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, Schumann, Mahler: Piano Quartets /  Hope, Neubauer, Finckel, Han
Release Date: 04/21/2015   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002290602  
On sale! $18.98
CD: $15.99
In Stock
On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

Brahms: Serenades / Chailly, Gewandhaus
Release Date: 03/10/2015   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002268902  
On sale! $18.98
CD: $15.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $11.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Brahms: Double Concerto, Piano Quartet No 1
Release Date: 03/11/2008   Label: Arte Nova  
Catalog: 391150   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $7.99
CD: $6.49
In Stock
On sale!   $7.99   CD:  $6.49 Add CD to Cart

Brahms: Sonatas for Clarinet & Piano / Coppola, Staier
Release Date: 04/14/2015   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902187   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $21.98
CD: $14.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $21.98   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $10.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Brahms: Cello Sonatas / Klein, Manz
Release Date: 09/09/2008   Label: Arte Nova  
Catalog: 340430   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $7.99
CD: $6.49
In Stock
On sale!   $7.99   CD:  $6.49 Add CD to Cart

Work: Academic Festival Overture in C minor, Op. 80

 

About This Work
Brahms composed this work and the Tragic Overture in the summer of 1880 in Bad Ischl, Austria, and conducted the first Academic Festival performance in Breslau on January 3, 1881. Despite Brahms' catalogue of 122 numbered works and at least 40 more Read more works without, he wrote only 14 for orchestra: four symphonies, two early serenades, two piano concertos, two string concertos, two concert overtures, the Haydn Variations, and transcriptions of three Hungarian Dances from the 21 composed for four-hand piano between 1868 and 1880. No opera, though, or ballet or incidental theater music. Furthermore, from 1859 to 1874, he limited his orchestral writing to seven choral pieces (which, however, included A German Requiem, his longest work in any form).

On March 11, 1879, the University of Breslau -- Wroclaw today, in Poland -- awarded him an honorary doctorate, for which he thanked them on a postcard. A friend replied that the University expected "a doctoral symphony...at the very least a solemn ode" quid pro quo. What they received 19 months later was this 10-minute Academic Festival Overture. To start the New Year, Brahms himself premiered it in the Silesian capital.

This music is arguably the crusty composer's most ebullient, scored for the largest orchestra in his oeuvre: piccolo, contrabassoon, a third trumpet, tuba, bass drum, triangle, and cymbals, in addition to the usual wind pairs, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, and strings. For subject matter to fill a flexible sonata structure, he chose four student drinking songs. In the order of their appearance, these are "What comes therefrom on high" (staccato triads and off-center accents in C minor), "We have built a stately house" (three trumpets, solemnly in C major), "Der Landesvater" (The Sovereign; legato violins in E major), and finally, after the seriatim reprise of one, two, and three in tonic C major, the most famous song of all, the medieval student song "Gaudeamus igitur" (Let us therefore rejoice), in the coda. This may not have been what Breslau expected, but for global audiences ever since, the Academic Festival Overture ranks alongside the keyboard Waltz, Op. 39/16, as Brahms' most beloved instrumental music.

-- Roger Dettmer, All Music Guide Read less

Select a specific Conductor, Ensemble or Label or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below

or
ArkivMusic Recommendation

Johannes Brahms


WORKS
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op.68 (1999 - Remaster): I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op.68 (1999 - Remaster): II. Andante sostenuto
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op.68 (1999 - Remaster): III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op.68 (1999 - Remaster): IV. Adagio - Piů andante - Allegro non troppo ma con brio
1. Allegro non troppo
2. Adagio non troppo - L'istesso tempo, ma grazioso
3. Allegretto grazioso ( Quasi andantino) - Presto ma non assai
4. Allegro con spirito
Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90: I. Allegro con brio
II. Andante
III. Poco Allegretto
IV. Allegro
1. Allegro non troppo
2. Andante moderato
3. Allegro giocoso - Poco meno presto - Tempo I
4. Allegro energico e passionato - Piů allegro
I. Maestoso
II. Adagio
III. Rondo - Allegro non troppo
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat, Op. 83: Allegro non troppo
Allegro appassionato
Andante
Allegretto grazioso
Allegro non troppo
Adagio
Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace
Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A Minor, Op.102 (1997 - Remaster): I. Allegro
Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A Minor, Op.102 (1997 - Remaster): II. Andante
Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A Minor, Op.102 (1997 - Remaster): III. Vivace non troppo
Variations on a Theme by Haydn ('St Antoni Chorale') Op. 56a (1989 Digital Remaster): Variation VIII: Presto non troppo
Variations on a Theme by Haydn ('St Antoni Chorale') Op. 56a (1989 Digital Remaster): Finale: Andante
Hungarian Dance No.1 in G Minor, WoO 1
Hungarian Dance No.2 in D minor - Orchestrated by Iván Fischer
Hungarian Dance No.3 in F - Orchestrated by Brahms
Hungarian Dance No.4 in F sharp minor - Orchestrated by Iván Fischer
Hungarian Dance No.5 in G minor - Orchestrated by Iván Fischer
Hungarian Dance No.6 in D flat - Orchestrated by Albert Parlow
Hungarian Dance No.7 in F Hungarian Dance No. 7 in A - Orchestrated by Iván Fischer
Hungarian Dance No.8 in A minor - Orchestrated by R. Schollum
Hungarian Dance No.9 in E minor - Orchestrated by R. Schollum
Hungarian Dance No.10 in F - Orchestrated by Brahms
Hungarian Dance No.11 in D minor - Orchestrated by Iván Fischer
Hungarian Dance No.12 in D minor - Orchestrated by Iván Fischer
Hungarian Dance No.13 in D - Orchestrated by Iván Fischer
Hungarian Dance No.14 in D minor - Orchestrated by Iván Fischer
Hungarian Dance No.15 in B flat - Orchestrated by Frigyes Hidas
Hungarian Dance No.16 in F minor - Orchestrated by Albert Parlow
Hungarian Dance No.17 in F sharp minor - Orchestrated by Frigyes Hidas
Hungarian Dance No.18 in D - Orchestrated by Frigyes Hidas
Hungarian Dance No.19 in B minor - Orchestrated by Antonín Dvorák
Hungarian Dance No.20 in E minor - Orchestrated by Antonín Dvorák
Hungarian Dance No.21 in E minor - Orchestrated by Antonín Dvorák
Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Ziemlich langsam - Selig sind, die da Leid tragen
Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Langsam, marschmäßig - Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras
Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Andante moderato - Herr, lehre doch mich
Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Mäßig bewegt - Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen
Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Langsam - Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit
Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Andante - Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt
Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Feierlich - Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herren sterben


YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In