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About This Program

The Piano Trio of Fanny Hensel and the last quartet of her brother Felix Mendelssohn, both written within six months of each other in 1847, are inextricably tied together by the tragic circumstances of their composition. The passion and lyricism of Hensel’s Trio are brought to a fever pitch in Mendelssohn’s quartet, which was written in an outpouring of grief over his sister’s death from a stroke. Just six months later Mendelssohn also died of a stroke. The Clarinet Quintet of Brahms was also written late in his career. In fact, it is said that Brahms was so enamored by the sound of clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld that the composer came out of retirement to write a clarinet quintet, clarinet trio and two clarinet sonatas dedicated to Mühlfeld.

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