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Thread: Johannes Brahms - Composer of the Week, January 8, 2007

  1. #31
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    This article has clarified somethings of a misery. A long time back I remember hearing a Brahms sym played by four hands, it was so out of context, I was puzzled?I remember being excited, had no idea Brahms had scored the work for his own instrument,I intend to make some purchases, & hope I find Naxos in S.F. at Xmas.I t is great to read your lists, keep them coming

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by lmd View Post
    This article has clarified somethings of a misery. A long time back I remember hearing a Brahms sym played by four hands, it was so out of context, I was puzzled?I remember being excited, had no idea Brahms had scored the work for his own instrument,I intend to make some purchases, & hope I find Naxos in S.F. at Xmas.I t is great to read your lists, keep them coming
    As noted by Manuel, the author, "Topaz", left the forum in February. As you can see, he had previously written an article about Schubert. Both articles were composer-specific and resulted from a vote among members of the Forum among several possible composers. There’s a separate thread somewhere detailing the voting procedures.

    As will be seen, the contributions by “Hexameron” to the discussions about these two composers were particularly useful.

    The apparent aim of the "Composer of the Week" exercise was to raise the general level of discussion about the main composers, and to produce a body of opinion to which newcomers especially might refer for guidance. However, after Topaz' departure, the project fell by the wayside for several months until "Handel" (the member here) was "encouraged" to produce an article about his namesake. Nothing else has been produced since.



    Mango

  3. #33
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    Thanks for clarifying the situation on the Brahms article. I intend to refer to it often, It's too bad Topaz left, however "Hexameron's" contribution was excellant,I think I have mentioned somewhere, after Beethoven, Brahm's runs a very close second, however, although I know his work fairly well, I do not have that much, so ,definately on my list, I also appreciated " ChamberNut's selection, because I adore chamber music,& some of Brahms, Clarinet Quintet, Piano Quintet op 34,superb!,heard for the first time in what I call. my church, Wigmore Hall, so, yes I am finding this forum very informative.One question, has Brahms written any simple works for the piano? Lesley

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by lmd View Post
    Thanks for clarifying the situation on the Brahms article. I intend to refer to it often, It's too bad Topaz left, however "Hexameron's" contribution was excellant,I think I have mentioned somewhere, after Beethoven, Brahm's runs a very close second, however, although I know his work fairly well, I do not have that much, so ,definately on my list, I also appreciated " ChamberNut's selection, because I adore chamber music,& some of Brahms, Clarinet Quintet, Piano Quintet op 34,superb!,heard for the first time in what I call. my church, Wigmore Hall, so, yes I am finding this forum very informative.One question, has Brahms written any simple works for the piano? Lesley

    Some of Brahms best known solo piano works:

    Op 5 - Piano Sonata No 3 (written 1853)
    Op 10 - Ballades (four of these, written 1854)
    Op 39 No 15 - Waltz, piano 4 hands (written 1865)
    Op 35 - Variations on a Theme by Paganini (written 1862/63)
    Op 24 - Variations on a Theme by Handel (written 1861)
    WoO1 - Hungarian Dances (written 1869)
    Op 79 - two Rhapsodies for Piano (written 1879)
    Ops 116-117 - Fantasias, Intermezzos (written 1892),
    Ops 118-119 - Pieces for Piano (written 1893)

    Some of these works are very difficult to play. For Ops 116-119, there's a splendid set by the pianist Helene Grimaud that's worth buying. These Ops 116-119 are individually short pieces, and it's reckoned they were written that way in order that they wouldn't be over-taxing for Clara Schumann to play (who was getting on a bit by that time, and not too well). Other good Brahms pianists are Rubinstein, Van Cliburn, Jando. If you start with Op 39/15, it's one of those of those lovely pieces you are sure you have heard from somewhere before.


    Mango
    Last edited by Mango; Nov-26-2007 at 22:52.

  5. #35
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    Mango ,I appreciate your time for the suggested piano works by Brahm's, the list is growing along with "Hexameron's" & "ChamberNut's.The Sym's & Piano Concerto's I have.
    Possible have heard most of his chamber works,(& this is where I am mentally right now)
    Difficult for me to hear live music, as I live in Normandy,listen to Radio Classic, which is of fairly high standard, however the days are gone where one hears the whole work! hence my search, to build a music libraryof the God's Thanks

  6. #36
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    Post My Experience with Brahms

    Well, I never really got much into Brahms until I ran (by chance, really) into the best buy I've ever made: a biography of him (1997) by Jan Swafford, hardcover, perfect condition, about 400-500 pages - six dollars. Needless to say that shelf had a space in it the moment I saw it. I began reading it and was immediately entranced at how well-written the book was, indeed it made me relate to Brahms quite like no other biography has done before (and that's saying quite a bit - I read a lot of biographies).

