Sonata in Eb Major Op. 120 Nr. 2 for Clarinet and Piano by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was completed in Vienna in 1894, three years before the composer's death. Perhaps the portrait of Brahms with the shaggy, long white beard that we often encounter was painted around this time. As it was the last chamber music work and the last sonata he has written, one can expericence the simple yet deeply matured work in the most remarkable way. The first movement is led by a simple melody with such delicacy; followed by the second movement with a depiction of whirlwinds of emotions in a restrained manner; and the last movement conceys a kind of religious atmosphere in a variation.
I cannot forget of the intense feeling when I first listende to this piece, altougth it was played by flute and piano rather than the original intrumentation. But when I heard flutist Jeffrey Khaner, principal flute of the Philadelphia Orchestra and my teacher at Juilliard School back then, with Pianist Hugh Sung who also played in this recording with me, it was almost a shock for me to have found such an indescibably beautiful piece in this world. although I didn't start learning it right away as I wanted to wait till I felt i was ready to learn such a masterpiece, however when i finally started, ist simply felt like I was floating in a paradise.
The official premiers of this work was at Bösendorfer Hall in Vienna (this CD was recorded at Bösendorfer Hall in Vienna Neustadt) by clarinettist Mühlfeld with Brahms himself on the piano. it is, however, still interesting to note that these two musicians have performed the piece privately to Clara Schumann three months before the premiere. Bearing in mind the fact that Brahms later transcribed this work for viola and piano, it is wishful but pleasant imagination for me that Brahms would have been fond of this arrangement for the Boehm System flute.