• Serenades

Johannes Brahms always lived in the shadow of Beethoven. The Viennese public was ready to criticize any new work as being ‘warmed over Ludwig”, but Brahms knew better. He worked hard, and he was a choir master for many years before introducing his first symphony.

Johannes Brahms composed these two Serenades as a “preparation” of sorts in the craft of orchestration. I love these pieces, because they contain the authentic Brahms sound, and because they are youthful beginnings of the glory that was to follow in the composers four major symphonies.

Conductor Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra bring to life the depth and brilliance of Brahms’ two Serenades in this recording, as they play on historically original instruments.


  • Serenade No. 1 in D major, Op. 11
  • Serenade No. 2 in A Major, Op. 16

Performed by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas McGegan

Said Michael Steinberg, annotator:

“If Brahms had called his enchanting Serenade in D major a symphony—and he almost did—we would be hearing it all the time.”

Here is the Johannes Brahms Serenade #1, Movement 1, performed by the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, conducted by Robert W. Butts:



And now, here’s Johannes Brahms’ Serenade number.2 op.16 conducted by Leonard Bernstein; watch him smile and dance during the final 2-3 minutes!


Tags: Johannes Brahms, Serenades 1 and 2, Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

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