The Second Symphony of composer Johannes Brahms was first performed on December 30, 1877, by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Brahms completed it in one year, in sharp contrast to his First, which had taken most of 21 years to finish (and was solemnly viewed as “Beethoven’s Tenth”). Brahms’ contemporaries found much of the Second dark and melancholy, even “tragic,” but today it is considered one of his sunniest works and the most endearing of his four symphonies, as spontaneous and pastoral as Beethoven’s glorious Sixth. Though partly meditative, it builds to an ending filled with joy and exhilaration virtually unparalleled among Brahms' major works. The composer had his greatest success, however, with small-scale, popular works for domestic music-making – dances, waltzes and songs, which included his simple “Lullaby” (1868).