Music Johannes Brahms
by
George S. Bozarth
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 June 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0044

Introduction

The secondary literature on Johannes Brahms (b. 1833–d. 1897) has long focused on discussion of aspects of his life and times, and on analytical assessments, viewing his instrumental works as representatives of “absolute” music. More recently, scholars have undertaken research into the performance practices of Brahms and his contemporaries, and have considered a number of hermeneutic approaches to his works. Born in Hamburg, Brahms also lived in Detmold, where he directed the court music in the autumns of the years 1858–1859, and Vienna, where, after a decade of frequent visits, he took a permanent apartment in 1871 and served as music director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (1872–1875), which after his death inherited many of his manuscripts as well as his library of books and music. Brahms’s compositional output encompassed all genres except opera. Traditionally seen as the supreme exemplars of late-19th-century “absolute” music, Brahms’s works have begun to be interpreted as music full of experiential content and extramusical references. Brahms took a broad view of the history of music, copying and studying works from the late Renaissance through to his own time, subscribing to the collected editions and “monuments of music” series issuing from Austria and Germany (and keeping company with numerous scholars), and performing music from this three-hundred-year period. The influence of earlier music on his own compositions was profound, as he embraced the cult of Palestrina and took part in the revival of J. S. Bach’s music. The result was not only the composition of neo-Renaissance and neo-Baroque works but also the creation of a musical style founded on contrapuntal practices. The other pillar of Brahms’s music was folksong and dance, from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, extending a compositional tradition begun in the late-18th-century music of Haydn, Mozart, and others. The profound influence of C. P. E. Bach and the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) style of Mozart and Beethoven is evident in all of his minor-key compositions. The looming presence of Beethoven attracted Brahms to Beethovenian genres, but also caused him to abandon writing piano sonatas early in life and to delay greatly completing and releasing his first string quartets and symphonies until he had discovered “new paths” in these genres. The formal and tonal procedures of Schubert provided a source of inspiration and guidance to Brahms in the early 1860s, his first rich period of chamber music. Brahms closely studied the music of Mendelssohn and Schumann, making allusions to these composers in his own works and critically assessing the musical structure of their works. Brahms’s relationship to Wagner and his music has been the topic of many writings.

Reference Works

In addition to encyclopedia articles, such as Bozarth and Frisch and Schmidt 2000, the essential reference tools for Brahms include various handbooks, bibliographies, and catalogues, including a catalogue of Brahms’s extensive library of books and music. Much of his correspondence has been published, and numerous biographies drawing upon primary sources are available.

  • Bozarth, George S., and Walter Frisch, “Brahms, Johannes.” In Grove Music Online.

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    A dictionary article discussing the salient features of Brahms’s life and music (by genre), accompanied by an extensive bibliography and list of works with dates composed, published, and first performed.

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    • Schmidt, Christian Martin. “Johannes Brahms.” In Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Vol. 3. Edited by Ludwig Finscher, 626–715. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 2000.

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      After surveying the salient features of Brahms’s life, Schmidt considers eight aspects of his music: motivic integration and form; variations; the influence of early music; his work in lyrical forms (character pieces and songs); the choral and orchestral works of large dimension; Hausmusik and other social choral and instrumental music; folksong; and posthumous views of his music. Accompanied by an extensive bibliography and list of works with dates composed and published.

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    Handbooks

    Four handbooks—Botstein 1999, Clive 2006, Musgrave 2000, and Sandberger 2009—provide ready reference to biographical information and to the nature of Brahms’s music and its cultural context.

    • Botstein, Leon, ed. The Compleat Brahms: A Guide to the Musical Works of Johannes Brahms. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.

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      Various authors provide brief essays offering both analytical and historical commentary on each of Brahms’s works.

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    • Clive, Peter. Brahms and His World: A Biographical Dictionary. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2006.

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      With a chronology of the important events in Brahms’s life, a biographical dictionary with detailed entries on Brahms’s family, friends, and colleagues, an extensive bibliography, and an index of his compositions and arrangements, Clive’s book is a well-executed and endlessly useful reference tool.

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    • Musgrave, Michael. A Brahms Reader. New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2000.

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      Organized as a collection of essays grouped under general headings to consider Brahms the man, composer, performer, music scholar, and student of the arts, his social relationships and travels, and the reception of his music, all based on early biographies, memoirs, and documentary evidence.

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    • Sandberger, Wolfgang, ed. Brahms Handbuch. Stuttgart and Weimar, Germany: J. B. Metzler, 2009.

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      Eminent scholars from Germany, England, Switzerland, and Italy have contributed extended essay-surveys on numerous facets of Brahms’s life, music, and cultural position in the late 19th century. Also contains a timeline, a catalogue of the works, and a table of Brahms’s music in films.

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    Bibliographies

    Most of the biographies listed here and many other books on Brahms contain useful selected bibliographies. The comprehensive bibliographies Quigley 1990 and Quigley 1998 grew out of Quigley’s work with Margit McCorkle (see Catalogues). Platt 2003, a selected bibliography focuses attention on the 1,328 most important writings on Brahms. Biannual reports on recent Brahms publications and conference papers appear in the American Brahms Society Newsletter.

    • American Brahms Society Newsletter.

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      Published twice a year, this newsletter always carries listings of “Recent Brahms Publications,” sometimes with commentary. In addition to books, articles, dissertations, and conference papers, it occasionally reviews recordings on period instruments. Some issues contain review-essays.

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      • Quigley, Thomas. Johannes Brahms: An Annotated Bibliography of the Literature through 1982. Metuchen, NJ, and London: Scarecrow, 1990.

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        Contains references to nearly all writings on Brahms published during his lifetime and the eighty-five years after his death. When the author was able to examine the publication, he included a succinct account of its content and usefulness.

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      • Quigley, Thomas. Johannes Brahms: An Annotated Bibliography of the Literature from 1982 to 1996. Metuchen, NJ, and London: Scarecrow, 1998.

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        A sequel to Quigley 1990, which also includes publications overlooked in that volume.

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      • Platt, Heather. Johannes Brahms: A Guide to Research. New York and London: Routledge, 2003.

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        Platt’s excellent guide is a selected and annotated bibliography that accounts for the important literature included in Quigley 1990 and 1998 and a half dozen years beyond. Entries are very well focused and draw attention to critical commentary about the publications—a valuable tool for all doing research on Brahms.

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      Catalogues

      The complete works have been catalogued in McCorkle 1984; Hofmann 1975 treats only the published compositions. Those wishing to explore the titles in Brahms’s large library of books and music will find them catalogued in Hofmann 1974.

      • Hofmann, Kurt. Die Bibliothek von Johannes Brahms: Bücher- und Musikalienverzeichnis. Schriftenreihe zur Musik. Hamburg, Germany: Karl Dieter Wagner, 1974.

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        Annotated catalogue of the books from Brahms’s library preserved in the archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna, together with a reprint of Alfred Orel, “Johannes Brahms’ Musikbibliothek,” Simrock-Jahrbuch 3 (1930–1934): 18–47, which transcribes a catalogue of his library of music prepared in the 1890s.

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      • Hofmann, Kurt. Die Erstdrucke der Werke von Johannes Brahms. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1975.

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        Black-and-white facsimiles of the title pages of all of Brahms’s published works, with bibliographical information on those editions.

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        • McCorkle, Margit L. Johannes Brahms: Thematisch-Bibliographisches Werkverzeichnis. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 1984.

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          Comprehensive catalogue of the works, with titles, incipits, information on the origins, first known performances, autograph and copyists’ manuscripts, corrected proofs, early editions, and arrangements by Brahms. Also documents Brahms’s arrangements of the music of other composers, copies of folk music and works by his predecessors and contemporaries, lost compositions and arrangements, works of doubtful authenticity, and manuscript materials for Brahms’s performances. Since 1984, additional primary sources have been discovered and many manuscripts have changed owners.

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        Correspondence

        Despite his dislike of writing letters, Brahms’s maintained ongoing correspondence with a large number of friends, colleagues, and businesses, totaling over his lifetime more than ten thousand letters.

        Selected Correspondence

        Avins 1997 is a volume of well-selected correspondence that provides an excellent point of entry into Brahms as a writer of letters.

        • Avins, Styra, ed. Johannes Brahms: Life and Letters. Translated by Josef Eisinger and Styra Avins. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

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          An excellent selection of the correspondence in translation, interleaved with perceptive and at time controversial biographical commentary, organized chronologically as a biography.

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        Complete Correspondence

        Listed here are the most important volumes of complete correspondence between Brahms and his family, close friends, musical colleagues, and publishers. Each has an introduction to set the scene for the letters, and some have commentary for the individual letters, usually in footnotes. Deutsche Brahms-Gesellschaft published sixteen volumes of letters in the early 20th century (Johannes Brahms Briefwechsel), and other individual volumes have appeared since then (including Bozarth 1996, Bozarth 2008, Gottlieb-Billroth 1935, Stephenson 1961, and Stephenson 1979). Geiringer 2006 publishes correspondence from several musicians and scholars in Brahms’s circle, as well as members of his family. The Brahms-Institut an der Musikhochschule Lübeck has mounted an online database of the locations of all of Brahms’s extant correspondence.

        • Bozarth, George S., ed. Johannes Brahms and George Henschel: An Enduring Friendship. Sterling Heights, MI: Harmonie Park, 2008.

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          Brahms met singer, pianist, composer, and conductor Henschel in 1874, performed and vacationed with him, and remained a musical advisor when Henschel became conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Concerts. Contains their complete extant correspondence, as well as an expanded version of Henschel’s Personal Recollections of Johannes Brahms (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1907), extensive commentary, and a CD of Henschel singing.

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        • Bozarth, George S., with Wiltrud Martin, eds. The Brahms-Keller Correspondence. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.

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          The correspondence of Brahms and Robert Keller, who for many years worked for N. Simrock (Berlin) as principal editor of Brahms’s music, reveals in detail how Brahms brought his major works into print. Keller also prepared a number of arrangements of Brahms’s compositions.

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        • Geiringer, Karl. On Brahms and His Circle: Essays and Documentary Studies by Karl Geiringer. Edited by George S. Bozarth. Sterling Heights, MI: Harmonie Park, 2006.

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          Letters to Brahms from his parents and siblings, Friedrich Chrysander, Peter Cornelius, George Grove, George Henschel, C. F. Pohl, Carl Tausig, and Mathilda Wesendonck, as well as his exchange of letters with Antonin Dvořák and Eusebius Mandyczewski, with most letters in German and English translation.

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        • Gottlieb-Billroth, Otto, ed. Billroth und Brahms in Briefwechsel. Berlin and Vienna: Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1935.

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          One of Brahms’s closest relationships in Vienna was with Theodor Billroth, the preeminent Viennese professor of surgery, who was a fine pianist and played the violin and viola as well. Many new works were first performed at Billroth soirees, and Brahms greatly valued Billroth’s opinion about his music. The two also made three trips to Italy together.

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          • Johannes Brahms Briefwechsel. 16 vols. Rev. ed. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1974.

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            This set of sixteen original volumes, prepared by a variety of editors, contains Brahms’s correspondence with many individuals in his circle of friends and musicians and all of his publishers. Originally published 1912–1922 (Berlin: Deutsche Brahms-Gesellschaft). Three additional volumes published 1991–1995 (Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider).

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            • Litzmann, Berthold. Clara Schumann: An Artist’s Life based on Material Found in Diaries and Letters. 2 vols. Translated by Grace E. Hadow. London: Macmillan, 1913.

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              Contains selected letters and diary entries that document the relationship between Johannes Brahms and his closest friend and musical advisor, the pianist and composer Clara Schumann. Originally published as Clara Schumann: Ein Künsterleben nach Tagebüchern und Briefen, Vols. 2–3 (Rev. ed., Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1923–1925).

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              • Litzmann, Berthold. Clara Schumann–Johannes Brahms: Briefe aus den Jahren 1853–1896. 2 vols. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1927.

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                Late in life, the two musicians returned their letters to each other, and destroyed many of them. These volumes contain the letters that remained. Selected correspondence from this set was published as Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms 1853–1896 (2 vols., New York: Longmans, Green, 1927).

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                • Stephenson, Kurt. Johannes Brahms und die Familie von Beckerath. Hamburg, Germany: Christians Verlag, 1979.

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                  Quoting correspondence, a diary, and recollections, Stephenson chronicles the relationship between Brahms and the various members of the von Beckerath and von der Leyen families in Krefeld. Offers an intimate glimpse into the role music played in bourgeois life. Includes twenty illustrations of Brahms by Willy von Beckerath.

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                • Stephenson, Kurt, ed. Johannes Brahms und Fritz Simrock: Weg einer Freundschaft: Briefe des Verlegers an den Komponisten. Hamburg, Germany: Verlag J. J. Augustin, 1961.

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                  The letters from Fritz Simrock that initiated and responded to the Brahms letters published in Vols. 9–12 of the Johannes Brahms Briefwechsel.

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                  Collections of Poetry, Quotations, and Proverbs

                  As a young man, Brahms contributed to his education by collecting poetry, quotations about the nature of life and music, and German proverbs in several chapbooks, as chronicled in Bozarth 1994 and Krebs 2003, and marking passages significant to him in the books in his library, as noted in Geiringer 2006.

                  • Bozarth, George S., ed. and trans. “Johannes Brahms’s Collection of Deutsche Sprichworte (German Proverbs).” In Brahms Studies. Vol. 1. Edited by David Brodbeck, 1–29. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994.

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                    Brahms’s collection of wise and witty German proverbs dates from 1855 and is suggestive of his own attitudes toward life.

