3rd Symphony

Johannes Brahms was born on May 7th, 1833. His father Jakob, a double bass player, recognized Johannes's interest in music and early in the boy's life enrolled him under his former instructor, Otto Cossel. Johannes studied piano under Cossel for three years, displaying proficiency with the instrument. He was arranged to play in a chamber concert, and the event was a success. In 1845, Cossel passed the young musician on to Eduard Marxsen, his own teacher. Johannes performed pieces for him above and beyond expectations, transposing larger works at sight and going so far as to learn a piece by Weber with his hands switched.

On September 21st, Brahms performed one of his solo works to the public. Later, he met with Hungarian Jew Eduard Hoffman "Remenyi", who was in Hamburg amidst others looking to travel to America. Three years later, the two planned an extensive tour, including many stops in Germany for several months of 1853. On their journey, Brahms met a variety of musical figures, including Franz Liszt in Weimar, and Joseph Joachim, with whom he became lifelong friends, in Göttingen. Brahms's relationship with Remenyi was strained, so they decided to part ways. Through Joachim, Brahms had the fortune of meeting Robert and Clara Schumann. They met in Düsseldorf on October 31st , and the three got off quite well. Brahms formed an enduring friendship with Clara, and would often sent her his completed manuscripts. Robert praised Brahms immensely, going so far as to write of his compositional genius and bright future in the publication Neue Zeitschrift für Musik.

In 1854 he accepted a post as Director of Court Concerts and Choral Society for the prince of Lippe-Detmond. He also began work on his B major Piano Trio. He took part in concerts with Joachim and Clara, and shortly afterward Robert Schumann had broken down, his health failing. Brahms and Joachim joined Clara and Robert in Dusseldorf to support them during this troubling period. Brahms continued to work and travel until Robert's health declined substantially. After his death on July 28th of 1856, the group of Clara, Joachim, and Brahms, set out to organize Schumann's compositions and manuscripts.

At this point, Brahms had many places he could call home, and he spent a great deal of time composing and conducting. He left his Lippe-Detmond post in 1958 and a year later, early 1859, he released his Concerto in D minor. The adherence to classical form and appreciation for its aesthetic was in stark contrast to the "new music" of contemporaries such as Liszt and Wagner. The rich classical structuring and grandiosity of the work held little in common with the loose, emotional frivolities present in Romantic music. The Leipzig audience didn't receive the piece openly, and Brahms himself had improvements in mind for the work, though he was little dismayed by the response. In contrast, a performance of this work in his home town was considerably more successful, much to Brahms's satisfaction.

In 1865, his mother died, and several months after he piled a great deal more work into his Requiem, working at an atypically fast pace. After further touring, Brahms settled in Vienna permanently in 1868. On April 10th, the complete Ein Deutches Requiem was performed in a cathedral in Bremen.

Now in his forties, Brahms released a great masterpiece: his first symphony. Over a decade of labour went into this work, which culminated in 1876. With the spectre of a great symphonist such as Beethoven looming constantly, Brahms in no way wanted to release a paltry work. The genre had been neglected, many composers daunted by Beethoven's sincere, passionate, and technically masterful symphonies. Brahms First was in no way disappointed, and though the work showed similarities to the great master's technique, particularly a melody in the final movement which was strikingly similar to a theme in Beethoven's 9th, it was incredibly well received. Brahms felt the work to be excessive in length, but he was confident enough to finish his second symphony only a year later. He refused to write the symbolic program music that was in vogue at the time He opted for the grand absolute music of his creative ancestors and guides, which stood a much greater chance of conveying the heroic and transcendent, something far more suitable for Brahms's lofty spirit and idealistic nature. Thus, his symphonies had even more in kinship with the late masters than with any prevailing contemporary composers.

On his fiftieth birthday, he heard his third symphony come to life. For his fourth and final symphony, completed 1885, Brahms was permitted to use the Meiningen court orchestra for rehearsals of the work by his recent friend and colleage Hans von Bülow. Immediately afterward he toured Germany and the Netherlands.

Following 1890, many of Brahms's siblings and esteemed friends passed away. None would have been so tragic to him as the death of his beloved Clara Schumann on the 21st of May, 1886, who was buried in Bonn alongside her late husband. By now, the artist was afflicted with cancer, and less than a year later, on April 3rd of 1897, he died. His body was placed near the resting places of Beethoven and Mozart, a location that would have satisfied him immensely. 

© 2006 mock Him productions in association with CORRUPT

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