In our latest competition, we've teamed up with Soli Deo Gloria to offer our readers the chance to win a copy of Sir John Eliot Gardiner's exciting new Brahms CD.
Following on from the phenomenal worldwide success of Gardiner's recording of Brahms' Symphony No 1 with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique last autumn, Soli Deo Gloria continues the series with Symphony 2.
Gardiner has set Brahms' symphonies in the context of his own superb and often neglected choral music, and that of the old masters he particularly cherished (Schütz and Bach especially) and of recent heroes of his (Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann).
The recordings from this series are drawn from Gardiner's two-year Brahms and his Antecedents project which not only celebrated Brahms the composer, but traced the roots from which Brahms drew his creative inspiration. No other composer of the nineteenth century had such a close and informed relationship to music of the past and for this reason, great choral works by composers as varied as Bach, Schütz and Mendelssohn are performed alongside Brahms' compositions.
Brahms' dark, deeply personal and moving Alto Rhapsody for alto solo, male chorus and orchestra is included here alongside three choral works by Franz Schubert. In Schubert's Gesang der Geister über den Wassern,D714 (1821), comparisons between the two composers could not be more clear. Brahms draws on the effective example of his beloved Schubert firstly by composing the rhapsody for male chorus and secondly, basing the work upon a poem by Goethe.
The lyrical beauty of Brahms's Second Symphony makes it perhaps the most popular of the four works he composed in this form. The contrast between this symphony and the heroic First is complete, and it is strikingly analogous to the differences between Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth symphonies.
Inside the same elegant packaging used for the label's Bach Cantatas CDs, the liner notes feature an in-depth conversation between John Eliot Gardiner and composer Hugh Wood.
For your chance to win a copy of this prestigious new release, simply answer the following question:
Brahms' Second Symphony was composed during the summer of which year?
Email your answer, name and address to email@example.com by 28 February 2009. Please indicate if you do not wish to join our mailing list.
For more information on this and all the CDs available from Soli Deo Gloria, see their website.
Editorial by Dominic McHugh
Sir John Eliot Gardiner's recording of Brahms' First Symphony on SDG
Bach Cantatas: Volumes 5 and 17 with Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir
Sir John Eliot Gardiner The first concert in the Brahms & his Antecedents project
Jiri Belohlavek conducts Brahms' Second Symphony at the Proms (2008)
Rules, terms and conditions: 1. This competition is organised by MusicalCriticism.com and Soli Deo Gloria. 2. MusicalCriticism.com reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition at any time without prior notice. Any changes will be posted within the competition notice. 3. In the event of a dispute regarding the terms and conditions, conduct, results and all other matters relating to this competition, the decision of the Editor or Deputy Editor shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into. 4. The competition is open to residents of the UK only. 5. Contributors and employees, their associates and members of their families and households are not eligible to enter. 6. Only one entry per person is permitted for this competition. 7. Entries received after the closing date of 28 February 2009 will be automatically disqualified. No purchase required. 8. The winners will be chosen at random after the closing date, from all correct entries received by 11.59pm on 28 February 2009. 9. Prizes are non-transferable. No cash alternatives will be offered. The winner will be notified by email and the prize delivered by post.