Album: Brahms, Viola - Maxim Rysanov (Onyx)

But for the first Violin Sonata, all the arrangements on this superlative double-disc are Brahms's own.

Clarinettists may protest, but the F minor and E flat Sonatas have special intimacy here, while the dialogue in the E flat Trio for horn/viola, violin and piano is intensified. Rysanov's tone is magnetic, from its sparkling top to its burnished bass. Violinist Boris Brovtsyn, pianists Katya Apekisheva and Jacob Katsnelson and cellist Kristine Blaumane are equally impressive.

Pick of the Album: The brooding Adagio of the Trio in A minor (op.114)