Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2 for Chamber Ensemble

Of the four Symphonies that Brahms composed, perhaps it is the Second that is the most cheerful, sunny and optimistic. After the long and stressful composition of the First Symphony, the Second seems much more relaxed and contented. There is often a pastoral, serenade-like quality to the music, as well as moments of sombre severity. It is the Brahms Symphony most suitable for a chamber version, filled with expressive solos and transparent textures. This arrangement aims to create a full orchestral picture from thirteen players, using only the instruments in Brahms’s score. Hearing the clarity of individual lines can reveal hidden aspects of the score, adding an intimacy in the performing and listening experience, as well as enabling this work to be performed in smaller venues without enormous financial constraints.

Listen to extracts from a performance of the arrangement here:

1st movement: Allegro non troppo

2nd movement: Adagio non troppo

3rd movement: Allegretto grazioso (quasi andantino)

4th movement: Allegro con spirito

Available to hire or purchase from Aria Editions here

Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass, timpani (13 players)