Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers

By John N. Burk; Philip Hale | Go to book overview

JOHANNES BRAHMS

SYMPHONY NO. I, IN C MINOR, OP. 68
i. Un poco sostenuto; allegro
ii. Andante sostenuto
iii. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
iv. Adagio; allegro non troppo, ma con brio

BRAHMS' First symphony contains remarkable pages, as those of the first movement, passages in the second, and the marvelously poetic introduction to the final allegro. Mr. Apthorp's belief that this introductory episode may have been suggested to Brahms by the tones of the Alpine horn is not too fanciful, and this impression is made on all that have heard the horn whether in the Oberland or high up in the Canton Vaud. Brahms' fondness for Switzerland is well known, and he had visited that country before the finale was performed. In this introductory adagiothere is a lyric flight and at the same time an imaginative force in superb decoration that are seldom found in the purely orchestral compositions of Brahms.

Brahms was not in a hurry to write a symphony. He heeded not the wishes or demands of his friends, he was not disturbed by their impatience. As far back as 1854 Schumann wrote to Joachim: "But where is Johannes? Is he flying high or only under the flowers? Is he not yet ready to let drums and trumpets sound? He should always keep in mind the beginning of the Beethoven symphonies; he should try to make something like them. The beginning is the main thing; if only one makes a beginning, then the end comes of itself."

Max Kalbeck, of Vienna, the author of a life of Brahms in 2, 138 pages, is of the opinion that the beginning, or rather the germ, of the Symphony in C minor is to be dated 1855. In 1854 Brahms heard in Cologne for the first time Beethoven's Ninth symphony. It impressed him greatly, so that he resolved to write a symphony in the same tonality. This symphony he never completed. The first two movements

-[77]-

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Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes - Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers *
  • Editor's Note v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xvii
  • Johann Sebastian Bach i
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven 7
  • Hector Berlioz 56
  • Ernest Bloch 66
  • Alexander Porphirievitch Borodin 70
  • Johannes Brahms 75
  • Johannes Brahms 77
  • Anton Bruckner 100
  • John Alden Carpenter 114
  • Claude Achille Debussy 118
  • Anton DvoØÁk 130
  • Edward William Elgar 135
  • Manuel De Falla 140
  • CÉsar Franck 145
  • Georg Frideric Handel 150
  • Franz Josef Haydn 154
  • Paul Hindemith 161
  • Arthur Honegger 164
  • Paul Marie ThÉodore Vincent D'Indy 166
  • Franz Liszt 173
  • Franz Liszt 175
  • Charles Martin Loeffler 184
  • Edward Macdowell 186
  • Gustav Mahler 189
  • Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy 195
  • Modeste Petrovitch Moussorgsky 206
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 209
  • Symphonies in E Flat (koechel No. 543), G Minor (koechel No. 550), C Major ("Jupiter"), (koechel No. 551) 211
  • Serge Sergievich Prokofieff 225
  • Sergei Vassilievich Rachmaninoff 229
  • Joseph Maurice Ravel 234
  • Otterino Respighi 241
  • Nicolas Andrejevitch Rimsky-Korsakov 244
  • Charles Camille Saint-Saens 253
  • Arnold Schoenberg 259
  • Franz Peter Schubert 261
  • Robert Alexander Schumann 270
  • Alexander Nicolaievitch Scriabin 288
  • Jean Julius Christian Sibelius 292
  • Richard Strauss 308
  • Igor Fedorovitch Stravinsky 331
  • Joseph Deems Taylor 339
  • Peter Ilitch Tchaikovsky 343
  • Richard Wagner 363
  • Richard Wagner 365
  • Carl Maria Von Weber 380
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams 389
  • Index 395
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