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Symphony no. 2 D major op. 73

About the Composer


Johannes Brahms

His significant output comprises chamber music, piano works, numerous choral compositions and songs (including settings of folk-song lyrics), as well as large-scale orchestral works in the 1870s and 1880s. His compositions are characterized by the process of developing variation. He is considered an antithesis to the New German School around Liszt, and an advocate of “absolute” music.

1833Born in Hamburg on May 7, the son of a musician. His first piano instruction with Willibald Cossel at age seven, then with Eduard Marxen; first public performances from 1843.
1853Concert tour through German cities; he meets Schumann, who announces him as the next great composer in his essay “Neue Bahnen” (“New Paths”). A lifelong, intimate friendship develops with Clara Schumann.
1854–57Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15.
1857–59Choir director, pianist, and teacher at the royal court in Detmold.
1859–61Director of the Hamburg Women’s Choir.
1860Manifesto against the New Germans around Liszt.
1863Cantata “Rinaldo,” Op. 50.
1863–64Director of the Wiener Singakademie.
1868Partial performance in Vienna of “A German Requiem,” Op. 45 (the complete work premiered in Leipzig in 1869)
1871–74Artistic director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of Friends of Music) in Vienna.
1873Haydn Variations, Op. 56a, for orchestra.
from 1877His symphonic output begins with the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (begun 1862); composition of the Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73; the Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 (1883); and Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (1884–85): cantabile themes, chamber-music-like style.
from 1878Travels in Italy.
1878Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, for Joseph Joachim.
1881Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83, with a scherzo movement.
1886Honorary president of Vienna’s Tonkünstlerverein (Association of Musicians).
1897Four Serious Songs, Op. 121. Dies in Vienna on April 3.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

About the Authors


Robert Pascall (Editor)

Prof. Dr. Robert Pascall (b. Colwyn Bay, 1944, d. June 9, 2018) studied under Sir Jack Westrup at Oxford. He wrote books, analyses and editions of music from Bach to Schoenberg, with a special focus on Brahms. He was Professor and Head of Music at the University of Nottingham 1988-1998 and at Bangor University 1998-2005.

Until his death he was Honorary Professor of Music Philology at the University of Cambridge. He acted as Vice-chair of the new Complete Brahms Edition from its inception in 1991 and was then a member of its Beirat. He edited the symphonies for this edition, including Brahms’s own arrangements of them for piano duet, and advised conductors and orchestras on historically informed performance of Brahms’s music. He was President of the Society for Music Analysis 1996-2000, and was Corresponding Director of the American Brahms Society and an Honorary Member of the Royal Musical Association.


Michael Struck (Editor)

Dr. Michael Struck, born in 1952 in Hannover, studied school music, private music teaching, piano (diploma, class of Werner Schröter), musicology (Constantin Floros) and pedagogy at the music conservatory in Hamburg and at Hamburg University. In 1984 he completed his doctorate with a thesis on Schumann’s controversial late instrumental works.

He is a research associate at the research centre the new “Johannes Brahms Complete Edition” at Kiel University (member of the editorial board), as well as editor and supervisor of numerous volumes. He is the author of many musicological publications on music of the 18th to 20th centuries and other work editions. Struck is also a music critic. As a pianist he has given concerts with the vocal ensemble of Kiel University as well as with the Wiesbaden Chamber Choir and has given concert lectures (in 1989, 1997, 2001, 2005 as part of the matinees on “Raritäten der Klaviermusik” in Husum). In 2009 he was awarded the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau, in 2010 as a scholar at the Brahms Research Centre at the Musikwissenschaftliches Institut of Kiel University he was a co-prizewinner of the Brahms Prize 2010, conferred by the Brahms-Gesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein.

Perhaps the farthest-reaching revelations in the new edition of the Second Symphony are related to the order of composition of the four movements and the disposition of the low brass instruments. All in all, this amounts to something of a good musicological detective story, elements of which have been adumbrated in previous publications (including Reinhold Brinkmann’s book on the Second Symphony, Late Idyll), but never fully clarified hitherto. … None of the foregoing aspects of Brahms’s Second is readily apparent from the printed score that spreads so handsomely and readably across 216 pages of the new volume. But the performer or student who spends time working through the splendid introduction and the richly detailed critical report will have the privilege – and the thrill–of entering into Brahms’s creative world, and into the compositional evolution of one of the great masterworks of the symphonic repertoire.Is a new Brahms edition necessary? Certainly not in the way solving the world’s problems of war, terrorism, health, and hunger are “necessary”. But the present volume makes a strong case indeed for why the new Brahms edition is a welcome arrival on the musical and musicological scene.

American Brahms Society, 2004



Johannes Brahms Double Concerto a minor op. 102
Study score (pocket score), Urtext Edition, paperbound
HN 9852

€17.50 available

€17.50 available
Johannes Brahms Ser. 1, Vol. 4 | Symphony no. 4 e minor op. 98
Complete Edition with critical report, clothbound
HN 6015

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€291.00 available
Further editions of this title
Johannes Brahms Ser. 1, Vol. 8 | Piano Concerto no. 2 B flat major op. 83
Complete Edition with critical report, clothbound
HN 6020

Variants from €17.50
€335.00 available

Variants from €17.50
€335.00 available