Blomstedt, Berwald, & Brahms 

View Tickets Browse Concerts


Herbert Blomstedt


San Francisco Symphony


Johannes Brahms
All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.

Brahms - Symphony No. 3 
All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.
Browse And Subscribe to Podcasts


Davies Symphony Hall

Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 8:00PM

Buy Now

Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 8:00PM

Buy Now

Davies Symphony Hall

Sun, Feb 2, 2020 at 2:00PM

Buy Now

If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

Event Description

Experience the power, tenderness, vigor, and lyricism of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, written during a summer getaway along the Rhine. It was typical of the Vienna-based Brahms to set aside his summer vacations for composition. The opposite was true for the other symphonist on this program, Franz Berwald, who traveled from his Swedish homeland to live in Vienna and write his four symphonies. Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt offers a refreshing contrast to the Brahms with a performance rarity, a piece written forty years before by Franz Berwald.

Inside Music: an informative talk by James M. Keller, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders. Learn More.

The following concert dates are eligible for the WINTER SALE: 1/31, 2/17

At A Glance

Sinfonie sérieuse 1842 | 34 mins
Franz Berwald, the leading Swedish symphonist of the nineteenth century, met more resistance than acceptance for his music, both in his native land and during sojourns in Berlin and Vienna. At least he did flourish in two other fields, gaining widespread acclaim for his work in orthopedic therapy and, later in life, showing management skills when running a glass-making factory. The earliest of his four surviving symphonies, the Sinfonie sérieuse (completed in 1842) demonstrates his distinct style. On the surface, it often parallels the language of such Romantic composers as Weber, Mendelssohn, and Schumann, but it also takes unusual turns of melody, harmony, and general structure, at times suggesting that Berwald was a sort of Swedish Berlioz fighting to make his voice heard. —James M. Keller
Symphony No. 3  1883 |  30 mins
Unlike Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schumann, Johannes Brahms was middle-aged by the time he wrote his first symphony. Convinced now that he could get it right, in less than a year he turned out a second symphony. A third symphony would follow the second in six years. During that interval, Brahms discovered the subtleties of orchestral language and his emotional range. If his first two symphonies reveal Brahms exploring what he could do with an orchestra, the orchestral works that followed show him increasingly at ease as he knits his personal worldview into the fabric of sound. In these compositions, he consolidates his art. He becomes Johannes Brahms. LISTEN FOR: The intermezzo captures a melancholy that seems the essence of this composer.—Larry Rothe

Please wait...