Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Episodes

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01Free but alone20191216

Donald Macleod follows Johannes Brahms's early romance with a young singer.

Brahms was a deeply private man and very guarded about his life, his friends and his feelings. Across this week, Donald goes “Behind Closed Doors” with Brahms to discover what really made him tick. He finds friends, mentors and lovers along the way who together help solve the enigma of the composer.

Today, Brahms becomes engaged to Agathe von Siebold, a relationship doomed to failure.

Sonata No 3 in F minor Op.5 (4th movement)
Stephen Hough, Piano

Lieder & Romanzen, Op 14 (No 4, Ein Sonett & No 7, Ständchen)
Simon Bode, tenor
Graham Johnson, piano

Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 15 (1st movement)
Nelson Friere, piano
Gewandhausorchester
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Ave Maria, Op 12
Tenebrae
Nigel Short, conductor

String Sextet No 2 in G, Op 36 (1. Allegro non troppo)
Amadeus Quartet

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod follows Johannes Brahms's early romance'

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02The Gospel of Johannes20191217

Donald Macleod explores Brahms’s early encounters with Robert and Clara Schumann.

Brahms was a deeply private man and very guarded about his life, his friends and his feelings. Across this week, Donald goes “Behind Closed Doors” with Brahms to discover what really made him tick. He finds friends, mentors and lovers along the way who together help solve the enigma of the composer.

Clara Schumann is probably the person Brahms was closest to in his life. Today, we explore their first meeting, and how she was in awe of the young composer’s talent from the start.

2 Gavottes, WoO 3 (Nos 1 and 2)
Louis Demetrius Alvanis, piano

Piano Sonata No 1 in C major, Op 1 (1. Allegro)
Sviatoslav Richter, piano

6 Songs, Op 3 (Nos 2 and 3)
Benjamin Appl, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano

Piano Quartet, Op 25 (3rd and 4th movements)
Emanuel Ax, Piano
Isaac Stern, Violin
Jamie Laredo, Viola
Yo-yo Ma, Cello

String Sextet No 1in B flat major, Op 18 (2nd movement)
Amadeus Quartet

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Brahms's relationship with the Schumanns.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03The riddle of Brahms20191218

Donald Macleod explores Brahms's music for some of the women in his life.

Brahms was a deeply private man and very guarded about his life, his friends and his feelings. Across this week, Donald goes “Behind Closed Doors” with Brahms to discover what really made him tick. He finds friends, mentors and lovers along the way who together help solve the enigma of the composer.

Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34A (1st movement)
Amadeus Quartet
Christoph Eschenbach, piano

Rhapsody in B minor, Op 79 No 1
Jenö Jandó, piano

6 Songs, Op 7 (Nos 2 -5)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Jessye Norman, soprano
Daniel Barenboim, piano

Variations in E flat on a Theme by Schumann (Nos 8-11)
Silke-Thora Matthies, piano
Christian Köhn, piano

Alto Rhapsody, Op 53
Alice Coote, soloist
Bavarian Radio Chorus
Bamberg Symphony
Robin Ticciati, conductor

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Brahms's music for the female voice.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Insecurities20191219

Donald Macleod explores Brahms’s private life and some of his intimate relationships.

Brahms was a deeply private man and very guarded about his life, his friends and his feelings. Across this week, Donald goes “Behind Closed Doors” with Brahms to discover what really made him tick. He finds friends, mentors and lovers along the way who together help solve the enigma of the composer.

Today, Brahms finds a new summer romance, but as is so often the case, it’s doomed to failure.

16 Waltzes, Op 39 (Nos 1-4)
Silke-Thora Matthies, piano
Christian Köhn, piano

Cello Sonata No 1 in E minor, Op 38 (3rd movement - Allegro)
Steven Isserlis, cello
Stephen Hough, piano

Klavierstücke, Op 76 (No 7 - Intermezzo in A major; No 8 - Capriccio in C major)
Nicholas Angelich, piano

Violin Sonata No 2, Op 100 (1st movement: Allegro amabile)
Daniel Barenboim, piano
Pinchas Zukerman, violin

Nanie, Op 82
Bavarian Radio Chorus
Bamberg Symphony
Robin Ticciati, conductor

Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, Op 83 (3rd movement - Andante)
Nelson Freire, piano
Gewandhausorchester
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Brahms's private life.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05The weight of expectation20191220

Donald Macleod looks at why Brahms sought solitude and how it came to influence his music.

Brahms was a deeply private man and very guarded about his life, his friends and his feelings. Across this week, Donald goes “Behind Closed Doors” with Brahms to discover what really made him tick. He finds friends, mentors and lovers along the way who together help solve the enigma of the composer.

Throughout his life, there was a great expectation placed on Brahms’s shoulders. Today we look at how that shaped his character and music.

Serenade No 1 in D major, Op 11 (2nd movement)
Gewandhausorchester
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Piano Sonata No 2 in F sharp minor, Op 2 (4th movement)
Martin Jones, piano

Vier ernste Gesänge, Op 121 (Nos 3 and 4)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Daniel Barenboim, Piano

Ein Deutsches Requiem [A German Requiem], Op 45 (2nd and 3rd movements))
Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle, conductor

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at why Brahms sought solitude.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.