American Record Guide: Brahms Clarinet Sonatas

Cologne-based clarinetist and pedagogue Nicolai Pfeffer and Bonn native and frequent festival pianist Felix Wahl present three autumnal Brahms works: the two Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 120 and the four Piano Pieces, Op. 119. The performances are very good. Pfeffer sports a nice covered tone, natural lyricism, and fluid fingers; and Wahl boasts exceptional clarity, heartfelt phrasing, and superb technique. Together, they share an innate feel for the poetry and drama of the scores; and each reading is emotionally satisfying. This is a respectable and enjoyable addition to the catalog of the Brahms clarinet sonatas; and Wahl’s exquisite rendition of the Piano Pieces is a perfect interlude.

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