excerpt from 'Impressions That Remained Memoirs' pp. 158-159 (216 words)

excerpt from 'Impressions That Remained Memoirs' pp. 158-159 (216 words)

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Impressions That Remained Memoirs

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In January came the event to which, ever since its advance announcement by Henschel in Friedrichsroda, everything else had seemed but a prelude, the arrival of Brahms in Leipzig to conduct his new Symphony in D Major.


 […] As all my reliable impressions of him [Brahms] belong to a later period, when I came to know him well, it is safer to speak here of the symphony, which, though it deeply impressed me, left me a little bewildered. I had yet to learn that only a conductor of genius - for preference not the composer, except in very rare cases - can produce a new orchestral work intelligibly; at that time too the idiom of Brahms was unfamiliar, and doubtless the rendering lacked conviction. One thing I well remember, that on this occasion I first realized exactly how much critics grasp of a new work not yet available in print. The great Leipzig Extinguisher, after making the usual complaints as to lack of melody, excess of learning, and general unsatisfactoriness, remarked: "About half-way through the very tedious first movement there is one transient gleam of light, a fairly tuneful passage for horns.” He had not noticed this was the recurring first theme, which had already appeared for those self-same horns in the second bar!

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excerpt from 'Impressions That Remained Memoirs' pp. 158-159 (216 words)


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