Relayed from The Queen's Hall, London
(Sole Lessees, Messrs. Chappell and Co., Ltd.)
THE B.B.C. SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
(Principal First. Violin, CHARLES WOODHOUSE )
Conducted by Sir HENRY WOOD
Brahms himself gave this overture its name of ' Tragic,' but he did not give any other reason for his choice of title than is contained in the music. It was written at the same time as the Academic Festival Overture, in the summer of 1880, and may bo consideredi its complement. Both overtures were first performed at Bresltui in the following year, and the performance was somewhat of an occasion, for Brahms had just been made a Doctor of Philosophy by tho University of that city.
SZIGETI and Orchestra Violin Concerto in D
1. Allegro non troppo ; 2. Adagio; 3. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace
This concerto, the only one for Violin composed by Brahms, was written for Joachim, the greatest violinist of his day and a life-long friend of Brahms, who owed much to him. The work had its first production at a Gewandhaus Concert in Leipzig on New Year's Day, 1879; it now ranks as one of the three or four greatest. violin concertos in the repertory.
Symphony No. 1, in C minor
1. Un poco sostenuto, Allegro; 2. Andante sostenuto; 3. Un poco Allegretto e grazioso; 4. Adagio, Piu Andante , Allegro non troppo. ma con brio
Walter Niemann calls the First Symphony in C minor Brahms' ' Pathetic,' for there is a close affinity on both musical and spiritual grounds with Beethoven's C minor Symphony : 'It's "grand style," its earnest, elevated spirit, its rugged pathos, " purging the emotions through pity and terror (to quote Lessing), all suggest Beethoven ; as do also the virile, concentrated, defiant energy and rugged passion of his musical idiom, which stirs us to our depths, glosses over nothing, spares us nothing, and, even in its moments of exultation and joy, maintains a certain restrained and remote quality. Beethovenesque, too, is the monumental pathos and daemonic character of the first movement. Beethovenesquo the grandiose musical conception..... And finally, the scheme of the work, too, is Beethovenesque in its homogeneous and closely-knit form and poetic and significant feeling.'
On the other hand, George Bernard Shaw , in a criticism written forty years ago, expressed himself thus : ' This symphony is a wonderful feat of the young Brahms-a mere heap of lumps of absolute music; but then, such magnificent lumps ! such colour ! such richness of substance ! one is amazed to find the man who dug them out half smothering them with mere slag, and quite unable to construct anything with them.'
Somewhere between these two very personal, but not entirely conflicting opinions, probably lies the truth as it reflects the reaction by the publio to this master work of a profound genius.
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