Johannes Brahms: Symphony No.4 in E minor, Op.98
I. Allegro non troppo (00:00)
II. Andante moderato (13:33)
III. Allegro giocoso (27:19)
IV. Allegro energico e passionato (33:47)
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
September 8, 1988, Luzern
All files courtesy of Musopen
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The Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 by Johannes Brahms is the last of his symphonies. Brahms began working on the piece in Mürzzuschlag. then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1884, just a year after completing his Symphony No. 3, and completed it in 1885.
The symphony is scored for two flutes (one doubling on piccolo), two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, triangle (third movement only), and strings
The work was given its premiere in Meiningen on October 25, 1885 with Brahms himself conducting. The piece had earlier been given to a small private audience in a version for two pianos, played by Brahms and Ignaz Brüll. Brahms’ friend and biographer Max Kalbeck, reported that the critic Eduard Hanslick, acting as one of the page-turners, exclaimed on hearing the first movement at this performance: “For this whole movement I had the feeling that I was being given a beating by two incredibly intelligent people.” Hanslick later spoke more approvingly of it, however.