Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major
A Staatsoper Unter den Linden event in co-operation with the Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest Berlin
Almost a quarter of a century lies between Johannes Brahms’ two piano concerts. The D Minor Concerto is based on sketches of compositions for different instrumentation and only took on its final form in 1856/57 after much preliminary work. Compared to this, the composition of the Second Piano Concerto in the summer of 1881 was unproblematic. The plan to compose a “Clavier-Concert B dur” gripped Brahms as early as 1878, a year in which he once again devoted himself to solo piano music with the eight Piano Pieces op. 76 following a 10-year hiatus.
Prompting this was his focus on the music of both Frédéric Chopin und Robert Schumann. While Brahms’ First Piano Concerto is based on plans for a symphonic composition, Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick called the Second, which is opened by a horn solo, “a great symphony with a piano obligato”. Daniel Barenboim will perform both of Brahms’ piano concerts at the opening of Musikfest Berlin 2014, Staatskapelle Berlin will be conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.