Season 2014/2015

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Berliner Philharmoniker

Berliner Philharmoniker

Sir Simon Rattle Conductor

Robert Schumann

Symphony No. 2 in C major

Johannes Brahms

Symphony No. 2 in D major

Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation in co-operation with Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest Berlin

Dates and Tickets Introduction one hour before the concert begins.

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 8 p.m.

Philharmonie

43 to 132 €

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 8 p.m.

Philharmonie

43 to 132 €

Programme

“In this work the composer reached a new high point in his oeuvre,” wrote Alfred Dörffel enthusiastically about Robert Schumann’s Second Symphony in C major composed in 1846–47 in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. Ernst Gottschald even declared Schumann a worthy successor to Ludwig van Beethoven, as the C major Symphony is constructed following the example of Beethoven’s Ninth. This comparison is less far-fetched than it may appear, as Schumann’s Second follows the blueprint of consistent alignment towards the Finale, a conciliation of musical opposites ending triumphantly that characterises Beethoven’s Ninth.

In contrast, Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 in D major op. 73, composed at the lake called Wörthersee in 1877, was seen by his contemporaries as being in the tradition of Beethoven’s Pastorale. Along those lines, for instance, Theodor Billroth, a surgeon friend of Brahms, wrote enthusiastically: “Why, it’s nothing but blue sky, the rippling brook, sunshine and cool green shade!” Brahms on the other hand repeatedly stressed the work’s tragic sides: “The new symphony is so melancholy that one cannot stand it,” he wrote on 22 December 1877 in a letter to his publisher Fritz Simrock. As in his first symphony, Brahms appears here as a typical contemporary of the end of the 19th century, his view of the world no longer characterised by an undiminished optimism. In this way, moments of symphonic idyll appear as utopian (and thus fractured in a melancholy way) invocations of a long-lost peaceful and harmonic situation.

Sir Simon Rattle

Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings

Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings

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