BRAHMS SYMPHONY NO. 2
A sunny, serene walk through Brahms' Vienna
Considering that Johannes Brahms had toiled for more than 15 years on his First Symphony, it is hardly surprising that his Second Symphony should be a lighter, brighter work that makes masterful use of the achievements of the First. Expansive and unhurried, it charms the ear with its lyricism and excites it with its passionate tutti outbursts. It has been a favorite among Brahms' orchestral works since its premiere in late 1876.
In the "frenetically applauded" (Die Presse) concert recorded at the splendid Golden Hall of Vienna's Musikverein, Franz Welser-Möst leads his "devoted and exemplarily precise musicians" (Die Presse) in a rendition that polishes every detail to make the work glow from within. Thanks to his many years at the head of the Cleveland Orchestra, Welser-Möst can mold the most intricate sonorities with the subtlest of means.
In a rare London appearance of Welser-Möst and his orchestra performing the Brahms Second, The Guardian praised "one of the world's unquestionably great orchestras." Welser-Möst has been cultivating a refined and disciplined sound since he took over the directorship in Cleveland. Thanks to Welser-Möst, the ensemble has been performing more frequently in Europe and – in the first example of this kind in the history of American orchestras – has been the resident orchestra at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. What better prerequisite for understanding the musical universe of Johannes Brahms!