Serenades (Brahms)

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The two Serenades, Op. 11 and 16, represented two of the earliest efforts by Johannes Brahms to write orchestral music. They both date from the 1850s when Brahms was residing in Detmold.[1]

Serenade No. 1 in D, Op. 11[edit]

The first serenade was completed in 1857. At that time, Brahms was also working on his First Piano Concerto. Originally scored for wind and string octet and then expanded into a longer work for chamber nonet, the serenade was later adapted for orchestra.[2][3]

It consists of six movements and lasts slightly less than forty minutes.

Serenade No. 2 in A, Op. 16[edit]

The second serenade was written in 1859 and dedicated to Clara Schumann.[citation needed] It was revised in 1875.[4] It is scored for a chamber orchestra, including double woodwinds but omitting violins, trumpets, trombones, and percussion.[4] The five movements take approximately thirty minutes to perform.[5]

  • Allegro moderato (A major)
  • Scherzo. Vivace (C major) – Trio (F major)
  • Adagio non troppo (A minor)
  • Quasi menuetto (D major) – Trio (F-sharp minor)
  • Rondo. Allegro (A major)


  1. ^ Geiringer, p. 55
  2. ^ Geiringer, pp. 249–250
  3. ^ "Program Notes – Last Night of the Brahms". Riverdale Ensemble performance, 2002-11-16. 
  4. ^ a b Geiringer, p. 250
  5. ^ "Brahms: Symphony No. 3; Serenade No. 2". Retrieved 2009-06-29.  The Haitink LSO recording


  • Geiringer, Karl (1984). Brahms: His Life and Work – Third Enlarged Edition. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-80223-2. 

External links[edit]