Academy
Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta
Brahms cycle - Live streaming on ITsART
Brahms cycle - Live streaming on ITsART
June 21, 2021
June 21, 2021
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Johannes Brahms
Concert in D minor for piano and orchestra Op. 15
Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 98


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Concert in D minor for piano and orchestra Op. 15
After being indicated by Schumann as the new rising star of German symphonism, the young Brahms thinks of approaching the highest genre step by step, starting from writing for the instrument he knows best: the piano. At the beginning of 1854 he began composing a sonata for two pianos, an idea soon abandoned in favor of a first symphony movement. But the path to the Symphony will be long and tortuous for Brahms (the First Symphony will see the light only twenty years later); the fear of disappointing expectations combined with an uncompromising perfectionism push the composer to change his plans during the opera, transforming the initial symphonic project into a less demanding product that allows him to focus on orchestral writing: the concert for piano and orchestra. The difficult gestation of the Concerto n. 1 in D minor op. 15 - four years of reflections, changes and requests for advice from the very trusted Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim - is equal to his fate, marked by fluctuating favors at least until the 1980s, when it will be definitively re-evaluated in the wake of the success of the Second Concerto. The perplexities aroused in the first listeners were due to the author's stylistic and compositional choices, unusual and far from the conventions of the concert for solo instrument and orchestra. Privileging an equal relationship between piano and orchestra, Brahms here adopts a writing that gives very little space to the virtuosic component of the instrument but which is perfectly integrated in a complex orchestral plot of symphonic matrix.

Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 6
After twenty years of doubts, inhibitions and second thoughts, the Symphony n. 1 in C minor op. 68 by Johannes Brahms, the long-awaited debut in the supreme orchestral genre. The chosen one - so I had defined Schumann in one of his famous articles of 1853 - had taken his time, approaching the symphonic goal with caution and extreme prudence. After all, the shadow of the giant Beethoven behind him had induced Brahms to reflect deeply on the master's symphonic language in order to assimilate it and keep it as a precious legacy in the first place, but also to emancipate himself by creating his own style. The Symphony No. 1, the first sketches of which date back twenty years earlier, was completed between the summers of 1874 and 1876, spent by Brahms on the lonely island of Rügen on the Baltic Sea. On November 4, 1876, the symphony made its debut in Karlsruhe with the Grand Ducal Orchestra conducted by Felix Otto Dessoff. The public welcomed it favorably, anticipating the great success that the work would have enjoyed in major German cities within a few months. Hailed by the conductor Hans von Bülow as 'Tenth', for the spiritual bond that unites Brahms to Beethoven in the conception of the genre, Symphony no. 1 immediately shows traits of originality that can be found in the meticulous thematic elaboration of minimal elements, transformed and enlarged according to the principle of variation. The first movement opens with a grandiose introduction marked by the timbre of the timpani where Brahms already exposes in a nutshell the essential themes that will take final form in the Allegro. The Andante that follows has the character of a liederistic page with long solos of strings and oboes, while the Scherzo sounds polite and graceful. The closing is impressive thanks to a Finale, as grandiose as the first movement, in which Brahms proposes a dramatic introduction that leads to a wide-ranging Allegro, characterized by a first theme similar to the Beethovenian Ode to Joy.