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                    • Geiringer, Karl. “Brahms the Reader of Literature, History, and Philosophy.” In On Brahms and His Circle: Essays and Documentary Studies. By Karl Geiringer. Edited by George S. Bozarth, 31–46. Sterling Heights, MI: Harmonie Park, 2006.

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                      Geiringer poured through the books preserved from Brahms’s library and presents a sampling of the numerous passages marked by the composer. Geiringer’s categories are “The Man of Action—The Lonely Man—The Despiser of the World,” “The Confirmed Bachelor,” “Practical Wisdom,” “Observations on Art,” “Ancient Greece,” “Folk Humor,” and “The German.”

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                    • Krebs, Carl, ed. Brahms Notebooks: The Little Treasure Chest of the Young Kreisler. Translated by Agnes Eisenberger, annotated by Siegmund Levarie. Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon, 2003.

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                      Brahms’s collections of quotations from poets, philosophers, and artists, gathered together in the early 1850s (“Johannes Kreisler junior” was Brahms’s nom de plume at that time); original German texts, as published in Des jungen Kreislers Schatzkästlein, edited by Carl Krebs (Berlin: Deutschen Brahmsgtesellschaft, 1909), reprinted, with translations on facing pages.

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                    Biographies

                    Most of the biographies of Brahms are divided into information on his life and descriptions of his music. The researcher would do best to start with more recent biographies and follow his or her areas of interest into the other biographical studies.

                    Early Biographies

                    The first generation of biographies (including Kalbeck 1976 and May 1981) were written by members of Brahms’s circle who had a sense of the man and his music from personal experience and communication with his friends and colleagues. Their comprehensive nature, while laying the ground for all future work, also tended to intimidate other authors.

                    • Kalbeck, Max. Johannes Brahms. 4 vols. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1976.

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                      This monumental life-and-works biography, written by a younger member of Brahms’s circle, provides the starting point for all subsequent work. A music critic squarely in the Brahms camp, Kalbeck prepared his laudatory biography from a wide range of correspondence and documentary sources, contemporary criticism, and recollections of those who knew Brahms. Kross 1997 and others find much to criticize in Kalbeck’s work. Originally published 1912–1921 (Berlin: Deutsche Brahms-Gesellschaft).

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                      • May, Florence. The Life of Johannes Brahms. 2 vols. Neptune City, NJ: Paganiniana, 1981.

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                        An English pianist who studied with Clara Schumann, May begins with her personal recollections of Brahms. Her extensive biography draws upon information from members of the Brahms circle, contemporary documents, and reviews of his performances and compositions. Originally published 1905 (London: William Reeves).

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                        Second Generation of Biographies

                        The years leading up to the Brahms Centenary in 1933 saw the publication of a quartet of biographies (Ehrmann 1974, Geiringer 1982, Niemann 1969, Schauffler 1972). These biographies drew upon sources not consulted by Kalbeck 1976 and May 1981 (see Early Biographies) but were still rooted in those two earlier works.

                        • Ehrmann, Alfred von. Johannes Brahms: Weg, Werk und Welt. Walluf-Nendeln, Germany: Sändig-Reprint, 1974.

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                          Rich in new material, Ehrmann’s biography, together with Geiringer 1933, began to move beyond Kalbeck’s monumental work. Originally published 1933 (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel).

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                        • Geiringer, Karl, with Irene Geiringer. Brahms: His Life and Work. New York: Da Capo, 1982.

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                          The classic English-language “life and works,” this biography was the first to draw upon the large number of letters to Brahms under seal at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna, for thirty years after the composer’s death. The biographical section was written mostly by Irene Geiringer, the section on the music by Karl Geiringer. Originally published 1933 and revised 1947.

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                        • Niemann, Walter. Brahms. New York: Cooper Square, 1969.

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                          Drawing heavily on Kalbeck 1976, Niemann emphasizes the roots of his fellow North German, viewing Brahms as a Nordic composer in the tradition of the writers Friedrich Hebbel and Theodor Storm. Originally published 1920 (Berlin: Schuster & Loeffler); revised 1933 (Berlin: Max Hesses Verlag), translated by Catherine Alison Phillips in 1929 (New York: Knopf).

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                          • Schauffler, Robert Haven. The Unknown Brahms. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1972.

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                            Reader beware! Although Schauffler was able to interview many members of the Brahms circle, the questions he asked were mainly about Brahms’s personality and not about his music and musical thinking. One laments the opportunities lost. Schauffler’s interpretations of the information he gathered, especially his amateurish forays into psychoanalysis, are not always to be trusted. Originally published 1933 (New York: Dodd, Mead).

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                            Recent Biographies

                            The last forty years of the 20th century saw a proliferation of biographical accounts, the most important of which were Gál 1975, Kross 1997, MacDonald 1990, Swafford 1997, and Musgrave 2000. Hofmann and Hofmann 1983 provides quick access to chronological information. Kross 1997 acts as a corrective on Kalbeck 1976.

                            • Gál, Hans. Johannes Brahms: His Work and Personality. London: Severn House, 1975.

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                              A series of essays by one of the editors of the Johannes Brahms sämtliche Werke, drawing upon the recollections of his coeditor, Eusebius Mandyczewski, and offering assessments of Brahms’s personality and views on various topics, including the manner in which he composed (with a focus on the two versions of Op. 8) and his interest in early music. Originally published as Johannes Brahms: Werk und Persönlichkeit (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1961).

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                            • Hofmann, Renate, and Kurt Hofmann. Johannes Brahms: Zeittafel zu Leben und Werk. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1983.

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                              A very useful timeline of the events in Brahms’s life and his compositional activity, though now somewhat outdated.

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                            • Kross, Siegfried. Johannes Brahms: Versuch einer kritischen Dokumentar–Biographie. 2 vols. Bonn, Germany: Bouvier, 1997.

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                              This thoroughgoing critique of Kalbeck 1976 represents the culmination of the Brahms research of this eminent German scholar, while it draws together the threads of the recent work of others. Although Kross offers observations about the music, he generally maintains a biographical focus.

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                              • MacDonald, Malcolm. Brahms. Master Musicians. New York: Schirmer, 1990.

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                                Published in a series of biographies intended for the more general reader, MacDonald’s excellent life-and-works account should be studied by specialists as well. Informed by the latest Brahms research (c. 1990) and written in an engaging style, this book deserves to be read and enjoyed by all those interested in Brahms.

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                              • Musgrave, Michael. A Brahms Reader. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.

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                                A biographical account of Brahms the man, composer, performer, music scholar, student of the arts, friend, and traveler, closing with discussions of the critical reception of his music during his lifetime and since, and an evaluation of his accomplishments.

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                              • Swafford, Jan. Johannes Brahms: A Biography. New York: Knopf, 1997.

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                                A well-written but controversial biography that attempts new interpretations of Brahms, but without always engaging the latest research. Since its publication, Swafford has defended his positions in published exchanges with other scholars.

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                              Iconographies

                              Hundreds of contemporary images—drawings, etchings, paintings, sculpture, medals, and photographs—document Brahms’s appearance and the events of his life from his teenage years to his deathbed. To the first two Bilderbücher of Fellinger 1911 and Miller zu Aichholz 1905 have been added many more images by other photographers and artists, as well as pictures of the places where Brahms lived and performed, and of his circle of friends, as well as concert programs, music manuscripts, and other documents of his life and work. Two of the more impressive iconographic publications of recent years are Boeck 1998 and Jacobsen 1983.

                              • Boeck, Dieter. Johannes Brahms: Lebensbericht mit Bildern und Dokumenten. Kassel, Germany: Georg Wenderoth, 1998.

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                                A beautifully produced and extensive selection of pictures of Brahms, his manuscripts and concert programs, his friends, and the locations where he lived and which he visited, woven into an account of his life.

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                              • Fellinger, Maria. Brahms-Bilder. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1911.

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                                Candid photographs taken by the artist Maria Fellinger, whose family were intimate friends of Brahms. Originally published in 1900. Photographs reproduced in Imogen Fellinger’s edition of Richard Fellinger’s Klänge um Brahms: Erinnerungen (Mürzzuschlag, Austria: Österreichische Johannes Brahms-Gesellschaft, 1997), together with a new edition of Richard Fellinger’s 1933 memoirs of Brahms.

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                                • Jacobsen, Christiane, ed. Johannes Brahms: Leben und Werk. Wiesbaden, Germany: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1983.

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                                  The illustrations and essays in this volume were originally published in the booklets that accompanied the recordings Brahms-Edition issued by Deutsche Grammophone in 1983.

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                                • Miller zu Aichholz, Viktor von, ed. Ein Brahms-Bilderbuch. Vienna: R. Lechner (Wilh. Müller) k. u. k. Hof- und Universitäts-Buchhandlung, 1905.

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                                  An elegant art nouveau picture book of photographs and facsimiles of letters and music manuscripts owned by the industrialist and banker Viktor von Miller zu Aichholz, who established a Brahms Museum in Gmunden, Austria, in 1900 to display his collection. Many of the candid photographs were taken by his son Eugen.

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                                  Collections of Studies

                                  Since the Brahms Sesquicentenary in 1983, much of the most important new Brahms research has been published in the proceedings of a number of scholarly conferences and other multiple-author works covering a wide range of topics, including the life, music, political and social context, editorial issues, and performance practices. The aspiring Brahms scholar would do well to become thoroughly familiar with their contents, which can only be summarized here.

                                  Conference Reports

                                  Antonicek and Biba 1988; Bozarth 1990; Fuchs 2001; and Krummacher, et al. 1999 reveal the wide range of approaches to Brahms research that have been taken by scholars in North America, England, Austria, and Germany. Most of the studies in conference reports are short, reflecting the time constraints of their original presentation. As such, they usually make and support just a few points, usually bringing forth the scholar’s most recent research. Bozarth 1990 allows its authors to expand their papers into fuller studies.

                                  • Antonicek, Susanne, and Otto Biba, eds. Brahms-Kongress Wien 1983. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1988.

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                                    The conference papers of thirty-four scholars from Austria, Canada, England, Germany, and the United States, which not only illuminate facets of a wide variety of topics but also demonstrate clearly the nature of Brahms research internationally on the occasion of the sesquicentenary of his birth.

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                                    • Bozarth, George S., ed. Brahms Studies: Analytical and Historical Perspectives; Papers delivered at the International Brahms Conference, Washington, DC, 5–8 May 1983. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.

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                                      Twenty-one papers by eminent American, Canadian, English, and German scholars organized in six groups: “Brahms and Musical Tradition”; “Brahms the Progressive”; “Performance Practice”; “Brahms as Editor”; “Brahms as Song Composer”; and “Brahms’s Symphonic Music”, with a keynote address by Karl Geiringer on “Brahms the Ambivalent.”

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                                    • Fuchs, Ingrid, ed. Internationaler Brahms-Kongress Gmunden 1997: Kongressbericht. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2001.

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                                      Thirty-two papers and a roundtable on Brahms’s creative process, the reception of his music in non-German lands, aspects of his biography, and current problems needing research (biography, bibliography, editorial issues) that reveal the state of Brahms research in Europe on the occasion of the centenary of Brahms’s death.

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                                    • Krummacher, Friedhelm, Michael Struck, Constantin Floros, and Peter Petersen, eds. Quellen—Text—Rezeption—Interpretation: Internationaler Brahms-Kongreß, Hamburg 1997. Munich: G. Henle, 1999.

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                                      As its title indicates, many of the thirty papers in this volume deal with primary sources (including editorial issues), the reception of Brahms’s music, and nature of the music (with groups of papers on the symphonic, chamber, piano, and symphonic choral music, and on art song).

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                                    Other Multiauthor Works

                                    The chapters in multiauthor volumes give scholars an opportunity to develop fully their innovative research and demonstrate the cutting edge of scholarship at the time of publication. The articles contributed by American, English, and German scholars to Pascal 1983 were written on the occasion of the Brahms sesquicentenary. Musgrave 1987 is a collection of papers first delivered at the London Brahms Conference, held at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, in 1983. Frisch and Karnes 2009 is a greatly expanded and revised version of a book first produced in conjunction with a music festival at Bard College. Brodbeck 1994–2001 was published under the auspices of the American Brahms Society.

                                    • Brahms-Studien. 15 vols. Hamburg, Germany: Karl Dieter Wagner, 1974–2008.

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                                      Brief studies, nearly all documentary and/or biographical in nature, on a wide range of topics, issued by the International Johannes Brahms-Gesellschaft in Hamburg.

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                                      • Brodbeck, David, ed. Brahms Studies. 3 vols. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994–2001.

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                                        Articles on Brahms’s collection of German proverbs, his counterpoint exchange with Joachim, his reception of Mozart’s music, and analytical studies of Opp. 15, 99, and 119/2; editing Brahms’s music, Wolf and the reception of Brahms’s songs, the “echt symphonisch” in Brahms’s symphonies, and studies of Opp. 29/1, 50, 98, and 120/1; excerpts from Kalbeck’s diary of 1897, utopian agendas in the symphonies, metrical displacement, nostalgia and critique in Weimar-era reception, and studies of Opp. 21/2 and 53.

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                                        • Floros, Constantin, Hans Joachim Marx, and Peter Petersen, eds. Brahms und seine Zeit: Symposion Hamburg 1983. Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 7. Laaber, Germany: Laaber-Verlag, 1984.

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                                          Many of the papers consider Brahms in relationship to other composers (Beethoven, Dvorak, contemporary Kleinmeistern, Liszt, Mahler, Mendelssohn, the New German School, Reger, and Wagner) and certain locales (Hamburg, Vienna).

