Charles Mackerras conducts Brahms Serenades
Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany, on 7 May 1833; and he died in Vienna, Austria, on 3 April 1897. The two serenades are wonderful works from Brahms’ early life.
The first Serenade was completed in 1857, when the composer was 24 years old.
It consists of six movements, and lasts slightly less than forty minutes. Keep in mind that the composer’s Symphony Number 1 was completed many years later. As such, this is an early attempt by Brahms to write for Symphony orchestra, but without the rigors of following the structure of the so-called Sonata Form. In addition, calling these works “Serenades” would clearly avoid comparison with the masterpieces of Beethoven, which were always looming out there as large ‘clouds’ hanging over Brahms’ head.
Serenade No. 2 in A, Op. 16
The second serenade was written in 1859, and was revised in 1875. It is scored for a standard orchestra, but without violins.
Brahms’s two youthful serenades are beautifully performed by Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. This is lovely music, which provides enjoyable listening, hints of Europe’s Nature, and wonderful, balanced performances. The sound is especially noteworthy in this Telarc recording. Sir Charles has a great way of bringing us all the intricate elements of this music: Beautiful sound of the wind instruments, warm sound of the Violas and Cellos, and a very satisfying interpretation.
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