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Johannes Brahms . Biography, Composition History and Listening Guide. Well Known For “Brahms Lullaby”. Please click here to watch the video. “Brahms Lullaby” has become the most recognizable tune in association with the baby. The Most Renowned Artist Of His Time.

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Johannes brahms

Johannes Brahms

Biography, Composition History and Listening Guide


Well known for brahms lullaby
Well Known For “Brahms Lullaby”

Please click here to watch the video.

“Brahms Lullaby” has become the most recognizable tune in association with the baby


The most renowned artist of his time
The Most Renowned Artist Of His Time

Grouped together along with other greats Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig Van Beethoven


Brahms life and accomplishments
Brahms’ Life And Accomplishments

  • Brahms was born in 1833 on May 7 in Hamburg, Germany.

  • His Father Johann Jakob Brahms was a musician and trained him from a very young age in the art of music.

  • His primary instrument was the piano though there are records of him also learning to play a cello as well.


Brahms life and accomplishments1
Brahms’ Life And Accomplishments

  • The first music we have record of him composing was a sonata which he composed with Robert Schumann and Albert Dietrich which was called the “F-A-E Sonata” and was composed for Joachim.

  • His first taste of brilliance came from his later tutelage in the piano from Eduard Marxsen who had tutored with pupils of both Mozart and Schubert.


Brahms life and accomplishments2
Brahms’ Life And Accomplishments

  • Though he had performed at a young age he didn’t start to become famous until he reached the age of 19.

  • In the early 1860’s is when his work started to gain notoriety and fame, and he began to write his famous works.


Brahms life and accomplishments3
Brahms’ Life And Accomplishments

  • In 1881 he wrote what many people consider his greatest work which is his “Piano Concerto No. 2”.

  • In 1889 he was asked by and associate of Thomas Edison to do an experimental recording, which he did and became the first major composer to have his music recorded.


Brahms life and accomplishments4
Brahms’ Life And Accomplishments

  • It was during this time that there began to be a bit of feud between the more traditional artists which he was a part of and the “German New School” which was a more experimental style of music.

  • In 1968 Brahms finished his work on “A German Requiem” which was his longest work and lasted nearly an hour and cemented him in the eyes of critics as one of the premier minds in conducting music in his time.


Brahms life and accomplishments5
Brahms’ Life And Accomplishments

  • Many people described him as very brash, sarcastic, and seemingly grumpy to those who didn’t know him.

  • He continued writing and until he became sick with cancer in 1896.

  • He died a year later on April 3, 1887.


References
References

  • Hoffmann (1999) Kurt. "Brahms the Hamburg musician 1833—1863" Cambridge. Musgrave (editor) Michael The Cambridge Companion to Brahms Cambridge University Press, p. 9

  • Beller-McKenna, Daniel. Brahms and the German Spirit. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 2004, ISBN 0-674-01318-2

  • Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Brahms


Brahms hungarian dances 4 8

Brahms Hungarian Dances 4-8

Listening Guide

All the dances used and analyzed are Vittorio Cecchetto’s renditions and are performed by the “Citta Murrata Orchestra” live at the Teatro Sociale Cittadella in 2007.


Hungarian dance 4 orchestra click
Hungarian Dance #4 (orchestra)Click

  • 0-22= Pitch and Tempo of the Violins waves (ascending and descending), and is followed by the Wind instruments accenting the end of each descent. It promotes consonance and is repetitive. This melody loops several times at a moderate tempo

  • 22-.38= The melody Timbre deepens giving you more of a feeling of depth. Still in a wave like motion through two repetitions and then ends with three quickened tempo pitch spikes to add dissonance near the end of this time period.


Hungarian dance 4 orchestra
Hungarian Dance #4 (orchestra)

  • 38-1.10= This portion starts with a higher pitch due to the fact that the winds (flutes) can be heard. The overall feel still doesn’t change and for the most part the melody is the same, but this part ends on a very sharp note denoting the change of a movement.

  • 1.10-1.37= Our first major tempo change, the tempo quickens. Where before we had slow waves in pitch and tempo it is now building to a peak and then jumping in pitch rapidly. The tempo is very quick if not a presto close to it.


Hungarian dance 4 orchestra1
Hungarian Dance #4 (orchestra)

  • 1.37-2.09= The music reverts back to the original melody and tempo most similar(if not identical to) the beginning portion of music. Again it ends on a hard note.

  • 2.09-3.06= This portion of Hungarian dance is probably the most unique we have a slower tempo. The winds take a majority of the melody as the violins and cellos are now being plucked to keep more of a rhythm. This part also has the least amount of range of all of the other parts. The melody itself is very mellow and instead of ending on a sharp not like the others it basically just tapers off.


Hungarian dance 4 orchestra2
Hungarian Dance #4 (orchestra)

  • 3.06-4.09= Once again reverts back to the original melody this time taking you back through the first minute and tens seconds of the song.

