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I love this work of art.

I am working hard on this as a piano player.

Originally posted to sreeizzle2012 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:15 AM PST.

Also republished by An Ear for Music.


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Comment Preferences

  •  One of a string of jewels (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, martyc35

    The piano pieces of Opus 116, 117, 118 and 119, written as Brahms' health grew progressively worse, reveal his deep poetic spirit liberated from his obsession with older forms.  

    Although he composed many early masterpieces in Beethovenian formats, he was, in my opinion, strangled during much of his career by a need to show that he wasn't an extroverted heart-on-keyboard Romantic.  He was an introverted Romantic, like Chopin and Schumann; for whichever reason, he chose as his cover to be an extroverted Classicist.  He wasted an enormous number of manuscript pages faking this false personality.

    The late piano pieces show Brahms unchained, in an astonishing variety of moods, melodies and forms.  Each one is perfect, impossible to alter, irresistible to endless repetition.

    Thanks for bringing up the A Major Intermezzo!  Let that be the appetizer to a banquet of late Brahms.

  •  For those who didn't click, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, martyc35

    it's Opus 118, No. 2. When I was at conservatory, we analyzed it. I'm not a big Brahms fan (I like either contemporary classical or Medieval period music, but the Romantics [and I'd fit Brahms into that tradition, even though he took pains to restrain his emotion through the embracing of Classical period aesthetics] exhaust me) but this little piano piece is truly an inspired utterance.

    For what it's worth, I think Brahms made great use of those older forms. The passacaglia which is the gigantic fourth movement of the Fourth Symphony is pretty masterful. And it pleases my flinty anti-Romantic spirit.

  •  As you learn more about music (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, martyc35

    you will realize that at times you have to be precise. I am sure the 2 commenters knew which one, because it is well liked, but there is another Intermezzo Op. 76 No. 6. You could even say the Intermezzo in A from Op. 118.

    Brahms is my favorite composer I rarely listen to. I also analyzed this piece in school. I love the F# minor section. I can pretty much sight read this piece an enjoy playing it when I sit down for a 'Brahms-fest' at the piano. He also transcribed the Chaconne of Bach for piano that I enjoy.

    Glenn Gould made a recording of these late Brahms works. They are very interesting and if you are learning this, do not get stuck on one pianist, try to listen to many recordings, which you can do for free these days on YouTube.

    My favorite of these is the b minor, Op. 119.

    Yes, Brahms was a perfectionist, it is estimated he destroyed another 1/3 -1/4 of his works because they were not good enough.

    Good luck.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

    by GustavMahler on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:22:51 AM PST

  •  Not a diary! :-P (0+ / 0-)

    Seriously, I love this Intermezzo, too. I also analyzed it, as a senior in college in Seminar in Analysis, but it was my choice of a romantic piece to analyze, because I already loved it. I'm a flutist, though piano was my first instrument. I used to struggle through this piece under tempo on the piano.

    By the way, I don't agree with some of what aeg said about Brahms, but rather than disagreeing with it point by point, I'll just say that I would no more question Brahms' compositional choices in mature compositions than those of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and other supreme masters; instead, I'd rather learn from them.

    I'll leave you with an analogy from literature. Do you read Dickens? Brahms, especially in his longer works (symphonies, chamber music, concerti, sonatas) reminds me of Dickens, and here's why: Dickens novels have numerous characters, but at the end of the novel, we find out what happened to every one of them. Similarly, in many of Brahms' works (though not one with a simple - for Brahms - ABA form like this one), there are numerous themes, but they are all wrapped up in a brilliant way before the work ends. And I think part of his genius is that he was so consistently inspired in creating convincing forms out of both melody and thematic development, but saying that doesn't even come close to doing him justice.

    I wish he had written even one flute sonata, but it's been a joy to play his symphonies, the Serenade in A with the big piccolo part in the last movement, etc.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:20:04 PM PST

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