Brahms wrote his Violin Concerto in 1878 for his great friend, Hungarian violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim. Joachim’s national heritage is clearly heard in its gypsyish finale, while the first movement’s demanding violin writing reflects his famed technical mastery. Its Adagio opens with one of the orchestral repertoire’s most beautiful solos, for oboe. Brahms’s early champion, Robert Schumann, composed his Second Symphony in 1845 during his first creative spurt after a mental collapse. Its own Adagio also features memorable woodwind solos, and although the influence of Bach is everywhere, the person it most honours is his wife Clara. Notably by the finale’s use of a motive based on Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved) song cycle, which had had especial resonance for him during their protracted engagement.