Brahms’s truly miraculous and justly famous second symphony is now so well known and loved that it is easy to forget how daring and revolutionary it remains. With all his fears and trepidation associated with writing a symphony worthy of Beethoven assuaged by the success of his mighty first symphony - Brahms felt emboldened to produce this glorious work, so relaxed and pastoral, yet deep and exhilarating, it is crowned by his incredible feel for colour and harmony.
We open our 23/24 Surrey Mozart Players season with something virtually unknown. Right at the start of his compositional career Carl Nielsen wrote a stirring and energetic symphonic movement, intended for a symphony that he never completed. This work reframed as a Symphonic Rhapsody was premiered in a popular concert in Copenhagen. Despite a great audience reception to the piece, the conductor was sacked for daring to present such contemporary work in a popular series. But he still had one concert in his contract and really loved this little gem - so he sneaked the Nielsen’s piece into his last programme too and played it twice - before and after the interval!
Between these contrasting works, the brilliant young pianist Ignas Maknickas plays Mozart’s so called “Jeunehomme” Piano Concerto, a true early masterpiece. Mature beyond its composer’s years, it features a scintillating finale with a surprise up its sleeve.