Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D Op. 73
Johannes Brahms took quite a bit of time to compose his first symphony – nearly 20 years – so it may have been a shock when he churned out his second symphony essentially overnight. He composed the work in the summer of 1877, when he was staying in a picture-postcard village in Austria. When his friend Theodore Billroth later played through the symphony’s score for the first time, he wrote to the composer: “It is rippling streams, blue sky, sunshine, and cool green shadows.” Even listeners heard the beauty of the Austrian summer-home in this symphony, nicknaming it Brahms’s Pastoral Symphony – and it was also quite the comparison to Beethoven.