FABIO LUISI conducts BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90 Although Brahms was just 50 when he wrote his Third Symphony, he looked back to younger days with the musical quotation of the motto Frei aber froh ("Free but happy"). In the rising exclamation from the winds that open this great symphony, the F-A-F motif hits you immediately. The compactness of the work intensifies the dramatic aspects of his third and penultimate symphony. As you listen to this richly romantic piece, you get a real sense that Brahms had hit his stride as a composer.