High praise in this month’s edition of BBC Music Magazine from Erik Levi for Kenneth Woods, conductor‘s orchestration of Brahms‘ Piano Quartet no. 2 in A major on Nimbus Records. The August issue of BBC Music is on sale from all good retailers.
“Hopefully this new addition to the Brahms symphonic canon will get the widespread dissemination it certainly deserves…
“One of the most inspired moments comes in the middle of the slow movement, where the solo violin and horn soar above the rest of the orchestral accompaniment in a passage that points forward to the equivalent movement in the First Symphony. No less exciting is the enunciation of the opening motif for a quartet of horns in their highest register ( a passage you’d definitely want to hear played by the Vienna Philharmonic / Wiener Philharmoniker), the delicate, almost Mendelssohnian string and woodwind exchanges in the Scherzo and the exhilarating Finale. Inevitably, Woods has had to make some compromises along the way. The mysterious piano arpeggios that punctuate the slow movement do not easily transfer to the orchestra. But Woods’s solution of sustained woodwind and string chords over a crescendo timpani roll brilliantly conveys the music’s menacing character.
“Schoenberg’s fascinating orchestration of the G minor Piano Quartet certainly exemplifies the proto-symphonic dimentions of Brahms’s musical argument. Yet there are grounds for arguing that the expansively conceived A major Piano Quartet, written around the same period, is even more worth of being clothed in orchestral fabric. Kenneth Woods has grasped this nettle and produced an absolutely imaginative arrangement.”