When: Jan. 10-11, 8 p.m. 2020
Audiences can hear the changing tunes of history in concert at the San Antonio Symphony’s performance of Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony. The program pits Brahms against Richard Wagner in alternating selections — much as the two contemporaries found themselves at odds in the 19th century German music scene. The fervor of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony cast a long shadow over Romantic classical music, and Brahms felt the divergent pressures to both innovate and follow. A consummate perfectionist, his first symphony was purportedly 21 years in the making and propelled him to fame, despite the fact that Wagner, among others, scorned it as “Beethoven’s Tenth.” On the other hand, Wagner’s dramatic operas consciously sought to take Germany and music itself in a new direction, influencing many modern composers. Even so, his legacy also includes his well-documented antisemitic views and posthumous association with the Nazi party. Those Valkyries sure can ride, though.