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
Arthur Rubinstein Plays Brahms
Release Date: 06/12/2012   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 760992   Number of Discs: 9
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Brahms: Complete Piano Trios, Clarinet Trio, Horn Trio
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 22082   Number of Discs: 2
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Leon Fleisher Plays Beethoven & Brahms
Release Date: 08/07/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 1918052   Number of Discs: 5
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Brahms: Symphonies, Concertos / Pollini, Batiashvili, Thielemann
Release Date: 09/16/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002133400   Number of Discs: 4
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Brahms: Symphony No 1; Mendelssohn / Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5089   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Tragic Overture, Op. 81

Browse 1-25 of 143 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Brahms: The Symphonies / Chailly, Gewandhausorchester   [blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188646 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    Brahms: Symphonies, Concertos / Pollini, Batiashvili, Thielemann
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Giulini In Vienna [15-CD Set]
    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  ... 
    CD: $83.49
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  • 10.
    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  ... 
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  • 11.
    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  ... 
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  • 12.
    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  ... 
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  • 13.
    Bernard Haitink: The Symphony Edition [36-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002010702 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 36
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Peter Schreier,  Robert Holl  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Radio Chorus,  St. Willibrod Boy's Choir  ... 
    CD: $113.99
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  • 14.
    Icon: Wolfgang Sawallisch - Beethoven, Brahms The Complete Symphonies
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 9356521 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Marjana Lipovsek,  Peter Seiffert
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Düsseldorf Städtischer Musikvereins Chorus,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Carlo Maria Giulini: The London Years
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 93739 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Benjamin Britten,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Sheila Armstrong,  Anna Reynolds,  Robert Tear,  John Shirley-Quirk
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    Brahms: The Symphonies / Riccardo Chailly, Gewandhausorchester
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001929802 Release Date: 11/11/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Brahms: Symphonies 1 & 2 / Gergiev
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 733 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Bruno Walter - The Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548952 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Hendl,  John Corigliano Sr.,  Leonard Rose,  Martha Lipton  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Occidental College Consort,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 19.
    Claudio Abbado - The Symphony Edition [41-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001846502 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Violeta Urmana,  Thomas Moser,  Thomas Quasthoff,  Karita Mattila  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Mozart,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $129.99
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  • 20.
    Brahms: Symphonies No. 1-4
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 38 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Grzegorz Nowak
    CD: $39.99
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  • 21.
    Icon - Arturo Toscanini [6-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 233342 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Claude Debussy,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Brahms: Symphony No. 1; Tragic Overture; St. Anthony Variations
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1395 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $9.99
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  • 23.
    Brahms: Symphonies, Overtures, Ein Deutsches Requiem / Klemperer [4-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 043382 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Unspecified
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Ralph Downes,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Christa Ludwig
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    Carl Schuricht Collection II - Historical Recordings 1951-1966
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93292 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $88.99
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  • 25.
    Icon - Eugen Jochum
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64004 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Claes H. Ahnsjö,  Roland Hermann,  Helen Donath  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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