The Quintet in b minor for Clarinet and Strings, op. 115, was written in Bad Ischl in the summer of 1891 at the same time as the Trio in a minor for Clarinet, Violoncello, and Piano, op. 114. Brahms had just met Richard von Mühlfeld, the clarinettist of the Meiningen Court Orchestra, and had become reacquainted with several clarinet pieces by Carl Maria von Weber and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that Mühlfeld played to perfection. These circumstances inspired him to abandon his resolve, announced one year previously, to give up composition altogether. Writing to Clara Schumann on 2 October 1891, Brahms mentions both the trio and the quintet with a warmth of feeling that might almost be interpreted as a dedication: “More than that, I should in all fairness have to write above my best melodies: Actually by Cl. Sch.! For when I think of myself nothing intelligent comes to mind, still less anything beautiful!” The first performance of both works took place at a private gathering in Meiningen on 24 November 1891, after which op. 115 and op. 114, were given their first public hearing in Berlin on 12 December. At the latter occasion Mühlfeld and Brahms were accompanied by the violinist Joseph Joachim and his celebrated string quartet – an exception to the quartet’s longstanding tradition of performing only music for string instruments at its recitals. The two works and the performers were extremely well received. No less successful were two performances given in Vienna, the one on 5 January 1892 with clarinettist F. Steiner and members of the Rosé Quartet, the other on 19 January with Mühlfeld and the Joachim Quartet. The critics and the composer’s friends were unanimous in their praise: Joachim did not hesitate to call the Clarinet Quintet one of the best works Brahms had ever written.