Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
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201701The Summer Of Love2016072520170828Donald Macleod focuses on Brahms's secret engagement to Agathe von Siebold.

Johannes Brahms becomes secretly engaged to Agathe von Siebold, presented by Donald Macleod

German composer Johannes Brahms became a significant figure in Western music during his own lifetime, and has retained this position ever since. His works were performed throughout Europe, the UK and the USA, and displayed much passion in keeping with the musical language of the mid to late nineteenth century. Donald Macleod this week explores some of the larger orchestral works Brahms composed, taking on the mantle from Beethoven and Schubert, and the periods in which they were written. The series includes the first piano concerto, his German Requiem, concertos for violin, and violin and cello, and also his third and fourth symphonies.

During the late 1850's Brahms completed his Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor. It was a period when his relationship was developing with Clara Schumann, and the concerto itself became marked by the memory of Robert Schumann's attempted suicide. It was also a time when Brahms was introduced to, and later secretly became engaged to Agathe von Siebold, although when he should have been more interested in composing a Bridal Song his thoughts actually turned to composing a Funeral Anthem, Begräbnisgesang. Clara Schumann told Brahms she'd like it to be performed at her own funeral. Within a short space of time, Brahms broke off his engagement to Agathe.

Brahms, arr. Joseph Joachim
Hungarian Dance No 5 in G minor
Hagai Shaham, violin
Arnon Erez, piano

Vor dem Fenster, Op 14 No 1
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Wolfgang Sawallisch, piano

Trennung
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Wolfgang Sawallisch, piano

Begräbnisgesang, Op 13
North German Radio Chorus
North German Symphony Orchestra
Günter Jena, conductor

Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 15 (1st mvt)
Nicholas Angelich, piano
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor

String Sextet No 1 in B flat major, Op 18 (4th mvt)
Berlin Philharmonic Octet

Producer Luke Whitlock.

201702The German Requiem2016072620170829How, with premieres ahead in Bremen Cathedral, Brahms finally finished his German Requiem.

With premieres looming in Bremen Cathedral, Johannes Brahms finally completes his German Requiem. Presented by Donald Macleod

German composer Johannes Brahms became a significant figure in Western music during his own lifetime, and has retained this position ever since. His works were performed throughout Europe, the UK and the USA, and displayed much passion in keeping with the musical language of the mid to late nineteenth century.Donald Macleod this week explores some of the larger orchestral works Brahms composed, taking on the mantle from Beethoven and Schubert, and the periods in which they were written. The series includes the First Piano Concerto, his German Requiem, concertos for violin, and for violin and cello, and also his third and fourth symphonies.

During the late 1860s Brahms was preoccupied with completing his German Requiem, in readiness for its premiere at Bremen Cathedral in 1868. He was the first German composer to choose and shape his texts from sources other than the burial service, to convey a message about grief and death. Clara Schumann attended the premiere, as did the composer Max Bruch. During this same period Brahms had fallen in love again, this time with Clara's daughter Julie, who inspired him to write his love songs the Liebeslieder Waltzes.

Ein deutsches Requiem, Op 45 (1st mvt)
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Vienna Philharmonic
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34 (3rd mvt)
Tokyo String Quartet
Jon Nakamatsu, piano

Ein deutsches Requiem, Op 45 (3rd mvt)
Thomas Hampson, baritone
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Vienna Philharmonic
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op 52 (Nos 1-9)
Edith Mathis, soprano
Brigitte Fassbaender, alto
Peter Schreier, tenor
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Karl Engel, piano
Wolfgang Sawallisch, piano

Ein deutsches Requiem, Op 45 (5th mvt)
Genia Kühmeier, soprano
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Vienna Philharmonic
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

201703Reducing A Hostess To Tears2016072720170830How Brahms reduced a society hostess to tears for owning 'Wagnerian trash'.

Johannes Brahms reduces a society hostess to tears for owning 'Wagnerian trash'. Presented by Donald Macleod

German composer Johannes Brahms became a significant figure in Western music during his own lifetime, and has retained this position ever since. His works were performed throughout Europe, the UK and the USA, and displayed much passion in keeping with the musical language of the mid to late nineteenth century.Donald Macleod this week explores some of the larger orchestral works Brahms composed, taking on the mantle from Beethoven and Schubert, and the periods in which they were written. The series includes the First Piano Concerto, his German Requiem, concertos for violin, and for violin and cello, and also his third and fourth symphonies.

During the late 1870s Brahms premiered his First Symphony, and then at lightning speed composed his second. It was around this same time that Brahms was aiding the impoverished Bohemian composer Dvorak, supporting his case for a scholarship and also recommending him to publishers. Brahms could also be amazingly unfeeling at times, and reduced one society hostess to tears when he publicly searched her cupboards for what he called "Wagnerian Trash". By 1878 Brahms was also busy writing a work for his friend the violinist Joachim. The two collaborated together on what became Brahms's Violin Concerto. The premiere didn't go well and Brahms subsequently destroyed a draft of a second violin concerto he'd made.

