Brahms: Symphony No. 1
Stephen Johnson explores Brahms's Symphony No. 1, which took the composer a long time to compose. Brahms had a number of disappointments as an orchestral composer, in particular the reception of his First Piano Concerto. This made him very wary as a symphonist, and he didn't complete his First Symphony until the age of forty-three, despite having begun the work some twenty years earlier. By the time Brahms did feel ready to launch himself onto this purely orchestral scene, it was to a public already used to programmatic works from Wagner and Berlioz. Brahms strove to create his own unique sound, but the critics pounced upon the symphony, in particular the last movement for its Beethovenian echoes.