Alto rhapsody, opus 53, for contralto, men's chorus, and orchestra

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New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations, 1983 - Music - 76 pages
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About the author (1983)

A composer, pianist, and conductor, Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany. Possessing a talent that could have taken him in any musical direction, he chose the piano and composing. He made his debut as a pianist at the age of 14. In 1853 Brahms met the German composer Robert Schumann, who regarded Brahms as a genius. Schumann and his wife Clara, a noted concert pianist, became Brahms's lifelong friends. In 1862 Brahms moved to Vienna, where his talents as a composer reached full flower. The music of Brahms shows great respect for the form and structure of eighteenth-century classicism, yet it also incorporates the romantic style that was typical of the nineteenth century. Brahms is considered a giant among nineteenth-century composers of chamber music and symphonies. Among his 24 published chamber-music works are a piano trio in B, opus 8 (1854); two string quartets; two piano quartets; and a piano quintet in F minor, opus 34a (1864). He composed four great symphonies: Symphony in C Minor (completed in1876), Symphony in D Minor (1877), Symphony in F Major (1883), and Symphony in E Minor (1885). While classic in structure and design, Brahms's symphonies are romantic in their musical language and sound. Nonetheless, they exhibit feelings of repose that illustrate a return to discipline and a revival of order and form, indicative of changes in music to come in the 1900s. Today, many of the works of Brahms are staples of the concert repertoire. Brahms died in 1897.

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