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                                        • Frisch, Walter, and Kevin C. Karnes, eds. Brahms and His World. 2d rev. and enlarged ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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                                          Drawing on papers presented at the Bard College Brahms Festival in 1990, this newly revised and enlarged book contains nine biographical and cultural historical essays; English translations of reviews by Hanslick, Kalbeck, Kretzschmar, Schubring, Schenker, and American critics; memoirs by Hanslick, Heuberger, Jenner, von Beckerath, Weigl and Zemlinsky; and a list of works dedicated to Brahms.

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                                        • Musgrave, Michael, ed. Brahms 2: Biographical, Documentary and Analytical Studies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

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                                          Articles on Brahms and England, repertoire performed 1890–1902, Brahms’s estate, editorials problems in the posthumous works, links to German Renaissance music, the Missa Canonica and Op. 74/1, Brahms’s progressive harmony, the original introduction to Op. 98, Brahms’s outlook on music late in life, and the string quartets, Op. 51/1, 2.

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                                        • Pascall, Robert. Brahms: Biographical, Documentary and Analytical Studies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

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                                          Articles on Brahms’s cultural world, interest in early choral music, view of Mozart, symphonic compositions, and editorial issues, and studies of Opp. 58/7, 81, 98, 116, and 121.

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                                        The Life

                                        Documentation for Brahms’s life is massive, but at the same time has important gaps. For example, two volumes of correspondence between Brahms and Clara Schumann (Litzmann 1927, cited under Complete Correspondence) provide a rich mine of information about their relationship, but both parties also destroyed many of their letters. In addition to Brahms’s correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues, the sources of biographical information include memoirs, Brahms’s pocket calendar books and other autograph documents, concert programs, annotated books and music in his library, and reviews of his performances and compositions.

                                        Memoirs

                                        Memoirs by members of Brahms’s circle document the everyday aspects of Brahms’s life as well as the milestones, and offer an intimate perspective on the man and his work. After Brahms’s death, a large number of memoirs, large and small, were published. The most informative are the recollections by Brahms’s musical colleagues George Henschel, Albert Dietrich, Richard Heuberger, Gustav Jenner, and Ethel Smyth (see Bozarth 2008, Dietrich 1899, Frisch and Karnes 2009, Hofmann 1971, Jenner 1905, Smyth 1946, respectively), the Swiss writer Josef Viktor Widmann (see Widmann 1899), and one of Clara Schumann’s daughters (see Schumann 1927), each of whom had an opportunity to view Brahms in a different context.

                                        • Bozarth, George S., ed. Johannes Brahms and George Henschel: An Enduring Friendship. Sterling Heights, MI: Harmonie Park, 2008.

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                                          The singer, pianist, composer, and conductor Henschel met Brahms in 1874, performed and vacationed with him, and drew upon his experience for advice when he became conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Concerts. Contains an expanded version of Henschel’s Personal Recollections of Johannes Brahms (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1907) with extensive commentary, as well as their complete extant correspondence and a CD of Henschel singing.

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                                        • Dietrich, Albert. Recollections of Johannes Brahms. Translated by Dora E. Heckt. London: Seeley, 1899.

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                                          The letters and reminiscences of the composer and conductor Albert Dietrich, who knew Brahms from 1853, are a valuable source of information on Brahms’s early years. The volume also includes letters to Dietrich from members of Brahms’s circle. Originally published as Erinnerungen an Johannes Brahms in Briefe besonders aus seiner Jugendzeit (Leipzig: Otto Wigand, 1898).

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                                          • Hofmann, Kurt, ed. Richard Heuberger. Erinnerungen an Johannes Brahms. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1971.

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                                            Composer, conductor, and music critic Richard Heuberger, an intimate friend of Brahms in the 1880s and 1890s, based his memoir on Brahms’s statements, which Heuberger wrote in a diary. Also includes Heuberger’s essays, “Johannes Brahms as Pianist” and “Johannes Brahms bei Landpartien,” and diary entries on Brahms not in the memoir.

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                                            • Jenner, Gustav. Johannes Brahms als Mensch, Lehrer und Künstler. Marburg, Germany: N. G. Elwert, 1905.

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                                              The North German composer and conductor Gustav Jenner, who met frequently with Brahms in the 1890s to receive advice on his compositions, provides an account of these sessions, offering important insights into Brahms’s views on composition. Selected passages, translated by Susan Gillespie, appear in Frisch and Karnes 2009, pp. 185–204.

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                                              • Frisch, Walter, and Kevin C. Karnes, eds. Brahms and His World. 2d rev. and enlarged ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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                                                Excerpts in English translation of memoirs by Hanslick, Heuberger, Jenner, von Beckerath, Weigl, and Zemlinsky.

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                                              • Schumann, Eugenie. The Schumanns and Johannes Brahms: The Memoirs of Eugenie Schumann. Translated by Marie Busch. New York: Lincoln MacVeagh, 1927.

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                                                The Schumanns’ youngest daughter recollects her piano lessons with Brahms, his manner of playing, and his relationship with her mother and siblings. Originally published as Erinnerungen (Stuttgart: J. Engelhorns Nachfolger, 1925).

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                                                • Smyth, Ethel. Impressions That Remained. New York: Knopf, 1946.

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                                                  English composer and feminist Smyth knew Brahms in 1878–1887, when he visited Leipzig, where she studied with Heinrich von Herzogenberg. Although she greatly admired Brahms’s music and felt he had “a heart of gold,” she criticized his condescending attitude toward women, especially those with artistic inclinations (other than Clara Schumann and Elizabeth von Herzogenberg). Originally published 1919 (London: Longmans, Green).

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                                                  • Widmann, Josef Viktor. Recollections of Johannes Brahms by Albert Dietrich and J. V. Widmann. Translated by Dora Hecht. London: Seeley, 1899.

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                                                    Writer Josef Viktor Widmann became Brahms’s friend in 1874 and was a traveling companion on three trips to Italy. Their relationship was seriously strained when Widmann criticized young Emperor Wilhelm II for militant remarks concerning Alsace and Lorraine. Brahms admired Widmann the man and the journalist, feelings Widmann reciprocated in full for Brahms and his music. Originally published as Johannes Brahms in Erinnerungen (Berlin: Paetel, 1898).

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                                                    Early Years in Hamburg

                                                    Evidence about Brahms’s earlier years in his native city of Hamburg is limited, and most biographers have perpetuated the information presented by Kalbeck 1976 (cited under Early Biographies). Hofmann 2003 is the exception.

                                                    • Hofmann, Kurt. “Sehnsucht habe ich immer nach Hamburg . . .”: Johannes Brahms und seine Vaterstadt. Hamburg, Germany: Dialog-Verlag, 2003.

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                                                      A compendium of Hofmann’s earlier writings, updated; especially notable for its revisionist thought on Brahms’s youthful years in Hamburg, including the legend of his having played piano in houses of ill repute; contains a timeline of his years in and subsequent visits to Hamburg.

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                                                    Vienna

                                                    Brahms first came to Vienna in 1862 and, after living there on and off for a decade, settled there permanently in 1871. All of the biographies deal extensively with these years. Biba 1983 supplements this information with visual material from the archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.

                                                    • Biba, Otto. Johannes Brahms in Wien. Vienna: Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, 1983.

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                                                      A catalogue of an exhibition held at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, 19 April–30 June 1983, richly illustrated with photographs of Brahms and his circle of friends in Vienna; facsimiles of his manuscripts, early editions, and concert programs; and pictures of the places in Vienna where he lived and worked.

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                                                      Other Cities

                                                      Each summer Brahms sought out a quiet resort where he could work on his latest compositions. These small locations included Mürzzuschlag, the Island of Rügen, Tützing, and Wiesbaden. For five summers he stayed in Lichtenthal near Baden-Baden (see Draheim and Reimann 1997), where he could be near Clara Schumann and her family.

                                                      • Draheim, Joachim, and Ute Reimann, eds. Johannes Brahms in den Bädern Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, Bad Ischl, Karlsbad. Baden-Baden, Germany: Stadt Baden-Baden, 1997.

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                                                        An exhibition catalogue rich in visual resources and containing essays on Brahms’s compositionally productive stays in each of these resorts.

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                                                        Politics and Religion

                                                        Politically, Brahms was a liberal and a German nationalist strongly loyal to Imperial Germany (see Notley 2007). Although not a religious man, he knew his Lutheran bible well, and set many of its texts to music (see Beller-McKenna 2004).

                                                        • Beller-McKenna, Daniel. Brahms and the German Spirit. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

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                                                          Beller-McKenna seeks German nationalist elements in Brahms’s music through considerations of his interest in Lutheranism and the Lutheran Bible and folk elements in old German church music, his national pride expressed in the Triumphlied and other works, and his ideas on German nation-building. Discussions of rumors that Brahms was Jewish and Nazi’s views of Brahms round out this provocative book.

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                                                        • Notley, Margaret. Lateness and Brahms: Music and Culture in the Twilight of Viennese Liberalism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                                          In this important study, Notley intertwines analytical reconsideration of Brahms’s late chamber music with thoughts about the political, social, and cultural milieu of late-19th-century Vienna, yielding a rich tapestry that prompts one to view Brahms as less apolitical than previously thought and to hear his music within a rich context.

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                                                        Interest in Early Music and Historical Research

                                                        Brahms was fascinated by music of the late Renaissance and Baroque. As demonstrated by the studies in Sandberger and Wiesenfeldt 2007, Brahms took great interest in the work of scholars and editors studying this earlier repertoire. As described in Hancock 1983, he subscribed to and took an active interest in the complete editions of Bach and Schütz, copied a large number of unpublished works, performed early music with his choirs, and found inspiration and guidance in it for his own compositional work. Thalmann 1989 offers an alternative explanation for the musical archaisms in the early works.

                                                        • Hancock, Virginia. Brahms’s Choral Compositions and His Library of Early Music. Studies in Musicology 76. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1983.

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                                                          Hancock’s important study documents all of the manuscripts and printed editions of Renaissance and Baroque music, discusses Brahms’s annotations in these sources, and considers the influence that the techniques found in this music had on Brahms’s own choral compositions.

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                                                        • Sandberger, Wolfgang, and Christiane Wiesenfeldt, eds. Musik und Musikforschung: Johannes Brahms im Dialog mit der Geschichte. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 2007

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                                                          A dozen studies of Brahms’s relationship to the research of such scholars as Friedrich Chrysander (on Handel), Eusebius Mandyczewski (at the Archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde), Gustav Nottebohm (on Beethoven), and Philipp Spitta (on Bach), and on editorial work he undertook himself on music of a number of his predecessors.

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                                                        • Thalmann, Joachim. Untersuchungen zum Frühwerk von Johannes Brahms: Harmonische Archaismen und die Bedingungen ihrer Entstehung. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1989.

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                                                          Thalmann’s study of the music available to Brahms during his early years in Hamburg suggests that the archaisms found in his early music are derived from Nordic folk music, rather than Renaissance music.

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                                                        The Music

                                                        Brahms composed in every current genre except opera. He wrote songs, duets, and vocal quartets; secular and sacred choral works; character pieces, dances, variation sets, and sonatas for solo and duo piano; organ music in neo-Baroque style; chamber music for two to six instruments, with and without piano; concertos for piano, violin, and violin/cello; and orchestral serenades, overtures, and symphonies.

                                                        Collected Works and Other Critical Editions

                                                        For thirty years after Brahms’s death, the rights to publishing his works remained with N. Simrock (Berlin) and a handful of other publishers. As this period came to a close, amidst dire financial times in Germany, Breitkopf & Härtel (Leipzig) determined to bring out a collected works in the tradition of collected editions for Mozart, Beethoven, and others that they had already published, which led to the publication of Johannes Brahms sämtliche Werke. The general editorship was entrusted to Eusebius Mandyczewski, archivist of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and a personal friend of Brahms. Critiques of this edition have been published by George S. Bozarth (see Brodbeck 1994–2001, cited under Other Multiauthor Works), Camilla Cai (Cai 1989) Robert Pascall (Pascall 1983, cited under Other Multiauthor Works), and Michael Struck (Krummacher, et al. 1999, cited under Conference Reports). This edition was based on the assumption that the readings found in the copies of the first editions that Brahms owned and annotated (the Handexemplare), preserved in the Brahms estate in the archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, represented Brahms’s final wishes. Yet no evidence exists that Brahms systematically scrutinized all of the editions sent to him by his publishers, or that he intended all the alternative ideas he jotted down in his editions to be applied in print. The editors gave little weight to readings in other primary sources, and neglected to consult autograph manuscripts and other sources readily available to them. The elderly Mandyczewski, in failing health, was assisted in this enterprise by the young composer Hans Gàl, who shouldered the lion’s share of the editorial work. G. Henle Verlag, Munich, and Wiener Urtext have published critical editions of the chamber, piano, and organ music that are in use worldwide. In 1980 discussions began that eventually led to the launching of a new collected edition now being published by G. Henle Verlag (Johannes Brahms, Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke).

                                                        • Johannes Brahms sämtliche Werke. 26 vols. Edited by Hans Gàl and Eusebius Mandyczewski. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1926–1928.

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                                                          Based for the most part only on first editions, this edition is only generally reliable and is being superseded by Johannes Brahms, Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke. Reprinted 1949 (Ann Arbor, MI: J. W. Edwards) and 1964 (Wiesbaden, Germany: Breitkopf & Härtel). Also, Vols. 1–3, 5–10, 13–15, 17, 19, 20 (partial), and 23–26 have been reprinted by Dover Publications.

