The Unabashed Melodies of Brahms
MSO performs his first and final symphonies
The unabashed melodiousness of Brahms is without apology. His first symphony remains one of the true glories of the Romantic Era, rich in sonorous harmonics and beautiful melodies, but firmly grounded in the formality of the middle-19th-century German Romantic tradition. Like all of Brahms’ symphonic works, little is left to chance or idle whimsy. Yet for all its structural traditionalism, Brahms’ first is one of the most inspiring works to emerge from the period, exalting in a magnificent final movement with its beautifully melodic introductory horn passage culminating in an often-used motif which glows an affirmation of the basic goodness of human nature.
The fourth symphony stands apart, closing the arc of Brahms’ symphonic output with an ominous finale. Neither pessimistic nor foreboding, it offers a reflective presentiment that the days of wine and roses are over, and we must settle for the greater solemnity of approaching winter.
Edo de Waart conducts the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and No. 5 at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, May 24; 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 25; and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 26 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts’ Uihlein Hall.
Present Music has always focused on multi-media and community involvement. The contemporary ensemble concludes its 31st season with “Multitude,” a concert involving fashion, dance, film projection, art installations and an edible wall of cupcakes. Yes, there is also music, including pieces by Steve Reich and David Lang and a world premiere by Sean Friar. The event takes place on Friday, May 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the Turner Hall Ballroom, 1034 N. Fourth St.