Symphony No.4 in E minor Op.98
Johannes Brahms

197

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Brahms has 8 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame, the same amount as Vaughan Williams and this is the fifth of them. It's appeared in every chart bar one — it didn't make the cut in 2003.

It might have taken Brahms quite some time to write a symphony but once he had premiered No. 1 in 1876, there really was no stopping him. By 1884, he was penning this, his final one.

Worrying for a long time that the Symphony wasn't worthy of a full orchestra, Brahms originally had it performed in a setting for two pianos so he could get some feedback from a few trusted friends. Better that than to premiere it in its complete version, only for ridicule to ensue. Brahms needn't have worried, though; the work was warmly received at its premiere and has remained loved ever since.