The attitude of professional musicology toward the philosophical discipline of aesthetics hardly admits, yet, of a style-critical analysis that could "prove" the point of Brahms's Protestant piety as a tangible factor in the Requiem. One may instinctively sense, nevertheless, not only the presence of the elegiac, but also of the pessimistic in this and corresponding works, noting with Geiringer that in the Requiem "all mention of the name of Christ is expressly avoided.
Settings of O bone Jesu, Adoramus te, and Regina coeli Opus 37 are among the composer's somewhat unjustly neglected minor works. Eleven Chorale Preludes for Organ Opus brought his oeuvre to a close with a setting of "O Welt, ich muss dich lassen" Oh world, I must leave you.
Bibliography: Briefwechsel, ed. Berlin — London — New York Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, but from spent the majority of his adult life in Vienna. Active in all the major genres of the period apart from opera and program music , he was also a virtuoso concert pianist, a conductor, and an editor of older music.
His mature compositional style presents a remarkable synthesis—of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century choral music, Baroque music especially Johann Sebastian Bach [—] , the Viennese Classics, Beethovenian rhetoric and technical procedures, Schubertian lyricism, and folk and popular idioms. Brahms's work was informed by a number of ideological positions, including historicism, Romanticism, later nineteenth-century political liberalism, proto-modernist strains, and aspects of the age's materialism.
Such breadth of reference bespeaks an almost democratic artistic open-mindedness, and the latent political ramifications of this were sometimes overtly manifested. For example, the composer's Ein deutsches Requiem A German requiem op. Democratic artistic tendencies also placed Brahms at a tangent to the predominant artistic cult of originality, and the increasingly chauvinistic political atmosphere of his times—although it should be noted that Brahms himself could be deeply jingoistic.
Brahms achieved this flexibly synthetic style through self-conscious, almost scholarly contemplation and self-criticism, activities that were further to distinguish Brahms from his era, which often valorized the creative act in radically Romantic terms, as an unmediated overflow of expression. This self-consciousness also placed an intimate stamp on his music that led the music critic Paul Bekker — to describe Brahms in as an essentially bourgeois composer of chamber music ; on the other hand, later writers including Theodor Adorno [—] and Carl Dahlhaus [—] saw it as a sign of progressiveness.
Brahms, however, started out strongly within the orbit of Romanticism and the musical avant-garde: as a young man he read the Romantic literature of E. Hoffmann — and Jean Paul — His compositional style, while already eclectic in its sources though not fully fused , could be oriented toward turbulent Romantic expression and formal fantasy, and also the up-to-date musical techniques of thematic transformation with which the composer Franz Liszt — , whom Brahms met in Weimar in , was then presently working.
The composer Robert Schumann — famously wrote in , the year he met Brahms, that each of Brahms's works was then "so different from the others that it seemed to stream from its own individual source. Brahms transformed these creative sources into one synthesized compositional identity during the s, leading in the first half of the s to what the English music critic Sir Donald Francis Tovey — referred to as Brahms's "first maturity": a group of works including the remarkably integrated Piano Quintet in F Minor, op.
The s were also marked by intense interest in the music of the past including a course of study in counterpoint —a historicist tendency that remained with Brahms, and which is most famously expressed later by his dramatic use of the Baroque passacaglia form for the last movement of his Symphony no. Finally, the decade saw Brahms briefly withdraw from the arena of German musical life, resulting in compositional silence toward the end of the s, and the formulation of a critical distance to the so-called New German School of composition and its claims to stand for the "music of the future.
Such associations were only strengthened, particularly in , by the milestone first performance of Brahms's First Symphony, which brought to an end the mid-century domination of orchestral symphonic music by the programmatic agendas of Liszt and his followers.
Scholarship around the turn of the twenty-first century has emphasized extra-musical elements and influences, but the association of Brahms with absolute music and musical formalism remains important. However surprising, lyrical, or Romantic its expressive appearance, Brahms's music is frequently grounded in the more purely musical parameters of what the composer Arnold Schoenberg — famously was to call "developing variation": a seamless and highly economical musical logic, where each moment in the score can be justified in terms of its motivic derivation from the preceding material.
For Schoenberg, this marked Brahms as a protomodernist; and indeed, the increasingly material concentration of Brahms's music culminating in such late examples as the Vier ernste Gesange [Four serious songs], op. But such unifying techniques, which ground Brahms's music in quantifiable musical relations, also like Brahms strongly to the materialist predilections of European thought at that time, which rejected the metaphysical and idealist strains of early-nineteenth-century Romanticism for having contributed to the failure of the Revolutions of and thus sought a theoretical outlook, both within the arts for example, in realism and naturalism and the sciences with positivism , orientated more toward the empirically verifiable constituents of existing reality.
