Johannes Brahms bigraphy, stories - A German composer and pianist

Johannes Brahms : biography


Johannes Brahms was born on 7th of May in 1833 in Hamburg. The boy was born in family of contrabass player Jacob Brahms – he worked in a local theatre. The family of the composer lived in a small flat, consisting of kitchen, a dining room and a tinny bedroom. Soon after the boy was born the parents moved to Ulrich-street.

The first musical lessons were given to Johannes by his father who imparted musical skills of playing different musical instruments to the boy. Later the boy took lessons of piano and musical theory from Otto Cossel. At the age of nine the boy played at prestigious concerts playing the piano. Taking part in concerts gave Johannes the opportunity to make a tour in America. Cossel managed to dissuade the boy’s parents from the idea, he insisted on Johannes’s staying and taking lessons from Eduard Marxsen, a teacher and composer. So the boy continued his musical education. Marxsen’s pedagogical course consisted of studying Bach’s and Beethoven’s music. Soon the teacher realized that the boy was an unusual talent. When Mendelson died in 1847 Marxsen said that as one master passed away the other master, greater than previous was going to replace him – that was Brahms.

At the age of fourteen, in 1847 Johannes finished his education at a private school and gave his first solo concert as a pianist for the first time.

In April of 1853 Brahms went on tour with Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi. In Hannover they met another famous violinist Joseph Joachim. The violinist was greatly impressed by the might and fiery temper of Brahms’s music and two young musicians (Joachim was 22 by that time) became friends. Joachim gave Brahms and Remenyi a letter of introduction to Ferenc Liszt and the musicians went to Weimar. The maestro played a few Brahms’s works at sight; he was deeply impressed by the talent of the composer and hurried to reckon Brahms among foremost stream – New German School having two leaders: Liszt himself and Brahms. However Brahms managed to resist Liszt’s charisma, the charm of his music and his brilliant playing.

On the 30th of September in 1853 Brahms got acquainted with Robert Schumann through an introducing letter by Josef Joachim. Brahms held deep reverence for Schumann’s highest talent. Schumann treated Brahms’s works with great notice and praised them in his critical article in “New musical newspaper”.

Schumann and his wife Clara Schumann had already heard about Brahms from Joachim and treated the musician very warmly. They were impressed by Brahms’s music and became his devoted admirers. Brahms stayed in Dusseldorf for several weeks and then moved to Leipzig. In Leipzig the composer gave a concert. The event was mentioned for Liszt’s and Berlioz’s presence. Just before Christmas, Brahms arrived in Hamburg. He had left his city as an unknown student and came back as a musician of name that was mentioned in the article by great Schumann. Schumann wrote that Brahms was the musician who was to give the highest ideal expression of the spirit of time.

Actually Brahms was in love with Schumann’s wife Clara who was 13 years older than the young musician. At the period than Robert Schumann, Brahms used to write love letters for Clara. However after Robert’s death Johannes Brahms didn’t dear to make a proposition to Clara Schumann.

The first musical composition by Brahms was Sonata fis-moll (op. 2) finished in 1852. Later he finished sonata C-dur (op.1). There are at least 3 sonatas. He also wrote scherzo for piano, piano plays and songs – they were realized in Leipzig in 1854.

Constantly moving from city to city Brahms lived between Germany and Switzerland writing his piano works.

The autumn months since 1857 till 1859 Brahms worked as a court musician in a small princely courtyard in Detmolt.

In 1858 he rented a flat in Hamburg where his family was still living. Since 1858 till 1862 he was the director of an amateur chorus consisting of women, though he was dreaming about the place of the director of Hamburg philharmonic orchestra.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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