Still, we read this biography because Brahms is one of the towering figures of Western music, and though Swafford concentrates on giving us the life, he must deal at length with the work as well: its inspiration, composition, performance, and reception; in this, he is an excellent and informative guide. Jan Swafford has contributed to the discussion. Brahms was given lessons on cello, piano, and horn. Throughout his life, he attempted to erase traces of himself, wanting his music to be his sole legacy. Brahms also loved the earlier classical composers and. The author makes the point that he was the rock she could rely on as her husband descended into madness and an early death.
He studied the music of pre-classical composers, including Giovanni Gabrieli, Johann Adolph Hasse, Heinrich Schütz, Domenico Scarlatti, George Frideric Handel, and, especially, Johann Sebastian Bach. Brahms' Double Concerto for cello and violin in A minor, the third movement. I almost didn't want to read it after I read the introduction, but I was won over once the focus was Brahms and not Swafford. Of the books faults, Swafford's habit of speculating on hidden meanings in the letters, etc. He wrote three piano sonatas, five sets of variations, and more than 50 pieces for solo piano, the opus 10 'Four Ballades', and opus 35 'Variations on a Theme of Paganini' are the most widely performed.
The only problem is that at times Swafford admits that Brahms is not as great as Beethoven. He also liked traveling and often traveled to Italy in the spring, spending his time composing somewhere in the Italian countryside. Brahms then leaves Remenyi for Düsseldorf and on 31 October he meets Robert and Clara Schumann. And there are a lot of things written in this book that only a trained musician could understand. The theme is introduced softly in the low strings, and elaborated upon by the violins. Brahms loved the Classical composers Mozart and Haydn. His large choral work A German Requiem is not a setting of the liturgical Missa pro defunctis but a setting of texts which Brahms selected from the Luther Bible.
The early Romantic composers had a major influence on Brahms, particularly Schumann, who encouraged Brahms as a young composer. The interview has been declared fraudulent by Brahms biographer Jan Swafford. Thus, Brahms ultimately rejected the romantic opportunities that came his way in the persons of Clara Schumann and Agathe von Siebold, among other women. This is the weightier and much more solemn balance to the light-hearted Overture above. If one closely examines the work of Brahms, they will notice that he is fully Romantic in style, blurring the lines of compositional form as much as any other composer was doing at the time. A biographical masterpiece at once wholly original and definitive.
Clara was not allowed to visit Robert until two days before his death. Brahm's father was a double bass player, and gave Johannes basic music training. Swafford closes the book with a chapter he calls epilogue and provocation. Johann Jakob gave his son his first musical training. Last accessed 14 August 2008.
As a pianist, his music required tremendous control of melodic independence throughout the hand as a pianist in college, studying his music meant making sure each finger could independently control a melodic part, even when the music was written in what seemed like a harmonic style. He became quite popular in his lifetime, and is now thought of as one of the main composers of the Romantic period. The fulfillment of love was denied him so that other things might take wing. This book is a a blend of biographical history and musical analysis, so be ready to sit with You Tube to check out the dozens of music works that are discussed! He founded the publishing company, Reference Desk Press, Inc. He had a reputation as being snappy and sarcastic, but his friends said he was also tender and generous.
In 1853, Robert Schumann proclaimed the twenty-year-old Brahms the savior of German music. He was a lifelong friend with though they were very different as composers. He also met Liszt and other prominent musicians. Brahms never married, despite strong feelings for several women and despite entering into an engagement, soon broken off, with Agathe von Siebold in Gottingen in 1859. From 1872 to 1875 he was Director of the concerts of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde; afterwards he accepted no formal position.
Also, his ability to place the featured works of Brahms within the context of his life story is masterful, taking us as close as we can get to the mind of the composer in creating them and of his friends in particular, the Schumanns upon first hearing them. He composed a lot of music in his lifetime, including for the orchestra, for the piano, for singers, chamber music, and choir music. One other aspect of Brahms that Mr. Brahms even struggled to get to the Theater an der Wien in Vienna for Strauss' premiere of the operetta Die Göttin der Vernunft in 1897, before his death. Making unprecedented use of the remaining archival material, Swafford offers richly expanded perspectives on Brahms's youth, on his difficult romantic life--particularly his longstanding relationship with Clara Schumann--and on his professional rivalry with Lizst and Wagner. A passage led by arpeggio strings accompanied by bassoon and contrabassoon follows, including a brief variation of the Alphorn tune leading directly to the second theme. It was a wonderful way to enjoy this biography.