- "An incomparable and well-researched view into the origin of these war horses of our classical repertoire. As always, Bert van der Wolf is your guarantor of perfect sound"
- "This music lives in a way it never lived for me"
***** Dagblad van het Noorden | Job van Schaik
-"Leertouwer makes of Brahms a beautiful adventure"
- "It sounds distinctly different, being well motivated and the recording quality stands head and shoulders above the ground level!"
Aart van der Wal | Opus Klassik
- " It is imperative this release is recognized for its musicological importance and its musical qualities".
***** Fanfare Magazine
About the Album
Our recording represents our desire to find the freedom to apply the 19th-century expressive tools of flexibility of rhythm and tempo, of expressive legato, portamento and vibrato that have been largely forgotten or perhaps discarded over the course of last century. These tools cannot simply be dusted off and re-implemented. As I argued in my dissertation, working with them requires re-inventing them. Portamento for example was a hotly debated subject throughout the 19th century. There is no single model or example of how to apply it today. The same can be said about vibrato. What we can say with certainty is that in the important German violin methods of Louis Spohr and later Joseph Joachim and Andreas Moser, portamento was named as the first and most important means of expression for string players, and vibrato was described as an ornament. When it comes to flexibility of tempo, we can be sure that the 19th-century concept of tempo was more flexible, and that modifications of tempo were much more frequent than in more modern times, when music making has been increasingly influenced by recordings and exact measurements. We know that Brahms had a particularly free and flexible way of performing his own music. Conductor Max Fiedler, for example, writes in his memoires that Brahms played a kind of rubato that one could not write down. And pianist Fanny Davies wrote that when Brahms played a hairpin (<>), it was as if he was lost in the moment of beauty and could not tear himself away from it. Brahms himself famously refused to give metronome markings, writing to his friend, tenor and conductor Georg Henschel, that he could not find a meaningful relationship between his flesh and blood and such a mechanical instrument, a feeling perhaps inherited from Beethoven. He also wrote that any “sane musician” would take a different tempo every week.