piece?