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                                                          • Johannes Brahms, Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 1996–.

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                                                            For each volume in this critical edition, all extant primary sources, correspondence, and other documents are being consulted to reconstruct the compositional history of the work and enumerate its corrections and variants, all of which is described in the extensive critical notes published in each volume.

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                                                            • Cai, Camilla. “Was Brahms a Reliable Editor? Editorial Changes Made in Opuses 116, 117, 118, and 119.” Acta Musicologica 61.1 (January–April 1989): 83–101.

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                                                              Based on a close study of the primary sources, Cai assesses the quality of Brahms’s editorial scrutiny of his final four collections of works for solo piano.

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                                                              Primary Sources

                                                              When Brahms died, he left the autograph and other manuscripts and the first and other early editions of his own works, his collection of the autographs and early editions of other composers’s works, and the library of books on music and other subjects then in his possession to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna. But during his life he had given many of his manuscripts to friends and colleagues, members of his circle had made copies of his works from his manuscripts, and his publisher retained the autographs or copyists’ manuscripts that Brahms had sent them (the Stichvorlagen). McCorkle 1984 documented the locations of the Brahms manuscripts, but many have changed hands since then. The major collections of primary sources, in addition to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna, are the Library of Congress, Washington, DC (including the Stonborough Collection), Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (including the Robert Owen Lehman Collection), the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg (including many of the Stichvorlagen), and the Wiener Stadts- und Landesbibliothek, Vienna (which owns Brahms’s diaries, catalogues of his works and library, and other important documentary sources.

                                                              • McCorkle, Margit L. Johannes Brahms Thematisch-Bibliographisches Werkverzeichnis. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 1984.

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                                                                Comprehensive catalogue of the works, with titles, incipits, information on the origins, first known performances, autograph and copyists’ manuscripts, corrected proofs, early editions, and arrangements by Brahms. Also documents Brahms’s arrangements of the music of other composers, copies of folk music and works by his predecessors and contemporaries, lost compositions and arrangements, works of doubtful authenticity, and manuscript materials for Brahms’s performances. Since 1984, additional primary sources have been discovered and many manuscripts have changed owners.

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                                                              Facsimile Editions

                                                              The study of facsimiles of composers’ autograph manuscripts allows one to see “in the visual ductus of the autograph writing itself, something of the character of the actual music” (Brahms 1983). Facsimiles of all of Brahms’s first editions are available online through the Brahms-Institut. Cited here are full facsimile editions of Brahms’s autographs of selected orchestral works (Brahms 1979, Brahms 1983, Brahms 1967, Brahms 1974), chamber works (Brahms 1983), keyboard works (Brahms 1967, Brahms 1983, Stockmann 1997, Wetzstein 1986), choral works (Frisch 1983), and songs (Brahms 1923).

                                                              • Brahms-Institut.

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                                                                Digital images of first editions for all of Brahms’s published works.

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                                                                • Brahms, Johannes. Brahms, Vier ernste Gesänge. Munich: Drei Masken Verlag, 1923.

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                                                                  Brahms’s last complete composition, which was published posthumously as Op. 121. Current location of the original manuscript is Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna.

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                                                                  • Brahms, Johannes. Concerto for Violin, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms: Facsimile of the Holograph Score. Introduction by Yehudi Menuhin, Foreword by Jon Newsom. Washington: Library of Congress, 1979.

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                                                                    Full-color, but with serious printing and other problems discussed by Linda Correll Roesner in Current Musicology 30 (1980): 60–72. Current location of the original manuscript is at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

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                                                                  • Brahms, Johannes. Johannes Brahms, 4: Symphonie in E-moll Op. 98. Adliswil-Zurich: Edition Eulenburg, 1974.

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                                                                    Full-color; corrections include the deletion of the original four-bar introduction to the first movement. Introduction by Günter Birkner. Current location of the original manuscript is Allgemeine Musikfesellschaft, Zurich.

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                                                                    • Brahms, Johannes. Johannes Brahms Autographs: Facsimiles of Eight Manuscripts in the Library of Congress. Introduction by James Webster. Note about the manuscripts by George S. Bozarth. New York and London, Garland, 1983.

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                                                                      Black-and-white facsimiles of the String Sextet, Op. 18, the Piano Quintet, Op. 34, the Waltzes, Op. 39 (original and simplified), the Horn Trio, Op. 40, the Piano Trio, Op. 87, and the Intermezzi, Opp. 118/1 and 119/10. Webster’s essay provides an excellent introduction to the use by facsimile editions by scholars and performers. Current location of the original manuscript is at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

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                                                                      • Brahms, Johannes. Johannes Brahms Opus 24, Opus 23, Opus 18, Opus 90. New York: Robert Owen Lehman Foundation, 1967.

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                                                                        Sepia facsimiles of the Brahms’s two-hand arrangement of the second movement of the String Sextet, Op. 18, the Schumann and Handel Variations, Opp. 23 and 24, and Symphony No. 3, Op. 90. Current location of the original manuscript is at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

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                                                                        • Frisch, Walter, ed. Johannes Brahms: Alto Rhapsody, Opus 53, for Contralto, Men’s Chorus, and Orchestra. New York: New York Public Library, 1983.

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                                                                          Full-color facsimile of the full autograph and the sketches, with excellent commentary on the history of this unusual composition. Current location of the original manuscript is at the New York Public Library, New York.

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                                                                        • Stockmann, Bernhard, ed. Johannes Brahms, Fantasien für Klavier Opus 116. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 1997.

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                                                                          Full-color; commentary in German and English. Current location of the original manuscript is at Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Hamburg.

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                                                                          • Wetzstein, Margot, ed. Johannes Brahms, Scherzo es-Moll op. 4. Hamburg, Germany: J. Schuberth, 1986.

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                                                                            Full-color facsimile showing the handwriting of the eighteen-year-old Brahms. Current location of the original manuscript is Staatsarchiv, Leipzig.

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                                                                            Critical Reception

                                                                            Brahms has long been a favorite of music critics (both pro and con) and music analysts. Although his music initially was considered quite radical by many, as critics and the public came to understand his language, he came to be considered the preeminent exponent of traditional genres such as symphony, chamber music, and piano sonata and variations, and found himself being cast as a conservative voice, in contrast to the progressives of the New German school, including Liszt, Wagner, and Wolf. In a landmark essay for the Brahms Centenary, Schoenberg sought to redress this situation (See entries under Schenker and Schoenberg).

                                                                            Early Reviews

                                                                            The critical tradition extends back to Schumann’s famous essay Neue Bahnen (Schumann 1853) and was enriched in the 19th century by Schubring (Schubring 1862), Hanslick (Hanslick 1971), Kretzschmar (Kretzschmar 1887–1890), Schenker (Federhofer 1990, Wolf (Butka and Werner 1911), and others.

                                                                            • Butka, Richard, and Heinrich Werner, eds. Hugo Wolfs musikalische Kritiken. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1911.

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                                                                              The composer Hugo Wolf, dedicated Wagnerian and admirer of Bruckner, was also a music critic who published abusive assessments of Brahms’s music in the Wiener Salonblatt in the mid-1880s that demonstrate the intensity of the music polemics of the time. Brahms took these remarks with good humor, and he admired certain of Wolf’s songs.

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                                                                              • Federhofer, Hellmut, ed. Heinrich Schenker als Essayist und Kritiker: Gesammelte Aufsätze, Rezensionen und kleinere Berichte aus den Jahren 1891–1901. Studien und Materialien zur Musikwissenschaft 5. Hildesheim, Germany, and New York: Olms, 1990.

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                                                                                Schenker considered Brahms “the last great master of German music.” Contains Schenker’s early essays on Brahms and his music (Opp. 104, 107, 116), and two obituaries (review of Op. 104 translated in Frisch and Karnes 2009, cited under Other Multiauthor Works; reviews of Opp. 104 and 107 discussed in Karnes 2008, cited under Commentaries on Early Reviews). Schenker later wrote one extended analysis with graph (“Brahms: Variationen und Fuge über ein Thema von Händel, op. 24.” Der Tonwille 4.2–3 [April–September 1924]: 3–46) and a brief memoir of Brahms (“Erinnerungen an Brahms.” Deutsche Zeitschrift 46/8 [May 1933]: 475–482).

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                                                                                • Hanslick, Eduard. The Collected Musical Criticism of Eduard Hanslick. 12 vols. Farnborough, UK: Gregg, 1971.

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                                                                                  Reviews of Brahms’s instrumental and vocal music by Vienna’s foremost music critic and the author of the classic aesthetic treatise Vom Musikalische-Schönen (On the Beautiful in Music, 1854). Quality of performance and the nature of the music are considered. Works discussed include Opp. 5, 8, 15, 45, 50–56, 62, 67–68, 73, 74/1, 78, 80–83, 88–90, 98–100, 102–108, and 114–121, and individual songs.

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                                                                                  • Kretzschmar, Hermann. Führer duch den Concertsaal. 2 vols. in 3 books. Leipzig: A. G. Liebeskind, 1887–1890.

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                                                                                    Accounts of Brahms’s symphonic works, choral music, and songs intended to introduce general readers to the character of the works and provide them with the themes of the instrumental pieces. As such, they offer an idea of the level of music literacy of Brahms’s audiences.

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                                                                                    • Schubring, Adolf. “Schumanniana Nr. 8: Die Schumann’sche Schule: IV. Johannes Brahms.” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 56 (1862): 93–96, 101–104, 109–112, 117–119, 125–128.

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                                                                                      One of the earliest substantive reviews of Brahms’s first eighteen opuses, with a special emphasis on motivic construction. Portion translated into English by Frisch. In subsequent installments Schubring analyzed the Schumann Variations, Op. 23, suggesting programmatic content in a manner censured by Brahms (“Schumanniana Nr. 11,” 1868), and the German Requiem, Op. 45 (“Schumanniana Nr. 12,” 1869). See also Frisch 1984.

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                                                                                      • Schumann, Robert. “Neue Bahnen.” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 39 (October 1853): 185–186.

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                                                                                        Schumann’s laudatory review of the earliest compositions, which hailed the twenty-year-old Brahms as “an individual fated to give expression to the times in the highest and most ideal manner,” not only launched his career, but also set a standard so high that it nearly paralyzed the young composer. Brahms fulfilled Schumann’s prophecy in the German Requiem, premiered more than a dozen years later. Reprinted in Robert Schumann: Gesammelte Schriften, edited by Martin Kreisig (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1914), Vol. 2, pp. 301–302; repr. 1969 (Wiesbaden, Germany: Breitkopf & Härtel). Translated by Paul Rosenfeld in Robert Schumann: On Music and Musicians, edited by Konrad Wolff (New York, Toronto, and London: McGraw-Hill, 1964), pp. 253–254.

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                                                                                        Commentaries on Early Reviews

                                                                                        Frisch 1984 and Horstmann 1984 consider the reactions of the earliest reviewers of Brahms’s music, while Horstmann 1986, Karnes 2008, and McColl 1996 focus on critical reaction to Brahms’s mature works.

                                                                                        • Frisch, Walter. “Brahms and Schubring: Musical Criticism and Politics at Mid-Century.” 19th-Century Music 7.3 (3 April 1984): 271–281.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1984.7.3.02a00090Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          A summary and discussion of Schubring 1862, including its position within the music-critical atmosphere of the time and Brahms’s reactions to Schubring’s approach to his music.

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                                                                                          • Horstmann, Angelika. “Die Rezeption der Werke op. 1 bis 10 von Johannes Brahms zwischen 1853 und 1860.” In Brahms und seine Zeit: Symposion Hamburg 1983. Edited by Constantin Floros, Hans Joachim Marx, and Peter Petersen, 33–44. Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 7. Laaber, Germany: Laaber-Verlag, 1984.

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                                                                                            Horstmann examines the critical reception to Brahms’s first ten published works as revealed in contemporary newspapers and periodicals.

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                                                                                            • Horstmann, Angelika. Untersuchungen zur Brahms-Rezeption der Johre 1860 bis 1880. Schriftereihe zur Musik 24. Hamburg, Germany: Hans Dieter Wagner, 1986.

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                                                                                              Horstmann examines comprehensively the critical reception of Brahms’s Opp. 11–78 as revealed in contemporary newspapers and periodicals, viewing the reviews city by city, critic by critic.

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                                                                                              • Karnes, Kevin C. Music, Criticism, and the Challenge of History: Shaping Modern Musical Thought in Late Nineteenth-Century Vienna. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                Karnes’s study of the writings and cultural milieu of three founders of the field of historical musicology—Guido Adler, Eduard Hanslick, and Heinrich Schenker—views their work in relationship to the conflicting context of the progressivist ideologies of scientific positivism and the skeptical pronouncements of Nietzsche and Wagner. Hanslick was the foremost critic in support of Brahms’s music in Vienna, and Schenker penned reviews of Opp. 104 and 107.

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                                                                                              • McColl, Sandra. Music Criticism in Vienna, 1896–1897: Critically Moving Forms. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

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                                                                                                Although the portion of this book dedicated to Brahms is small, it should be read as an excellent introduction to the music critics of Vienna and the issues they debated in the mid-1890s.

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                                                                                                Concert Programming and Audience Reaction

                                                                                                The nature of programming of Brahms’s music (see Kross 1987) and the reactions of audiences have in recent years become a topic for study for Brahms, as for other composers.

                                                                                                • Kross, Siegfried. “The Establishment of a Brahms Repertoire 1890–1902.” In Brahms 2: Biographical, Documentary and Analytical Studies. Edited by Michael Musgrave, 21–38. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

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                                                                                                  Drawing his statistics from the performances in Europe and the United States cited in the Musikalisches Wochenblatt, Kross shows the formation of a standard Brahms repertoire at the turn of the century that reflect the preferences of conductors and audiences.

