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 Trios / Ma, Ax, Kavakos
Release Date: 09/15/2017   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 540729   Number of Discs: 2
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Brahms: String Quintets / West German Radio Symphony Chamber Players
Release Date: 04/28/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186663   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Piano Works / Freire
Release Date: 08/25/2017   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002707502   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Violin Concerto & Sonata No. 1 / Gluzman, Gaffigan, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 05/05/2017   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2172   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Piano Quartet Op 25, Orchestrated by Schoenberg / Albrecht
Release Date: 08/14/2015   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186398   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: German Requiem, Op. 45

Browse 101-108 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Bruno Walter Edition - Brahms: German Requiem, Alto Rhapsody
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64469 Release Date: 05/16/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Mildred Miller,  Irmgard Seefried,  George London
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Occidental College Concert Choir,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 102.
    Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem / Sawallisch, Price, Allen
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 39101 Release Date: 04/04/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Thomas Allen
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $22.49
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  • 103.
    Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem / Rahbari, Gauci, Tumagian
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550213 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Eduard Tumagian,  Miriam Gauci
    Conductor:  Alexander Rahbari
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak State Philharmonic Chorus,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava
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  • 104.
    Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem / Abbado, Studer, Schmidt
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437517 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Cheryl Studer,  Andreas Schmidt
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Chorus,  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir
    CD: $17.99
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  • 105.
    Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem / Karajan, Hendricks, Van Dam
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431651 Release Date: 11/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  José van Dam
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 106.
    Classics - Brahms: German Requiem / Shaw, Augér, Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80092 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Richard Stilwell
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Atlanta Symphony Chorus
    CD: $9.99
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  • 107.
    Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem / Karajan, Janowitz, Wächter
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 427252 Release Date: 05/09/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Eberhard Wächter,  Gundula Janowitz
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 108.
    Brahms: German Requiem / Kegel, Häggander, Lorenz
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: C10095 Release Date: 01/01/1987   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Mari Anne Häggander,  Siegfried Lorenz
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Leipzig Radio Orchestra
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