Johannes Brahms

The first NFM album of the Wrocław Philharmonic recorded under the direction of multiple Grammy Award winner Giancarlo Guerrero. In addition to Brahms’ First Symphony, the disc includes his Academic Festival Overture, written in gratitude to the University of Wrocław for awarding the composer an honorary doctorate.

Price: 39 zł
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Date of release: 2020

Publishers: National Forum of Music, CD Accord

Conductor: Giancarlo Guerrero

Performers: NFM Wrocław Philharmonic
 

PM: Eduard Hanslick called Symphony No. 1 “Appassionata”, it is sometimes also called “Pathetique”. It is said to be Beethoven’s “Tenth Symphony”. Do you have any name for this work?

GG: I like the last one a lot because the form of this piece is very close to Beethoven’s Ninth. Whereas these powerful strikes of the timpani at the beginning are like the knocking fate in The Fifth...

There is also a paraphrase of the Ode to Joy’s melody and a transition from the gloomy C minor to the ecstatic C major, as in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

GG: Brahms clearly followed his predecessor, but the most remarkable thing is how brilliantly he adapted elements of Beethoven’s works in a piece that speaks in its own Brahmsian language.

PM: You have been performing Brahms’s First Symphony with the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic for some time now. How long does this kind of work have to mature in you and in the orchestra for you to believe that it can be recorded?

GG: We know the Symphony very well – both the orchestra and me. This can be a dangerous situation because it is difficult to rise above your own habits, inspire each other, but also convince them to follow your own interpretation. Fortunately, we get along very well, we like to experiment, and none of us think we have the answers to all the questions. We were also open to the remarks of the recording producers. The most important thing in performing music is to keep your mind open. One must remember tradition, but at the same time not be afraid of new ideas. Each performance of a work from the past is its rediscovery.

Giancarlo Guerrero interviewed by Piotr Matwiejczuk

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