The Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 is Johannes Brahms' last symphony. He began working on the piece in 1884, just a year after completing his Symphony No. 3. The work was given its premiere in Meiningen on October 25, 1885 with Brahms himself conducting. The symphony is rich in allusions, mostly to various Beethoven compositions.
The first movement is in sonata form, although it features some unique approaches to development. For instance, there is no repeat of the exposition; according to the late Malcolm MacDonald, the music is so "powerfully organic and continuously unfolding" that such a repeat would hinder forward progress. The opening theme is initially serene in character, although its composition in a chain of descending thirds adds a fateful air. Its left-versus-right fragmented melodic form also introduces a feeling of conflict which Brahms uses as a fundamental motivation throughout the movement.
i Allegro non troppo, 3/4 in E Minor