|Johannes Brahms|| |
Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)
The Musikkollegium Winterthur rounded off its 2018/19 concert season with a six-day Brahms Festival, at which the composer’s four symphonies were performed under the baton of chief conductor Thomas Zehetmair alongside numerous other works by Johannes Brahms. The traditional Swiss orchestra can look back on a proud history dating back to 1629. Brahms frequently visited Winterthur, and his compositions were published by the Winterthur music publisher Jakob Melchior Rieter-Biedermann, which he had founded in 1849.
Kirchner, who had been working as a full-time city organist in Winterthur since 1843, met Johannes Brahms for the first time in the same year at the Lower Rhine Music Festival in Düsseldorf and suggested the Winterthur Music Publishers to him. Brahms showed interest and already in August 1856 he made the first of 14 trips to Switzerland. This led to his first encounter with Rieter-Biedermann, who two years later published a work by Brahms for the first time. Kirchner reported how Brahms soon became the talk of the town in Winterthur: “Each of us now revolves around Brahms in his own way, whom I am learning to appreciate more and more.
Apart from his musical talent, the man has a wealth of wisdom and an industrious attitude that I have rarely seen. “Brahms was a frequent guest at the Haus zum Schanzengarten, where Rieter-Biedermann lived with his family. Between 1858 and 1873 Brahms had published a total of 22 compositions by Rieter-Biedermann in Winterthur. These include important works such as the First Piano Concerto, the song cycle Die schöne Magelone, the Piano Quintet op. 34, the Paganini Variations op. 35 and a German Requiem.
During these 15 years Brahms wrote 165 letters to his publisher. Almost all of them are now kept in the archives of the Musikkollegium Winterthur – a valuable reminder of an important time in Winterthur’s history.