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Rudolf Buchbinder plays Brahms 1

Wed, 9. April 2025 | 19:30 UhrKKL Luzern, Konzertsaal


  • Johannes Brahms (1833 ‒ 1897)

    • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15

  • Antonín Dvořák (1841 ‒ 1904)

    • Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, ‘From the New World’

Beginnings are always difficult. Johannes Brahms never had such a difficult time with a work as he did with his first piano concerto. He originally wanted to write a sonata for two pianos in 1854; but when he found that the music was crying out for orchestration, he tried to transform what he already had into a symphony. This also floundered. Then in 1856, a stroke of genius hit: it had to be a piano concerto. And what a concerto! A work of symphonic fullness and all-consuming virtuosity, breaking all previous moulds. Yet at the same time, in the slow movement there is music of an infinite, inward-looking, almost vulnerable tenderness. In contrast to the young Brahms, Dvořák was already a world-famous name when, in 1892, he received an honourable commission from New York: to give American folk music a solid foundation. So he set to work, composing a symphony to fit the bill; no difficult task for him, given that he had already completed eight. However, this new ninth symphony ‘From the New World’ did not really sound American, but more Czech-Bohemian. Today it is regarded as the epitome of Czech national music – probably Dvořák’s most successful score worldwide.

Despite the best intentions, things can turn out differently: with his ‘Symphony from the New World’, Dvořák wanted to write an exemplary work based on American folk music, but the result is a unique hymn to his Czech-Bohemian homeland.

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