Sunday, April 18, 2010

Brahms' Lullaby & his Symphony No. 2

When I was in 6th grade, I sat within arms' reach of the shelf where the encyclopedia was kept. If the teacher asked a question and I didn't know the answer, I would reach over, grab the appropriate volume and look it up. It didn't exactly make me Mr. Popular in the days before we had words like "geek," but it got me in the habit of thinking "no, I don't know the answer - hang on, let me check."

So tonight, at his pre-concert talk with the Harrisburg Symphony, conductor Stuart Malina was talking about the similarities between the 2nd Theme of Brahms' Symphony No. 2 and his overly familiar Lullaby. Then he asked me if I knew anything about Brahms ever publicly admitting to quoting the Lullaby in the symphony.

I hadn't, so of course, as soon as I got home, I dug out a few books, ranging from Grove's Dictionary to Jan Swafford's imminently readable biography.

1,149 words later, you can read it here on the Harrisburg Symphony Blog.

- Dr. Dick

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