Brahms - Symphony No. 2 (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, cond. Masur)

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Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 (Kurt Masur, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig)

From the Church of St. Nicolai, Leipzig, Germany
20 Years Peaceful Revolution - Leipzig commemorates the 9th of October 1989

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Conductor: Kurt Masur

Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73
0:28 I. Allegro non troppo
16:15 II. Adagio non troppo
25:48 III. Allegretto grazioso
31:26 IV: Allegro con spirito

Watch the full concert here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBjoEdEVMABLHsPnmDHO3SGZ6YFNG5rqO

On 9 October 1989, 70,000 people staged a non-violent demonstration calling for more freedom and democracy in the GDR. Thanks to the claim “Peaceful Revolution”, initiated by Kurt Masur as one of six prominent citizens of Leipzig, everything proceeded peacefully. That evening, the Gewandhausorchester played under his baton Brahms’ Second Symphony at the St. Nicolas Church. The following regular "Monday Demonstrations", which came to be described as the “Peaceful Revolution”, became a major milestone on the way to open the Berlin Wall one month later on November the 9th in 1989 and paving the foundations for the reunification of the two German states.

Exactly 20 years later, the Gewandhausorchester and Kurt Masur commemorate the beginning of the German reunification by presenting the same symphony at the same location.

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Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73, was composed by Johannes Brahms in the summer of 1877, during a visit to Pörtschach am Wörthersee, a town in the Austrian province of Carinthia. Its composition was brief in comparison with the 21 years it took Brahms to complete his First Symphony.

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, and strings.

The cheery and almost pastoral mood of the symphony often invites comparisons with Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, but, perhaps mischievously, Brahms wrote to his publisher on November 22, 1877, that the symphony "is so melancholy that you will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning."

The premiere was given in Vienna on 30 December 1877 by the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of Hans Richter; Walter Frisch notes that it had originally been scheduled for 9 December, but "in one of those little ironies of music history, it had to be postponed [because] the players were so preoccupied with learning Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner." A typical performance lasts between 40 and 50 minutes.
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