HERE is a glorious set of performances that will find its way onto somebody's Pick of the Year list (certainly mine).

The immaculate and wise Tokyo Quartet are joined by two American soloists, clarinettist Jon Manasse and pianist Jon Nakamatsu, in pristine and moving performances of Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor and the sublime Clarinet Quintet in B minor. The Tokyo Quartet is not a shouty group. They eschew rhetoric. And in that respect, they are exquisitely matched by Manasse, whose warm, liquid tone in the serene and achingly autumnal slow movement of the Clarinet Quintet, with the whispered, murmuring Tokyo string sound, is time-stopping. Nakamatsu's dry, lucid piano tone and dazzling sense of rhythm underpin the impact of a brooding, brilliant performance of the Piano Quintet in an important and revealing new recording of two great and very different masterpieces.

Michael Tumelty

Loading article content