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Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
TheHappyMoron #1537248 10/17/10 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TheCannibalHaddock
Originally Posted by iHeartGlennGould
To WR:

I would repeat to you what I said earlier, though in paraphrase, that Brahms takes work to listen to, and you have to train your ear, just as one who is only exposed to pop music might have a tendency to not understand classical upon first hearing. To me, Brahms is the advanced classical composer, so even classically trained musicians need to further educate themselves to understand him. My friend who blasphemised Brahms learned this the hard way. He was so opposed to Brahms's music that for the better part of a year, I had to shove him down his throat until he admitted that he finally got it. I knew he eventually would because he has good taste and frankly, if someone never gets Brahms, their taste is rated as corrupt, in my book. I must admit that Brahms didn't appeal to me at first. I thought he was quite boring myself and initially dreaded having to sit through some of his longer pieces. Then my teacher said she was going to be involved in a performace of the German Requiem, so I sat through endless listens in order to familiarize myself with it, since concerts are more enjoyable when music is familiar. After some time, the music hit me and I felt I was saved, essentially born again (after the performance, I said that hearing that piece was the closest I have ever been to a religious experience). After that, there was no turning back and I was determined to be one of Brahms's most ardent proponent.


It would appear that you have answered your own original question!


'twould.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
stores #1537332 10/17/10 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by TheCannibalHaddock
Originally Posted by iHeartGlennGould
To WR:

I would repeat to you what I said earlier, though in paraphrase, that Brahms takes work to listen to, and you have to train your ear, just as one who is only exposed to pop music might have a tendency to not understand classical upon first hearing. To me, Brahms is the advanced classical composer, so even classically trained musicians need to further educate themselves to understand him. My friend who blasphemised Brahms learned this the hard way. He was so opposed to Brahms's music that for the better part of a year, I had to shove him down his throat until he admitted that he finally got it. I knew he eventually would because he has good taste and frankly, if someone never gets Brahms, their taste is rated as corrupt, in my book. I must admit that Brahms didn't appeal to me at first. I thought he was quite boring myself and initially dreaded having to sit through some of his longer pieces. Then my teacher said she was going to be involved in a performace of the German Requiem, so I sat through endless listens in order to familiarize myself with it, since concerts are more enjoyable when music is familiar. After some time, the music hit me and I felt I was saved, essentially born again (after the performance, I said that hearing that piece was the closest I have ever been to a religious experience). After that, there was no turning back and I was determined to be one of Brahms's most ardent proponent.


It would appear that you have answered your own original question!


'twould.


Touche. Nonetheless, it is quite sad! I suppose it was more of a sarcastic, bitter question on my part. I wanted to hear people attempt to justify their aversions. smile

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
stores #1537403 10/17/10 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Andromaque
....He is sometimes reminiscent of some great pianists who lose pulse or momentum when playing long works, and intermittently bring you back to some great heights.. They just cannot maintain the magic for the duration.......
Perhaps you've not yet matured fully enough as a musician to completely understand/appreciate Brahms.

Now wait a minute. smile

Even though my view of Brahms is much closer to yours, I have to say that there are many very mature and high-level musicians who feel as Andromaque does.
And Andromaque may well be one of them. smile

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Mark_C #1537424 10/17/10 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Andromaque
....He is sometimes reminiscent of some great pianists who lose pulse or momentum when playing long works, and intermittently bring you back to some great heights.. They just cannot maintain the magic for the duration.......
Perhaps you've not yet matured fully enough as a musician to completely understand/appreciate Brahms.

Now wait a minute. smile

Even though my view of Brahms is much closer to yours, I have to say that there are many very mature and high-level musicians who feel as Andromaque does.


Are there? I've not ever met any, so maybe I need to get out more often.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
stores #1537445 10/17/10 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by stores


Perhaps you've not yet matured fully enough as a musician to completely understand/appreciate Brahms.



