Riccardo Muti/Wiener Philharmoniker
Riccardo Muti/Wiener Philharmoniker
May 10, 2021
May 10, 2021
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Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt Op. 27, Ouverture in D major

Robert Schumann
Symphony No. 4 in D minor Op. 120

Johannes Brahms
Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 73

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Picture of maestro Riccardo Muti: © Todd Rosenberg Photography - by courtesy of RMMUSIC
Picture of Wiener Philharmoniker: © Lois Lammerhuber
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt Op. 27, Ouverture in D major
The overture Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt op. 27 dates back to 1828 and is inspired by Goethe's poems Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, also set to music by Beethoven. The poetic content is reflected in the structure of the overture that Mendelssohn divides into sections: the introductory Adagio which evokes the stillness of the sea on a calm day and the Very Merry which describes the navigation between the floating waves and the joyful final landing; all associated with a smooth writing and crystal clear instrumentation.

Robert Schumann - Symphony No. 4 in D minor Op. 120
Although cataloged a posteriori as the Fourth, the Symphony in D minor is in chronological order the second of Robert Schumann's symphonies. It was composed in 1841 in a period of extreme creativity; in fact, within a few months some important pages of Schumann's production saw the light, including the First Symphony op. 38 and, in fact, the Symphony in D minor. However, the lack of success obtained at the first performance in Leipzig (on 6 December of that same year) distracted the author from the intention of publishing the score, which was shelved and revised ten years later. In the renewed and definitive guise, the Symphony in D minor will be re-proposed to the public on March 3, 1853 in Düsseldorf and then published under the opus number 120. The revision concerned above all the instrumentation, which Schumann reinforced, while the rhapsodic system remained unchanged. From the beginning the author had thought of a symphony in four movements without solution of continuity connected to each other by a dense network of harmonic and melodic references, that is to say to a form that in structure and conception was similar to the symphonic fantasy rather than to the classical symphony . It is the thematic analogies between the restless and passionate momentum of the first movement, the poignant melancholy of the Romance, the fantastic digressions of the Trio, up to the cheerful boldness of the Finale that confer unity and cohesion to the work. The entire symphonic process in fact comes to life from the short passage presented in the Introduction which already brings to light the functional elements for the construction of the main themes of the symphony, which will germinate from each other without opposition but according to a cyclical procedure.

Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 73
Just a year had passed since the presentation of the First Symphony when in the summer of 1877, on the shores of Lake Wörth in Carinthia, the Symphony n. 2 in D major op. 73. The speed with which Brahms attended to the new composition was surprising when compared to the very long gestation, which lasted almost twenty years, which accompanied his first symphonic creature. If the First had been hailed as the 'tenth symphony', alluding to the Beethoven heritage of which Brahms is the guardian and guarantor, the Second was called 'pastoral' for its predominantly lyrical and melodic character, but also 'Viennese' for the use of the waltz rhythm in two of the four movements. It is a motto of only three notes, sung by the low strings to which horns, bassoons, flutes and clarinets respond, to give the start to the work. It might seem like an introduction but in reality it is already the fundamental piece with which Brahms, through the skilful use of the variation-development technique, builds the first theme and from there the entire symphonic discourse. The following Adagio is a page of intense lyricism that welcomes the chamber sounds of winds and strings to the lulling rhythm of berceuse, while the Allegretto grazioso with its two Trios moves carefree with a bucolic dance step. In the last movement, to establish the connection with the beginning of the symphony, the initial motto of three notes reappears, which Brahms transforms with countless rhythmic-melodic combinations in the general triumph of the orchestra.