Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Andris Nelsons — Brahms: Serenade No.2, Alto Rhapsody, Symphony No. 2

“Ah, who will heal the pains/of one for whom balm turned to poison?” wrote the poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe in December 1777, after visiting a depressed admirer who – inspired by the example of Goethe’s legendary protagonist, the young Werther – had actually tried to take his own life. Johannes Brahms based his “Alto Rhapsody” on these lines from “Harzreise im Winter”. Setting the soulful cries of anguish uttered in despair to music that is as striking as is the depiction of consolation for this suffering in the hymn-like writing of the final part. Could there be a more fitting way to launch the Summer Festival’s theme 2014 of “Psyche”? Claudio Abbado himself chose this work as the center of the opening concert, and Andris Nelsons and the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA probed its psychological depths – while further exploring the psychic landscape of this German Romantic’s music as expressed in the Second Serenade and the Second Symphony.

Johannes Brahms
Serenade No. 2 in A major, op. 16 for chamber orchestra
Rhapsody for alto, male choir and orchestra, op. 53
Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 73

Andris Nelsons, conductor
Sara Mingardo, alto


Year of production:2014
Recording Date:15-16 August 2014
Recording location:KKL Luzern
Co-Production Company:ZDF, NHK, SRF
Associated Production Company:Arte
Distribution TV:C Major Entertainment GmbH
Director:Michael Beyer