This symphony is like the thrust of reason that stretches toward reality, that opens wide in admiration at the entire world in its richness of organic particulars. This suggestion of a cosmic breadth, this echo and this reverberation of the whole – in the first movement of the Symphony – however, already contains in certain points the perception of something more. But it is in the second movement that the reference to Mystery emerges suggestively from the very first beats. Brahms is forced, as it were, to admit the existence of something other that imposes itself on our attention. Even if one refuses this as a structural dimension of the person and attempts to reduce his boundless need for meaning to what he himself can measure, if he is attentive and serious, he cannot avoid feeling the blow of reality: everything affirms a beyond.
(Excerpt from the introduction by Luigi Giussani to the booklet enclosed in the CD)