Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 2, Tragic Overture (2004)

Brahms

Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra

Hans Vonk

Johannes Brahms did not write his first symphony until he was 43 years old, and then only subsequent to lengthy and self-critical reflection. His fear of the shadow of the unattainable and admired example of Beethoven was too great. Yet after he finally and successfully made up his mind to try his hand at this genre, he completed his fourth symphony within less than ten years. Contrary to other major composers, instead of spreading the composition of his symphonies throughout his entire career, Brahms completed this oeuvre within a surprisingly short period of time,
Brahms struggled for almost two decades with his Symphony No. 1, yet his Symphony No. 2 seemed almost to write itself. Only a few months lay between the first sketches and the completion of the score. During a happy summer holiday, the composer, who was by nature pensive, had felt inspired by the idyllic background of the Wörther lake. The carefree atmosphere of Pörtschach made it easy for Brahms to develop and complete the composition: “The Wörther lake is a fertile base, melodies come flying out so fast, that one has to take care not to tread on them,” thus he wrote to his publisher Simrock in 1877. In fact, following its first performance in Vienna on December 30, 1877, the work was praised by the critics as “poetic”, “blossoming like spring” and in the best Beethovenian sense of the word, “pastoral”. Nevertheless, one should take care not to search for “naturalistic” examples, as there were in Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony. Brahms was opposed to all programme music, and nothing could have been further from his mind than providing pictorial references to be interpreted.

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Hans Vonk

Hans Vonk was born in Amsterdam on June 16, 1942. He studied piano at the Amsterdam Conservatoire, then went on to study conducting with Franco Ferrara and Hermann Scherchen. His first conducting appointment was with the Netherlands Ballet from 1966 to 1969. From 1969 to 1973, he was assistant-conductor at the Concertgebouw Orchestra, which was led at the time by Bernard Haitink. He was appointed chief-conductor of the Netherlands Opera from 1976 to 1985, while at the same time holding the position of conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (1973-1979), as well as that of regular guest-conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1976-1979) in London.
From 1980 to 1991, Hans Vonk was chief-conductor of the Residentie Orchestra in the Hague, with which he toured a great deal both in Europe and the United States. In 1985, he was appointed chief-conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle and the Dresden State Opera. In 1990, he was named first regular guest-conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. The following year saw his appointment as chief-conductor of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, in which position he remained until the 1996-1997 season. In the United States, Maestro Vonk conducted the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Boston Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, to name a few. From 1996-2002, Maestro Vonk was chief-conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra;and from 2002 until his death in 2004, he was chief-conductor of the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra.

 

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Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 2, Tragic Overture (2004)

Brahms

Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra

Cables: van den Hul
Digital Converters: Meitner DSD A/D
Mastering Equipment: B&W Nautilus
Producer: Job Maarse
Recording Engineer: Erdo Groot
Recording location: MCO Hilversum Holland
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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PTC5186042: Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 2, Tragic Overture
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Tracks.
1.
Symphony No.2 - Allegro non troppo
Brahms
00:21:02   Select quality & channels above
2.
Symphony No.2 - Adagio non troppo
Brahms
00:09:08   Select quality & channels above
3.
Symphony No.2 - Allegretto grazioso
Brahms
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4.
Symphony No.2 - Allegro con spirito
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5.
Tragic Ouverture
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00:13:35   Select quality & channels above

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