Academy
Zubin Mehta/Daniel Barenboim
Zubin Mehta/Daniel Barenboim
Brahms cycle
Brahms cycle
July 6, 2021
July 6, 2021
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Johannes Brahms
Symphony No. 3 in F major Op. 90
Concert in B flat major for piano and orchestra Op. 83
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Symphony No. 3 in F major Op. 90
On 2 December 1883 Hans Richter, head of the Berlin Philharmonics, baptized the Symphony no. 3 in F major op. 90 by Johannes Brahms. The success achieved was great and the Symphony, defined with self-irony by the author as "unfortunately too famous", quickly conquered all of Europe. Clara Schumann describes it as a grandiose and full of poetry work where "all movements arise as from a single flow, from a heartbeat, each movement a jewel". And the trusted friend was obviously not mistaken, having immediately identified the essence of the work in that motif of three opening notes (F - A flat - F) that links all four movements. The three initial notes, according to the German nomenclature, correspond to the Brahmsian motto of youth Frei aber Froh (free but happy) and Brahms really had many reasons to feel free and happy at that time. He was at the height of his artistic maturity, he was loved by his admirers but, above all, he was considered by the musical world of the time the most eminent and the greatest musician after Bach and Beethoven, according to a famous definition by Hans von Bülow. The Symphony No. 3 opens with the imposing first bars that see woods and strings intone the motto of three notes: a triumphal sound explosion that gives life to the exhibition, where the first energetic and pulsating theme relates without contrast to the second, with an affectionate tone and rocking. The Andante is animated by a lyrical theme and popular movements, while the Scherzo is a distinctly melodic half-tone page thanks to the famous theme initially sung by the cellos. Unlike the epic nature of the first movement, the Finale, after a tortuous course, ends unexpectedly with an orchestra chord in pianissimo: it is the solemn calm that has the flavor of a new symphonic conquest.

Concert in B flat major for piano and orchestra Op. 83
Almost thirty years and a different destiny separate Brahms's two concertos for piano and orchestra. Composed in 1881, the Concerto n. 2 B flat major op. 83 - which unlike op. 15 will be well received from the very beginning - it is the fruit of the happy creative season in which Brahms has already obtained a well-deserved recognition, as hoped for by Schumann, with the first two Symphonies and the famous Violin Concerto. Defined by the same author as "a great concert" and made, according to his words, with considerable ease, this concert is actually one of the most complex works for piano and orchestra of nineteenth-century literature, starting from the imposing structure of breath symphonic with four large movements in place of the three canons. Compared to the past, Brahms pays particular attention to the protagonism of the instrument, which thanks to a solid and vigorous writing, where there are numerous virtuosic passages, manages to impose itself on a dense and articulated orchestral fabric.