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Johannes Brahms

 
 
64 years

    Johannes Brahms  new window
Johannes Brahms felt that Schubert was the last composer to be born at a truly propitious time. Brahms' artistic credo was expressed by his famous statement that, "If we can not compose as beautifully as Mozart and Haydn, let us at least try to compose as purely." It is perhaps the conviction that he had come too late to be truly on on a level with those he most admired and understood that gave his music its deep, reflective melancholy. Autumnal is the adjective often given to Brahms' output and it applies even to much of the music of his youth.

In many respects Brahms brings the classical-romantic continuum to an end. He felt no kinship to the "music of the future" that was the mantle of Wagner and Liszt, and throughout his life, Brahms was one of the few composers of his era interested in the classical approach to variations, sonatas, and such 18th century contrapuntal procedures as fugue and passacaglia. In the age of the bravura concerto, where the solo instrument is often merely accompanied by the orchestra, Brahms, in his Violin Concerto and two piano concertos, wrote in a truly classical manner that treats soloist and orchestra as symbiotic equals in the tradition of Mozart and Beethoven. His late Double Concerto even recalls some Baroque procedures.

Like Bach - another great conservative - Brahms sums up what went before him thereby synthesizing the romantic harmony and language of Schubert, Schumann, and Mendelssohn with classical forms and the counterpoint of the Baroque. But this is not to say that Brahms was not at the same time truly of his own era. In fact, Arnold Schoenberg wrote an important essay stressing the forward and radical implications of Brahms' harmony. The first Intermezzo of op. 119 is an example of this with its complex chord structures that verge on the polytonal.

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Johannes Brahms felt that Schubert was the last composer to be born at a truly propitious time. Brahms' artistic credo was expressed by his famous statement that, "If we can not compose as beautifully as Mozart and Haydn, let us at least try to compose as purely." It is perhaps the conviction that he had come too late to be truly on on a level with those he most admired and understood that gave his music its deep, reflective melancholy. Autumnal is the adjective often given to Brahms' output and it applies even to much of the music of his youth.

In many respects Brahms brings the classical-romantic continuum to an end. He felt no kinship to the "music of the future" that was the mantle of Wagner and Liszt, and throughout his life, Brahms was one of the few composers of his era interested in the classical approach to variations, sonatas, and such 18th century contrapuntal procedures as fugue and passacaglia. In the age of the bravura concerto, where the solo instrument is often merely accompanied by the orchestra, Brahms, in his Violin Concerto and two piano concertos, wrote in a truly classical manner that treats soloist and orchestra as symbiotic equals in the tradition of Mozart and Beethoven. His late Double Concerto even recalls some Baroque procedures.

Like Bach - another great conservative - Brahms sums up what went before him thereby synthesizing the romantic harmony and language of Schubert, Schumann, and Mendelssohn with classical forms and the counterpoint of the Baroque. But this is not to say that Brahms was not at the same time truly of his own era. In fact, Arnold Schoenberg wrote an important essay stressing the forward and radical implications of Brahms' harmony. The first Intermezzo of op. 119 is an example of this with its complex chord structures that verge on the polytonal. More new window

 
    Johann Sebastian Bach
  Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate mat...
 
    Joseph Haydn
  Joseph Haydn
Haydn died in 1809, after twice dictating his recollections and preparing a catalogue of his works. He was widely revered, even though by then his music was old-fashioned compared with Beethoven's. He was immensely prolific: some of his music remains...
 
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
He showed musical gifts at a very early age, composing when he was five and when he was six playing before the Bavarian elector and the Austrian empress. Leopold felt that it was proper, and might also be profitable, to exhibit his children's God-giv...
 
    Franz Schubert
  Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer. In a short lifespan of less than 32 years, Schubert was a prolific composer, writing some 600 Lieder, ten complete or nearly complete symphonies, liturgical music, operas, incidental music and a large bo...
 
    Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
  Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Felix Mendelssohn has sometimes been called the "classical romantic." Born in 1809 in the first generation of romantic composers, Mendelssohn's music is the most conservative of the group. If Chopin and Schumann are the Shelly and Keats of Music, the...
 
    Robert Schumann, Composer
  Robert Schumann, Composer
In 1834 Schumann founded a music journal, the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik; he was its editor and leading writer for ten years. He was a brilliant and perceptive critic: his writings embody the most progressive aspects of musical thinking in his time,...
 
 

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Johannes Brahms

 
         



 
 
         
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