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Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
Orange Soda King #3033774 10/09/20 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by Carey
... and during a summer at the International Music Camp at Interlochen I served as rehearsal accompanist for the Festival Choir's performance of the Requiem (reading the open score for the fugal sections was impossible - had to write it out).

Good lord, they didn’t have a piano/vocal for you? (Requiem rehearsal pianist)
Oh sure they did - but the piano part was a reduction of the orchestral score - so when it came to pounding out parts for rehearsal I had to read from the the SATB score - which was OK except for the two big fugal sections. Let's just say that playing from open score wasn't my forte back in the day. smile


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Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
meghdad #3033897 10/09/20 03:58 PM
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I discovered this movement from the Piano Quintet when I was around 14 and it hooked me on Brahms for life.

https://youtu.be/HlZMhjmJFuU

Had the same experience with the 1st movement of Schumann's Rhenish Symphony.

On the rare occasions when I was home alone (we had a large family) I would play both of these works full blast on our living room Magnavox stereo while I did my chores. Even opened the windows so the neighbors could hear. ha


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Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
Carey #3033906 10/09/20 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Carey
I discovered this movement from the Piano Quintet when I was around 14 and it hooked me on Brahms for life.

https://youtu.be/HlZMhjmJFuU

Had the same experience with the 1st movement of Schumann's Rhenish Symphony.

On the rare occasions when I was home alone (we had a large family) I would play both of these works full blast on our living room Magnavox stereo while I did my chores. Even opened the windows so the neighbors could hear. ha
I first "heard" the Brahms Quintet around the age of when I was corralled as a page turner during a performance. I probably didn't hear that much of it as I assume I was afraid to miss a page turn.

Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
meghdad #3033907 10/09/20 04:40 PM
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Both Brahms piano concertos are among my favorite works of music.

To me, he is such a unique blend - some germanic and rhythmical elements of Beethoven, some incredibly romantic melodies, a deep, complex harmonic soundscape, and some really progressive harmonic progressions.

The piano concertos are the type of music that I can listen to simply on an emotional level and just sit back and be blown away by - but then, re-listen purely in an analytical fashion and be just as amazed.

Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
pianoloverus #3033933 10/09/20 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Carey
I discovered this movement from the Piano Quintet when I was around 14 and it hooked me on Brahms for life.
https://youtu.be/HlZMhjmJFuU
Had the same experience with the 1st movement of Schumann's Rhenish Symphony.
On the rare occasions when I was home alone (we had a large family) I would play both of these works full blast on our living room Magnavox stereo while I did my chores. Even opened the windows so the neighbors could hear. ha
I first "heard" the Brahms Quintet around the age of when I was corralled as a page turner during a performance. I probably didn't hear that much of it as I assume I was afraid to miss a page turn.
Yes - that kind of pressure in front of an audience can definitely ruin one's appreciation of the music. grin


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Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
meghdad #3034186 10/10/20 02:11 PM
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There is something about Brahms- it doesn't always grip you immediately. I am convinced that whatever shortcomings there are in his music, they are the result of his almost destructive perfectionism and his working of his ideas. From his twentieth year, he was burdened with Schumann's weighty words in the New Journal of Music, calling the young Brahms (who was still an unknown pianist who had not yet written any orchestral work) an eagle who had sprung forth "fully armed, like Athena from the head of Zeus", the one destined to give expression to the spirit of the times. (One wonders if Schumann's exaggerated praise, almost embarrassing in its unrestrictedness, came in part from a place of jealousy).

The more I study his music, the more it fascinates me. There is a very special Brahmsian tenderness and intimacy that no other composer has achieved, I think- his use of D major like a warm ray of light, a confession of almost unbearable tenderness (1st piano concerto second movement, 2nd symphony, middle section of Op.18 no.4), the way instruments converse with one another in his chamber music in an intimacy so beautiful and so close that the listener is almost embarrassed to intrude on it (e.g. opening of violin and piano sonata no.1 and no.2, opening of the 2nd movement of the clarinet trio, where "the imitation comes before the phrase", in the words of cellist Yehuda Hanani- where understanding is so complete that one already knows, is already in agreement, even before hearing what the other has to say).

I am working on his four serious songs Op. 121. His choice of texts is incredible: he sought to describe death in its bitterness, its pointlessness, its inevitability, but he gave the last word to love. "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (...) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
When Clara's death approached, Brahms wrote to her daughter Marie, "If you believe that the worse may be expected, be so kind as to send word to me so that I can come and see those dear eyes- those eyes that, when they finally close, will close so much for me." When the news of her death did reach him, he was so agitated that he took a wrong train and almost missed the funeral. The four songs were written as Clara lay dying in Frankfurt. He sent them to Marie two months later with these words:
"Deep inside a human being there is often something that speaks to us and germinates almost unbeknownst to us, and that occasionally may ring out as poetry or music. You cannot play through the songs, because the texts would affect you too deeply now. But I ask you to consider them quite literally a funeral offering to your beloved mother."

Brahms and Clara is a story that has become almost a cliché, but I feel like if anything, it is still underrated. Love permeated all of his music. Love was the greatest driving force in his life and his art. And it is love that gives his music the honesty and the truth that redeems all of its weaknesses and lifts it above so many other composers' work.

Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
meghdad #3034191 10/10/20 02:24 PM
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Correction: op. 118 no.5, not Op. 18 no.4! Sorry:)
Also, correct link to first violin and piano sonata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhznN_C5vaM

Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
Ainar #3034200 10/10/20 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Ainar
"Deep inside a human being there is often something that speaks to us and germinates almost unbeknownst to us, and that occasionally may ring out as poetry or music. You cannot play through the songs, because the texts would affect you too deeply now. But I ask you to consider them quite literally a funeral offering to your beloved mother."

Brahms and Clara is a story that has become almost a cliché, but I feel like if anything, it is still underrated. Love permeated all of his music. Love was the greatest driving force in his life and his art. And it is love that gives his music the honesty and the truth that redeems all of its weaknesses and lifts it above so many other composers' work.
BEAUTFULLY STATED. THANK YOU.


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Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
Ainar #3034204 10/10/20 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Ainar
There is something about Brahms- it doesn't always grip you immediately. I am convinced that whatever shortcomings there are in his music, they are the result of his almost destructive perfectionism and his working of his ideas. From his twentieth year, he was burdened with Schumann's weighty words in the New Journal of Music, calling the young Brahms (who was still an unknown pianist who had not yet written any orchestral work) an eagle who had sprung forth "fully armed, like Athena from the head of Zeus", the one destined to give expression to the spirit of the times. (One wonders if Schumann's exaggerated praise, almost embarrassing in its unrestrictedness, came in part from a place of jealousy).
...
Great post with great words! :-)

Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
Ainar #3034221 10/10/20 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ainar
Brahms and Clara is a story that has become almost a cliché, but I feel like if anything, it is still underrated. Love permeated all of his music. Love was the greatest driving force in his life and his art. And it is love that gives his music the honesty and the truth that redeems all of its weaknesses and lifts it above so many other composers' work.

I couldn't agree more!


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Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
meghdad #3034288 10/10/20 09:54 PM
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I love Serenade no. 2 in A major. Has anyone ever seen this on a program? Seems like it's not normally performed? Is it too insignificant?

Just found this one now, it seems like it's pretty good:
https://youtu.be/tQ7G9nVHFro

Not many video performances on youtube either. I guess if you're going to program 30+ minutes of Brahms you would probably just do a symphony? frown

Also add it to your list of "happy" Brahms. smile

Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
Ainar #3034307 10/11/20 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Ainar
There is something about Brahms- it doesn't always grip you immediately. I am convinced that whatever shortcomings there are in his music, they are the result of his almost destructive perfectionism and his working of his ideas. From his twentieth year, he was burdened with Schumann's weighty words in the New Journal of Music, calling the young Brahms (who was still an unknown pianist who had not yet written any orchestral work) an eagle who had sprung forth "fully armed, like Athena from the head of Zeus", the one destined to give expression to the spirit of the times. (One wonders if Schumann's exaggerated praise, almost embarrassing in its unrestrictedness, came in part from a place of jealousy).

The more I study his music, the more it fascinates me. There is a very special Brahmsian tenderness and intimacy that no other composer has achieved, I think- his use of D major like a warm ray of light, a confession of almost unbearable tenderness (1st piano concerto second movement, 2nd symphony, middle section of Op.18 no.4), the way instruments converse with one another in his chamber music in an intimacy so beautiful and so close that the listener is almost embarrassed to intrude on it (e.g. opening of violin and piano sonata no.1 and no.2, opening of the 2nd movement of the clarinet trio, where "the imitation comes before the phrase", in the words of cellist Yehuda Hanani- where understanding is so complete that one already knows, is already in agreement, even before hearing what the other has to say).

I am working on his four serious songs Op. 121. His choice of texts is incredible: he sought to describe death in its bitterness, its pointlessness, its inevitability, but he gave the last word to love. "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (...) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
When Clara's death approached, Brahms wrote to her daughter Marie, "If you believe that the worse may be expected, be so kind as to send word to me so that I can come and see those dear eyes- those eyes that, when they finally close, will close so much for me." When the news of her death did reach him, he was so agitated that he took a wrong train and almost missed the funeral. The four songs were written as Clara lay dying in Frankfurt. He sent them to Marie two months later with these words:
"Deep inside a human being there is often something that speaks to us and germinates almost unbeknownst to us, and that occasionally may ring out as poetry or music. You cannot play through the songs, because the texts would affect you too deeply now. But I ask you to consider them quite literally a funeral offering to your beloved mother."

Brahms and Clara is a story that has become almost a cliché, but I feel like if anything, it is still underrated. Love permeated all of his music. Love was the greatest driving force in his life and his art. And it is love that gives his music the honesty and the truth that redeems all of its weaknesses and lifts it above so many other composers' work.
I believe Schumann's elaborate description of Brahms was rather typical of a romantic writer of that time.(a higher than life view ) I do not think it fair or really objective to regard Schumann's intentions of evil.
Both Clara and Robert welcomed Brahms as a musician. The warmth and also the heartbreaking emotions of loss is often felt just as deeply in Schumann's music as Brahms and it lies in the very structure of his songs which by the way can match Brahms anyday.
The "story of Clara and Brahms" is by no means proven to be a love affair or an "frustrated unrequited love". Brahms "love life
seems to be a thing though that no one really knows about .
Both Clara and Brahms were close , she needed the support her husband was seriously ill and she had all those children to care for.

Re: How do you feel about Brahms' music?
meghdad #3034532 10/11/20 03:03 PM
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The 2nd movement of his 3rd piano sonata is one of the most sublime slow movements in the piano literature.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fukqzXby13k&t=703s

Last edited by adamp88; 10/11/20 03:04 PM.

Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
Piano Technician, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ASB Piano Service
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