win a prominent place in the history of musical composition. Indeed,
it was in thinking of him that Bulow invented the slogan of the
three "Bs": Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.
Brahms cdc 011
Variations Op. 56b
on a theme by Haydn for two
pianos (Tema, Andante)
man of young blood has arrived who as a child was watched
over by the graces and the heroes. His name is Johannes Brahms
... he has all the external signs which declare: here is one
of the chosen!". Such were the words which Robert Schumann
used to herald the young composer in the "New Musical Review".
Johannes began his career playing for a mark and a half an
evening in the taverns of the back-alleys of Hamburg. He was
taken around by his father Johann Jakob, a musician of little
talent whose dream was that his son would follow the same
career! However, he soon realised that in that thin and slight
little boy endowed with two imposing and enormous hands and
great creativity there was something which was much more than
mere talent. Luckily enough, he decided to entrust his son
to more able and skilled hands. In time Johannes would reveal
a complex personality and was at one and the same time both a Classical
and a Romantic composer. As a young man he followed in the footsteps
of Beethoven but later he took after Schumann. Although Brahms employed
classical forms he manipulated them to achieve his special goals
and he managed to use different techniques from very separate epochs
in a successful way which respected traditional forms. His place
in the nineteenth century reminds us of that of Bach in the eighteenth
- both of these composers lived at the end of an epoch. When Brahms
emerged the great generation of the Romantics had already disappeared,
and believing that he was behind the times he sought to develop
a more up-to-date language which was free of the Romantic features
which had characterised his predecessors. This was something which
created marked problems of identity, and Brahms ended up by being
the most Classical of the Romantics.
was vast and varied - it included chamber compositions, Lieder in
the style of Schubert and Schumann, and virtuoso pieces for the
pianoforte. After reaching full maturity he drew near to the symphonic
form and this period was to last for ten years. It began with the
completion of the first symphony in 1876 (a process which had been
long and difficult and which had lasted for twenty years) and ended
in 1885 and the productionof the fourth symphony. The third symphony
in F major op. 90 (1883) was a masterpiece. His "German Requiem",
which was written in honour of his mother, would place him amongst
the great composers of all time. Other important pieces from the
Brahms corpus include "Quintet for clarinet, two violins, viola
and cello in B minor op. 115" (1891), "Three intermezzi
for pianoforte op. 117" (1892), and the large number of compositions
for pianforte such as the "Variations", a work in which
he expressed himself to the utmost.
a notable contribution to the piano composition of the second part
of the nineteenth century. His work offers many possibilities -
for a solo pianist, for two pianists, for two pianos, or for four
hands on the same piano. He also employed many forms - dances, brief
pieces, intermezzi, capricci, rhapsodies, youthful sonatas, and
above all else the "Variations". As Maestro Campanella has observed,
the impact of this last work derives from the changeability of the
episodes, from the contrasts in rhythm and speed, and from a constant
change in the elements which themselves create a variety of atmosphere,
and all this in a context of very developed virtuosity.
(17 May) in Hamburg to Johann Jacob, a horn and contrabasso
player, and to Johanna Henrike Christiane Nissen. In 1838
he began his first musical studies with his father.
to the private school of Heinrich Vob. Musorgski is born.
pianoforte under Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel. His first
appearance in public as a pianist.
pupil of Eduard Marxen and (1844) of Johann Friedrich Hoffmann.
Dvorak is born.
first important public concert in Hamburg. Donizetti dies.
tour with the violinist Remnyi. He meets Liszt, Hiller, Robert
and Clara Schumann. On 17 February 1854 Schumann writes "Geister-Thema",
in the same year he attempts suicide.
tour in Danzina with Clara Schumann and Joachim. Robert Schumann
dies in 1856.
works with others on the complete version of Handel's operas.
Puccini and Leoncavallo are born.
first performance (22 January) in Hanover of the "Concerto
for pianoforte op. 15".
Joachim he writes a manifesto against the "neo-German
school". Mahler is born.
first visit to Vienna. He works with others on a complete
edition of Beethoven's works.
in F minor op. 34/b for two pianofortes" dedicated to
Princess Anna D'Assia. He meets Wagner. R.Struass is born.
success in Bremen of "Deutsches Requiem op. 45".
dances". Berlioz dies.
the "Variations on a theme by Haydn op. 56". In
1875 Ravel is born and Bizet dies.
first performance (4 November) in Karls ruhe of the first
symphony op. 68.
first performance (30 December) in Vienna of the second symphony
with Clara Schumann on the complete edition of Schumann's
first performance in Vienna (23 December) of the third symphony
op. 90. Richard Wagner dies.
first performance (25 October) of the fourth symphony op.
an honorary citizen of Hamburg.
last composition ("Elf Choralvorspiele for organ op.
22"). Clara Schumann dies on 20 May.
present at his last public concert (7 March), the symphony
in E minor conducted by H. Richter - his greatest Viennese
in Vienna on 3 April.
© P&P - Promozione e Produzione, Rome.