73 Facts About Johannes Brahms


Johannes Brahms was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the mid-Romantic period.


Johannes Brahms is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the "Three Bs" of music, a comment originally made by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bulow.


Johannes Brahms worked with leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim.


Johannes Brahms has been considered both a traditionalist and an innovator, by his contemporaries and by later writers.


Johannes Brahms's music is rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters.


The detailed construction of Johannes Brahms's works was a starting point and an inspiration for a generation of composers.


Johannes Brahms was born in 1833; his sister Elisabeth had been born in 1831 and a younger brother Fritz Friedrich was born in 1835.

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Johann Jakob gave his son his first musical training; Johannes Brahms learnt to play the violin and the basics of playing the cello.


Johannes Brahms played as a solo work an etude of Henri Herz.


Johannes Brahms's parents disapproved of his early efforts as a composer, feeling that he had better career prospects as a performer.


From 1845 to 1848 Johannes Brahms studied with Cossel's teacher, the pianist and composer Eduard Marxsen.


In 1847 Johannes Brahms made his first public appearance as a solo pianist in Hamburg, playing a fantasy by Sigismund Thalberg.


However, Johannes Brahms was later assiduous in eliminating all his early works; even as late as 1880 he wrote to his friend Elise Giesemann to send him his manuscripts of choral music so that they could be destroyed.


Persistent stories of the impoverished adolescent Johannes Brahms playing in bars and brothels have only anecdotal provenance, and many modern scholars dismiss them; the Johannes Brahms family was relatively prosperous, and Hamburg legislation very strictly forbade music in, or the admittance of minors to, brothels.


In 1850 Johannes Brahms met the Hungarian violinist Ede Remenyi and accompanied him in a number of recitals over the next few years.


In 1853 Johannes Brahms went on a concert tour with Remenyi.


Johannes Brahms had earlier heard Joachim playing the solo part in Beethoven's violin concerto and been deeply impressed.


Johannes Brahms played some of his own solo piano pieces for Joachim, who remembered fifty years later: "Never in the course of my artist's life have I been more completely overwhelmed".


Johannes Brahms admired Joachim as a composer, and in 1856 they were to embark on a mutual training exercise to improve their skills in "double counterpoint, canons, fugues, preludes or whatever".


Remenyi claimed that Johannes Brahms then slept during Liszt's performance of his own Sonata in B minor; this and other disagreements led Remenyi and Johannes Brahms to part company.


Johannes Brahms visited Dusseldorf in October 1853, and, with a letter of introduction from Joachim, was welcomed by Schumann and his wife Clara.


Johannes Brahms wrote to Schumann 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".


Clara was not allowed to visit Robert until two days before his death, but Johannes Brahms was able to visit him and acted as a go-between.


Johannes Brahms began to feel deeply for Clara, who to him represented an ideal of womanhood.


Johannes Brahms consequently established a relationship with other publishers, including Simrock, who eventually became his major publishing partner.

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Johannes Brahms further made an intervention in 1860 in the debate on the future of German music which seriously misfired.


Johannes Brahms had hoped to be given the conductorship of the Hamburg Philharmonic, but in 1862 this post was given to the baritone Julius Stockhausen.


Johannes Brahms's circle grew to include the notable critic Eduard Hanslick, the conductor Hermann Levi and the surgeon Theodor Billroth, who were to become amongst his greatest advocates.


In January 1863 Johannes Brahms met Richard Wagner for the first time, for whom he played his Handel Variations Op.


Johannes Brahms wrote works for the choir, including his Motet, Op.


In February 1865 Johannes Brahms's mother died, and he began to compose his large choral work A German Requiem, Op.


Johannes Brahms experienced at this period popular success with works such as his first set of Hungarian Dances, the Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op.


From 1872 to 1875, Johannes Brahms was director of the concerts of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde.


Johannes Brahms "acknowledged the invitation" by giving the manuscript score and parts of his first symphony to Joachim, who led the performance at Cambridge 8 March 1877.


Johannes Brahms was now recognised as a major figure in the world of music.


Johannes Brahms had been on the jury which awarded the Vienna State Prize to the composer Antonin Dvorak three times, first in February 1875, and later in 1876 and 1877 and had successfully recommended Dvorak to his publisher, Simrock.


Johannes Brahms began to be the recipient of a variety of honours; Ludwig II of Bavaria awarded him the Maximilian Order for Science and Art in 1874, and the music loving Duke George of Meiningen awarded him in 1881 the Commander's Cross of the Order of the House of Meiningen.


In 1882 Johannes Brahms completed his Piano Concerto No 2, Op.


Johannes Brahms was invited by Hans von Bulow to undertake a premiere of the work with the Meiningen Court Orchestra.


Richard Strauss, who had been appointed assistant to von Bulow at Meiningen, and had been uncertain about Johannes Brahms's music, found himself converted by the Third Symphony and was enthusiastic about the Fourth: "a giant work, great in concept and invention".


