This imposing diptych is made up of Brahms’s First Symphony, still composed under Beethoven’s intimidating gaze, paired with Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, which is not without Brahmsian colours.
It was as a seasoned composer, after twenty years of sketches, that Brahms came out with his first symphony in 1876. It is not surprising, then, that the symphony in question exhibits superior mastery, going from the modest warmth of the melodic flow (Andante) to the refinement of the gracious Scherzo-like pastoral, to the powerful Finale, with sacred elements recalling Bruckner (though the two were cast as opponents by Viennese music critics) alongside distinctly Beethovenian hymnal majesty.
In counterpoint, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, among the most prized in the repertoire, displays its rich lyrical palette, dramatic intensity and pious meditation. In it, the soloist’s extreme virtuosity navigates a nostalgic orchestral language traversed by reminiscences of Brahms and Tchaikovsky