  • 4.09-4.34= The tempo quickens again and the melody that was played from 1.10-1.37 is played again.

  • 4.34-5.06= The song is ending in the same way it began with that sharp note that ended the movement ending the song.


Hungarian dance 4 orchestra3
Hungarian Dance #4 (orchestra)

Song Dynamic and Form: The song itself consisted of 3 total original melodies and tempos. The song was mirrored and the two mirrored parts were separated by the soft portion of the song 2.09-3.06. If you were to draw the form or shape of the pitch and timbre throughout the song you would end up with two totally symmetrical half’s


Hungarian dance 5 orchestra in g minor
Hungarian Dance #5 (orchestra in G-minor)

  • 0-.33= The first thing that strikes you is the speed and tempo of this piece. In its form there is repetition in this time frame in which you listen to two waves. Again the strings themselves provide most of the melody, while the winds are used mostly as an accent to them. Near the end of each of the two intervals of the melody the pitch is walked down (or fluttered down by the sound of it) with the winds. As we saw in the 4th dance this one also ends this time frame on a sharp note. The speed is I would think (I wasn’t able to find which exactly it was) Vivace or Allegro though I cannot say for sure because of my lack of knowledge of music. .

Click


Hungarian dance 5 orchestra in g minor1
Hungarian Dance #5 (orchestra in G-minor)

  • 33 -.39= we see a change of pace and a quick pitch changes and range jumps. .

  • .39-.50= It slows down to a nice peaceful sounding melody to make some contrast in its form and then we see some dissonance(or loud change up or dramatic timbre changes) as it builds back up and morphs back into melody at 33-.39

  • .50-1.17= It takes you back through (repetition in form) the melody and composition we heard from .33-.50.


Hungarian dance 5 orchestra in g minor2
Hungarian Dance #5 (orchestra in G-minor)

  • 1.17-1.44= We are introduced to a slower tempo, with more of a sweeping sound. It is very slow and you have slow sweeping of the strings followed by the winds which contrast the tempo in an ascending pitch and then a descending one. This goes through a few repetitions.

  • 1.44-2.35= From this point it repeats back through 0-1.17 ending on three hard notes from the violin point the to cap off the quick performance.


Hungarian dance 5 orchestra in g minor3
Hungarian Dance #5 (orchestra in G-minor)

Song Dynamic and Form: As I have stated before it was very hard to analyze because of how fast the tempo of the piece was. Another thing that stood out to me was that the transitions in #5 were seamless so it was very hard to figure out where intervals ended and began it is easy to see why this piece is so famous.


Hungarian dance 6 orchestra in d major
Hungarian Dance #6 (orchestra in D-major)

  • 3.08-4.00= We begin Hungarian Dance #6 with the strings playing a moderate to slow tempo with a flowing relaxing feel to it. The violins sound nearly monophonic because of how well they sound together with the cellos. The Timbre and pitch dances lazily through its range. Until at 3.31 it slams into a sprint of quickly played notes until it reaches once again 3.38, and goes through another repletion until you reach 4.00

On the recording I listened two this piece was played on the same track as Hungarian Dance #5


Hungarian dance 6 orchestra in d major1
Hungarian Dance #6 (orchestra in D-major)

  • 4.00-4.40= At this point we hear the theme that was played from 3.31-3.38 and instead of winding back down it now does a different variation of that same theme and loops back through the two several times at that fast pace and tempo until it finally give your heart a rest at 4.40

  • 4.40-5.30= Now we hear a new theme in which notes are being held and harmonics are being used on the notes until the interval is ended by a rapid succession of notes. This portion is quite different sounding from the first two and the tempo is a moderate one. This theme is repeated until we reach 5.05. The Theme is then changed again into more of a descending melody in the notes are not as sharp which is also looped a couple times until we reach 5.30.


Hungarian dance 6 orchestra in d major2
Hungarian Dance #6 (orchestra in D-major)

  • 5.30-6.35= This section is another counterpoint of the first two sections I commented on. There is a slight variation where it ascends where before it descends. It appears that all of Brahms Hungarian dances seem to follow the same formula, and have a lot of symmetry in tone and timbre. This dance is ended much like # 5 is with three hard notes that cap off the last interval.


Hungarian dance 6 orchestra in d major3
Hungarian Dance #6 (orchestra in D-major)

Song Dynamics and form: This song is probably the most balanced of the three in regards to its dissonance and consonance in that they flow together seamlessly. We see a very common theme throughout these dances as well in that they are moderate to fast tempo which is as the songs title suggests meant to be danced to. I’m not very well versed in Brahms other works but I am surprised by the symmetry in all three of the dances I analyzed.


References1
References

  • All the dances used and analyzed are Vittorio Cecchetto’s renditions and are performed by the “Citta Murrata Orchestra” live at the Teatro Sociale Cittadella in 2007.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--fyIXAH96s

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCBsR4lO730&feature=related


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