BRAHMS SYMPHONY NO. 2
A subtle harnessing of symphonic power – Brahms’ Second
A “star event” wrote The Guardian about the performance of Johannes Brahms’ Second Symphony at the prestigious Lucerne Easter Festival with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Mariss Jansons. Recalling that this orchestra is now “among the leading ensembles in the world,” The Guardian asserted that “their style is generous, warm and big-hearted, their relationship with Jansons one of mutual adoration.”
Sunlit, warm, pastoral – the qualities showered upon Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D major op. 73 describe not only the atmosphere of the work, but also of the creative summer of 1877 which Brahms spent in the Austrian town of Pörtschach on Lake Wörth, where he wrote most of the work. Laying aside the heroic tone of the First Symphony, he let himself be inspired by the serenity of the nature there.
The first movement is infused with lively and sometimes slightly melancholic motifs that recur in often playful new guises and relationships throughout the symphony. The ease and grace of the work’s melodies, the elfin lightness of the Allegretto grazioso, and the almost unexpected exuberance of the finale contribute substantially to making this “the brightest and happiest of his four symphonies. [...] Jansons conjured up some of that pale blueness that Brahms must have had in his mind’s eye while writing the work” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung).