Introduction to Brahms, Double Concerto

This dignified work, Brahms's last orchestral score, seems to have been
composed in part with the intention of bringing about a reconciliation
between Brahms himself and his old friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim.
The two had had a falling out at the time of Joachim's divorce. Brahms
wrote various musical reminiscences of their friendship into the music but
also looked to the past by referring to a tradition of ensemble composition
that had reached its apex back in the 18th century: that of the concerto
grosso, which had climaxed in Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, and the
sinfonia concertante tradition, whose landmarks include Mozart's works in
this genre. The Double Concerto has taken longer to achieve popularity and
is still more rarely played the other Brahms concertos. This is perhaps
partly because two soloists must share the limelight - and because there
is little limelight to share, Brahms having written difficult yet not
outwardly dazzling virtuoso parts.
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. The soloists in this recording are violinist
Gidon Kremer and cellist Mischa Maisky.

Composer: Johannes Brahms
Title: Introduction to Brahms, Double Concerto
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Soloist: Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Video Director: Humphrey Burton
Genre: Special
Length: 3 minutes
Cat.No.: A05500712