Ah dear Stores, you ought to have said something less predictable.. may be even something witty!?


I am not alone in my immature camp though, as suggested above. I will not mention George Bernard Shaw or Hugo Wolff, but perhaps Brahms' contemporary, Schubring, and no less than Tchaikovsky whose disapproval of Brahms' music is well documented ("a mediocre composer"), despite the fact that he liked Brahms personally when he got to meet him...


@ Victor, I am not surprised you are not a Brahms' fan, he is reported to have berated the Dutch as a nation of "poor musicians", after some mess-up at a premiere of one of his symphonies..If he could only hear the Concertgebouw now!! smile smile

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
iHeartGlennGould #1537460 10/17/10 04:59 PM
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Well, if you want to down Brahms' symphonies and concerti, is it okay if I state how I feel about BEETHOVEN'S symphonies and concerti? laugh

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
iHeartGlennGould #1537479 10/17/10 05:17 PM
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seen the discussion about one of the greatest composers ever, I can't but contribute to this mostly new-worldly discussion: overhere, at the other side of the great pond there is no question whatsoever about Johannes Brahms's status: it's sky high, and aknowledged by every musiclover or player, his name is wrtitten in the stars, next to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and the rest. Seen some comments about his pianopieces, rhapsodies and variationsets, I feel ashamed for those who put in some slight criticism, they are aomg the best pieces ever written for the instrument, not 'didactic', not just for intimate use, they sound through the great halls of Europe ever since their origin, and as to the rest of his works: pinnacle of the 19th century!


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
iHeartGlennGould #1537480 10/17/10 05:20 PM
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Oh goodness. dolce is the spokesperson of the Commonwealth of Europe: Every man, every woman, every child...

Please people, this discussion is not exactly news, anywhere on the planet.. Of music and opinion! There will always be lovers and naysayers... Sheesh!!

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Orange Soda King #1537481 10/17/10 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Well, if you want to down Brahms' symphonies and concerti, is it okay if I state how I feel about BEETHOVEN'S symphonies and concerti? laugh


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

grin


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Andromaque #1537485 10/17/10 05:26 PM
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no, you little mind, the spokesPerson if you please, for the musiclovers of the globe, haha.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Andromaque #1537506 10/17/10 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
I will not mention George Bernard Shaw or Hugo Wolff, but perhaps Brahms' contemporary, Schubring, and no less than Tchaikovsky whose disapproval of Brahms' music is well documented ("a mediocre composer"), despite the fact that he liked Brahms personally when he got to meet him...



Gee - and for years I was under the impression that Tchaikovsky was a second tier composer ....which, of course, is no more true than the assertion that Brahms is mediocre.

By Schubring - do you mean Schubring the 19th Century German philosopher?

As for Shaw ...I offer the following (without apology) from Wikipedia...."Much of Shaw's music criticism, ranging from short comments to the book-length essay The Perfect Wagnerite, extols the work of the German composer Richard Wagner.[20] Wagner worked 25 years composing Der Ring des Nibelungen, a massive four-part musical dramatization drawn from the Teutonic mythology of gods, giants, dwarves and Rhine maidens; Shaw considered it a work of genius and reviewed it in detail. Beyond the music, he saw it as an allegory of social evolution where workers, driven by "the invisible whip of hunger", seek freedom from their wealthy masters. Wagner did have socialistic sympathies, as Shaw carefully points out, but made no such claim about his opus. Conversely, Shaw disparaged Brahms, deriding A German Requiem by saying "it could only have come from the establishment of a first-class undertaker".[21] Although he found Brahms lacking in intellect, he praised his musicality, saying "...nobody can listen to Brahms' natural utterance of the richest absolute music, especially in his chamber compositions, without rejoicing in his natural gift". In the 1920s, he recanted, calling his earlier animosity towards Brahms "my only mistake".[20]

