With multiple critically-acclaimed symphonic cycles already under their collective belt, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and its artistic director Paavo Järvi follow up their 2009 Beethoven cycle and 2011 Schumann cycle with a Brahms cycle! In two concerts at Paris's Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, they present all of Brahms's symphonic masterpieces. The first concert features the heroic Third and the groundbreaking First.
It was in 1876 at the late age of 43 that Brahms premiered his Symphony No. 1, a work that took an astonishing two decades to finish. Self-critical and awed by the legacy of Beethoven, Brahms took his time before approaching the symphonic genre in earnest, preparing himself by first composing in other orchestral genres. Brahms’s First is considered by many to be the greatest first symphony ever written, but it is the Third—completed in 1883 and premiered by Hans Richter and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra later than year—that became the favorite of many contemporaries. As put by the celebrated Viennese music critic Eduard Hanslick, "the Third strikes me as being artistically the most nearly perfect," and Dvořák marvelled at how "this work surpasses his first two symphonies [...] What beautiful melodies are there to be found! It is full of love and open-heartedness."
Photo: Paavo Järvi © Ixi-Chen