Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) after having finished String Quartet op.lll in 1891,
has declared his final decision to end with his work as a composer. However, everything
has changed after the acquaintance with Richard Muhlfeld (1856-1907), the clarinetist in
the service at Duke of Meiningen. Muhlfeld was an extremely gifted and musical person. A
violinist in the orchestra of Duke, he also learned to play the clarinet. Muhlfeld has
played for Brahms several solo pieces for clarinet when Brahms was visiting Meiningen.
Both the performance of Muhlfeld and the beautiful sound of the instrument have astonished
Brahms. As a result, Brahms was inspired to writing four truly grand chamber music pieces
for clarinet: Trio for clarinet, cello and piano op. 114, Quintet for clarinet and string
quartet op. 115, and two clarinet sonatas op. 120. Muhlfeld has shown Brahms all technical
opportunities and possibilities of the clarinet, but the composer was interested only in
those qualities which corresponded to his mood. Music in the sonatas is filled with grief
and boundless tenderness. Even the fast movements are sustained in lyrically-pastoral
mood. First performance of the sonatas was in January 1895 in Vienna. Soon, after the
premiere, Brahms and Muhlfeld went on a two-month tour across Germany and Austria where
the music had a tremendous success.
Robert Schumann (1810-1856). His Phanta-siestucke op. 73 for clarinet and
piano were originally called Morceaux de Soiree (Evening Music Pieces). The title
shows their initial intention, which was to be played at music evening meetings which were
common in social life those days. On November 13th, 1894 Clara Schumann has
arranged a musical evening dedicated to the friendship of Robert Schumann and Johannes
Brahms; Phantasiestucke, performed by Clara Schumann and Muhlfeld was included in
the program, as well as two clarinet sonatas by Brahms, performed by Brahms and Muhlfeld.
Valery Gorokholinsky (clarinet) was born in 1960 in Krivoy Rog (Ukraine). The
winner of the first prize of All-Union competition of the wood wind players (Odessa,
1983). Educated at Central Music School of Moscow he has graduated from the Moscow State
Conservatory in 1983. Since 1980 he has worked as a soloist of the State Symphony
Orchestra of the Central Television and All-Union Radio under Maxim Shostakovich, State
Symphony Orchestra of the Ministry of culture USSR under Gennady Rozhdestvensky and
Russian National Symphony orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev. As the soloist he performed
with leading symphony orchestras of Moscow, and also with the Viennese chamber orchestra
"Symphonietta". Now he performs as a soloist and a chamber player.
Marina Gorokholinsky (piano). Educated at Central Music School of Moscow she has
graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory in 1984. All this time she has studied with
famous pianist and professor Victor Merzhanov. Now she performs as a chamber player and
solo pianist. "Marina Gorokholinsky is a bright representative of Russian piano
school. Her concert performances are always exceptional in artistic way and never leave
the audience emotionally untouched. She possesses a smooth beautiful sound and deep
sensitivity, which allows her to show in her performances all the uniqueness of the pieces
of the composers of different styles." (Victor Merzhanov).