Herbert Blomstedt conducts Sibelius and Brahms

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In addition to a tendency towards taciturnity – a trait often attributed to Northern Europeans – Johannes Brahms and Jean Sibelius were also both convinced that programmes should be dispensed with when composing symphonies. Even without extramusical associations, however, every contribution of the two composers to this genre is characterized by a strong, individual profile. Brahms’s Third Symphony is distinguished by its alternation between major and minor, as well as the stark contrast between the dramatic force of the outer movements and the intermezzo character of the middle movements. Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony, which many experts consider his most important, is marked by fragmentary motifs, dissonant harmony and an uncompromisingly tragic mood. Whereas Brahms’s Third dies away in <em>p</em><em>iano</em>, Sibelius’s Fourth breaks off abruptly at the end. Brahms conducted his F major

Symphony himself during a concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker shortly after its premiere in 1884 – “from the manuscript”, according to the archives, since it was not printed until several months later.


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