And a little background about the Wolf/Brahms issue (which, whether it is completely true or not, makes interesting reading): "Wolf got a prestigious job as a music critic for a major Viennese newspaper. But the position was the beginning of his undoing as a composer. At about the same time, Wolf approached the great composer Johannes Brahms and asked to be taught composition by the great master. Brahms, knowing of Wolf's affection for the modernists Wagner and Liszt, brushed the young composer off with a vague suggestion that he study with one of Brahms' students. Wolf, enraged, used all his power as a critic in an attempt to destroy Brahms, a revenge he concentrated on for years with great venom. But his brutal criticism of Brahms backfired when Wolf presented his orchestral music to be played by the Vienna Philharmonic. Most of the members had been insulted by Wolf's reviews over the years, and many were personal friends of Brahms. The Philharmonic committee dismissed his symphony and told him in a curt note that he could find the manuscript he had submitted with the doorman of the Opera House. And Brahms wasn't the only music legend Wolf insulted. Many musicians had been attacked by Wolf in his column, most for petty personal reasons on Wolf's part." (from EzineArticles - John Aschenbrenner - "Why Hugo Wolf Went Insane")


Last edited by carey; 10/17/10 06:17 PM.

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Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Carey #1537514 10/17/10 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by Andromaque
I will not mention George Bernard Shaw or Hugo Wolff, but perhaps Brahms' contemporary, Schubring, and no less than Tchaikovsky whose disapproval of Brahms' music is well documented ("a mediocre composer"), despite the fact that he liked Brahms personally when he got to meet him...



Gee - and for years I was under the impression that Tchaikovsky was a second tier composer ....which, of course, is no more true than the assertion that Brahms is mediocre.

By Schubring - do you mean Schubring the 19th Century German philosopher?

As for Shaw ...I offer the following (without apology) from Wikipedia...."Much of Shaw's music criticism, ranging from short comments to the book-length essay The Perfect Wagnerite, extols the work of the German composer Richard Wagner.[20] Wagner worked 25 years composing Der Ring des Nibelungen, a massive four-part musical dramatization drawn from the Teutonic mythology of gods, giants, dwarves and Rhine maidens; Shaw considered it a work of genius and reviewed it in detail. Beyond the music, he saw it as an allegory of social evolution where workers, driven by "the invisible whip of hunger", seek freedom from their wealthy masters. Wagner did have socialistic sympathies, as Shaw carefully points out, but made no such claim about his opus. Conversely, Shaw disparaged Brahms, deriding A German Requiem by saying "it could only have come from the establishment of a first-class undertaker".[21] Although he found Brahms lacking in intellect, he praised his musicality, saying "...nobody can listen to Brahms' natural utterance of the richest absolute music, especially in his chamber compositions, without rejoicing in his natural gift". In the 1920s, he recanted, calling his earlier animosity towards Brahms "my only mistake".[20]



My only mistake...That is indeed, a powerful quote. :*)

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Carey #1537518 10/17/10 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by carey
[quote=Andromaque] I will not mention George Bernard Shaw or Hugo Wolff, but perhaps Brahms' contemporary, Schubring, and no less than Tchaikovsky whose disapproval of Brahms' music is well documented ("a mediocre composer"), despite the fact that he liked Brahms personally when he got to meet him...



well, carey.. I did try to spare you the extensive research and copy/paste.. I did say I WILL NOT MENTION.. for the reasons that your quotes make obvious..

Tchaikovsky can be mediocre in your eyes. That's OK by me..

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
dolce sfogato #1537523 10/17/10 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
no, you little mind, the spokesPerson if you please, for the musiclovers of the globe, haha.


I don't think you ought to be belittling people's minds on the global internet. It speaks more about your own mind..



Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Andromaque #1537538 10/17/10 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
Originally Posted by carey
[quote=Andromaque] I will not mention George Bernard Shaw or Hugo Wolff, but perhaps Brahms' contemporary, Schubring, and no less than Tchaikovsky whose disapproval of Brahms' music is well documented ("a mediocre composer"), despite the fact that he liked Brahms personally when he got to meet him...



well, carey.. I did try to spare you the extensive research and copy/paste.. I did say I WILL NOT MENTION.. for the reasons that your quotes make obvious..

