Johannes Brahms Clarinet Concert Analysis

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Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor, opus 115, was composed in Bad Ischl during the summer of 1891. It should be noted that in 1890, Brahms concluded that he would no longer compose. In the same summer of completing the Quintet, Brahms composes his Clarinet Trio, opus 114. These two works for clarinet would be his last contributions to chamber music. Prior to the Brahms Quintet, other works written for chamber clarinet included the opus 34 of Weber, opus 107 by Anton Reicha and the A Major Quintet, K.581, by Mozart. Additionally, the Adagio from Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet has often been attributed as one of the inspirations of Richard Wagner’s early years.
Brahms’ two works for clarinet were directly inspired by clarinetist, Richard Mühlfeld of the Meinigen court orchestra. During the short period of time he had retired from composing music, Brahms attended a
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Your fondness (this is only between you and me) for the royal chamber musician and music director Mühlfeld has not escaped my eye; it pained me to see how very few opportunities there were for you to watch him play…but now I am bringing him to your chamber. He shall sit on your chair, you may turn the pages of his music, and fill in the rests, which I have granted him, with fond discourse. The rest doesn't matter, but, just for the sake of making the story complete, I would like to add for this purpose that I have written a trio and a quintet in which he has a part, and which I am placing at your disposal—offering for your use. Besides, your Mühlfeld is the greatest artist there is on the clarinet, and for that reason I find that Meiningen is the only place they could be played.”
Brahms has been known to have had a tendency to seek not only professional relationships, but friendships from the musicians he admired. Through his friendship with Mühlfeld, Brahms was not only drawn to write the Clarinet Quintet, but motivated enough to come out of

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