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                                                                                                  Collective Assessments and Analyses

                                                                                                  Music analysts since the 1860s have never tired of probing into the deep musical and logical workings of Brahms’s compositions. The ambiguity that Brahms employed to knit together his musical thoughts and to extend but also subvert the long musical tradition to which he was a latecomer offers a seemingly endless terrain for musical study and appreciation. The following books each contain analytical assessments of a variety of works. The writings of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg on specific pieces are cited in Schenker and Schoenberg.

                                                                                                  Early Assessments for General Readers

                                                                                                  The short descriptions of Tovey 1935, Tovey 1937, Tovey 1939, and Tovey 1944 stem from program notes. Evans 1912–1938 was prepared as a reference work for the serious music lover.

                                                                                                  • Evans, Edwin. Historical, Descriptive, and Analytical Account of the Entire Works of Johannes Brahms. 4 vols. London: William Reeves, 1912–1938.

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                                                                                                    In four volumes devoted to the vocal, chamber, orchestral, and piano music, respectively, Evans offers to the general music lover rudimentary thematic, harmonic, and rhythmic analyses of each of Brahms’s published works.

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                                                                                                    • Tovey, Donald Francis. Essays in Musical Analysis. Vols. 1–3. London: Oxford University Press, 1935.

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                                                                                                      Brief but insightful essays on Opp. 11, 15, 16, 56a, 68, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 90, 98, and 102 that have served as a basis for further thought by other scholars.

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                                                                                                      • Tovey, Donald Francis. Essays in Musical Analysis. Vol. 5. London: Oxford University Press, 1937.

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                                                                                                        Brief but insightful essays on Opp. 45, 53, and 54 that have served as a basis for further thought by other scholars.

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                                                                                                        • Tovey, Donald Francis. Essays in Musical Analysis. Vol. 6. London: Oxford University Press, 1939.

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                                                                                                          Brief but insightful essay on Op. 81 that has served as a basis for further thought by other scholars.

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                                                                                                          • Tovey, Donald Francis. Essays in Musical Analysis. Supplementary Volume: Chamber Music. London: Oxford University Press, 1944.

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                                                                                                            Brief but insightful essays on Opp. 24–26, 35, and 60 that have served as a basis for further thought by other scholars.

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                                                                                                            Recent Assessments and Analyses

                                                                                                            In the last forty years, scholars of many different analytical persuasions have applied their methods to the music of Brahms, and some have allowed the music to spur them on to develop new methods (see Dahlhaus 1980, Frisch 1984, Korsyn 1991, Rosen 2000, Sisman 1990a and Sisman 1990b). Musgrave 1994, like Rosen 2000, links analysis to considerations of influence. Krummacher and Steinbeck 1984 reflects the nature of musical analysis in Germany in the early 1980s. Analyses of individual works can be found in the essays published in Collections of Studies and in all of the entries cited under Schenker and Schoenberg, Hermeneutic Studies, Compositional Process, Instrumental Music, and Vocal Music.

                                                                                                            • Dahlhaus, Carl. “Issues in Composition.” In Between Romanticism and Modernism: Four Studies in the Music of the Later Nineteenth Century. By Carl Dahlhaus. Translated by Mary Whittall, 40–78. California Studies in 19th-Century Music 1. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.

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                                                                                                              This seminal chapter finds commonality between Brahms and Wagner in the compositional issues they and other composers faced at the end of the common practice period, and perceptively considers their individual responses. The works Dahlhaus considers are Opp. 8, 15, 25, 79/2, and 90. Rosen 2000 takes issue with Dahlhaus’s analysis of Op. 79/2.

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                                                                                                              • Frisch, Walter. Brahms and the Principle of Developing Variation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

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                                                                                                                A valuable and accessible study of Brahms’s methods of working with musical materials that assesses key works from all genres. Documents the evolution of Brahms’s style, from Lisztian thematic transformation to ongoing experiments with “developing variation,” which Frisch links to meter, phrase structure, rhythm, harmony, and, in vocal music, word-tone relationships.

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                                                                                                              • Korsyn, Kevin. “Towards a New Poetics of Musical Influence.” Music Analysis 10.1–2 (March–July 1991): 3–72.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/853998Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                A controversial article that attempts to develop an analytical approach based on Harold Bloom’s “Anxiety of Influence” theories and the analytical techniques of Heinrich Schenker and David B. Greene, viewing the Romanze, Op. 118/5 in relationship to Chopin’s Berceuse, Op. 57. A response by Martin Scherzinger appeared in Music Analysis 13.2–3 (July–October 1994): 298–309.

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                                                                                                                • Krummacher, Friedhelm, and Wolfram Steinbeck, eds. Brahms-Analysen: Referate der Kieler Tagung 1983. Kieler Schriften zur Musikwissenschaft 28. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1984.

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                                                                                                                  Analytical studies, demonstrating a wide variety of approaches, of selected vocal and instrumental works by thirteen of Germany’s preeminent scholars.

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                                                                                                                • Musgrave, Michael. The Music of Brahms. 2d ed. Companions to the Great Composers. Oxford: Clarendon, 1994.

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                                                                                                                  Musgrave’s analyses of selected “strategic” works are accompanied by considerations of influence by earlier composers. The second edition corrects many but not all of the infelicities of the 1st edition, published in 1985 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul).

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                                                                                                                • Rosen, Charles. Critical Entertainments: Music Old and New. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                  In a trio of essays—”Brahms: Influence, Plagiarism, and Inspiration” (from 19th-Century Music 4.2 [Fall 1980]: 87–100), “Brahms the Subversive” (from Bozarth 1990), and “Brahms: Classicism and the Inspiration of Awkwardness”—the pianist and critic Rosen (author of The Classic Style and Sonata Forms) explores the nature of Brahms’s relationship to the music of his predecessors that provided him with models to emulate, yet subvert and redefine through a variety of means.

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                                                                                                                • Schmidt, Matthias. Johannes Brahms: Ein Versuch über die musikalische Selbstreflexion. Wilhelmshaven, Germany: Noetzel, 2000.

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                                                                                                                  For Brahms, knowledge of his predecessor’s music provided inspiration and a burden, and was a topic of discussion for those who encountered his music. Schmidt grounds his discussions of selected instrumental and vocal works in 19th-century aesthetics. Compositions considered include Opp. 15, 68, 118, 119, and several songs.

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                                                                                                                • Sisman, Elaine R. “Brahms’s Slow Movements: Reinventing the ‘Closed’ Forms.” In Brahms Studies: Analytical and Historical Perspectives; Papers Delivered at the International Brahms Conference, Washington, DC, 5–8 May 1983. Edited by George S. Bozarth 79–104. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990a.

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                                                                                                                  Sisman, a scholar of the 18th-century music, demonstrates Brahms’s manner of reinventing the musical forms of his predecessors and thereby progressively extending the traditions in which he worked. On Brahms’s early slow movements, see also Notley 1999, cited under Chamber Music.

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                                                                                                                • Sisman, Elaine R. “Brahms and the Variation Canon.” 19th-Century Music 14.2 (Fall 1990b): 132–153.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1990.14.2.02a00020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Sisman explores Brahms’s views on the variation procedures of his predecessors and redefinitions of the nature of variation in his independent variation sets and the variation movements that appear in his piano, chamber, and orchestral works.

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                                                                                                                  Schenker and Schoenberg

                                                                                                                  For the brilliant theorist Heinrich Schenker and the revolutionary composer Arnold Schoenberg, Brahms’s music was a dominating force during their formative years. Schenker, who reviewed Brahms’s music during the composer’s lifetime (Federhofer 1990, Karnes 2001) and was fascinated by Brahms’s manuscript collection of parallel octaves and fifths (Schenker 1933, Mast 1980), sought to place Brahms’s style within the long tradition of the common practice period, for which he developed a penetrating system of musical analysis, while Schoenberg viewed Brahms’s late works as exceedingly progressive (Schoenberg 1984). Both were inspired by what they perceived in Brahms’s music, and both sought to justify their innovations by relating their approaches to those of Brahms.

                                                                                                                  • Federhofer, Hellmut, ed. Heinrich Schenker als Essayist und Kritiker: Gesammelte Aufsätze, Rezensionen und kleinere Berichte aus den Jahren 1891–1901. Studien und Materialien zur Musikwissenschaft 5. Hildesheim, Germany, and New York: Olms, 1990.

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                                                                                                                    Schenker considered Brahms “the last great master of German music.” Contains Schenker’s early essays on Brahms and his music (Opp. 104, 107, 116), and two obituaries (review of Op. 104 translated in Frisch and Karnes 2009, cited under Other Multiauthor Works; the reviews of Opp. 104 and 107 discussed in Karnes 2008, cited under Commentaries on Early Reviews). Schenker later wrote one extended analysis with graph (“Brahms: Variationen und Fuge über ein Thema von Händel, op. 24.” Der Tonwille 4.2–3 [April–September 1924]: 3–46) and a brief memoir of Brahms (“Erinnerungen an Brahms.” Deutsche Zeitschrift 46.8 [May 1933]: 475–482).

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                                                                                                                    • Karnes, Kevin C. “Heinrich Schenker and Musical Thought in Late Nineteenth-Century Vienna.” PhD diss., Brandeis University, 2001.

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                                                                                                                      Karnes views Heinrich Schenker’s reviews of Opp. 104 and 107 within the context of the music criticism being written in Vienna and the ideas of Emil Ritter von Hartmann, Friedrich von Hausegger, and Eduard Hanslick.

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                                                                                                                      • Mast, Paul. “Brahms’s Study, Octaven u. Quinten u. A., with Schenker’s Commentary Translated.” Music Forum 5 (1980): 1–196.

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                                                                                                                        Mast publishes a facsimile and transcription of Brahms’s collection of parallel octaves and fifths, with translations of Brahms’s comments, identification of Brahms’s sources, evidence of the chronology of Brahms’s entries, a translation of Schenker’s commentary, and assessments of his own.

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                                                                                                                        • Schenker, Heinrich. Octaven u. Quinten u. A. Vienna: Universal-Edition, 1933.

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                                                                                                                          Schenker was fascinated by the collection of parallel octaves and fifths that Brahms assembled and assessed, and he published them in facsimile with commentary.

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                                                                                                                          • Schoenberg, Arnold. “Brahms the Progressive.” In Style and Idea: Selected Writings of Arnold Schoenberg. By Arnold Schoenberg. Edited by Leonard Stein, 398–441. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

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                                                                                                                            In a seminal essay aimed at countering the prevalent view of Brahms as a conservative composer, Arnold Schoenberg discusses progressive aspects of Brahms’s harmony, motivic writing, and phrase structure. Originally written in 1933 and revised for Style and Idea (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950). Stein’s edition originally published in 1975 (London: Faber & Faber). For an elaboration on Schoenberg’s concept of developing variations in Brahms, see Frisch 1984, cited under Recent Assessments and Analyses.

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                                                                                                                          Compositional Process

                                                                                                                          As a young composer, Brahms focused on the writing of songs, claiming to have set all of Eichendorff and Heine to music, although he published only about a dozen and a half songs (Opp. 3, 6, 7). Such was the intense scrutiny that Brahms exercised, throughout his life, over what works he released. He also destroyed most of his sketches, making it difficult to study his compositional process. Little on this subject appeared after Mies 1928 and Mies 1929 until the late 20th century, when, in the wake of the broadly ranging studies of the compositional process of Bach, Beethoven, and other composers, Brahms scholars reexamined the sketches and revised autographs, resulting in a series of studies, including Beller-McKenna 1995, Bozarth 1983, Grassi 2006, and Struck 1997. That Brahms continued to revise his works even after their first public performances is demonstrated by McCorkle 1990.

                                                                                                                          • Beller-McKenna, Daniel. “Reconsidering the Identity of an Orchestral Sketch by Brahms.” Journal of Musicology 13.4 (Fall 1995): 508–537.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1525/jm.1995.13.4.03a00040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            A study of sketches for Brahms’s Fifth Symphony that were thought by Max Kalbeck to be for a symphonic cantata based on theme that Brahms used in the Vier ernste Gesänge, Op. 121.

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                                                                                                                            • Bozarth, George S. “Brahms’s Duets for Soprano and Alto, Op. 61: A Study in Chronology and Compositional Process.” Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 21.1–4 (1983): 191–210.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/901972Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Newly discovered sketches and autographs allow the dating of the Op. 61 duets and a reconstruction of the compositional genesis of “Die Schwestern” from a simple strophic song to a varied-strophic setting that reflects the gentle irony of Mörike’s poem.

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                                                                                                                              • Grassi, Andrea Massimo. “Fräulein Klarinette”: La Genesi e il Testo delle Opere per Clarinetto di Johannes Brahms. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                A detailed examination of the greatly corrected autograph manuscripts of the Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 120/1 and 2, preserved in the Robert Owen Lehman Collection at the Pierpont Morgan Library.

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                                                                                                                              • McCorkle, Margit L. “The Role of Trial Performances for Brahms’s Orchestral and Large Choral Works: Sources and Circumstances.” In Brahms Studies: Analytical and Historical Perspectives; Papers Delivered at the International Brahms Conference, Washington, DC, 5–8 May 1983. Edited by George S. Bozarth, 295–328. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                Brahms typically composed during the summer and then returned from his retreat with a portfolio of new works to test in rehearsals and trial performances before he finalized them for publication. McCorkle details this process for each of the major orchestral and choral works.

