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Brahms Symphony No.2, D major
Johannes Brahms

Duration of performance: c. 48 minutes
Time of composition: mainly in the summer of 1877
First performance: December 30th, 1877
Orchestra: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass tuba, drums, 1st and 2nd violins, violas, celli, double bass.

Preliminary remarks to the 2nd symphony

Brahms's 1st symphony in C minor is often called his "Pathetic". His 2nd symphony is called the "Pastoral" in music history. He composed this work mainly during the summer of 1877 when he spent his first holidays at Pörtschach on Wörthersee.

First performance

On December 30th, 1877 the symphony was first performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, under the conductor Hans Richter (cf. "Österreich-Lexikon") , and was widely acclaimed by the public.

General remarks

The notion that Brahms was a serious and introverted composer of sombre music is wide-spread. Hellmesberger's comment on Brahms is famous: "My joy is the grave." Solemnity is certainly a characteristic trait of Brahms's music, but there are also works in which he expresses joy and cheerfulness. The 2nd symphony is one of them, as "Lake Wörth is such a virgin place where the melodies fly around and you just have to take care not to step on one!" Many melodies inspired by the lake have been worked into the symphony. Clara Schumann, Brahms's soul-mate, could welcome the composer at Lichtental in Baden/Baden, where he finished writing down the score in a few weeks.

Movements

The notion that Brahms was a serious and introverted composer of sombre music is wide-spread. Hellmesberger's comment on Brahms is famous: "My joy is the grave." Solemnity is certainly a characteristic trait of Brahms's music, but there are also works in which he expresses joy and cheerfulness. The 2nd symphony is one of them, as "Lake Wörth is such a virgin place where the melodies fly around and you just have to take care not to step on one!" Many melodies inspired by the lake have been worked into the symphony. Clara Schumann, Bruckner's soul-mate, could welcome the composer at Lichtental in Baden/Baden, where he finished writing down the score in a few weeks.

1st movement: Allegro non troppo
2nd movement: Adagio non troppo
3rd movement: Allegreto grazioso
4th movement: Allegro con spirito

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