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Played before Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 or as the second movement of the Nähe fern-Symphony, this piece at first sounds familiar, although it contains no quotations. It is late Romantic music; thus there is no stylistic disruption if the Brahms is played afterward.
The sound of Nähe fern 2 is lighter than the first piece in the cycle; the mood is often bucolic and gentle. The wealth of melodies is a particular characteristic; they occur in almost every voice, either stepping forward from instrumental groups (e.g. a violin, an oboe and a horn) or played by several groups together (e.g. the woodwinds), while the strings add an especially warm, highly emotional sound.