Cross-posted at The Daily Music Break. Visit to hear great music, regardless of era or genre.
The beginning of Johannes Brahms' profile at Classical Archives puts him in very good company:
The stature of Johannes Brahms among classical composers is well illustrated by his inclusion among the "Three Bs" triumvirate of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. Of all the major composers of the late Romantic era, Brahms was the one most attached to the Classical ideal as manifested in the music of Haydn, Mozart, and especially Beethoven; indeed, Hans von Bülow once characterized Brahms' Symphony No. 1 (1855-1876) as "Beethoven's Tenth." As a youth, Brahms was championed by Robert Schumann as music's greatest hope for the future; as a mature composer, Brahms became for conservative musical journalists the most potent symbol of musical tradition, a stalwart against the "degeneration" represented by the music of Wagner and his school. Brahms' symphonies, choral and vocal works, chamber music, and piano pieces are imbued with strong emotional feeling, yet take shape according to a thoroughly considered structural plan. (Continue Reading...)The Journal of the College Music Society addressed Brahms' need for structure:
Of the many stylistic features one associates with Brahms's music, none is more powerful than the architecture of his musical designs. Structural coherence was the genesis of his creative process, not merely the goal. The alluring idea of creative inspiration assuming precedence over the creator's conscious control was a romantic notion foreign to Brahms. It is not surprising therefore that in his personal copy of Jahn's biography of Mozart, Brahms should doubly underline the passage "In all artistic productivity, the creative, inventive force cannot even for an instant be completely divorced from the constructive, organizing one."1 (Continue Reading...)An interesting note on Brahms' work habits from a site that seems, in some way, connected to the California State University at East Bay:
Unfortunately, little is known of Brahms's methods of work. A merciless self-critic, he burned all that he wrote before the age of 19 as well as some sketches of later masterpieces. It is known that he frequently reworked pieces over a period of 10 to 20 years, and before achieving the final form he often transcribed them for several different combinations of instruments. (Continue Reading...)Above, famed violinist Yehudi Menuhin plays the "Hungarian Dance No. 5." Below is "A German Requiem, Movement 2 Part 1" by an unidentified orchestra.