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Johannes Brahms: Pianist, Conductor, Composer

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  1. Johannes Brahms:Pianist, Conductor, Composer • Geoff Myers “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.”

  2. Introduction • Born May 7, 1833 (Hamburg, Germany) • Lived in Vienna, Austria • Died April 3, 1897 from cancer (Vienna, Austria) • Composer during Romantic period • Father: Johann Jakob Brahms, musician • Mother: Christiane Nissen, seamstress Images from: http://www.naxos.com/composer_image.asp?composerid=139

  3. Brief Biography • 1840: begins studying piano • 1846: begins studying theory & composition • 1848: first public performance as piano soloist • 1853: tours with Reményi (Hungarian violinist) • 1853: meets Robert & Clara Schumann • Becomes good friend of Robert, has romantic affair with Clara • 1863-4: director of the Vienna Singakademie • Tours in northern & central Europe, teaches piano • 1868: settles in Vienna permanently

  4. Brief Biography(cont.) • 1869: performance of the German Requiem • 1872-3: becomes conductor of Vienna Gesellschaftskonzerte • 1873: performance Variations on the St. Antony Chorale • 1876-1878: composes First & Second Symphonies, Violin Concerto, Op. 69-72, and C Major Trio • 1881:Hans von Bülow shows support, allows Brahms to conduct the Meiningen Court Orchestra • 1890: retired from composing • 1897: dies of liver cancer

  5. Orchestral Music Variations on a Theme by Haydn & Hungarian Dances • First, Second, Third, Fourth Symphonies • 2 Piano Concertos • Violin Concerto • Double Concerto(violin & cello) • Academic Festival Overture • Tragic Overture

  6. Chamber Music • 3 string quartets • 2 string quintets • 2 string sextets • Clarinet Quintet • Clarinet Trio • Horn Trio • Piano Quintet • 3 piano Quartets • 3 piano trios • 3 piano & violin sonatas • 2 piano & cello sonatas • 2 piano & clarinet sonatas • Several piano solos • ~200 songs • Chorale preludes for organ

  7. Piano Music Variations on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24 (piano solo) • 3 Piano Sonatas,Op. 1, 2 & 5 • Four Ballads, Op. 10 • Paganini Variations(piano solo), Op. 35 • Fantasias, Op. 116 • Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn(piano duet and for orchestra)

  8. Vocal & Choral Music A German Requiem(Ein deutsches Requiem), Op. 45 • Cradle Song (Wiegenlied, “Brahm’s Lullaby”) • The Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 • Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53 • Song of Destiny (Schicksalslied), Op. 54 • Four Serious Songs,Op.121 • Vain Serenade(Vergebliches Ständchen)

  9. Brahms’ Style • Seriousness • Later: sadness • Different from Wagner & Liszt, etc. • Mixed classicism with romanticism • Inspired by earlier composers (inc. Renaissance, esp. Beethoven) • Older forms of expression (e.g. variation) • Perfection • Concision & strict • Personal

  10. Significance • Brought “absolute” music back • Used old techniques in new, refreshing ways • Technically brilliant

  11. Brahms Today • Examples • Hungarian Dances in Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator • Brahms' Lullaby in cartoons, etc. • Church music (choral & organ) • Star Trek, Peanuts cartoon, Merrie Melodies cartoon, Fawlty Towers TV show, Leonard and Larry comic strip, etc.