All right. Introductions over (see below), here's a substantive post.
The annual Music@Menlo chamber festival is under way, so I'm spending a fair amount of my time there. I got sent on review assignment to cover a big honking wad of Brahms piano music (and some other music). And I've heard two of the preview concerts. At one, Schubert's Grand Rondeau for four-hand piano, D.951, was cheerful and enjoyable, but Schumann's Piano Quintet was frustratingly below par: it lacked tension and liquidity. At the other, Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Schumann from the same four-handed pianists was solid and satisfactory, and his Quintet for the same forces but different players was delightfully done, with an eerie off-kilter flavor to it, as if the string players were using the entirely opposite bowing from everybody else who plays the piece (which they might well have been, for all I would know without checking).
More to come.