    I supposed it was after I read through a rough description of what the Bb minor scherzo is like that I got somewhat hooked on hearing Brahms' work. So what did I do? Why, I went out and purchased the complete Brahms symphonies with Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic. They are probably the second best purchase I've recently made. Now I'm listening to quite a lot of Brahms, and I think that, in no particular order, my favorites of his are:

    -The Symphonies
    -The Double Concerto (Heifetz/Piatigorsky the first concerto I was really hooked on (and still am))
    -The Violin Concerto (I always liked this one far better than Beethoven's)
    -The Clarinet (or viola) sonatas
    -The Violin Sonatas (and the FAE scherzo)
    -The Cello Sonatas
    -A German Requiem
    -The Piano Concerti (both are amazing)

    I'll have to come back to this one... too much greatness to put into one post, I tell you. Are there any recommendations? I've recently bought the complete quintets but haven't had the chance to listen to them.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChamberNut View Post
    I am looking for some recommendations on quality recordings of Brahms' German Requiem.

    Thanks in advance for your help and recommendations!
    Try to:
    Wolfgang Brendel, Lucia Popp
    Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
    Prague Philharmonic Choir
    Giuseppe Sinopoli

    from DG

    http://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Ein-Deu...2786767&sr=8-2

    I think it is balanced and deep recording. And if you know the great Slovak soprano Lucia Popp, you know that she has voice of angel :-). But I dont recommend it because I am Slovak, but because it is honestly fine recording (in my opinion).
    Last edited by confuoco; Jun-06-2008 at 23:00.

  8. #38
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    Brahms was a bit of the self-promoter. Was it him who came up with the phrase, "Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckminster_fullerene View Post
    Brahms was a bit of the self-promoter. Was it him who came up with the phrase, "Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms"?
    I don't think so. The phrase "The Three Bs of music - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms" was coined, I believe, by Hans von Bülow (a friend of Brahms) who was the conductor of the (then) famous Meiningen Orchestra from 1880-1885. During that time he made his orchestra available to Brahms for rehearsal of new works, etc. Hans von Bülow was among the first of the eminent conductors who was not also a composer. He ran the orchestra using very tough discipline on the performers. His other main claim to fame was that he married to Listz's daughter, Cosima, in 1857 but she later left him to go off and marry Wagner. This rather put a spanner in the works of Bülow's patronage of Wagner's music, and he later took up friendship with Wagner's chief antagonist in the "war of the romantics", Brahms.

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    I love Brahms. He's one of my favorites. All of his symphonies, "Haydn Variations," both of his piano concertos, his violin concerto, and all of the overtures are all outstanding.

    I wasn't until about a week or so ago that his genius really just hit me right in the face. Listening to Karl Bohm's and now listening to Colin Davis' interpretations have really sparked my interest in his works.

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  12. #41
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    I think Brahms' Double Concerto for violin and cello is a fairly underrated piece, in comparison to his other concertos, but it is a gem nonetheless...

  13. #42
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    The music of Brahms did not immediately appeal to me in preference to that of other big name composers, but gradually my appreciation increased to the point where he is now among my favourites.

    I have virtually all of his works. My favourites include the 4 symphonies, the VC, PC2, German Requiem, Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Clarinet Quintet, Piano Quintet, Clarinet Quintet Piano Quartet No 1, and the Alto Rhapsody.

    Perhaps my overall favourite work is the Piano Quintet Op 34, of which I have several versions but the one I like best is the one featuring pianist, Alfredo Perl. This work has a wonderful surreal flavour to it. All the instruments blend seamlessly and it seems clear that Brahms must have spent a lot of time polishing this to perfection. It is on a CD on the Arte Nova label partnered with the highly rated Clarinet Quintet Op 115, played excellently by Ralph Manno. I cannot think of a better introduction to chamber music for people who reckon they don’t like chamber music.





  14. #43
    Senior Member JohnD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorm Less View Post
    I don't think so. The phrase "The Three Bs of music - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms" was coined, I believe, by Hans von Bülow (a friend of Brahms) who was the conductor of the (then) famous Meiningen Orchestra from 1880-1885. During that time he made his orchestra available to Brahms for rehearsal of new works, etc. Hans von Bülow was among the first of the eminent conductors who was not also a composer. He ran the orchestra using very tough discipline on the performers. His other main claim to fame was that he married to Listz's daughter, Cosima, in 1857 but she later left him to go off and marry Wagner. This rather put a spanner in the works of Bülow's patronage of Wagner's music, and he later took up friendship with Wagner's chief antagonist in the "war of the romantics", Brahms.
    I'm late to this thread. I just read and enjoyed the article, and the above post reminded me of Phil Ochs's humorously titled song, "Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Me" which is actually a somewhat serious look at Ochs's life in California.

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