Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Started by BachQ, April 07, 2007, 03:23:22 AM

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Herman

Quote from: Madiel on October 03, 2020, 05:31:05 AM
The idea that your entire life should be wrapped up in your sexual partner is in fact a very modern one, built on notions of love being all-consuming.

The funny thing, to me, is that Schumann's music (and the story made of his life with Clara) is somehow one of the formative influences on this idea of romantic love.

There is no hard evidence for this. Just as there is no hard evidence that Provençal love poetry, Petrarch and Shakespeare had any influence on the way people thought about life and love.

Madiel

Quote from: Herman on October 05, 2020, 12:46:39 AM
The funny thing, to me, is that Schumann's music (and the story made of his life with Clara) is somehow one of the formative influences on this idea of romantic love.

There is no hard evidence for this. Just as there is no hard evidence that Provençal love poetry, Petrarch and Shakespeare had any influence on the way people thought about life and love.

Yes, while there is no hard evidence, I can certainly see why you're saying that.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Herman

A lot of Schumann's piano music can be made to sound like a sound track to romantic love.

Mandryka

My view of romantic love was very much influenced by this Shakespeare sonnet

QuoteTh' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Scion7

(Bruckner's) is the career of a poor village boy ... The one and only really surprising thing about him was that after completing his career as an organist he suddenly began to compose music with a range of vision which in such a man would appear quite incongruous.

Brewski

From last Monday, the Brentano Quartet in Brahms String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 51, No. 2 (following Schumann in the first half of the concert). Hadn't heard these musicians in quite awhile, and even considering the hundreds of string quartets working today, they are still on their game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxcmU3ZhfnM

--Bruce
"I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts."

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Stürmisch Bewegt

Gratifyingly warm and passionate endorsements of Brahms in today's New York Times Morning blog, inc. from the likes of Carlos Santana, Barbara Hendricks, Branford Marsalis, Anthony Tommasini, Hélène Grimaud, et al.  I like best of all what David Allen, Times writer, said of him :  "It took me a long time to love Brahms, whose music once struck me as all too sleepy — "autumnal," we critics often call it. It wasn't until time forced me to learn that to live is to lose, I think, that I came to obsess over the dark side of his scores: the grief and sorrow, the loneliness and guilt, the desperation, even the anger. Nowhere is that darkness more engulfing than in his fourth and final symphony, a work with rage at its heart, whatever face it might try to maintain. And no conductor has made its horrors more consuming than Wilhelm Furtwängler."

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/07/arts/music/five-minutes-classical-music-brahms.html?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20210407&instance_id=28950&nl=the-morning&regi_id=79376509&segment_id=55022&te=1&user_id=f68579435a3785b48905035b454f0c5c
Leben heißt nicht zu warten, bis der Sturm vorbeizieht, sondern lernen, im Regen zu tanzen.

Symphonic Addict

Does it exist a recording or performance with two cellos of the String Quintet No. 2? This is such a glorious piece of art. I'd be curious if anyone knows something about it. I'm aware that with the extra viola adds its harmonic distintiveness and timbre, but a version with tho celli doesn't sound too unnecessary.
Music is life, and like it, inextinguishable.

I love the vast surface of silence; and it is my chief delight to break it.

Carl Nielsen

Jo498

The piece would have to be recomposed to have a second cello instead of viola, or could the 'cello easily play the 2nd viola part?

One of the stages of the piece that eventually became the piano quintet/two piano sonata op.34 was a quintet with two celli but I don't think it has survived and I don't know if anyone has attempted a reconstruction.
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

vers la flamme

Hmm, I'm a Brahms fanatic, but somehow have yet to spend any time with the String Quintets. Need to correct that soon. The Leipziger set on MDG looks good so maybe I'll try and find that one.

SonicMan46

#1110
Quote from: vers la flamme on September 18, 2021, 05:12:52 AM
Hmm, I'm a Brahms fanatic, but somehow have yet to spend any time with the String Quintets. Need to correct that soon. The Leipziger set on MDG looks good so maybe I'll try and find that one.

Hello - well, there are so many options looking on Amazon & the Fanfare Archive, plus I've been culling these for years - the two that I currently own are w/ the Alexander String Quartet and Hartmut Rohde/Leipzig SQ - reviews are attached.  Dave :)

 

vers la flamme

Quote from: SonicMan46 on September 18, 2021, 07:59:15 AM
Hello - well, there are so many options looking on Amazon & the Fanfare Archive, plus I've been culling these for years - the two that I currently own are w/ the Alexander String Quartet and Hartmut Rohde/Leipzig SQ - reviews are attached.  Dave :)

 

These reviews have sold me on the Alexander. I haven't listened to any of their recordings at all but this sounds great.

SonicMan46

Quote from: vers la flamme on September 18, 2021, 08:17:34 AM
These reviews have sold me on the Alexander. I haven't listened to any of their recordings at all but this sounds great.

Great!  Hope that you enjoy - I have additional recordings (below) by them - Dave :)

 

VonStupp

I spent the last two or three weekends dedicated primarily to Brahms, but have noticed an uptick of GMG conversation. In the past I have approached him piecemeal, a work here and there, but I wanted to spend a little more time with his musical language.

In this case, I focused on recordings I haven't visited in a while: a symphony cycle (I chose Dohnányi) and the Serenades, his concertante works including the Double Concerto, his orchestral music (Overtures, Hungarian Dances, Haydn Variations (which was new to me)), the symphonic choral works (Requiem and a handful of other orchestrated choral works), and a smattering of other piano and choral music w/o orchestra. I'm taking a break from Brahms before I go back and traverse his chamber music, songs, piano music, and instrumental solos at some point.

