Brahms: Symphony no.3 in F Major op.90

Duration : 36 minutes

Conducted by Emmanuel Krivine, the Orchestre National de France performs the "Symphony no.3" by Johannes Brahms. Excerpt from the concert recorded live on 6 June 2019 at the Radio France Auditorium.

  1. Allegro con brio  
  2. Andante  
  3. Poco allegretto  
  4. Allegro

The music of Berlioz and Brahms may seem somewhat at odds when brought together for a concert. Music history has often placed as opposites the so-called "Weimar" school, the "music of the futur" established by Berlioz and continued by Liszt and Wagner, and the "Leipzig" school, represented by Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms. Such a dichotomy is untenable. Berlioz, who enjoyed the music of Felix Mendelssohn and only ever conducted one of the works of Franz Lizst (for the premiere of his first concerto), always disliked being associated with specific ideas and schools: "In Germany and elsewhere, opinions on this subject have long been  attributed to me which are not mine. Consequently, people have often  addressed praises to me in which I could see only veritable insults", admitted the composer in his text À travers chants [The Art of Music and Other Essays]. And after meeting Brahms in Leipzig, in 1853, initiated by the violonist Joseph Joachim, he wrote about the German composer: "Thank you for introducing me to this shy, audacious young man who has taken it into his head to write new music. He will have much to endure..." 

Though Berlioz was thirty years older, the sympathy between the two musicians was intense but brief. Yet, was the Symphony no.3 by Brahms, much like Harold en Italie, not composed several months after a trip beyond the Alps? It was composed four years after the Violin Concerto and premiered by Hans Richter, described the work as Brahms's "heroic" symphony. It is in reality a work full of autumn colours favoured by Brahms, beginning with a vehement Allegro but whose most eloquent pages are the two central movements (the Andante, with its trombones, is unexpectedly solemn), to the point that the tender Quasi allegretto was taken up and adapted by countless jazz musicians and songwriters. Had Brahms foreseen this unbridled craze when he mentioned his "unfortunately too famous symphony"? The finale, sinuous and constantly changing, ends with a  somewhat resigned serenity. It is difficult to hear the "melancholy of impotence" evoked by Nietzsche!

The Orchestre National de France performs Brahms and Berlioz
Full concert
The Orchestre National de France performs Brahms and Berlioz
Maison de la Radio, Paris
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
All artists
  • Emmanuel Krivine
    Emmanuel KrivineConductor
  • Orchestre National de FranceOrchestra