Tchaikovsky can be mediocre in your eyes. That's OK by me..


Who cares what I think anyway !!! (but just for the record, I LOVE the music of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Wolf AND Wagner) grin

Yes - the research took hours, was indeed extensive and took great technical skill on my part - but I'm glad I did it. Its been years since I read about Shaw's and Wolf's music criticism activities - and it was fun to refresh my memory a bit.

And FYI - I completely agree with you that the Requiem is Brahms' masterpiece.

But what about Schubring???? smile


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Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
iHeartGlennGould #1537539 10/17/10 06:46 PM
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Very interesting thread to read, and thanks for all the contributions.

I tend to prefer the earlier works of Brahms, in some of the later works there is a certain smug approach, as if his musical mastery came a bit too easily, notes poured into pre-existing forms, so take that!

I could listen to the Beethoven symphonies one after another, I could never do that with Brahms.

Just sayin'... and I don't claim to understand why I feel that way.


Jason
Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
iHeartGlennGould #1537556 10/17/10 07:15 PM
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I adore Brahms OP. 117 & 118 intermezzos. Mostly because I aquired that old Glenn Gould Columbia recording so many years ago. He brought such an introspective sound to many of these pieces. I still like to play many of these works, especially Op. 118 No. 2.

It is a shame that Gould's wonderful recording of these intermezzi are not readily available. Only the European CD even featured the same cover art. Most CDs include many of the Gould recordings of other late Brahms pieces, such as the Ballades. But I much prefer the intermezzos. I also love the sequencing of the original album release. It was a classic to me.


Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Bill Finn #1537578 10/17/10 08:16 PM
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Bill
I have a CD of Gould called "Serenity". It includes Op. 117 Nos 1 &2 and 118/ 2, I believe, among other pieces. I don't know if they are the ones you mention. They are divinely played indeed.


Jason, glad to see you here smile



Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
iHeartGlennGould #1537579 10/17/10 08:16 PM
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Pieces with piano by Brahms that I would put up there with anything by anybody:

Anything from Op. 116, 117, or 118
Piano Concerto #1
Piano Concerto #2
Piano Quintet in F minor (which many might say is the greatest piano chamber work ever written, although can we really 'compare' such stuff......)
Piano Quartet in C minor
Variations on a Theme by Handel
Variations in D on an Original Theme (not necessarily on the 1st hearing)

.....and I'm going to take the liberty of adding.....
The Requiem with piano reduction of the orchestra part
If you ever have the chance to play that with a chorus, including just in rehearsals (as I did), you may well regard it as a privilege, as I did.

Re: Why are Brahms piano works so neglected?
Andromaque #1537580 10/17/10 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
Originally Posted by stores


Perhaps you've not yet matured fully enough as a musician to completely understand/appreciate Brahms.



Ah dear Stores, you ought to have said something less predictable.. may be even something witty!?


I am not alone in my immature camp though, as suggested above. I will not mention George Bernard Shaw or Hugo Wolff, but perhaps Brahms' contemporary, Schubring, and no less than Tchaikovsky whose disapproval of Brahms' music is well documented ("a mediocre composer"), despite the fact that he liked Brahms personally when he got to meet him...


@ Victor, I am not surprised you are not a Brahms' fan, he is reported to have berated the Dutch as a nation of "poor musicians", after some mess-up at a premiere of one of his symphonies..If he could only hear the Concertgebouw now!! smile smile


Are you serious? Shaw, Wolff, and Schubring? Tchaikovsky, I'm sorry, but he and Brahms are NOT in the same league. My comment was not meant as a personal attack, but one that merely says that perhaps as you fully mature as a musician you'll come to a greater appreciation of Brahms and his work.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

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