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Symphony No. 4

Composer: Brahms Johannes

Instruments: Orchestra

Tags: Symphony


Download free scores:

Complete Score (scan) PDF 19 MB1. Allegro non troppo PDF 4 MB2. Andante moderato PDF 2 MB3. Allegro giocoso PDF 3 MB4. Allegro energico e passionato PDF 4 MB
Complete Score PDF 6 MB1. Allegro non troppo PDF 2 MB2. Andante moderato PDF 0 MB3. Allegro giocoso PDF 1 MB4. Allegro energico e passionato (Chaconne) PDF 1 MB
Complete Score PDF 22 MB
Complete Score PDF 6 MB

Parts for:

AllViolinViolaTrumpetTromboneTimpaniPiccoloOboeFrench hornFluteContrabassoonClarinetCelloAlto saxophone


Violin + ...

Allegro non troppo (No.1). Cello + Double bass + Pump organ + Piano + Violin(2) (Girtain IV, Edgar)


Complete. Piano (Singer II, Otto)Complete. Piano(2) (Unknown)Complete. Piano four hands (Unknown)Complete. Piano four hands (Robert Keller)Complete. Piano four hands (Robert Keller)Andante moderato (No.2). Wind band (P.G. Saganski)Complete. Piano(2) (Robert Keller)
The Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 by Johannes Brahms is the last of his symphonies. Brahms began working on the piece in Mürzzuschlag, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1884, just a year after completing his Symphony No. 3. It was premiered on October 25, 1885 in Meiningen, Germany.
The symphony is scored for two flutes (one doubling on piccolo on third movement only), two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon (third and fourth movements), four horns, two trumpets, three trombones (fourth movement only), timpani (two in first and second movements, three in third and fourth movements), triangle (third movement only), and strings.
The symphony is divided into four movements with the following tempo markings:
This is the only one of Brahms' four symphonies to end in a minor key. A typical performance lasts about 40 minutes.
This movement is in sonata form, although it features some unique approaches to development. For instance, there is no repeat of the exposition; according to the late Malcolm MacDonald, the music is so "powerfully organic and continuously unfolding" that such a repeat would hinder forward progress.
The opening theme is initially serene in character, although its composition in a chain of descending thirds adds a fateful air. Its left-versus-right fragmented melodic form (duh-DUM, da-DEE, duh-DUM, da-DEE) also introduces a feeling of conflict which Brahms uses as a fundamental motivation throughout the movement.
Featuring a theme in the Hypophrygian mode, heard at the beginning unaccompanied and at the end with a lush orchestral accompaniment, this movement has a modified sonata form with no development section.
This movement is the only one with the character of a scherzo to be found in Brahms' symphonies. It is not in typical scherzo form, however, being in 2/4 time and in sonata form, without a trio. The sonata form itself is modified further, with a foreshortened recapitulation and with the secondary theme nearly absent in the development and coda.
This last movement is notable as a rare example of a symphonic passacaglia, which is similar to a chaconne with the slight difference that the subject can appear in more voices than the bass. For the repeating theme, Brahms adapted the chaconne theme in the closing movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's cantata, Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150.
An analysis of this last movement by Walter Frisch provides yet further interpretation to Brahms' structure of this work, by giving sections sonata form dimensions.
Arnold Schoenberg, in his essay Brahms the Progressive (Brahms is often characterized as a conservative composer), pointed out several thematic relationships in the score, as does Malcolm MacDonald in his biography of the composer. The first half of the chaconne theme is anticipated in the bass during the coda at an important point of the preceding movement; and the first movement's descending thirds, transposed by a fifth, appear in counterpoint during one of the final variations of the chaconne.
There have been multiple recordings of the piece by such renowned conductors as Leonard Bernstein, John Eliot Gardiner, and Carlo Maria Giulini. Of special note has been the recording conducted by Carlos Kleiber with the Vienna Philharmonic.
The work was given its premiere in Meiningen on October 25, 1885, with Brahms himself conducting. The piece had earlier been given to a small private audience in a version for two pianos, played by Brahms and Ignaz Brüll. Brahms' friend and biographer Max Kalbeck, reported that the critic Eduard Hanslick, acting as one of the page-turners, exclaimed on hearing the first movement at this performance: "For this whole movement I had the feeling that I was being given a beating by two incredibly intelligent people." Hanslick, however, wrote also that "[for] the musician, there is not another modern piece so productive as a subject for study. It is like a dark well; the longer we look into it, the more brightly the stars shine back."
The musicologist Donald Francis Tovey praises the work as “one of the greatest orchestral works since Beethoven,” and singles out the end of the first movement, which “bears comparison with the greatest climaxes in classical music, not excluding Beethoven.”
The symphony is rich in allusions, most notably to various Beethoven compositions. The symphony may well have been inspired by the play Antony and Cleopatra, which Brahms had been researching at the time.