Ironically, though, Brahms's materialist credentials helped to distinguish him from the predominant musical culture of the second half of the nineteenth century, which was driven by a metaphysics of music inspired by the early-nineteenth-century philosopher Schopenhauer, and thus continued to align itself with the transcendental tendencies of Romanticism, if in a somewhat overdetermined form.
In the final analysis, Brahms is a slippery combination of seemingly contradictory positions simultaneously modernist, retrospective, and contemporaneous unique in the later nineteenth century. As a result, the man and his music have been open to appropriation by a number of divergent polemics, thus making him a fascinating subject for reception history in our own pluralistic postmodern world.
Schoenberg, Arnold. London, Brahms, Johannes great German composer, the preeminent guardian of the classical tradition in the late Romantic era; b. Hamburg, May 7, ; d. His father, who played the double bass in the orch. In he began to study piano with Otto F. Cossel, and made his first public appearance as a pianist with a chamber music group at the age of Impressed with his progress, Cossel sent Brahms to his own former teacher, the noted pedagogue Eduard Marxsen, who accepted him as a scholarship student, without charging a fee.
Brahms later remembered his mentor with the dedication of his Second Piano Concerto. At the age of 13, Brahms was on his own, and had to eke out his meager subsistence by playing piano in taverns, restaurants, and other establishments, some of ill repute. On Sept. On April 14, , he gave his first concert under his own name. While in Hannover, Brahms formed a friendship with the famous violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim , who gave him an introduction to Liszt in Weimar.
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Of great significance was his meeting with Schumann in Dusseldorf. Brahms also publ. Marks, a collection of 6 pieces for piano, Four-Hands, under the title Souvenir de la Russie Brahms never visited Russia. Objectively judged, the private life of Brahms was that of a middle-class bourgeois who worked systematically and diligently on his current tasks while maintaining a fairly active social life. He was always ready and willing to help young composers his earnest efforts on behalf of Dvorak were notable.
Brahms was entirely free of professional jealousy; his differences with Wagner were those of style.
Wagner was an opera composer, whereas Brahms never wrote for the stage. True, some ardent admirers of Wagner such as Hugo Wolf found little of value in the music of Brahms, while admirers of Brahms such as Hanslick were sharp critics of Wagner, but Brahms held aloof from such partisan wranglings with the exception of a publ, letter in From to Brahms was employed in Det-mold as court pianist, chamber musician, and choir director.
In the meantime he began work on his first Piano Concerto. He played it on Jan. Other important works of the period were the 2 serenades for orch. He expected to be named conductor of the Hamburg Phil.
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Soc, but the directoriat preferred to engage, in , Julius Stockhausen in that capacity. Instead, Brahms accepted the post of conductor of the Singakademie in Vienna, which he led from to In he decided to make Vienna his permanent home. As early as he began work on his choral masterpiece, Ein deutsches Requiem; he completed the score in , and conducted its first performance in the Bremen Cathedral on April 10, , although the first 3 movements had been given by Herbeck and the Vienna Phil, on Dec.
The title of the German Requiem had no nationalistic connotations; it simply stated that the text was in German rather than Latin. In he publ. During this time, he composed the Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, op. Anthony Chorale, and in pedantic scholarly eds. Anthony Variations. Otto Dessoff conducted the first performance of the work with the Vienna Phil, on Nov.
For many years friends and admirers of Brahms urged him to write a sym. He clearly had a symphonic mind; his piano concertos were symphonic in outline and thematic development. As early as he began work on a full-fledged sym. The famous horn solo in the finale of the First Sym. Yet Brahms was still unsure about his symphonic capacity. The great C-minor Sym.
The witty phrase took wing, but its sophisticated connotation was lost at the hands of professional popularizers. Brahms composed his Second Sym. Brahms led a second performance of the work with the Gewandhaus Orch. Also in Brahms wrote his Violin Concerto; the score was dedicated to Joachim, who gave its premiere with the Gewandhaus Orch. Brahms then composed his Second Piano Concerto, in B-flat major, and was soloist in its first performance in Budapest, on Nov.
