The voice plays a major role in these three indispensable works in the Romantic symphonic-choral repertoire: a little jewel by Beethoven and two key works by Brahms. The pieces, which are exceptionally beautiful and technically demanding, include texts by leading nineteenth-century German poets: Goethe, Schiller and Hölderlin. As a prelude, we have chosen Schumann’s most popular symphony. Carry on reading
When Schumann moved to Düsseldorf, he offered the public a fresh, joyful piece, full of references to popular music. The symphony was an immediate success and is still able to convey a feeling of optimism to modern audiences, from the very first bars. Beethoven's music unites two contrasting poems by Goethe, ‘Meeresstille’ (Calm Sea) and ‘Glückliche Fahrt’ (Prosperous Voyage). In the first the ship is becalmed in port, but in the second the winds rustle and the waves rise up and the ship can finally set sail. Brahms composed a musical lament overflowing with emotion when he learnt that the painter Anselm Feuerbach had died, but he also wrote a hymn of hope in Song of Destiny, a very challenging piece for choirs because of its difficulty and intensity.