Johannes Brahms


Born: 1833   Died: 1897   Country: Germany   Period: Romantic
The stature of Johannes Brahms among classical composers is well illustrated by his inclusion among the "Three Bs" triumvirate of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. Of all the major composers of the late Romantic era, Brahms was the one most attached to the Classical ideal as manifested in the music of Haydn, Mozart, and especially Beethoven; indeed, Hans von Bülow once characterized Brahms' Symphony No. 1 (1855-1876) as "Beethoven's Tenth." As a Read more youth, Brahms was championed by Robert Schumann as music's greatest hope for the future; as a mature composer, Brahms became for conservative musical journalists the most potent symbol of musical tradition, a stalwart against the "degeneration" represented by the music of Wagner and his school. Brahms' symphonies, choral and vocal works, chamber music, and piano pieces are imbued with strong emotional feeling, yet take shape according to a thoroughly considered structural plan.

The son of a double bassist in the Hamburg Philharmonic Society, Brahms demonstrated great promise from the beginning. He began his musical career as a pianist, contributing to the family coffers as a teenager by playing in restaurants, taverns, and even brothels. Though by his early twenties he enjoyed associations with luminaries like violinists Eduard Reményi and Joseph Joachim, the friend and mentor who was most instrumental in advancing his career was Schumann, who all but adopted him and became his most ardent partisan, and their esteem was mutual. Following Schumann's death in 1856, Brahms became the closest confidant and lifelong friend of the composer's widow, pianist and composer Clara Wieck Schumann. After a life of spectacular musical triumphs and failed loves (the composer was involved in several romantic entanglements but never wed), Brahms died of liver cancer on April 3, 1897.

In every genre in which he composed, Brahms produced works that have become staples of the repertory. His most ambitious work, the German Requiem (1863-1867), is the composer's singular reinterpretation of an age-old form. The four symphonies -- lushly scored, grand in scope, and deeply expressive -- are cornerstones of the symphonic literature. Brahms' concertos are, similarly, in a monumental, quasi-symphonic vein: the two piano concertos (1856-1859 and 1881) and the Violin Concerto (1878) call for soloists with both considerable technical skill and stamina. His chamber music is among the most sophisticated and exquisitely crafted of the Romantic era; for but a single example, his works that incorporate the clarinet (e.g., the Trio in A minor, Op. 114 and the two Sonatas, Op. 120), an instrument largely overlooked by his contemporaries, remain unsurpassed. Though the piano sonata never held for Brahms the same appeal it had for Beethoven (Brahms wrote three to Beethoven's 32), he produced a voluminous body of music for the piano. He showed a particular affinity for variations -- notably, on themes of Schumann (1854), Handel (1861), and Paganini (1862-1863) -- and likewise produced a passel of national dances and character pieces such as ballades, intermezzi, and rhapsodies. Collectively, these constitute one of the essential bodies of work in the realm of nineteenth century keyboard music. Read less
Schumann, Bach & Brahms / Argerich, Perlman
Release Date: 09/30/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 557553   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: String Sextets / Bailey, Shiffman, Cypress String Quartet
Release Date: 01/06/2017   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2294   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: String Quartets & Piano Quintet / Fellner, Belcea Quartet
Release Date: 09/30/2016   Label: Alpha Productions  
Catalog: 248   Number of Discs: 2
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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 / Young, Philharmoniker Hamburg
Release Date: 01/27/2017   Label: Oehms  
Catalog: 030   Number of Discs: 3
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Brahms: Late Piano Works, Op 116-119 / Markus Groh
Release Date: 08/26/2008   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2136   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1

Browse 1-14 of 14 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 2.
    Bruno Walter Conducts Brahms
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88843072592 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Pierre Fournier,  Zino Francescatti,  George London,  Irmgard Seefried  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Occidental College Consort,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 3.
    Claudio Abbado New Years Eve Concerts Box [3 Blu-rays]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2013504 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Bryn Terfel,  Roberto Alagna,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $88.99
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  • 4.
    Brahms: Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94860 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 58
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Cécile Ousset,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Emmy Verhey  ... 
    Conductor:  Jaap van Zweden,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,  Günther Herbig,  Heinz Bongartz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra,  Radio Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $128.99
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  • 5.
    Claudio Abbado - Three Classic Albums
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999502 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 6.
    Brahms: Hungarian Dances No 1-21 / Heja
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 44431 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Domonkos Héja
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danubia Orchestra Óbuda
    CD: $8.99
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  • 7.
    First Choice: Brahms: 21 Ungarische Tanze
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001662402 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    CD: $7.99
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  • 8.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto, Hungarian Dances / Baiba Skride
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 829112 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Baiba Skride,  Lauma Skride
    Conductor:  Sakari Oramo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $22.49
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  • 9.
    Brahms: Violin Sonatas, Hungarian Dances; Joachim / Rosand
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 121 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joseph Joachim,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Aaron Rosand,  Hugh Sung
    CD: $13.99
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  • 10.
    Brahms: Complete Hungarian Dances / Neeme Järvi, London So
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10073 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 11.
    Brahms: The Hungarian Dances/ Masur, Gewandhaus Orch Leipzig
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 411426 Release Date: 05/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Brahms: Complete Hungarian Dances / Andrew Mogrelia, Et Al
    Label: Amadis   Catalog: 7080 Release Date: 10/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Andrew Mogrelia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Cassovia
    CD: $3.99
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  • 13.
    Brahms: Hungarian Dances / Ivan Fischer, Budapest Festival
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462589 Release Date: 11/09/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  József Lendvay Jr.,  József "Csócsi" Lendvay Sr.,  Oskar Ökrös
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Brahms: Hungarian Dances / Bogar, Budapest Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550110 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  István Bogár
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Symphony Orchestra
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