Valery Gergiev begins his Brahms symphony cycle with recordings of the first two Symphonies, the Tragic Overture and the Haydn Variations. The recording and performances of Brahms’ symphonies were a new departure for Gergiev, an opportunity he relished with energy and enthusiasm, and his interpretations have been acknowledged for shining new light on these works. The symphonies were toured internationally, including the Edinburgh International Festival in 2012.
Brahms’s epic Symphony No 1, portraying dignity and grandeur, was ecstatically received at its premier in 1876, and Brahms was soon heralded as one of the great symphonic masters. No 2, with its joyful melodies and pastoral beauty, portrays a more relaxed tone than its predecessor. The Tragic Overture, on the other hand, is turbulent and tormented, with a powerful and magnificent energy.