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After a period as a court composer at Detmold, Brahms returned to the city of his birth, Hamburg, in January 1860. Here, in relative tranquillity, he explored the then rare piano quartet repertoire. The Piano Quartet No. 2 received a very sympathetic hearing in Vienna, Clara Schumann even preferring it to its immediate predecessor, the Piano Quartet, Op. 25 [Naxos 8572798]. Its lyricism is heightened by a romantically beautiful Adagio. Mahler’s vibrant Piano Quartet in A minor dates from 1876, the end of his first year at the Vienna Conservatory, where the only completed movement was first performed.
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