Monday, November 26, 2012

Richard Strauss: Symphony No. 2 in F Minor

Richard Strauss completed his F Minor Second Symphony in 1884. It was premiered, surprisingly, in New York by the New York Philharmonic under Theodore Thomas in December 1884 and Strauss played the symphony for the first time in Munich in 1885. The first movement is an Allegro in sonata form with three themes. It is reminiscent of Beethoven's early period music like the Coriolan or the Egmont overtures. The second movement is the scherzo which became very popular with the Bavarian audiences. The slow third movement has a brass motif that recalls the transition from the first Allegro movement. The final movement is inspired by Bruckner's style of composing. The themes of the other movements are recalled by Strauss just like Bruckner's `Wagner' Symphony in D Minor. It is a shame that Richard Strauss' symphonies in D Minor and this F Minor are neglected by all principal conductors of the past as well as the present ages. Johannes Brahms had attended Strauss' concert when he performed this symphony in Munich and commended it, finding it attractive. In the final movement, you can hear the strains of the opening theme of Eine Alpensinfonie. This recording is by the Slovak Philharmonic under Michael Halasz.

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