Just a year before he died, Richard Strauss composed four songs meditating on life, death, and our final transition, perhaps expressing the inevitability of his own passing. Soprano Jaquelyn Stucker brings these four songs to life with her glowing and incandescent voice. Sadly, Strauss did not live to hear the songs performed, making this performance in Symphony Hall all the more poignant. Brahms First Symphony was given the nickname Beethovens Tenth early on, and it is a compliment worth keeping. Brahms long lived in the shadow of the earlier composer, but to be compared to him is a great honor. Everything Brahms composed previously all the sonatas, concertos and variations led to this point, 20 years of work until he finally completed this symphony at age 43. Listen closely, and you will hear echoes of Beethoven within a work that is both an homage and, at the same time, distinctly Brahms.