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                                                                                                                              • Mies, Paul. “Aus Brahms’ Werkstatt: Vom Entstehen und Werden der Werke bei Brahms.” Simrock-Jahrbuch 1 (1928): 42–83.

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                                                                                                                                Describes the types of sketches that survive and certain features of Brahms’s compositional process.

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                                                                                                                                • Mies, Paul. “Der kritische Rat der Freunde und die Veröffentlichung der Werke bei Brahms.” Simrock-Jahrbuch 2 (1929): 65–83.

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                                                                                                                                  Discusses the influence that advice from his friends had on the later phases of composition.

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                                                                                                                                  • Struck, Michael. “Johannes Brahms’ kompositorische Arbeit im Spiegel von Kopistenabschriften.” Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 54.1 (1997): 1–33.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/931153Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Discusses evidence of compositional process revealed in copyists’ manuscripts of Op. 18, an alternative version of Op. 70/2, and the four settings of poems by Klaus Groth that appeared as Op. 59/3, 4, 7, and 8, first grouped together as a song cycle. Further discussion of the cycle in Vier Lieder nach Gedichten von Klaus Groth: Regenlied-Zyklus (Munich: G. Henle, 1997).

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                                                                                                                                    Hermeneutic Studies

                                                                                                                                    Hermeneutic studies have considered the use of mottos in Brahms’s music and associated particular instrumental works with poetry and the literary character of Johannes Kreisler. Other studies have explored Brahms’s selection of keys to convey meaning and posited his use of narratives in extended orchestral works.

                                                                                                                                    Mottos

                                                                                                                                    Strong evidence exists that Brahms employed the pitches F, A, and E (Frei aber Einsam, “Free but lonely”; see Floros 1997) and A, G, A, H( = B), E (Agathe, for Agathe von Siebold) as the basis for themes in his Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 5 (Finale) and String Sextet in G major, Op. 36 (first movement), respectively. Much speculation has occurred, led by Eric Sams (see Sams 1971), about whether he also based passages on the letters C, L, A, R, A (Clara, for Clara Schumann)—see Brodbeck 1994. Daverio 2002 advanced a counterargument. Also, Kalbeck 1976 (cited under Early Biographies) maintains that Brahms used the cipher F–A–F (Frei aber Froh, “Free but happy”) in the Third Symphony and elsewhere, an idea challenged by Musgrave 1980, which Brown 1983 attempted to refute.

                                                                                                                                    • Brodbeck, David. “The Brahms-Joachim Counterpoint Exchange; or, Robert, Clara, and ‘the Best Harmony between Jos. and Joh.’” In Brahms Studies. Edited by David Brodbeck, 30–80. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                      In addition to gathering together and discussing all of the extant evidence of the self-educational exchange of counterpoint exercises that Brahms undertook with Joseph Joachim in the mid- to late 1850s, Brodbeck speculates on Brahms’s possible use of ciphers in certain of the organ and choral works composed as part of these studies.

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                                                                                                                                      • Brown, A. Peter. “Brahms’ Third Symphony and the New German School.” Journal of Musicology 2.4 (Fall 1983): 434–452.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1525/jm.1983.2.4.03a00050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Brown views the divide between Brahms (absolute music) and Liszt/Wagner (program music) as less clear than previously thought, and sides with Kalbeck in finding the extramusical F–A–F motive in the Third Symphony.

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                                                                                                                                        • Daverio, John. “Brahms’s Musical Ciphers: Acts of Homage and Gestures of Effacement.” In Crossing Paths: Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms. By John Daverio, 103–124. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                          After establishing the parameters of Brahms’s documented uses of musical ciphers Frei aber Einsam (F–A–E) and Agathe (A–G–A–H–E), and comparing them with Schumann’s and Joachim’s, Daverio summarizes the case of Musgrave 1980 against the Frei aber Froh (F–A–F) cipher and mounts a thorough challenge to the idea in Sams 1971 that Brahms employed a C–L–A–R–A cipher.

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                                                                                                                                        • Floros, Constantin. Johannes Brahms: “Frei aber einsam”—Ein Leben für eine poetische Musik. Zurich and Hamburg, Germany: Arche, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                          Floros sees Brahms’s experiences in life as influencing the nature of his music, which, Floros attempts to demonstrate, often takes its inspiration from poetic ideas and literature. This book reprints and expands upon material published about a subject that occupied Floros for many years.

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                                                                                                                                        • Musgrave, Michael. “Frei aber Froh: A Reconsideration.” 19th-Century Music 3.3 (March 1980): 251–258.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1980.3.3.02a00060Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Musgrave points to Max Kalbeck’s lack of evidence for asserting that Brahms used this cipher in his music and took this motto as his own in life.

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                                                                                                                                          • Sams, Eric. “Brahms and His Musical Love Letters.” Musical Times 112.1538 (April 1971): 329–330.

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                                                                                                                                            Sams first advanced his notions of musical ciphers in Brahms in a manner less than rigorous. A number of other writers have followed Sams’s lead; Daverio 2002 has taken exception to it. See also Sams’s “Brahms and His Clara Themes,” Musical Times 112.1539 (May 1971): 432–434.

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                                                                                                                                            Narratives

                                                                                                                                            McClary 1993 employs the terms of Freudian analysis for the Third Symphony, with the author basing her interpretation in an analysis of the music. Brahms also associated poems with some of his instrumental music (see Bozarth 1990, Parmer 1995, Parmer 1997), and he chose the keys for his songs sensitive to their traditional associations (see Rieger 1955). Brinkmann 1995 approaches the Second Symphony from a variety of directions within a late-19th-century context.

                                                                                                                                            • Brinkmann, Reinhold. Late Idyll: The Second Symphony of Johannes Brahms. Translated by Peter Palmer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                              Brinkmann develops a narrative for the Second Symphony from study of the primary sources, consideration of the observations of Brahms’s contemporaries, and comparison of this symphony to the paintings of Gustav Klimt and the writings of Thomas Mann, among others. Originally published as Johannes Brahms, Die Zweite Symphonie: Späte Idyll (Munich: edition text + kritik, 1990).

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                                                                                                                                            • Bozarth, George S. “Brahms’s Lieder ohne Worte: The ‘Poetic’ Andantes of the Piano Sonata.” In Brahms Studies: Analytical and Historical Perspectives; Papers Delivered at the International Brahms Conference, Washington, DC, 5–8 May 1983. Edited by George S. Bozarth, 345–378. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                              Attempts to establish the experiential content of the three piano sonatas, Opp. 1, 2, and 5 (all of which have texts associated with their slow movements).

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                                                                                                                                            • Bozarth, George S. “Brahms’s First Piano Concerto op. 15: Genesis and Meaning.” In Beiträge zur Geschichte des Konzers: Festschrift Siegfried Kross zum 60. Geburtstag. Edited by Reiman Emans and Matthias Wendt. Bonn, Germany: Gudrun Schröder, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                              After clarifying the genesis of the First Piano Concerto, Bozarth considers its musical materials in relationship to E. T. A. Hoffmann’s character Johannes Kreisler and Schumann tragedy.

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                                                                                                                                              • McClary, Susan. “Narrative Agendas in ‘Absolute’ Music: Identity and Difference in Brahms’s Third Symphony.” In Musicology and Difference: Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship. Edited by Ruth A. Solie, 326–344. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                In this controversial chapter, McClary sees the work’s tension as situated generally between social convention (its desire to emulate the Classical narrative model of symphony) and individual expression (a profound distrust of that models strictures), and particularly in the implications that Brahms draws from his initial gesture, which sets F major and F minor (A-natural and A-flat) in opposition to each other.

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                                                                                                                                                • Parmer, Dillon. “Brahms, Song Quotation, and Secret Programs.” 19th-Century Music 19 (1995): 161–190.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1995.19.2.02a00030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Sees Brahms’s music occupying ground between the traditional extremes of “absolute” and “programmatic” music. He takes the texts Brahms associated with some of his works and the titles of others as a starting point and offers assessments of their programmatic content. Considers Opp. 1, 8, and 78. Originally appeared in “Brahms the Programmatic? A Critical Assessment,” Ph.D. diss., Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Parmer, Dillon. “Brahms and the Poetic Motto: A Hermeneutic Aid?” Journal of Musicology 15.3 (Summer 1997): 353–389.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1525/jm.1997.15.3.03a00080Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    A sequel to Parmer 1995 that examines Opp. 5, 10/1 and 117. Originally appeared in “Brahms the Programmatic? A Critical Assessment,” Ph.D. diss., Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Rieger, Edwin. “Die Tonartencharakteristik im einstimmigen Klavierlied von Johannes Brahms.” Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 22 (1955): 142–216.

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                                                                                                                                                      Views Brahms’s selection of keys for his songs within the tradition of “key characteristics” discussed by writers during the Baroque, Classical, and early Romantic periods, considering each major and minor key as used for whole songs and portions of songs. Read in conjunction with Rita Steblin, A History of Key Characteristics in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries, 2nd ed. (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2002). Originally published as Phil. F. dissertation, University of Vienna, 1946.

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                                                                                                                                                      Instrumental Music

                                                                                                                                                      Brahms composed orchestral works in the genres of the serenade, the overture, the symphony, and the concerto; chamber music for strings, natural horn, clarinet, and piano; and two- and four-hand piano music in the genres of sonata, theme and variations, and character pieces organized into opuses with cyclic tendencies. Coming to all of these types late in the common practice period, he faced the special problem of how to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors, a topic that needs to inform all analytical considerations of his music. See also the publications on the symphonic works under Collective Assessments and Analyses, Facsimile Editions, Mottos, Narratives, and Compositional Process.

                                                                                                                                                      Orchestral Music

                                                                                                                                                      Brodbeck 1997, Frisch 1996, and Floros, et al. 1998 survey all four symphonies, while Brodbeck 1996 and Hull 2000 focus on the First and Fourth Symphonies, respectively. Dahlhaus 1965 approaches the First Piano Concerto from several directions.

                                                                                                                                                      • Brodbeck, David. Brahms: Symphony No. 1. Cambridge Music Handbooks. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                        Documents the lengthy genesis, discusses the role of the trial performances and the recasting of the second movement, analyzes the individual movements, presents contemporary critical reaction to the symphony, and speculates about the work’s relationship to compositions by Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann, extramusical associations, and narrative line.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Brodbeck, David. “Brahms.” In The Nineteenth-Century Symphony. Edited by D. Kern Holoman, 224–272. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                          Considers the circumstances leading to the composition of the symphonies, their allusions to the music of past composers, the use of ciphers, and early critical reaction to these innovative works.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Dahlhaus, Carl. Johannes Brahms—Klavierkonzert Nr. 1 d-moll, Op. 15. Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1965.

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                                                                                                                                                            Dahlhaus’s introductory guide to the First Piano Concerto chronicles its genesis; analyzes the themes, harmonic scheme, and form of each movement (with diagrams); and reprints excerpts from the correspondence about this work and early reviews of the controversial concerto.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Floros, Constantin, Christian Martin Schmidt, and Giselher Schubert. Johannes Brahms: Die Sinfonien; Einführung, Kommentar, Analyse. Mainz, Germany: Schott, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                              For each symphony the authors discuss its primary sources and genesis, early performance and critical reaction, and influences on these works, and they offer analytical observations, movement by movement, with their forms summarized in charts.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Frisch, Walter. Brahms: The Four Symphonies. Monuments of Western Music. New York: Schirmer, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                              Though in a series intended for a general readership, this historical and analytical study contains insights into the symphonies of interest to all. The book closes with enlightening chapters on the critical reception of the works and the performance traditions preserved in contemporary commentary and early recordings.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Hull, Kenneth, ed. Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 4 in E Minor op. 98: Authoritative Score, Background, Context, Criticism, Analysis. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                Reprints the first edition and publishes a wealth of historical information drawn from letters, reminiscences, and early reviews, as well as important writings on the work (translated into English, when necessary) by Kretzschmar, Riemann, Kalbeck, Klein, Schenker, Leibowitz, Tovey, Osmond-Smith, Frisch, and Knapp, as well as by himself.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Knapp, Raymond. Brahms and the Challenge of the Symphony. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                  In this thought-provoking book, Knapp argues that in an effort to rise to the challenge of composing symphonies so late in the genre’s history, Brahms developed strategies for alluding to the works of his predecessors, sometime to more than one earlier composition simultaneously.

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                                                                                                                                                                Chamber Music

                                                                                                                                                                The genre of chamber music was at the core of Brahms’s instrumental music, from his early Piano Trio, Op. 8, to his penultimate published compositions, the two Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 120. Scholars and music lovers are fascinated by the myriad ways in which he revived and enriched the long tradition of intimate music-making for well-informed audiences. Dahlhaus 1989, Krummacher 1994, Notley 1998, Notley 1999, Smith 2005, Tovey 1949, and Webster 1979 offer a variety of approaches to assessing the historical position, function, and accomplishments of the chamber music.

                                                                                                                                                                • Dahlhaus, Carl. “Brahms and the Chamber Music Tradition.” In Nineteenth-Century Music. Translated by J. Bradford Robinson, 252–260. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Dahlhaus sees the change of view from Brahms as a conservative composer to Brahms as a progressive as related to the increasing status of chamber music as a serious genre in the early 20th century. Schoenberg 1933 calls attention to his subtle use of developing variation in his chamber music, which Dahlhaus demonstrates with analyses of Opp. 3/1, 25, and 116/3. Originally published as “Brahms und die Idee der Kammermusik.” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 134/9 (1973): 559–563. Expanded in Die Musik des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (Wiesbaden: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft Athenaion; Laaber: Laaber-Verlag, 1980).

