BRAHMS Johannes, Serenade No. 1 in D Op. 11, nonet version reconstructed by David Walter

Allegro Molto
Scherzo: Allegro non troppo
Adagio non troppo
Scherzo: Allegro
Rondo: Allegro

Brahms’s D major Serenade is well known as his first orchestral work – but, like the D minor Piano Concerto from the same period, it had a complicated genesis. It was first conceived in 1857 as a Serenade for eight instruments in three or four movements, and a year later it had become a work in six movements, now scored for nine instruments. By 1860, it had been rewritten for full orchestra – the version that survives today (though Brahms even considered developing that into his first symphony, but decided to leave well alone). The nonet version was performed in public on 28 March 1859 at a concert in Hamburg, and a year later the orchestral version was given its premiere in Hannover. Whether Brahms destroyed the chamber version, or whether the material simply vanished is not known, but a skilful reconstruction reveals something of Brahms’s original conception: a work much closer in spirit to the serenades and divertimentos of Mozart than the reworked orchestral version.

© Nigel Simeone 2013


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