|Brahms, Johannes / Symphony No. 4; Hungarian Danes Nos. 2, 4-9 (London Philharmonic)|
|Add Date:||2014-03-21|| ||Pull Date:||2014-05-23|| ||Charts:||Classical/Experimental|
|Week Ending:||4 May|
Brahms (1833-1897) wrote his Fourth Symphony Op. 98 during the summers of 1884 and 1885. It displays his essence: technical means always serve expression and themes undergo organic development into complex interactions of motifs and melodic fragments. Longer melodic lines ebb and flow urgently and lyrically, while contrapuntal complexities add richness. The symphony opens with sighs in the strings, resigned and searching. Then the mvmt becomes lamenting, and at the end, resolute. The 2nd mvmt theme begins tentatively and then warms, becoming miraculously expansive, a response to the opening mvmt’s tragedy. The 3rd mvmt is aggressively upbeat and jubilant, full of high spirits and energy, providing relief from the unremitting seriousness of the first two mvmts. The final mvmt is a somber set of 32 variations on a theme from a Bach cantata (No. 150), “I long to be near you, Lord.” The extended opening is followed by lyrical, yearning passages, an energetic development section and a finale charged with defiance. Brahms learned about Hungarian gypsy music from his friend, violinist Eduard Reményi, and always loved it. His first two sets of Hungarian Dances were for piano duet (1869) and became immediately and enduringly popular, esp. Nos. 5 and 6. They are orchestrated here in a Naxos commission.