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Krummacher, Friedhelm. “Reception and Analysis: On the Brahms Quartets, Op. 51, Nos. 1 and 2.” 19th-Century Music 18.1 (Summer 1994): 24–45.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1994.18.1.02a00040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Rejecting the analytical approach of Schoenberg and scholars who have followed him as self-serving and postdating the music, Krummacher seeks to develop an analytical approach based in their historical and musical context and drawing upon critical commentary contemporary to the music.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Notley, Margaret. “Discourse and Allusion: The Chamber Music of Brahms.” In Nineteenth-Century Chamber Music. Edited by Stephen E. Hefling, 242–286. New York: Schirmer, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Rather than providing a survey typically found in such multiauthor books on genres, Notley crafts an engaging essay that considers how the early works reveal Brahms’s struggles with the genre, the use of major/minor contrasts and fugato in these pieces, the more focused style of the string quartets (Opp. 51/1 and 2, and 67), and innovative formal, tonal, and motivic achievements of selected late works.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Notley, Margaret. “Late-Nineteenth-Century Chamber Music and the Cult of the Classical Adagio.” 19th-Century Music 23.1 (Summer 1999): 33–61.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1999.23.1.02a00020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Notley places the adagios of Opp. 16, 26, and 40 within the context of the tradition of Adagio movement extending from the late 18th century and Wagner’s development of unendliche Melodie. On Brahms’s slow movements, see also Sisman 1990b, cited under Recent Assessments and Analyses.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Smith, Peter H. Expressive Forms in Brahms’s Instrumental Music: Structure and Meaning in His Werther Quartet. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Smith employs a variety of interpretive approaches to assess the “dimensional counterpoint” and expressive content of the C-minor Piano Quartet, Op. 60, and relate it to other works by Brahms and earlier composers.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Tovey, Donald Francis. “Brahms’s Chamber Music.” In The Mainstream of Music and Other Essays. By Donald Francis Tovey, 220–270. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1949.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Brief analytical essays on each of Brahms’s twenty-four chamber works, with additional remarks concerning performance issues and the influence of Brahms’s predecessors. Originally in Cobbett Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1929).

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Webster, James. “Schubert’s Sonata Form and Brahms’s First Maturity (II).” 19th-Century Music 3 (1979): 52–71.

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                                                                                                                                                                            An important article that demonstrates the profound influence of Schubert’s music in sonata form on the structures and harmonic workings of the chamber music Brahms wrote, 1859–1865 (Opp. 18, 25, 34, and 36).

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                                                                                                                                                                            Keyboard Music

                                                                                                                                                                            Brahms’s piano music divides into essentially three different groups, each in a different period of his life—the three early piano sonatas; the magnificent sets of variations on themes by Schumann, Handel, Haydn, a Hungarian melody, Paganini, and an original theme, from the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s; and the six collections of shorter pieces from later in life (Opp. 76, 79, 116–119). Each type attempts to extend a different tradition—the sonatas of Beethoven and Schubert; the variations of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and others; and the character pieces of Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann (see Cai 1986, Dunsby 1983). Early in his life, and again at the very end, Brahms turned to writing neo-Baroque works for the organ (see Owen 2007).

                                                                                                                                                                            • Cai, Camilla. “Brahms’ Short, Late Piano Pieces—Opus Numbers 116–119: A Source Study, an Analysis, and Performance Practice.” PhD diss., Boston University, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                                              In addition to considering the works cited in its title, this dissertation examines the sources for Opp. 76 and 79 as well for evidence of compositional process. Thoroughly scrutinizes the primary sources for evidence of performance practices. Portions published as “Brahms’s Pianos and the Performance of His Late Piano Works,” Performance Practice Review 2.1 (Spring 1989): 58–72; “Forms Made Miniature: Three Intermezzi of Brahms” in The Varieties of Musicology: Essays in Honor of Murray Lefkowitz, edited by John Daverio and John Ogasapian (Warren, MI: Harmonie Park, 2000), 135–150; and, “Was Brahms a Reliable Editor? Changes Made in Opuses 116, 117, 118, and 119,” Acta Musicologica 61.1 (January–April 1989): 83–101.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Dunsby, Jonathan. “The Multi-Piece in Brahms: Fantasien op. 116.” In Brahms: Biographical, Documentary and Analytical Studies. Edited by Robert Pascall, 167–189. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Dunsby seeks analytical evidence that in this group of miniatures, Brahms was composing in the tradition of Schumann’s cyclic works such as Carnaval. He also considers Schenker’s study of the Handel Variations, Op. 24, Reti’s study of the two Rhapsodies, Op. 79, and Kalbeck’s view of Op. 116.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Frisch, Walter. “Brahms: From Classical to Modern.” In Nineteenth-Century Piano Music. Edited by R. Larry Todd, 316–354. New York: Schirmer, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                The best recent survey of the piano music—sonatas, variation sets, and character pieces. This chapter leads the reader to many other excellent studies of the repertoire.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Owen, Barbara. The Organ Music of Johannes Brahms. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311075.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  A thorough study of the small but important group of organ works that also considers Brahms relationship to the instrument, his studies of counterpoint and chorales, his revision of earlier works before publication, the quality of editions, the organs Brahms knew, and issues of interpretation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Vocal Music

                                                                                                                                                                                Brahms wrote and published over two hundred songs during his life, from his teenage years through the final months of his life. He was also a major composer of vocal chamber music and choral works, all of which extended a “text-painting” vocabulary common in European music since the Renaissance madrigalists. In several of his choral-orchestral works he set poems by major poets (Goethe, Hölderlin, Schiller), but in his solo songs and vocal chamber music he shied away from such fine writers, feeling that his music could add little to poems already quite perfect. Instead, he typically set the verses of minor poets, his special favorite being Georg Friedrich Daumer (including the poems of the Liebeslieder Walzer).

                                                                                                                                                                                Choral Music

                                                                                                                                                                                Although Brahms conducted several choirs through the early 1870s and did compose some of his music and arrangements for particular ensembles (Drinker 1952), he wrote most of his music not to fulfill the responsibilities of a job (like Bach did) or to foster a particular religious ideology. Brahms’s knowledge of the music of his German and Italian predecessors stretched back to the late Renaissance (see Hancock 1983, cited under Interest in Early Music and Historical Research). As with his instrumental music, he was challenged to find new ways to employ traditional means to extend a rich cultural tradition of choral singing. To date, Kross 1963 is the only monograph on the entire literature. Discussion of Brahms’s choral music also appears in Biographies, Collections of Studies, Facsimile Editions, Collective Assessments and Analyses, Influence of Folk Music and Evidence of Period Performance Practices.

                                                                                                                                                                                • Drinker, Sophie. Brahms and His Women’s Choruses. Merion, PA: Author, 1952.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  The only study of the several choirs of young women in Hamburg and Vienna that Brahms conducted c. 1860 and for which he made arrangements and wrote original compositions. Based on the part-books and other documents then owned by Sophie Drinker and now in the Smith College Library.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kross, Siegfried. Die Chorwerke von Johannes Brahms. 2d ed. Berlin-Halensee and Wunsiedl: Max Hesse, 1963.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    This classic and comprehensive study considers the cultural context, musical organization, word-tone relationships, and significance of each of Brahms’s choral works. Kross also chronicles the 19th-century cult of Palestrina and his contemporaries and Bach revival, placing Brahms’s contrapuntal and text-painting techniques within these historical trends.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Musgrave, Michael. Brahms: A German Requiem. Cambridge Music Handbooks. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      A general introduction to Brahms’s most celebrated choral work, presenting the history of its composition, performances, and reception, and analyzing the relationship between text and music for each movement and the organization of the work as a whole.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Music for Solo Voices

                                                                                                                                                                                      The poetry of Goethe, his contemporaries, and his successors gave composers a vast collection of lyrics to set to music (many of them written specifically for that purpose). In his songs, Brahms followed in the footsteps of Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Schumann—but avoided treading directly in them by selecting poems they had not set. To enter this intimate world of word and tone, start with Finscher 1983a and Finscher 1983b. Friedlaender 1928, Stark 1995, and Stark 1998 are excellent for quick reference to individual songs. Sams 2000 has as its background decades of study of 19th-century art song. Rieger 1955 (under Hermeneutic Studies) is the only study of Brahms’s choices of keys in his songs. Van Rij 2006 offers a full-scale exploration of the cyclic tendencies in the opuses of solo songs.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Finscher, Ludwig. “Songs for Solo Voices and Piano.” In Brahms Edition: Lieder. Hamburg, Germany: Deutsche Grammophon-Gesellschaft, 1983a.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        This essay, written for the booklet that accompanied the complete recording of the solo songs released for the Brahms sesquicentenary, provides the finest brief summary available of Brahms’s aesthetics as a song composer. All singers would do well to start their study of the songs by reading it. Originally published as “Lieder für eine Singstimme und Klavier,” in Johannes Brahms: Leben und Werk, edited by C. Jacobsen (Wiesbaden, 1983), 139, 153; reprinted in Jacobsen 1983 (cited under Iconographies).

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Finscher, Ludwig. “Songs for Ensembles of Solo Voices with Piano.” In Brahms Edition: Lieder. Hamburg, Germany: Deutsche Grammophon-Gesellschaft, 1983b.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Written for the booklet that accompanied the complete recording of this repertoire released for the Brahms sesquicentenary, this essay offers an informative and succinct overview of these works. Originally published as “Lieder für verschiedene Volkalensembles,” in Johannes Brahms: Leben und Werk, edited by C. Jacobsen (Wiesbaden, 1983), 139, 153; reprinted in Jacobsen 1983 (cited under Iconographies).

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Friedlaender, Max. Brahms’s Lieder. Translated by C. Leonard Leese. London: Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford, 1928.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Meant to serve as a companion to Friedlaender’s edition of the songs for C. F. Peters, Leipzig, this book provides details about the sources for the poems Brahms set, the changes he made in the poems, and certain of the revisions he made in his songs. Originally published as Brahms’ Lieder (Berlin and Leipzig: N. Simrock, 1922).

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jost, Peter, ed. Brahms als Liedkomponist. Stuttgart: Steiner, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              An important collection of eleven studies of Brahms’s songs, a number focusing on his settings of particular poets (including Daumer, Heine, and Hölty) and themes (mother-daughter dialogues, the antique world, true love).

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mies, Paul. Stilmomente und Ausdrucksstilformen im Brahms’schen Lied. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1923.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              This seminal work studies the musical means—melody, motive, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, piano figuration—that Brahms developed to convey the expressive content of the poems.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sams, Eric. Brahms Songs. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Expanding on his earlier book Brahms Songs (London: BBC; and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1972), this author of similar books on the songs of Schumann and Wolf considers Brahms’s song aesthetics, recurring symbolic motives, and choice of subject matter before writing briefly about the poetry and music of each of the solo songs. The book has been reviewed by Heather Platt, “Eric Sams on Brahms’s Lieder,” The American Brahms Society Newsletter 19.1 (Spring 2001): 4–6.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Stark, Lucien. A Guide to the Solo Songs of Johannes Brahms. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  An expanded version of Friedlaender 1928 that offers historical background and basic analytical observations, together with insights gained by the author from performing the complete songs of Brahms.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Stark, Lucien. Brahms’s Vocal Duets and Quartets with Piano. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  A sequel to Stark 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • van Rij, Inge. Brahms’s Song Collections. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brahms maintained that he assembled his opuses of songs like bouquets and disliked seeing them taken apart by performers. Following the lead of Imogen Fellinger’s essay “Cyclic Tendencies in Brahms’s Song Collection” in Bozarth 1990, van Rij explores cyclic tendencies of Brahms’s opuses of songs.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Influence of Folk Music

                                                                                                                                                                                                The durability of Brahms’s music for audiences is rooted in the deeply felt responses that its basis in folk music elicits from listeners. Brahms was pan-European in his tastes for folk music, collecting it from an early age and finally publishing a compendium of forty-nine folksong arrangements near the end of his life. His special love was for folk music from the German-speaking lands (see Helms 1967, Morik 1965) and of the Gypsies and Hungary (see Bellman 1993).

