Header image of page : VFCO / TAKÁCS-NAGY / DOVGAN


Haydn, Grieg, Brahms

From the symphony’s grandfather to symphonic grandeur, Gábor Takács-Nagy conducts the VFCO in Haydn’s and Brahms’s first symphonies, between which rising star pianist Alexandra Dovgan performs as soloist in Grieg’s thrilling Piano Concerto in A minor.


JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809)
Symphony No. 1 in D major Hob. I:1

EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907)
Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 16


Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 68

Haydn didn’t compose the first ever symphony, but he did develop the genre to become the Everest of musical expression through which subsequent composers proved their mettle – and his three-movement (no minuet) First Symphony, penned around 1757, hints at what was to come. Unusually, the only symphonic work Grieg released was the Piano Concerto he wrote aged 25. Exploding in, its first movement’s main theme isn’t the piano’s famous descent but the subsequent woodwind melody. A melting Adagio follows, before a folk-inspired finale. Brahms took over 20 years to write his First Symphony, wrestling with how to follow Beethoven’s legacy, in his own voice, while taking the genre forwards. Completed in 1876, his eventual masterpiece did exactly that with its grandeur, clever melodic development, and finale whose heroic theme sings of Beethoven with its Ode to Joy feel, but through horn colour that’s pure Brahms.