Johannes Brahms

Biography

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
Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 / Pollini, Thielemann, Staatskapelle Dresden
Release Date: 07/15/2016   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: B002520602   Number of Discs: 2
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Brahms: The Four Symphonies; Academic Festival & Tragic Overtures; Haydn Variations / Barbirolli
Release Date: 01/29/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 553993   Number of Discs: 3
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Brahms: Complete Piano Trios, Vol. 1 / Vienna Piano Trio
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9421962   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 / New Zealand String Quartet
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573433   Number of Discs: 1
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Herzogenberg & Brahms: String Quartets / Minguet Quartet
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Cpo  
Catalog: 777084   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Tragic Overture, Op. 81

Browse 1-25 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Zubin Mehta Conducts Brahms
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875166762 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $25.49
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  • 2.
    Brahms: The Four Symphonies; Academic Festival & Tragic Overtures; Haydn Variations / Barbirolli
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553993 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Johannes Brahms Cycle / Franz Welser-most, Cleveland Orchestra
    Label: Belvedere (Dvd)   Catalog: 8005 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Julia Fischer,  Yefim Bronfman
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Johannes Brahms Cycle / Franz Welser-most, Cleveland Orchestra [blu-ray]
    Label: Belvedere   Catalog: 8009 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Julia Fischer,  Yefim Bronfman
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Brahms: Complete Orchestral Music / Chailly
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002405502 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos,  Péter Nagy,  Vadim Repin,  Truls Otterbech Mork  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 6.
    The Late Years - Erato and HMV Recordings, 1968-75 / Martinon
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 552547 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Albert Roussel,  Aram Khachaturian,  Gabriel Pierné,  Francis Poulenc  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Rampal,  Lily Laskine,  Marie-Claire Alain,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    On sale! $45.98
    CD: $37.49
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  • 7.
    Karajan Spectacular, Vol. 4: Brahms
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6704 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $14.99
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  • 8.
    Brahms: Serenades 1 and 2; Overtures; Haydn Variations
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95073 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Lorin Maazel - The Complete Early Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002251502 Release Date: 02/17/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Igor Stravinsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanine Collard,  Jane Berbié,  Sylvaine Gilma,  Colette Herzog  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $85.99
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  • 11.
    Brahms: Symphony No 2... / Fischer, Budapest Festival
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 33514 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Karajan - 1980s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002187902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 78
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  José Van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Gösta Winbergh  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 13.
    Lorin Maazel: The Cleveland Years - Complete Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002217602 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Riegel,  Lynn Harrell,  Pascal Rogé,  Ivan Davis
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $117.99
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  • 14.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Brahms: Symphonies, Concertos / Pollini, Batiashvili, Thielemann [3-CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002133400 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini,  Lisa Batiashvili
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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    On sale! $44.98
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  • 16.
    Brahms: Complete Symphonies; Ein Deutsches Requiem
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 627817 Release Date: 09/02/2014  
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
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  • 17.
    Karajan - Orchestral Recordings From Germany & Austria, 1970 - 1981: Brahms, Bruckner, Wagner, R. Strauss, Sibelius, Schmidt / Berlin PO
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 33622 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz Schmidt,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Schwalbé
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $39.99
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  • 18.
    Brahms: The Symphonies / Chailly, Gewandhaus
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002121502 Release Date: 08/19/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Brahms / Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker [5-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002065002 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Marjana Lipovsek
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Chamber Choir,  Berlin Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 20.
    Brahms, Schoenberg, Beethoven / Fujimura, Abbado, Lucerne Festival Orchestra
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 20282 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mihoko Fujimura
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 21.
    Brahms, Schoenberg, Beethoven / Fujimura, Abbado, Lucerne Festival Orchestra [blu-ray]
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 10282 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mihoko Fujimura
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 22.
    Giulini In Vienna
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002037702 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli,  Andreas Schmidt,  Barbara Bonney,  Lazar Berman  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 23.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 25.
    Sir Colin Davis - The Complete RCA Legacy
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300607 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Barbara Fleckenstein,  Ben Heppner,  Heinrich Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $115.49
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