“Work-life balance” issues did not trouble Johannes Brahms – he simply took his work with him on holiday. The summer retreat at Lake Wörthersee was enormously inspiring to him. The melodies, he noted, “flew” at him in such a way that one had to be careful “not to tread on any”. Feeling cheerful and at ease in that summer of 1877, he wrote his Second Symphony unusually quickly. Critics and the public still praise the pastoral mood of the work today.
And if one Brahms piece is not enough for you, you have definitely come to the right place this evening. Principal conductor Christoph Eschenbach and the Konzerthausorchester will not only perform the Second Symphony, but also the composer’s only highly virtuosic violin concerto together with the young Japanese violinist Seiji Okamoto. Conducted by Brahms himself, the violin concerto successfully premiered with soloist Joseph Joachim on New Year’s Day 1879 in the Leipzig Gewandhaus. As so often happens, the judgement of the musical community was eloquently divided due to the structure and difficulty of the work. It remains highly demanding to play, but its characterisation as a concerto not “for” but “against” the violin (as proclaimed by German conductor Hans von Bülow) has since been revised.
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