Brahms was well into his forties by the time he completed a symphony – but by the time he reached his third, he’d hit his stride. Sweeping string melodies and autumnal colours interwoven with his recurring musical motto of ‘free but joyful’ create one of the composer’s most personal works. In his fourth and final symphony, Brahms looked back to his idols Bach and Beethoven for inspiration, creating a masterpiece whose extraordinary passacaglia finale – based on a Bach cantata – seems to sum up the composer’s symphonic mastery. Vladimir Jurowski conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra in these live concert recordings, including a Symphony No. 4 hailed by The Guardian as ‘a performance of colossal proportions’.
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