Sibelius 6 and Brahms 2 (digital download)
The Symphony No. 6 in D minor, Op. 104, was a work of long gestation completed by Jean Sibelius in 1923. Although the score does not contain a key attribution, the symphony is usually described as being in D minor; much of it is in fact in the (modern) Dorian mode. A typical performance lasts about 25 minutes. The composer called the work "cold spring water" in opposition to many contemporary "cocktails"—a reference to the modernist gestures in post-war music. The symphony was premiered by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composer, on 19 February 1923 and had other performances under his direction in the following months.
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73, was composed by Johannes Brahms in the summer of 1877, during a visit to Pörtschach am Wörthersee, a town in the Austrian province of Carinthia. Its composition was brief in comparison with the 21 years it took Brahms to complete his First Symphony.
The cheery and almost pastoral mood of the symphony often invites 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 in Vienna on 30 December 1877 by the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of Hans Richter; Walter Frisch notes that it had originally been scheduled for 9 December, but "in one of those little ironies of music history, it had to be postponed [because] the players were so preoccupied with learning Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner."
Conducted by Dominique Beaulieu
Performed by the CMD Paris Philharmonic in Orleans