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bellman, Jonathan. The “Style hongrois” in the Music of Western Europe. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  After identifying specific aspects of Brahms’s “Hungarian style,” Bellman calls attention to these features in the Hungarian Dances and in Opp. 15, 21/2, 23–25, 26, 34, 102, and 103, placing Brahms’s music within the context of other 19th-century composers who employed this style.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Helms, Siegmund. Die Melodienbildung in den Liedern von Johannes Brahms und ihr Verhältnis zu Volksliedern und volkstümlichen Weisen. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1967.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Helms seeks and discusses the roots of many of Brahms’s melodies in folk and sacred song, as well as in the music of his predecessors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Morik, Werner. Johannes Brahms und sein Verhältnis zum deutschen Volkslied. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1965.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Morik describes Brahms’s sources for German folk song, his arrangements of these melodies, and the influence of the study of folk music on his own songs.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Performance Practices

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Evidence of the range of performance options that Brahms would have considered acceptable for his music can be gleaned from study of his career as a performer, the instruments with which he performed his compositions, accounts of his performances, annotated scores, and other documentary evidence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Brahms as Performer

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Although Brahms held only three paid conducting positions—at the Court of Detmold (each autumn, 1857–1859), with the Wiener Singakademie (1863–1864), and with the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (1872–1875)—for many years he supported himself by performing a very large repertoire of solo piano and chamber music of his own and others, as documented in Hofmann 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hofmann, Renate and Kurt. Johannes Brahms als Pianist und Dirigent. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      A comprehensive timeline of Brahms’s documented public and private performances as a solo pianist, chamber musician, concerto soloist, and conductor, 1843–1896. Entries include date, place, personal, compositions, and sources of information, including reviews.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Brahms’s Instruments

                                                                                                                                                                                                    During Brahms’s lifetime, musical instruments, and especially the piano, evolved greatly. Brahms’s pianos ranged from instruments essentially the same as the early Romantic fortepianos of Beethoven and Schubert to pianos quite similar to modern instruments (see Bozarth and Brady 2009). While favoring the traditional Waldhorn, Brahms kept up with the advances in piano technology and aesthetics, as the changing style of his piano works testifies (see Sherman 2010). Except for the Horn Trio, Op. 40, all of his chamber music was composed for strings with or without piano, until he heard the beautiful clarinet playing of Richard Mülhfeld late in his life and produced his final four transcendent chamber works employing this instrument.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Bozarth, George S. and Stephen Brady. “The Pianos of Johannes Brahms.” In Brahms and His World. 2d rev. and enlarged ed. Edited by Walter Frisch, and Kevin C. Karnes, 73–93. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Letters, concert programs (see Hofmann 2006, under Brahms as Performer), and other documents testify to Brahms’s interest in the latest advances in piano building. Nonetheless, Brahms wrote idiomatically for the instruments he played, and not idealistically for pianos of the future. See also the final chapter of Cai 1986 (cited under Keyboard Music).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sherman, Bernard D. “Brahms, the Horn, and History.” Early Music America 16.1 (Spring 2010): 26–29, 66–67.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Brahms wrote in 1869: “I write for the most beautiful Waldhorns . . .but I don’t expect to hear them.” Brahms designated Waldhorn for op. 40 (listen to Lowell Greer and Teunis van der Zwart). Sherman outlines the nature of 19th-century horns and describes the experience the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra performing Opp. 11 and 77 with natural horns.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Evidence of Period Performance Practices

                                                                                                                                                                                                      With the rise of the “early music movement” in the late 20th century, musicians became interested in performing Brahms’s music on the types of instruments for which he wrote and in the style in which he played and conducted. Evidence of period performance practices have been sought in memoirs (Davies 1929), annotated scores (see Blume 2004), and recordings by Brahms and members of his circle (Crutchfield 1986). A series of independent articles (Crutchfield 1986, Finson 1984, Frisch 1996, and others) and the essays in Musgrave and Sherman 2003 have established the general parameters for future research and performance. Berger and Nichols 1994 report on their scientific work with the one wax cylinder that Brahms recorded. Roger Norrington was among the first to record Brahms’s choral and orchestral music on period instruments (Norrington and Musgrave 1999).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Berger, Jonathan, and Charles Nichols. “Brahms at the Piano: An Analysis of Data from the Brahms Cylinder.” Leonardo Music Journal 4 (1994): 23–30.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/1513177Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A report on attempts to restore the sound from the Brahms cylinder and on what nuances of performance can be heard.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Blume, Walter. “Brahms in the Meiningen Tradition: His Symphonies and Haydn Variations according to the Markings of Fritz Steinbach, edited by Walter Blume: A Complete Translation with Background and Commentary. Translated by Jonathan Robert Pasternack.” DMA diss., University of Washington, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brahms liked neither the highly nuanced performances of his symphonies by Hans von Bülow nor the metronomic ones of Hans Richter, but praised Fritz Steinbach, whose style Blume documents from performance annotations in Steinbach’s scores. Together with Davies 1929, one of the most important records of how Brahms liked his music to be played. Originally published as Brahms in der Meininger Tradition: Seine Sinfonien und Haydn-Variationen in der Bezeichnung von Fritz Steinbach. Stuttgart: Offset-Druck durch Surkamp, 1933. The portion on Op. 68, trans. by Walter Frisch, is in Musgrave and Sherman 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Crutchfield, Will. “Brahms, By Those Who Knew Him.” Opus 2.5 (August 1986): 12–21, 60.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Comparison of Brahms’s recording of the Hungarian Dance No. 1 with those by Joachim, Leopold Auer, and Arnold Rosé and consideration of dynamics, pacing, and breaking of hands in recordings by members of his circle—pianists Ilona Eibenschütz, Carl Friedberg, Etelka Freund, and Adeline de Lara, and singers Anton Sistermans and Gustav Walter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Davies, Fanny. “Some Personal Recollections of Brahms as Pianist and Interpreter.” In Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music. Compiled and edited by Walter Willson Cobbett. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1929.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              This essay, detailing how Brahms interpreted Op. 101, in 1889, is the Rosetta Stone for those wishing to perform Brahms’s music in his manner. This memoir and Davies’s annotated scores of Opp. 8 (rev.), 101, and 114 are the subject of an essay in Musgrave and Sherman 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Finson, Jon. “Performing Practice in the Late Nineteenth Century, with Special Reference to the Music of Brahms.” Musical Quarterly 70.4 (Fall 1984): 457–475.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/mq/LXX.4.457Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Drawing on experiments with the “Paderewski” Steinway grand piano in the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC) and gut-strung strings, and on period treatises and early recordings, Finson considers the effect of the hammer voicing used on late-19th-century Steinways, the use of rubato to articulate structure, and the different purposes of string glissando, portamento, and vibrato in Brahms’s time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Frisch, Walter. “Traditions of Performance.” In Brahms: The Four Symphonies. New York: Schirmer, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A perceptive discussion of the different manners in which Brahms’s symphonic music was performed during and shortly after his lifetime, with a special focus on Hermann Abendroth, a conductor who may have preserved the style of Fritz Steinbach (see Blume 2004).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Musgrave, Michael, and Bernard D. Sherman, eds. Performing Brahms: Primary Evidence, Evaluation, and Interpretation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Collection of thirteen studies on styles of playing in Brahms’s time, focusing on Joachim’s violin playing, metronome markings, known timings for his pieces, elasticity in pacing, influence of the style hongrois. Special attention is given to opp. 45, 56a, 83, the symphonies, the piano music, and the late chamber works. Accompanied by a CD.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Norrington, Roger, with Michael Musgrave. “Conducting Brahms.” In The Cambridge Companion to Brahms. Edited by Michael Musgrave, 231–249. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The conductor of the London Classical Players discusses the evidence on which he based his period-instrument interpretations of the four symphonies and the German Requiem. On this subject, also see Norrington’s liner notes for his recording (see Selected Recordings on Period Instruments).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Selected Recordings by Brahms and Members of His Circle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brahms lived at the very beginning of the age of recorded sound, and left us a recording of a portion of one of his Hungarian Dances. Joseph Joachim (Joachim), a number of students of Clara Schumann (Davies, Eibenschütz, Friedberg), and others in the Brahms circle (Freund, Nikisch) who knew his style of playing well also made recordings of his music, on cylinders and piano rolls. Each has his or her individual style, but all play Brahms’s music quite differently than performers trained in the late 20th century do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brahms, Johannes. Hungarian Dance No. 1. Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, PHA CD 5; The Piano Library, PL 284; Pearl, GEMM CDS 9909.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Although the sound of this wax cylinder is greatly degraded, one can still discern aspects of Brahms’s manner of playing a Hungarian Dance, including his taking of time before loud chords, his rushed runs, and his strong bass line.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Davies, Fanny. Opp. 116/4, 119/2. TACET 987 and 990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Davies frequently heard Brahms interpret his own works and performed with musicians who had collaborated with him. Her pacing is very flexible, her recordings marked by the sort of “delicate, wayward humour” she recalled in Brahms’s playing (see Davies 1929, under Evidence of Period Performance Practices). “Limping” and rolling of chords were a natural part of her expressive style, but, as in Brahms’s playing, never lead to sentimentality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Dohnányi, Ernst von. Op. 76/2. TACET 987.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Although Dohnányi never heard Brahms play, he considered Joachim his “teacher” and demonstrates Brahms’s improvisatory style in his flexible tempi, expressively rolled chords, and rhythmic alterations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Dohnányi, Ernst von. Op. 25/IV (arr. Dohnányi). Newport Classic, NCD 60030.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dohnányi’s performance of his own unpublished arrangement of the Gypsy finale of the G-minor Piano Quartet provides a model of how to perform the music Brahms composed in this style.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Eibenschütz, Ilona. Opp. 39/2 and 15, 101/II (excerpt), 118/3, 119/2. Pearl, GEMM CD 9909.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Eibenschütz heard Brahms play on many occasions and was entrusted with the world premiere of the Klavierstücke, Opp. 118 and 119; her recordings charm with their grace and spontaneity; the mistress of the rolled chord, which she used to create delicate filigrees of sound, he captured the quasi-improvisatory manner of Brahms.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Friedberg, Carl. Op. 79/2, Hungarian Dance No. 2. TACET 987 and 990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Friedberg’s full-bodied G-minor Rhapsody moves in tempestuous halts and surges; his own arrangement of the Hungarian Dance is alternately bold, brooding, and capricious.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Freund, Etelka. Opp. 5, 35, 76/1, 116/2, 117/2, 118/6. Pearl, GEMM CDS 9193.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To Brahms, Etelka Freunde played the piano “to the enjoyment of everyone!” She tackled the large-scale works as well as the intimate character pieces: her score and orchestral parts for the First Piano Concerto still exist, and on this recording one hears “no-holds-barred” performances of the vast F-minor Sonata, Op. 5, and the Handel Variations, Op. 35 (theme and twenty-five variations, plus grand fugue).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Joachim, Joseph. Hungarian Dances No. 1, 2. Opal, CD 9851.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  One of Germany’s preeminent violinists and a close friend of Brahms, Joachim demonstrates stylistic features typical of the time (1903): vibrato used as an ornament rather than constantly; syncopations achieved more by agogic accent than dynamics; much use of portamento; and flexible pacing (hurried runs).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Nikisch, Arthur. Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 4–6. TACET 987 and 990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Known for his broad and flexible tempi, Nikisch delivers particularly expansive and free interpretations of the Hungarian Dances in his own reductions of the four-hand scores, with little concern over dropped and altered notes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Selected Recordings on Period Instruments

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A good number of recordings of Brahms’s music performed on 19th-century instruments have been released over the past two decades. The Horn Trio (Faust, van der Zwart, and Melnikov; Chase, Greer, and Lubin) has received special attention. Gardiner and Norrington offer an opportunity for comparison of two recordings of the symphonic works on period instruments; Gardiner includes several of the choral-orchestral works on his CDs. Of several recordings of piano works, Braus plays on an instrument closest in sound to Brahms’s J. B. Streicher grand piano.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Braus, Ira (piano). Johannes Brahms, The Late Piano Music. Centaur, CRC 2850.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The late piano pieces, Opp. 116–119, expressively performed on a Johann Baptist Streicher grand piano (Vienna, 1871) similar to the one Brahms had in his apartment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Chase, Stephanie (violin), Lowell Greer (natural horn), and Steven Lubin (piano). Brahms Horn Trio, Op. 40. Harmonia mundi, HMU 907037.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This first recording of the Horn Trio on period instruments—a Guarnerius violin (Venice, 1742), an Antonine Courtois natural horn (Paris, 1855), and an Ignaz Bösendorfer piano (Vienna, c. 1854)—but employs continuous vibrato and for the most part maintains strict tempi.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Faust, Isabelle (violin), Teunis van der Zwart (natural horn), and Alexander Melnikov (piano). Brahms Horn Trio Op. 40; Violin Sonata Op. 78; Fantasien Op. 116. Harmonia mundi, HMC 901981.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interpretations distinguished by the expressive flexibility of their pacing and special coloristic effects achieved on a Stradivarius (Cremona, 1704), natural horn by Lorenz (1845), and a Bösendorfer piano (Vienna, 1875).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Gardiner, John Eliot, conductor, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique; The Monteverdi Choir; Natalie Stutzmann, alto. Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68; Begrabnisgesang, Op. 13; Schicksalslied, Op. 54; Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73; Alto Rhapsody; Brahms’s orchestrations of Schubert’s Gruppe aus dem Tartarus, D. 583, and An Schwager Kronos, D. 369; Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90; Nänie, Op. 82; Gesang der Parzen, Op. 89; Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98. Soli Dei Gloria SDG 702–705.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gardiner’s orchestra performs using gut and gut-wound strings, midcentury woodwinds and valve horns, and leather-covered timpani. The recordings of five choral/orchestral works by Brahms, as well as two of his orchestrations of Schubert songs, are the first on period instruments.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Norrington, Roger, conductor; London Classical Players. Johannes Brahms, Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a; Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68; Tragic Overture, Op. 81; Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73; Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90; Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98. EMI Classics, Reflex CDC 7-54286-2, 7-54875-2, 5-56118-2.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In preparation for these recordings, Norrington worked with Robert Pascall to determine the musical text, studied the performance practices of Brahms’s time, and assembled a well-balanced orchestra (forty strings, ten winds, ten brass) that played on gut and gut-wound strings, midcentury woodwinds and valve horns, and leather-covered timpani.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Research Centers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The two major research centers for Brahms are both in northern Germany: Johannes Brahms-Gesamtausgabe at the University of Kiel, and the Brahms-Institut an der Musikhochschule Lübeck in Lübeck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Societies and Newsletters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of the numerous Brahms societies in Germany and elsewhere, five are involved in scholarly activities and/or maintain museums: American Brahms Society, Brahmsgesellschaft Baden-Baden, Brahms-Gesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein e.V., Johannes-Brahms-Gesellschaft Internationale Vereinigung e.V., Hamburg, and Österreichisches Johannes Brahms-Gesellschaft School of Music.

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