- Symphony no. 2 D major op. 73
About the composer
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.
|1833||Born 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.|
|1853||Concert 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.|
|1854–57||Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15.|
|1857–59||Choir director, pianist, and teacher at the royal court in Detmold.|
|1859–61||Director of the Hamburg Women’s Choir.|
|1860||Manifesto against the New Germans around Liszt.|
|1863||Cantata “Rinaldo,” Op. 50.|
|1863–64||Director of the Wiener Singakademie.|
|1868||Partial performance in Vienna of “A German Requiem,” Op. 45 (the complete work premiered in Leipzig in 1869)|
|1871–74||Artistic director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of Friends of Music) in Vienna.|
|1873||Haydn Variations, Op. 56a, for orchestra.|
|from 1877||His 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 1878||Travels in Italy.|
|1878||Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, for Joseph Joachim.|
|1881||Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83, with a scherzo movement.|
|1886||Honorary president of Vienna’s Tonkünstlerverein (Association of Musicians).|
|1897||Four Serious Songs, Op. 121. Dies in Vienna on April 3.|
About the authors
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.