JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor Op. 15
GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 1 in D major “Titan”
Brahms’ Piano Concerto No.1, an early work that was unusually lengthy for a composition of its time, encountered contrasting success. While the composer himself said that the concerto was “a resounding and incontestable fiasco” upon its second performance in Leipzig in 1859, this piece has gone on to become one of Brahms’ most well-known works. The forceful opening of the first movement, led by the orchestra, stands in stark opposition to the smooth and elegant entry of the piano. What follows is a tortured and introspective movement, the whole work brought to a close by a furiously agitated final Rondo. The few moments of respite that intersect this final movement, merely foreshadow the forceful return of the tempestuous main theme, this time concluded with might and brilliance, in D major.