Kell/Fine Arts Qt: Brahms Clarinet Quintet Op. 115 (r. 1951) - Decca DL 9532
Jacket EX / LP EX
This handsome and outstanding LP from American Decca (DL 9532, US pressing, Gold Label Series, mono – no stereo edition exists, original inner sleeve included) features Reginald Kell and the Fine Arts Quartet's sublime rendition of Brahms's Quintet in B minor for Clarinet and Strings Op. 115, recorded in New York City in 1951 and first issued on LP in 1952 for $5.85.
Kell's unique artistry still provokes disagreement among professionals, but this Mozart Clarient Quintet remains a landmark in the work's discography. As critic Jonathan Woolf wrote for musicweb-international.com in his reivew of DG's 6CD 'Reginald Kell · The Complete American Decca Recordings' "[Kell was] one of the greatest wind players of the twentieth century, a revolutionary in tone production and a consummate soloist, chamber and orchestral player – not forgetting his far reaching influence on his students, one of whom incidentally was Benny Goodman."
At this time the eminent Fine Arts Quartet was comprised of Leonard Sorkin (1st Violin), Joseph Stepansky (2nd Violin), Sheppard Lehnhoff (Viola), George Sopkin (Cello) and their playing here consistently matches Kell in nuance, finese, and imagination – there is almost echt Viennese quality to the playing – warm, lithe beautifully pointed and vibrantly colored – outstanding!
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is EXCELLENT. There is minor bumping at corners, very slight wear along the open edge of the jacket, and discoloration to the rear panel. However, there are no seamsplits, bends, or owners' markings and remains extremely solid and attractive – an excellent collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. The surfaces are not always CD silent, but in general the playback is superb – again, an excellent collector's copy.