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: Violin Sonatas / Kavakos, Wang
Release Date: 04/15/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002032902   Number of Discs: 1
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Helene Grimaud Piano Recital - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachimaninov
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4891   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Symphonies 1 & 2 / Gergiev
Release Date: 10/08/2013   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 733   Number of Discs: 2
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Brahms: Symphony No 2, Academic Festival Overture / Judd, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 02/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28500   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms, Schumann, Frühling: Trios / Isserlis, Collins, Hough
Release Date: 10/12/1999   Label: Rca Victor Red Seal  
Catalog: 63504   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Double Concerto, Op. 102

Browse 101-108 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Brahms: Double Concerto;  Schumann: Cello Concerto / Kliegel
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550938 Release Date: 06/27/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Maria Kliegel,  Ilya Kaler
    Conductor:  Andrew Constantine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
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  • 102.
    Art Of Classics - Brahms: Masterpieces Vol 1
    Label: Intercord Klassische Diskothek   Catalog: 25924 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Mark Kaplan,  David Geringas,  Dieter Goldmann
    Conductor:  Michael Gielen,  Hans Swarowsky,  Alfred Scholz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  South German Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Symphony Orchestra
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  • 103.
    Isaac Stern - A Life In Music - Box I
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 67193 Release Date: 05/16/1995   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Rose,  David Oistrakh,  Eugene Istomin  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Zubin Mehta,  Daniel Barenboim,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra members,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 104.
    Karajan Gold - Brahms: Violin Concerto, Double Concerto
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439007 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Antonio Meneses,  Anne-Sophie Mutter
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 105.
    Brahms, Bruch: Concertos / Mordkovitch, Wallfisch, Järvi
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8667 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Max Bruch
    Performer:  Lydia Mordkovitch,  Raphael Wallfisch
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 106.
    Isaac Stern Collection - The Early Concerto Recordings Vol 1
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 45952 Release Date: 07/01/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Leonard Rose,  Isaac Stern,  Alexander Zakin,  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter,  Eugene Ormandy,  Alexander Hilsberg,  Sir Thomas Beecham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 107.
    Brahms: Double Concerto / Francescatti, Fournier, Walter
    Label: Cbs Great Performances   Catalog: 37237 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Pierre Fournier,  Zino Francescatti
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Brahms: Double Concerto, Etc / Stern, Ma, Abbado, Et Al
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42387 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Isaac Stern,  Emanuel Ax,  Jaime Laredo
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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