Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto) The Monteverdi Choir & Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
Following on from the phenomenal worldwide success of the first release in the Brahms series, SDG continues the series with Brahms’ Symphony 2 which sees John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique explore the music of Johannes Brahms and of those composers that influenced him.
Brahms’ dark, deeply personal and moving Alto Rhapsody for alto solo, male chorus and orchestra is included here alongside three choral works by Franz Schubert. In Schubert’s Gesang der Geister über den Wassern D714 (1821) comparisons between the two composers could not be more clear. Brahms draws on the effective example of his beloved Schubert firstly by composing the rhapsody for male chorus and secondly, basing the work upon a poem by Goethe.
The lyrical beauty of Brahms' Second symphony makes it perhaps the most popular of the four works he composed in this form. The contrast between this symphony and the heroic First is complete, and it is strikingly analogous to the differences between Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth symphonies.