Introduction to Brahms, Serenade No. 2

Just like the Serenade No. 1, its companion piece Op. 16 was also written
in the little princely residence town of Detmold chiefly in the summers of
1858 and 1859. Brahms, then a young man in his mid 20s, enjoyed the summers
he spent there in the employ of the princely family, and the result was
works marked by a filigree lightness and a dancing lilt. They are both
gentle scores, so modest in physical volume of sound, so tender, idyllic in
mood that they suggest a conscious reaction against the monumentalism of
their immediate predecessor, the Piano Concerto in D minor. Brahms enjoyed
his Serenade No. 2 and wrote: "I felt absolutely blissful... I have rarely
composed with such exhilaration - the music flowed so sweetly and gently
inside me that I was filled with joy through and through." The work was
premiered in Hamburg on 10 February 1860. It was performed in New York by
the New York Philharmonic two years later, on 1 February 1862.
Between 1981 and 1984, Leonard Bernstein recorded nearly all of Brahms's
orchestral works with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to honor the 150th
anniversary of the composer's birth in 1983. Today, the cycle is considered
as a landmark in the interpretation of Brahms' music. Bernstein and the
Vienna Philharmonic have underscored both the classicism and romanticism,
the dramatic intensity and the sober restraint of Brahms's music. The venue
was Vienna's Musikvereinssaal, where two of Brahms's symphonies were
premiered and where Brahms himself conducted. In his introductions,
Bernstein speaks with an eloquence and conviction that go far beyond the
opening words to a traditional concert performance. With his stimulating
theories on Brahms and his music, Bernstein prompts viewers to listen to
the music with an open mind.

Composer: Johannes Brahms
Title: Introduction to Brahms, Serenade No. 2
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Video Director: Humphrey Burton
Genre: Special
Length: 4 minutes
Cat.No.: A05500718