Brahms & The Search for a Symphony

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 7:30 PM

Merkin Concert Hall
129 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10036

Brahms & The Search for a Symphony

The Serenade No.1 in D might have been Brahms’s first symphony. But there are reasons he was reluctant to commit to that lofty genre in this ambitious early work. The spectre of master symphonist Beethoven loomed, as did that of the recently deceased Schumann, whose praise Brahms feared he couldn’t live up to. “Serenade” won out over “symphony,” but depth and charm abound nonetheless: the rustic pastoral opening giving way to Brahmsian pathos and sweetness; the spacious adagio, relishing in the low strings and reeds; a Mozartean minuetto; and a bounding rondo, seemingly headed for the hills. The original nonet version was destroyed when Brahms adapted it into a symphonic version—restored here by Alan Boustead.

A pre-concert discussion will be held an hour before the concert with OSL Director of Artistic Administration A.J. Benson who will provide an introduction to the arrangement of the Beethoven symphony and reconstruction of Brahms’s Serenade, as well as a context for Brahms’s steps towards a symphonic form.

BEETHOVEN (arr.) Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36, arranged by Andy Stein
BRAHMS (arr.) Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11 - reconstructed by Alan Boustead

St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble