In 1879, the University of Breslau conferred upon Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and he responded by writing his Academic Festival Overture
, Op 80, which received its first performance on 4 January 1881 at Breslau, in a concert which included Brahms’s only other overture, the Tragic Overture
, Op 81. Based on a number of student songs, including in particular the famous Gaudeamus igitur
, it is heard here in the arrangement made by Edwin Lemare (1865–1934). Like Dupré, Lemare was a famous recitalist and he composed for the organ, but his many organ arrangements of Wagner have proved a more enduring legacy, especially that of the Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
. This remarkably skilful reworking of Brahms’s equally spirited essay in C major shows how even the most exuberant of orchestral textures can be captured by manuals and pedals.
from notes by Relf Clark © 2008