Johannes Brahms played an abbreviated version of his first Hungarian Dance and of Josef Strauss's Die Libelle on the piano.


In that same year, Johannes Brahms was named an honorary citizen of Hamburg.


Johannes Brahms had become acquainted with Johann Strauss II, who was eight years his senior, in the 1870s, but their close friendship belongs to the years 1889 and after.


Johannes Brahms admired much of Strauss's music, and encouraged the composer to sign up with his publisher Simrock.


Johannes Brahms wrote at this time his final cycles of piano pieces, Opp.

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Many of these works were written in his house in Bad Ischl, where Johannes Brahms had first visited in 1882 and where he spent every summer from 1889 onwards.


Johannes Brahms's last public appearance was on 7 March 1897 when he saw Hans Richter conduct his Symphony No 4; there was an ovation after each of the four movements.


Johannes Brahms made the effort, three weeks before his death, to attend the premiere of Johann Strauss's operetta Die Gottin der Vernunft in March 1897.


Johannes Brahms is buried in the Vienna Central Cemetery in Vienna, under a monument designed by Victor Horta with sculpture by Ilse von Twardowski.


Johannes Brahms maintained a classical sense of form and order in his works, in contrast to the opulence of the music of many of his contemporaries.


Johannes Brahms venerated Beethoven; in the composer's home, a marble bust of Beethoven looked down on the spot where he composed, and some passages in his works are reminiscent of Beethoven's style.


The main theme of the finale of the First Symphony is reminiscent of the main theme of the finale of Beethoven's Ninth, and when this resemblance was pointed out to Johannes Brahms he replied that any dunce could see that.


Johannes Brahms once wrote that the Requiem "belonged to Schumann".


Johannes Brahms especially admired Mozart, so much so that in his final years, he reportedly declared Mozart as the greatest composer.


On 10 January 1896, Johannes Brahms conducted the Academic Festival Overture and both piano concertos in Berlin, and during the following celebration, Johannes Brahms interrupted Joachim's toast with "Ganz recht; auf Mozart's Wohl".


Johannes Brahms studied the music of pre-classical composers, including Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Giovanni Gabrieli, Johann Adolph Hasse, Heinrich Schutz, Domenico Scarlatti, George Frideric Handel, and, especially, Johann Sebastian Bach.


Johannes Brahms's friends included leading musicologists, and, with Friedrich Chrysander, he edited an edition of the works of Francois Couperin.


Johannes Brahms looked to older music for inspiration in the art of counterpoint; the themes of some of his works are modelled on Baroque sources such as Bach's The Art of Fugue in the fugal finale of Cello Sonata No 1 or the same composer's Cantata No 150 in the passacaglia theme of the Fourth Symphony's finale.


Peter Phillips hears affinities between Johannes Brahms's rhythmically charged contrapuntal textures and those of Renaissance masters such as Giovanni Gabrieli and William Byrd.


Johannes Brahms considered giving up composition when it seemed that other composers' innovations in extended tonality resulted in the rule of tonality being broken altogether.


Johannes Brahms wrote settings for piano and voice of 144 German folk songs, and many of his lieder reflect folk themes or depict scenes of rural life.


Johannes Brahms wrote a number of major works for orchestra, including four symphonies, two piano concertos, a Violin Concerto, a Double Concerto for violin and cello, and the Tragic Overture, along with somewhat lesser orchestral pieces such as the two Serenades, and the Academic Festival Overture.


Johannes Brahms composed several instrumental sonatas with piano, including three for violin, two for cello, and two for clarinet.


Johannes Brahms was a significant Lieder composer, who wrote over 200 of them.


Johannes Brahms strongly preferred writing absolute music that does not refer to an explicit scene or narrative, and he never wrote an opera or a symphonic poem.

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Johannes Brahms looked both backward and forward; his output was often bold in its exploration of harmony and rhythm.


Antonin Dvorak, who received substantial assistance from Johannes Brahms, deeply admired his music and was influenced by it in several works, such as the Symphony No 7 in D minor and the F minor Piano Trio.


Towards the end of his life, Johannes Brahms offered substantial encouragement to Ernst von Dohnanyi and to Alexander von Zemlinsky.


Zemlinsky, moreover, was in turn the teacher of Arnold Schoenberg, and Johannes Brahms was apparently impressed by drafts of two movements of Schoenberg's early Quartet in D major which Zemlinsky showed him in 1897.


Ann Scott has shown how Johannes Brahms anticipated the procedures of the serialists by redistributing melodic fragments between instruments, as in the first movement of the Clarinet Sonata, Op.


Johannes Brahms was honoured in the German hall of fame, the Walhalla memorial.


Johannes Brahms used a Bechstein in several of his concerts: 1872 in Wurzburg, 1872 in Cologne and 1881 in Amsterdam.


Johannes Brahms was baptised into the Lutheran church as an infant, and was confirmed at the age of fifteen, but has been described as an agnostic and a humanist.