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Johannes Brahms

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1 Johannes Brahms on Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:29 am

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms (pronounced [joːˈhanəs ˈbʁaːms]) (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897), was a German composer and pianist, one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria,
where he was a leader of the musical scene. In his lifetime, Brahms's
popularity and influence were considerable; following a comment by the
nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow, he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the Three Bs.
Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra,
and for voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he gave the first
performance of many of his own works; he also worked with the leading
performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim.
Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire.
Brahms, an uncompromising perfectionist, destroyed many of his works
and left some of them unpublished.
Brahms was at once a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is
firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the
Baroque and Classical masters. He was a master of counterpoint, the complex and highly disciplined method of composition for which Bach is famous, and also of development, a compositional ethos pioneered by Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
and Beethoven. Brahms aimed to honour the "purity" of these venerable
"German" structures and advance them into a Romantic idiom, in the
process creating bold new approaches to harmony and melody. While many
contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and
craftsmanship have been admired by subsequent figures as diverse as the
progressive Arnold Schoenberg and the conservative Edward Elgar.
The diligent, highly constructed nature of Brahms's works was a
starting point and an inspiration for a generation of composers.



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