Johannes Brahms ( German: [joˈhanəs ˈbʁaːms]; 7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer and pianist. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria. In his lifetime, Brahms’s popularity and influence were considerable; following a comment by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow, he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the “Three Bs”.
Johannes Brahms was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, he spent much of his professional life in Vienna. He is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the "Three Bs" of music, a comment originally made by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow. Brahms composed for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ, voice, and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many ...
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- Early Years
- Meeting Joachim and Liszt
- Brahms and The Schumanns
- Detmold and Hamburg
- Years of Popularity
- Brahms and Dvořák
- Later Years
Brahms’s father, Johann Jakob Brahms (1806–72), came to Hamburg from Dithmarschen, seeking a career as a town musician. He was proficient in several instruments, but found employment mostly playing the horn and double bass. In 1830, he married Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen (1789–1865), a seamstress never previously married, who was seventeen years older than he was. Johannes Brahms had an older sister and a younger brother. Initially, they lived near the city docks, in the Gängeviertel quarter of Hamburg, for six months, before moving to a small house on the Dammtorwall, a small street near the Inner Alster. Johann Jakob gave his son his first musical training. He studied piano from the age of seven with Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel. Owing to the family’s poverty, the adolescent Brahms had to contribute to the family’s income by playing the piano in dance halls. Early biographers found this shocking and played down this portion of his life. Some modern writers have suggested...
He began to compose quite early in life, but later destroyed most copies of his first works; for instance, Louise Japha, a fellow-pupil of Marxsen, reported a piano sonata, that Brahms had played or improvised at the age of 11, had been destroyed. His compositions did not receive public acclaim until he went on a concert tour as accompanist to the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi in April and May 1853. On this tour he met Joseph Joachim at Hanover, and went on to the Court of Weimar where he met Franz Liszt, Peter Cornelius, and Joachim Raff. According to several witnesses of Brahms’s meeting with Liszt (at which Liszt performed Brahms’s Scherzo, Op. 4, at sight), Reményi was offended by Brahms’s failure to praise Liszt’s Sonata in B minor wholeheartedly (Brahms supposedly fell asleep during a performance of the recently composed work), and they parted company shortly afterwards. Brahms later excused himself, saying that he could not help it, having been exhausted by his travels.
Joachim had given Brahms a letter of introduction to Robert Schumann, and after a walking tour in the Rhineland, Brahms took the train to Düsseldorf, and was welcomed into the Schumann family on arrival there. Schumann, amazed by the 20-year-old’s talent, published an article entitled “Neue Bahnen” (New Paths) in the 28 October 1853 issue of the journal Neue Zeitschrift für Musik alerting the public to the young man, who, he claimed, was “destined to give ideal expression to the times.” This pronouncement impressed people who were admirers of Robert or Clara Schumann; for example, in Hamburg, a music publisher and the conductor of the Philharmonic, but it was received with some skepticism by others. It may have increased Brahms’s self-critical need to perfect his works. He wrote to Robert, “Revered Master,” in November 1853, that his praise “Will arouse such extraordinary expectations by the public that I don’t know how I can begin to fulfil them …” While he was in Düsseldorf, Brahm...
After Robert Schumann’s death at the sanatorium in 1856, Brahms divided his time between Hamburg, where he formed and conducted a ladies’ choir, and Detmold in the Principality of Lippe, where he was court music-teacher and conductor. He was the soloist at the premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 1, his first orchestral composition to be performed publicly, in 1859. He first visited Vienna in 1862, staying there over the winter, and, in 1863, was appointed conductor of the Vienna Singakademie. Though he resigned the position the following year, and entertained the idea of taking up conducting posts elsewhere, he based himself increasingly in Vienna and soon made his home there. From 1872 to 1875, he was director of the concerts of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde; afterwards, he accepted no formal position. He declined an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Cambridge in 1877, but accepted one from theUniversity of Breslau in 1879, and composed the Academic Festi...
It was the premiere of A German Requiem, his largest choral work, in Bremen, in 1868, that confirmed Brahms’s European reputation and led many to accept that he had conquered Beethoven and the symphony. This may have given him the confidence finally to complete a number of works that he had wrestled with over many years, such as the cantata Rinaldo, his first string quartet, third piano quartet, and most notably his first symphony. This appeared in 1876, though it had been begun (and a version of the first movement seen by some of his friends) in the early 1860s. The other three symphonies then followed in 1877, 1883, and 1885. From 1881, he was able to try out his new orchestral works with the Meiningen Court Orchestra of the Duke of Meiningen, whose conductor was Hans von Bülow. He was the soloist at the premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1881, in Pest. Brahms frequently travelled, both for business (concert tours) and pleasure. From 1878 onwards, he often visited Italy in th...
In 1875, the composer Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) was still virtually unknown outside the Prague region. Brahms was on the jury which awarded the Vienna State Prize for composition to Dvořák three times, first in February 1875, and later in 1876 and 1877. Brahms also recommended Dvořák to his publisher, Simrock, who commissioned the highly successful Slavonic Dances. Within a few years, Dvořák gained world renown. In 1892 he was appointed Director of the newly established National Conservatory in New York.
In 1890, the 57-year-old Brahms resolved to give up composing. However, as it turned out, he was unable to abide by his decision, and in the years before his death he produced a number of acknowledged masterpieces. His admiration for Richard Mühlfeld, clarinetist with the Meiningen orchestra, moved him to compose the Clarinet Trio, Op. 114, Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115 (1891), and the two Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 120 (1894). He also wrote several cycles of piano pieces, Opp. 116–119, the Vier ernste Gesänge(Four Serious Songs), Op. 121 (1896), and the Eleven Chorale Preludes for organ, Op. 122 (1896). While completing the Op. 121 songs, Brahms developed cancer (sources differ on whether this was of the liver or pancreas). His last appearance in public was on 3 March 1897, when he saw Hans Richter conduct his Symphony No. 4. There was an ovation after each of the four movements. His condition gradually worsened and he died a month later, on 3 April 1897, aged 63. Brahms is buried in the Ze...
Later that year, the British composer Hubert Parry, who considered Brahms the greatest artist of the time, wrote an orchestral Elegy for Brahms. This was never played in Parry’s lifetime, receiving its first performance at a memorial concert for Parry himself in 1918. From 1904 to 1914, Brahms’s friend, the music critic Max Kalbeck published an eight-volume biography of Brahms, but this has never been translated into English. Between 1906 and 1922, the Deutsche Brahms-Gesellschaft (German Brahms Society) published 16 numbered volumes of Brahms’s correspondence, at least 7 of which were edited by Kalbeck. An additional 7 volumes of Brahms’s correspondence were published later, including two volumes with Clara Schumann, edited by Marie Schumann.
Mar 14, 2019 · Johannes Brahms inherited his talent and interest in music from his father, Johann Jakob Brahms. Jakob Brahms is known to be leave his family to make his way up to Hamburg Philharmonic Society. Just like Mozart, the very first music training was given to Johannes Brahms by his father. Soon after he was confident with his fundamental music knowledge, he learned to play violin, cello and piano.
Johannes Brahms: The Romantic Champion of Classicism. Johannes Brahms was born to Johann Jakob Brahms and Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen as one of three children. His father was a bassist at the Hamburg Philharmonic Society, and following his father’s shoes, the future composing great started playing the piano from age 7.
Johannes Brahms was born on May 7, 1833 in Hamburg, Germany to Johann Jakob Brahms and Johanna Nissen. Brahms was exposed to music at a young age by his father, who played several string and wind instruments. Although financial struggles were an issue in the family, Brahms’s parents cared deeply for him and his two siblings and