Ondine Records have released a new recording of the Brahms Serenades with Jaime Martin conducting the Gavle Symphony Orchestra.
This Ondine recording is the first instalment in a series of Brahms recording with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra and their chief conductor Jaime Martín. Together with the orchestra Martín offers delightful interpretations of these two early examples of Brahms’ orchestral writing.
Johannes Brahms’ (1833–1897) two orchestral Serenades were written in the late 1850s and together with the 1st Piano Concerto offer the earliest surviving examples of his orchestral writing. Brahms revised the 1st Serenade several times, and intended “to transform the 1st Serenade into a symphony”. The 6 movement work, originally titled as Nachtmusik, is an impressive poetic creation by the young composer.
Serenade No. 2 has an unusual chamber-music setting: double woodwinds, two horns and a string ensemble that entirely omits the bright sound of violins and instead deploys the violas as the principal part. The second Serenade has somewhat remained in the shadow of the popularity of the 1st Serenade. However, Clara Schumann, who received the Adagio and Menuett-Trio as a birthday present, responded with enthusiasm to the new work. She described the Adagio as “something ecclesiastical”, “it could be an Eleison”, and admitted in her accompanying letter returning the score: “With the Adagio I part with the greatest difficulty, as it is very dear to me.”
Gävle Symphony Orchestra, founded in Sweden in 1912, has a long and exciting history. Since 2013, the orchestra has enjoyed a fruitful musical partnership with principal conductor Jaime Martín, but the orchestra has also collaborated regularly with renowned international conductors. The orchestra has also started a collaboration with the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir leading to a recording of Johannes Brahms’ Cantatas for choir and orchestra to be released by Ondine.