Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, 1853-1896

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Hyperion Press, 1927 - Music - 310 pages

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About the author (1927)

Clara Schumann, the wife of composer Robert Schumann, was born in Leigzig, Germany. His father, piano teacher Friedrich Wieck, turned her into one of the most brilliant and renowned concert pianists of her day. She gave her first major concert when she was only 11 years old, and several of her polonaises were published the following year. After their marriage in 1840, Robert and Clara Schumann made several concert tours throughout Europe. In addition to touring together, Clara Schumann also made many solo tours. After 1856 she played often for the Philharmonic Society in London. On her many tours and concerts, she gave definitive performances of many of her husband's works. Her own compositions include work for the piano and vocal songs.

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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