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Johannes Brahms- Violin Concerto In D

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Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg Germany on the seventh of May in 1833. His father, Johann Jakob Brahm moved to Germany several years earlier seeking a career as the town musician. He was proficient on several instruments but notably the horn and double bass. Johann married an older seamstress, Christiane Nissen, and began musically training Johannes at an early age. Johannes demonstrated early promise on the piano, as did his younger brother Fritz, and they helped to supplement the family's income by playing the piano in local restaurants and theaters. Studying the piano since age seven and composing and learning theory since eleven, Johannes' early introduction to music is evident in his work. Johannes also gained adumbrate familiarity with both popular and serious styles from arranging music for his father's orchestra. Upon turning twenty he started touring as an accompanist to the Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi where he gained attention and met an important contact, Joseph Joachim. The man through which Johannes acquired his reputation and the man who eventually became Brahms's recital partner, musical advisor and life long friend.

Joachim introduced Brahms to yet another important contact, Robert Schumann, who was so impressed by the young man's talent that he published an article, 'Neue Bahnen' (New Paths) claiming that Brahms was "destined to give ideal expression to the times." Johannes developed a close relationship to Robert's wife, Clara as they spent more time together. She wrote this in her diary the first day Brahms played for her and Robert in 1853, "Here again is one of those who comes as if sent straight from God. . . . Robert says there was nothing he could tell him to take away or add. It is really moving to see him sitting at the piano ... his beautiful hands, which overcome the greatest difficulties with perfect ease ... and in addition these remarkable compositions." After Schumann's death in 1856 Brahms spent his time either in Hamburg, where he formed and conducted a ladies choir, or Detmold where he was a court music teacher and conductor. His compositions in the 1850s and 1860s had evoked critical responses and his First Piano Concerto had been poorly received in its initial performances. His works were labeled old-fashioned by figures in the 'New German School' such as Liszt and Wagner. His manifesto was published prematurely and also proved to be a devastating failure. It was the premiere of his largest choral work, Ein deutsches Requim, in Bremen in 1868 that confirmed his European reputation. It also led many to believe that he had fulfilled Schumann's prophecy. This boost of confidence was just what he needed to finally complete a number of works that he had struggled with over the years such as the canta Rinaldo, his first String Quartet, Third Piano Quartet and, most notably, his First Symphony which appeared in 1876. In 1890, the fifty-seven year old announced his retirement from composing, though he did not follow through with it and, in fact, composed four of some of his best instrumental pieces in 1891. Brahms fell ill of cancer while completing the Op. 121 songs. His condition gradually worsened and, on the third of April 1897, Johannes Brahms pasted away and was buried in the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.

Many factors and people influences Johannes and his musical style and Brahms can be considered something of an enigma in musical development By the time he reached manhood the Romantic movement in music was in full swing, set in motion by Beethoven, kept alive by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Berlioz, and transformed by Liszt, Verdi and Wagner. Other composers of the day, each with unique style and scale, were unified in trying to obtain a novel, freer form of expression. Brahms, though, chose the stricter conventions from the Classical period. In return he received much initial criticism from his more progressive peers. Brahms proved that music could still embody the old forms while furthering the ideals of Romanticism. Brahms looked into the past- to Bach for such forms as the fugue and to Beethoven for the sonata and the symphony. Johannes Brahms revered Beethoven even more than most other Romantic composers. In his home, a marble bust of Beethoven looked down upon the spot where Brahm composed. Beethoven's influence is best seen in the beginning of Brahms's First Piano Sonata, which resembles the opening of Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata; and in the finale of the main theme in Brahms's First Symphony, redolent of the main theme in the finale of Beethoven's Ninth. When the later resemblance was pointed out to Brahms he allegedly replied, "Any ass can see that."

It took Brahm fifteen years to finish his First Symphony. He was concerned over both his orchestral technique and the work's strongly Classical lines at a time when programmatic symphonies were becoming quite popular. His carefully manicured score led him to be hailed as Beethoven's true heir. Brahm was entirely personal in his choice of material, structural manipulation of themes and warm, yet lucid scoring in all four of his symphonies. Each moves from a weighty opening movement through loosely connected inner movements to a monumental finale.

Brahms also loved the earlier Classical composers Mozart and Haydn. He admired them so immensely that he collected first editions and autographs of their works. Though he, too, had equal interest in studying pre-classical composers including Bach and Giovanni. As a musicologist he even edited works by Bach and Rameau. Brahms was ahead of his time in regards to his creative interest in this 'Early Music' as a composer and performer and particularly looked to such older music for inspiration in the arts of strict counterpoint. Brahms's admiration for the Classical Period is also reflected in his choice of genres: he favored the Classical forms of the sonata, symphony and concerto and most often composed movements in sonata form. He, however, was given the deceiving label of being the most "Classical" Romantic composer. This misleading description was originated from the public disagreement between Brahms and Richard Wagner as Brahms criticized Wagner's lack of counterpoint. Looking closely at Brahms's music it is apparent that he is fully Romantic in style, blurring the lines of compositional form as much as other composers of that time.

Even in his earliest compositions, much of Brahm's music had a serious sound to it. It was Joachim and a fellow Hungarian pupil, Eduard Remenyi who first interested Brahms in the colorful folk music of their native land. Johannes wrote piano and voice settings for almost one-hundred and fifty German folk songs,



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