Episodes

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01Public Brahms, Private Brahms20141006

Five Essays about the 19th-century German composer Johannes Brahms. Part 1 of 5.

Recorded in front of an audience at St. Georges, Bristol, as part of BBC Radio 3's Brahms Experience - a week-long exploration of Brahms' life and music.

To this day Brahms has a reputation as a rather terse, fearsome personality who wrote dark, serious music. But his tender, intimate chamber music gives a clue to how he behaved behind closed doors and among friends.

Pianist and writer Natasha Loges looks at what lies behind Brahms' famously gruff public persona, and discovers his tender, private side. She offers an invitation into Brahms' inner circle: music making at home, coffee and conversation with friends, the food he enjoyed, and the women he flirted with.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

02Brahms And Nature20141007

Five Essays about the 19th century German composer Johannes Brahms. Part 2 of 5.

Recorded in front of an audience at St. Georges, Bristol, as part of BBC Radio 3's Brahms Experience - a week long exploration of Brahms' life and music.

Interaction with nature is one of the cornerstones of 19th century Romantic music. Writer Lesley Chamberlain offers a chance to join Brahms for a creative ramble and sets his work in the climate of German ideas about nature.

In the German Romantic tradition Nature is Art's rival and the artist's consolation. Brahms's love of nature, which came to him in hours of shared and solitary walking, intensified the demands he made on himself as a composer.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

03Brahms And Germany20141008

Five Essays about the 19th-century German composer Johannes Brahms. Part 3 of 5.

Recorded in front of an audience at St. Georges, Bristol, as part of BBC Radio 3's Brahms Experience - a week-long exploration of Brahms' life and music.

Brahms lived in a time of great political change. In his late thirties he saw the birth of a unified German nation under the 'Iron Chancellor' Otto von Bismarck. The question of what this Germany was to be became one of the great issues of the day.

Writer and pianist Natasha Loges explores the nationalist elements of Brahms' music. She examines his famous feud with the more openly patriotic Richard Wagner, and the ways in which Brahms' 'German' image was manipulated in the next century by the Nazis.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

04Brahms And Freud20141009

Five Essays about the 19th-century German composer Johannes Brahms. Part 4 of 5.

Recorded in front of an audience at St. Georges, Bristol, as part of BBC Radio 3's Brahms Experience - a week-long exploration of Brahms' life and music.

Brahms and and Freud co-existed in Vienna, as psychoanalysis was being born. But they belong to two vastly different epochs: what can we learn by setting them side by side?

Often at a loss for words, frequently gruff and spiky, Brahms was a man with complex personal traits. Devastated by his parents' disintegrating marriage, he found relationships exceptionally difficult.

A question Freud once asked of us all might help us understand the hidden personality of Johannes Brahms: what is the sublimation of sexual desire, and how much unfulfilled libido can we bear?

Writer Lesley Chamberlain takes us back to the Vienna of the 1890s, where Brahms was composing his late masterpieces and Freud was carrying out his groundbreaking early work.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

05 LASTBrahms And The Future20141010

Five Essays about the 19th-century German composer Johannes Brahms. Part 5 of 5.

Recorded in front of an audience at St. Georges, Bristol, as part of BBC Radio 3's Brahms Experience - a week-long exploration of Brahms' life and music.

Brahms lived in a time of tremendous change. The idea of the 'future' was never far from peoples' minds: new technology was emerging, the political map of Europe redrawn, and long-cherished ideas of art and culture overturned.

But how did Brahms, a composer who mined the music of the past for inspiration, fit in with a world where progress was king?

Pianist and writer Natasha Loges looks at Brahms' views on the future: recording technology, piano design - and his own place in the future of music.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.