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
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 & Ballades, Op. 10 / Lewis
Release Date: 04/15/2016   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902191   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol 3 / Plowright
Release Date: 03/11/2016   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2127   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Works for Piano Solo, Vol. 2 / Plowright
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2117   Number of Discs: 1
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Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra - Brahms: Piano Quartet, Op. 25 / Harth-Bedoya, Fort Worth
Release Date: 04/01/2016   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807668   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Violin Concerto - Brahms: Violin Sonata, Op. 100 / De Vito
Release Date: 04/29/2016   Label: Audite  
Catalog: 95621   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83

Browse 151-157 of 157 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2;  Strauss: Burleske / Serkin
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 53262 Release Date: 10/19/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 152.
    Brahms: Piano Concertos, Overtures / Arrau, Haitink
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 438320 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 153.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2, Etc / Sviatoslav Richter
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 56518 Release Date: 01/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 154.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto 2 / Alfred Brendel, Abbado
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 432975 Release Date: 04/08/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 155.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2;  Beethoven / Anda, Kubelik
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 271921 Release Date: 04/03/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Géza Anda
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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