But there are a few aspects of his style I wanted to comment on, ones that separate Brahms from the other early Romantic Era symphonists and formalists (Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Bruch etc.), aspects that have struck me in the past or I noticed this go around in my back-to-back listening of his music. I can't say I have ever put Brahms into words, so excuse any foibles on my part:

1. If there is a musical trait that immediately identifies Brahms to my ear, it is how he loves to write across the bar. In singing, it is usually a matter of preparation for the ever-present Brahms hemiola, and so I expect this in his solo/choral music, such as in the Liebeslieder Waltzes and Zigeunerlieder, works which show his across-the-bar writing with magnification. But on listening again, it is all right there in his orchestral and piano music as well, and it stuck out like a sore thumb (pleasantly, of course) when I listened this time around.

2. Brahms' music has a certain color about it when I listen. He certainly had a way with winds as a composer, but I suppose that could be said of many Romantic Era symphonists, even going further back to Haydn. But his pairing of low strings with winds and dedicated wind ensemble moments are identifiable to me with Brahms. Further though, I think when he pairs his penchant for low sonorities, winds, and his love and prevailing use of 'white-key flats', a term I usually use reserve for his approach to piano music and lied, I think I am getting close to what I singularly identify as 'Brahmsian'.

3. New to me this time around with Brahms, was an element of the Baroque, an aspect I noticed particularly in his later works. While I had always heard this in his German Requiem, many of the Romantic masters looked backwards to earlier choral traditions, so I thought nothing of it. Listening this time, it struck me in his late symphonies that there was a distinct Baroque tendency I hadn't heard in his earlier works, whether it be homage or a broadening of his use of texture. I will be curious to listen to some of his late piano and chamber music to see if I hear this again.

Anything else I should be listening for in Brahms? I didn't delve into his abilities with melody or harmony, particularly across orchestral textures or voices in this go around, but I know the big tune in the finale of Symphony 1 was perhaps his most striking to me. I am excited to explore more, but I need a little break to clear the palate.

VS
"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff."

Symphonic Addict

Quote from: Jo498 on September 18, 2021, 12:02:56 AM
The piece would have to be recomposed to have a second cello instead of viola, or could the 'cello easily play the 2nd viola part?

One of the stages of the piece that eventually became the piano quintet/two piano sonata op.34 was a quintet with two celli but I don't think it has survived and I don't know if anyone has attempted a reconstruction.

Yes, there is a recording of the Op. 34 with the original cello part instead of the piano:

Music is life, and like it, inextinguishable.

I love the vast surface of silence; and it is my chief delight to break it.

Carl Nielsen

Madiel

Quote from: VonStupp on September 18, 2021, 10:55:15 AM
1. If there is a musical trait that immediately identifies Brahms to my ear, it is how he loves to write across the bar. In singing, it is usually a matter of preparation for the ever-present Brahms hemiola, and so I expect this in his solo/choral music, such as in the Liebeslieder Waltzes and Zigeunerlieder, works which show his across-the-bar writing with magnification. But on listening again, it is all right there in his orchestral and piano music as well, and it stuck out like a sore thumb (pleasantly, of course) when I listened this time around.

This is definitely a thing. Related to that, and something I'm aware of from playing some of the piano music, is a significant compression of phrases. Rather than having a clear end of one phrase and the beginning of another, Brahms contrives to make notes function as both the end of one phrase and the beginning of the next.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Jo498

Quote from: Symphonic Addict on September 19, 2021, 01:15:47 PM
Yes, there is a recording of the Op. 34 with the original cello part instead of the piano:

Interesting; also that this reconstruction (it is no original!) was already done in the 1940s. Despite Brahms having really trouble to find the proper guise in this case so he ended up with two versions, I think he was such an acute critic of himself that we can be sure he was happier with the later versions.
Similarly, I'd say that he knew what he was doing when he set the quintets with viola.

My favorite recording of the quintets is the Boston chamber players (Nonesuch), probably unavailable since a long time but have not heard many recordings; another one I have but found a bit too cool is Hagen Q/Caussé (DG).
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

VonStupp

Quote from: Madiel on September 20, 2021, 04:13:46 AM
This is definitely a thing. Related to that, and something I'm aware of from playing some of the piano music, is a significant compression of phrases. Rather than having a clear end of one phrase and the beginning of another, Brahms contrives to make notes function as both the end of one phrase and the beginning of the next.

Interesting, I don't think I've thought of his phrasing in this manner. I am definitely going to have to go back and look at some of his piano music, and then see if I can spot this elsewhere in his oeuvre.

VS
"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff."

Scion7

In Brahms, classicism and romanticism alike are fused in an urbane bloodstream; if at times the aspect of Brahms is a little uncompromising it is only on the surface. In his music, age approves youth, as Samuel Langforth wrote, and both are bound together by the piety of consistent and noble art.  And how various an art! Clearly he is the composer for our desert island; we have found the right man.  We need only the desert island.


-Neville Cardus, London, 1958

(Bruckner's) is the career of a poor village boy ... The one and only really surprising thing about him was that after completing his career as an organist he suddenly began to compose music with a range of vision which in such a man would appear quite incongruous.

vers la flamme

Brahms is certainly a desert island composer for me...