Brahms's sunny Second Symphony is as warm and lyrical as his First had been
stormy and dramatic. It quite possibly reflects the idyllic nature around
Lake Wörth in Austria, where Brahms composed it in the summer of 1877.
Brahms himself, however, called attention to the melancholy current that
undermines the pastoral serenity ("You've never heard anything as world-
weary as this", he wrote to his friend Schubring). Despite the apparent
simplicity of the symphonic writing, the work is strengthened and enriched
by many thematic threads that run from one movement to another. It has been
a special favorite among music lovers since its premiere in Vienna on 30
December 1877. The celebrated 19th-century music critic Eduard Hanslick
wrote that it was for "all who long for good music, whether they understand
its complexity or not".
Karl Böhm leads the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in a live recording made
at the "Grosser Musikvereinssaal" in Vienna.