The cheery and almost pastoral mood of the symphony often invite comparisons with Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, but, perhaps mischievously Brahms wrote to his publisher on November 22, 1877, that the symphony "is so melancholy that you will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning."
The premiere was given on December 30, 1877 in Vienna under the direction of Hans Richter. A typical performance lasts between 40 and 50 minutes.
More pieces by Brahms
- Ein deutsches Requiem
- Hungarian Dance No. 5
- Symphony No. 2
- Variations on a Theme by Haydn (Saint Anthony Variations)