Anna Zassimova and Kyrill Rybakov play Brahms

According to the cover text of this CD, Brahms premiered his Fantasy Op. 116 in Berlin on 18 October 1892. If this is true (other sources mention other dates), the composer most likely performed that evening on a grand piano made by Carl Bechstein. One fact supporting this conjecture is that Brahms participated in the three-day inauguration of Berlin’s Bechstein Hall in October 1892, together with Hans von Bülow and Anton Rubinstein.


In January 2012, the Russian pianist Anna Zassimova recorded the above-mentioned fantasy on a C. Bechstein grand made in 1876. The vintage instrument gives a clear, light patina to her passionate yet heartfelt interpretation. This CD (Antes Edition, BM319285) also includes Brahms’s two sonatas for clarinet and piano. Kyrill Rybakov, Ms Zassimova’s partner for this recording, also plays a vintage instrument: a remake of the B flat clarinet “Baermann-Ottensteiner system” that Richard Mühlfeld used to premiere the Sonata Op. 120.