In the early 1870s, Johannes Brahms complained to the conductor Hermann Levi: “I will never compose a symphony! You have no idea what it is like for us to always have such a giant (Beethoven) hanging over us. Like all composers of his generation, Brahms saw Beethoven’s symphony as an edifice that could not be surpassed. This is illustrated in particular by the considerable amount of time he devoted to the creation of his Symphony No. 1 in C minor, which spans from the first sketches in 1862 to its premiere on November 4, 1876.
In the same year, Anton Bruckner had submitted his Symphony No. 2, also in C minor, for a first revision, whose bold tonal language was denounced as “high treason, indignation and tyrannicide” by Brahms follower Max Kalbeck. This tightened version, prior to the major revision phase that followed, was performed only once during Bruckner’s lifetime, on February 20, 1876. Conducted by Jérémie Rhorer, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, playing on period instruments, brings to life the attempts of both composers to emerge from the overwhelming shadow of the “giant” Beethoven.
Johannes Brahms Symphony n°1
Anton Bruckner Symphony n°2
Le Cercle de l’Harmonie
Conductor Jérémie Rhorer