In fairness I have listened to some rendition of Brahms’s 2nd piano concerto and it has something more for me, yet it might just simply be more 'accessible'? Maybe it has some sort of 'arabesque' / catchy melody bit that does something. However, I've tried to get into his 3rd Symphony by Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Wiener Symphoniker --- same thing again, something inside does not connect and then begins to 'resist'.
Which of Brahms' works would you find have that spark of "greatness" that comes across so I can get perhaps connected?
Now since we are with "greatness"...
When listening to Beethoven's 5th with Günter Wand and the Frankfurt Rundfunk Orchestra ---- that, in my ears just has it. In fact only with a less well-tuned system it might get 'filtered out', I know this because exactly that happened before. It is however so 'impressive' that even with an out-of-tune system it still has some more to it then just the ta, ta, ta, ta.... opening theme, LOTS more.
Now, the something about 'nothing' type of music -- and why do I think IMMEDITELY of Mendelssohn? He has some marvellously accessible works, his Violin Concerto, the 'Italian' Symphony, even the Fantasy Overture of Romeo and Juliet.
B U T, Mendelssohn is known to be self-confessed about JUST writing his music to be pleasantly entertaining without the intention of trying to say much of anything else. So what would he do to your 'depth perception" --- is he now shallow? Not exactly to me, but mostly light - certainly.
Having looked at it from this angle --- NOW HOW ABOUT most of Mozart’s early works?! All that music was written pretty much in the same vain then the just mentioned Mendelssohn, and then Händel and Hayden, AND Vivaldi?!
Other then Vivaldi's "Glorias" most of the rest is all not what I'd call "deep" in any fashion as does apply to early / mid Mozart. Works of genius, but not emotionally DEEP? In fact that was NEVER the intention at all - for all I would know.
You mentioned a while ago some works by Glazunov - or how about Borodin? They seem to have a similar effect on me as Brahms' Symphonies 1. and 3. I.E. I don't get them, like Borodin Symphony No.1, with Moscow Radio Large Symphony Orchestra and G. Rozhdestvensky, and the his String Quartets No. 1 and 2. ..... hm.
And it's not just these 'late romantic' Russian that give me a problem, you may add the Finish Sibelius to it, minus his Violin Concerto, and Finlandia --- well, frankly I'd go with Grieg any time of the day for it.
Lastly, could it be one connects mostly more easily to ones home-country's -classics-?
In my case, J.S. Bach, Händel, Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruch, ~ Mendelssohn, (not Bruckner or Brahms), Mahler, etc.
Practically ALL English composers give me some strange 'taste' yet again, while most -classic-, 'early romantic' Russian (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Mussorksky, Katschaturian...) composers I experience as pretty accessible.
BUT GREATNESS --- ?! Who then beyond Beethoven and late Mozart has those 'goose-bump' compositions?
a very good take on ones 'motivation' of musical likes and dislikes.