Sommerabend, Op 85 No 1
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Daniel Barenboim, piano

Symphony No 2 in D major, Op 73 (1st mvt)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor

Klavierstücke, Op 76 (Nos 2, 4-5, 7-8)
Justus Frantz, piano

Violin Concerto in D major, Op 77 (2nd and 3rd mvt)
Gidon Kremer, violin
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Nicolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

During the late 1870s Brahms premiered his First Symphony, and then at lightning speed composed his second. It was around this same time that Brahms was aiding the impoverished Bohemian composer Dvorak, supporting his case for a scholarship and also recommending him to publishers. Brahms could also be amazingly unfeeling at times, and reduced one society hostess to tears when he publicly searched her cupboards for what he called ""Wagnerian Trash"". By 1878 Brahms was also busy writing a work for his friend the violinist Joachim. The two collaborated together on what became Brahms's Violin Concerto Opus 77. The premiere didn't go well and Brahms subsequently destroyed a draft of a second violin concerto he'd made.

201704The Little Leopard And The Great Lion2016072820170831Brahms's collaboration with the court of Saxe-Meiningen's musical director, Hans von Bulow

Johannes Brahms the 'Great Lion' collaborates with the Little Leopard Hans von Bülow. Presented by Donald Macleod.

German composer Johannes Brahms became a significant figure in Western music during his own lifetime, and has retained this position ever since. His works were performed throughout Europe, the UK and the USA, and displayed much passion in keeping with the musical language of the mid to late nineteenth century. Donald Macleod this week explores some of the larger orchestral works Brahms composed, taking on the mantle from Beethoven and Schubert, and the periods in which they were written. The series includes the First Piano Concerto, his German Requiem, concertos for violin, and for violin and cello, and also his third and fourth symphonies.

During the early 1880s Brahms found a new champion of his music, Hans von Bülow. Bülow became director of music at the ducal court of Saxe-Meiningen, and took charge of the orchestra there. He gave Brahms the opportunity to try out a number of his orchestral works before they were premiered, including his Second Piano Concerto, and also his third and fourth symphonies. Brahms became a favourite at the court with Duke George II, and was awarded the Commander?s Cross of the House of Meiningen. It was for the Duke that Brahms dedicated his Song of the Fates, Gesang der Parzen.

Bei dir sind meine Gedanken, Op 95 No 2
Der Jäger, Op 95 No 4 (1883-4)
Angelika Kirchschlager, mezzo-soprano
Graham Johnson, piano

Nänie, Op 82
Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Colin Davis, conductor

String Quintet No 1 in F major, Op 88 (1st mvt)
Amadeus Quartet
Cecil Aronowitz, viola

Gesang der Parzen, Op 89
Collegium Vocale Gent
Orchestre des Champs-Elysées
Philippe Herreweghe, director

Symphony No 3 in F major, Op 90 (3rd and 4th mvt)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

201705 LASTThe Senile Production2016072920170901On the completion of Brahms's Double Concerto, dubbed by one critic a 'senile production'.

Johannes Brahms completes his Double Concerto which was called by one critic 'a senile production'. Presented by Donald Macleod

German composer Johannes Brahms became a significant figure in Western music during his own lifetime, and has retained this position ever since. His works were performed throughout Europe, the UK and the USA, and displayed much passion in keeping with the musical language of the mid to late nineteenth century.Donald Macleod this week explores some of the larger orchestral works Brahms composed, taking on the mantle from Beethoven and Schubert, and the periods in which they were written. The series includes the First Piano Concerto, his German Requiem, concertos for violin, and violin and cello, and also his third and fourth symphonies.

During the late 1880s Brahms premiered his Fourth Symphony at Meiningen, which was very well received with applause after every movement. This was at a time when he was also working on his Piano Trio No 3 in C minor. He'd last composed for that combination of instruments nearly thirty years previously. Clara said of the Trio that is was inspired throughout with passion. By 1887, Brahms was healing a rift with the violinist Joachim, composing for him a double concerto for violin and cello. Joachim was delighted with the work, although one critic called it 'a senile production'.

Komm bald, Op 97 No 5
Thomas Allen, baritone
Geoffrey Parsons, piano

Piano Trio No 3 in C minor, Op 101 (3rd mvt)
Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian, violin
Raphael Pidoux, cello
Vincent Coq, piano

Double Concerto in A minor, Op 102
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
Ralph Kirshbaum, cello
London Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

Violin Sonata No 3 in D minor, Op 108 (3rd and 4th mvt)
Lydia Mordkovitch, violin
Gerhard Oppitz, piano

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Johannes Brahms completes his Double Concerto which was called by one critic 'a senile production'. Presented by Donald Macleod

German composer Johannes Brahms became a significant figure in Western music during his own lifetime, and has retained this position ever since. His works were performed throughout Europe, the UK and the USA, and displayed much passion in keeping with the musical language of the mid to late nineteenth century. Donald Macleod this week explores some of the larger orchestral works Brahms composed, taking on the mantle from Beethoven and Schubert, and the periods in which they were written. The series includes the First Piano Concerto, his German Requiem, concertos for violin, and violin and cello, and also his third and fourth symphonies.