There followed the Third Sym. The Fourth Sym. The symphonic cycle was completed in less than a decade; it has been conjectured, without foundation, that the tonalities of the 4 syms. All speculations aside, there is an inner symmetry uniting these works. The 4 syms. There are fewer departures from the formal scheme than in Beethoven, and there are no extraneous episodes interfering with the grand general line. Brahms wrote music pure in design and eloquent in sonorous projection; he was a true classicist, a quality that endeared him to the critics who were repelled by Wagnerian streams of sound, and by the same token alienated those who sought something more than mere geometry of thematic configurations from a musical composition.
The chamber music of Brahms possesses similar symphonic qualities; when Schoenberg undertook to make an orch. The string quartets of Brahms are edifices of Gothic perfection; his 3 violin sonatas, his Second Piano Trio the first was a student work and yet it had a fine quality of harmonious construction , all contribute to a permanent treasure of musical classicism. The piano writing of Brahms is severe in its contrapuntal texture, but pianists have continued to include his rhapsodies and intermezzos in their repertoire; and Brahms was able to impart sheer delight in his Hungarian rhapsodies and waltzes; they represented the Viennese side of his character, as contrasted with the profound Germanic quality of his syms.
The song cycles of Brahms continued the evolution of the art of the Heder, a natural continuation of the song cycles of Schubert and Schumann. Brahms was sociable and made friends easily; he traveled to Italy, and liked to spend his summers in the solitude of the Austrian Alps. But he was reluctant to appear as a center of attention; he declined to receive the honorary degree of Mus. He was pleased to receive the Gold Medal of the Phil. In the Univ. With success and fame came a sense of self- sufficiency, which found its external expression in the corpulence of his appearance, familiar to all from photographs and drawings of Brahms conducting or playing the piano.
Even during his Viennese period, Brahms remained a sturdy Prussian; his ideal was to see Germany a dominant force in Europe philosophically and militarily. He was extremely meticulous in his working habits his MSS were clean and legible , but he avoided wearing formal dress, preferring a loosely fitting flannel shirt and a detachable white collar, but no cravat. He liked to dine in simple restaurants, and he drank a great deal of beer.
He was indifferent to hostile criticism; still, it is amazing to read the outpouring of invective against Brahms by George Bernard Shaw and by American critics; the usual accusations were of dullness and turgidity. When Sym. From the perspective of a century, Brahms appears as the greatest master of counterpoint after Bach; one can learn polyphony from a studious analysis of the chamber music and piano works of Brahms; he excelled in variation forms; his piano variations on a theme of Paganini are exemplars of contrapuntal learning, and they are also among the most difficult piano works of the 19 th century.
Posterity gave him a full measure of recognition; Hamburg celebrated his sesquicentennial in with great pomp. The th anniversary of his death was widely commemorated in Brahms had lived a good life, but died a bad death, stricken with cancer of the liver. Anthony Chorale, is not by Haydn; Vienna, Nov. Ill Vienna, Nov. In a copy from the original score of a Trio in A major, presumably composed by Brahms when he was about 20 years old see letter to R.
Schumann, , was discovered in Bonn; it was publ, in Mandyczewski prepared the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde of Vienna edition; it was publ, as J. A new historical-critical edition of the complete works, the J. When completed, this monumental edition will consist of approximately 65 vols. A thematic catalogue was prepared by N. McCorkle, N. The standard thematic and bibliographic catalogue is found in M. McCorkle, J. Thematisch-Bibliographisches Werkverzeichnis Munich, Other sources include A.
Koch, B. Bozarth, E. Auman, and W. Pascali, ed. Antonicek and O. Biba, eds. Quigley, J. Quigley and M. Ingraham, J. Botstein, The Compleat B. See also B. Billroth, Billroth und B. Stephenson, J. Re-imann, J. Dietrich, Erinnerun-gen an J. Hecht in Recollections of]. Widmann, J. Hecht in Recollections of J.
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I, vocal works, ; Vols. II and III, chamber and orch. IV, piano works, ; W. Nagel, Die Klaviersonaten von J. Kalbeck, B. Friedlander, B. Mies, Stilmomente und Ausdrucksstilformen im B. Berlin, ; E. Markham Lee, B. Drinker, The Chamber Music of B. Philadelphia, ; W. Blume, B. Browne, B. Colles, The Chamber Music ofB. London, ; D. Mason, The Chamber Music of B. Harrison, B. Drinker, B. Berlin, ; A. Mitschka, Der Sonatensatz in den Werken von J. Dahlhaus, B. Click on an option below to access. Log out of ReadCube. Volume 89 , Issue 3. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.
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