Brahms / Schumann / Berlin-based orchestras

Berliner Philharmoniker

Brahms / Schumann I

Sir Simon Rattle

Sir Simon Rattle

© Holger Kettner

Past Dates

19:00 work introduction

In his own words, Robert Schumann wrote his first symphony “in that first flush of spring, which carries every man away even in his old age and comes over him anew every year.” At the beginning of 1841, the “flush of spring” was synonymous with a work élan that overcame Schumann. After having laboured over a symphony in C minor the year before that he just could not bring to fruition, Schumann sketched his “Spring Symphony” in only four days and orchestrated it in double-time. The work was composed against the biographical backdrop of Schumann’s long-awaited and hard-won marriage to Clara Wieck, which had been legalized almost half a year earlier. In addition, Schumann took inspiration from the lyrics of a befriended poet in composing his “Spring Symphony”, which was premiered on 31 March 1841 by the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig under Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. “Awakening of spring”, “Evening”, “Merry playmates” and “Spring in full bloom” are the titles Schumann gave, and later discarded, to each of the four movements – because he did not intend to describe or paint anything definite. Yet Schumann believed that “the season did much to shape the particular form it took”. This concert kicks off the Berliner Philharmoniker’s symphonic Brahms-Schumann cycle under Simon Rattle, juxtaposing Schumann’s “Spring Symphony” with Johannes Brahms’ “First Symphony”.

Robert Schumann [1810-1856]
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major op. 38 [1841]

Johannes Brahms [1833-1897]
Symphony No. 1 in C minor op. 68 [1862-76]

A Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation event
in cooperation with Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin