Premiered by Franz Liszt in Weimar in 1852, Manfred was based on a poem by Lord Byron, that had in turn been inspired by the story of Goethe’s legendary Faust. Mixing voice and orchestra, the work summons images of evil spirits, mystical forces, and human love. Daniel Harding conducts the Verbier Festival Orchestra in the work’s dark and tormented overture, transporting the audience to the moody depths of Romantic literature.
While Brahms needed more than 15 years to compose his first symphony, his Symphony No. 2—presented here by Maestro Harding and the Verbier Festival Orchestra—was published just one year after No. 1. The warm atmosphere of the work has invited many comparisons to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony No. 6.