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Haydn, Schumann and Brahms

Alan Gilbert in bright and forward-looking music.

Together with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Alan Gilbert depicts Joseph Haydn’s musical scene of a terrifyingly stormy sea in Symphony No. 39, also known as Tempesta di mare – storm at sea. Haydn was 33 years old when he composed this piece, and he was influenced by the ideal of the time captured by the expression Sturm und Drang – Storm and Stress. It was a counterbalance to the Enlightenment notions of rationality, empiricism and reason. Here, we will unite to hear this charged, highly energetic piece of music.

Brahms’ reverence for his predecessor Haydn was so great that he kept a bust of Haydn in his bedroom. To his delight, his Variations on a Theme by Haydn were a great success. However, the theme was not actually by Haydn, it turns out, but was in fact a choral melody. In any case, with the simple theme as a foundation, Brahms created majestic, harmoniously exciting music of orchestral magnificence, filled with variation.

In a fit of inspiration, Robert Schumann began working on his second symphony in early December 1845. In only two weeks, he had a complete draft for piano. But as a result of depression, his poor health and constant tinnitus, the symphony was not completed until the following autumn. Still, his personal challenges made no mark on this music; instead, the symphony is light and forward-looking, a melodic victory over the dark sides of life.

  • The music

  • Joseph Haydn Symphony No. 39 in g minor
  • Johannes Brahms Haydn Variations
  • Robert Schumann Symphony No. 2
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Alan Gilbert conductor
  • From a livestream 19 November 2020.
  • The video is approximately two hours long.