The second of two programs in a Brahms mini-festival, conducted by David Robertson.
In a rare treat, this program features not one but two concertos: the much-loved “Brahms Double” for violin and cello, played by soloists from the SSO, and the mighty first piano concerto with Ukrainian-born Alexander Gavrylyuk. In the Double Concerto you can tell, says Robertson, that Brahms was writing with the idea of individual musicians in mind, and it’s music that highlights partnership and musical conversation over flashy virtuosity. It might look like Robertson has forgotten to program a symphony, but there’s one lurking in the background. The piano concerto emerged from Brahms’s first attempts to write a symphony, struggling with the legacy of Beethoven – “that giant marching along behind me”. There’s no sense of struggle in the overture: it’s a jubilant medley of student songs that makes a perfect curtain raiser.