Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The original edition of Brahms and His World was prepared in conjunction with the first Bard Rediscoveries Festival in 1990. Both the book and the festival aimed to present an in-depth exploration of the life, music, and cultural-historical milieu of the composer. At the time, no one involved in this enterprise could have foreseen what have since become a long-running, prestigious series of books and an internationally renowned annual program of concerts, lectures, and symposia...

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Preface and Acknowledgments from the First Edition

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pp. xi-xii

This volume was conceived as a companion to a music festival entitled “Rediscovering Brahms,” held at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in August 1990. The festival placed Brahms in the context of his own time by programming his works alongside those of such figures as Joseph Joachim, Karl Goldmark, Clara Schumann, Johann Strauss, Alexander Zemlinsky, Eugen d’Albert, and Robert Fuchs...

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Permissions and Credits

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pp. xiii-xiv

The “Brahms Fog,” by Walter Frisch: Examples 4, 5, and 6 of excerpts from Arnold Schoenberg’s Piano Piece, Mädchenlied, and String Quartet in D Major, are reproduced by permission of Belmont Music Publishers; the portrait of Max Reger was taken in 1902 by the Gebrüder Lutzel, kgl. bayrische Hofphotographen (Royal Bavarian Court Photographers), Munich. Private collection, used with permission...

Part 1. Essays

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Time and Memory: Concert Life, Science, and Music in Brahms’s Vienna

Leon Botstein

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pp. 3-26

How can one grasp the nature and impact of Brahms’s musical language and communication in his own time? In the first instance one has to guard against an uncritical sense of the stability of musical texts, their meaning, and how they can be read and heard. The acoustic, cultural, and temporal habits of life of the late nineteenth century in which Brahms’s music functioned demand reconsideration...

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Johannes Brahms, Solitary Altruist

Peter F. Ostwald

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pp. 27-40

Brahms was a Janus-like figure who looked backward, seeking inspiration from the older Baroque and Classical traditions, while at the same time he looked forward and seemed the embodiment of modernism. A man of many contrasts, Brahms was devoted to his homeland in north Germany, but chose to live in southern Europe...

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Brahms the Godfather

Styra Avins

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pp. 41-56

The title of this essay is not capricious. Brahms was godfather to at least sixteen children, a little-known facet of his life that accords strangely with his current reputation as a lonesome and solitary man. His first godchild, Johanna Cossel, was the daughter of his first piano teacher. Brahms was barely twenty years old when asked to fill this office, a sign of esteem, trust, and honor...

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Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms

Nancy B. Reich

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pp. 57-72

The friendship between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann has always been the subject of much speculation.1 Those published accounts that sensationalize the “passionate friendship” (the title of a popular book on the subject) neglect the deeper personal and artistic bonds between the pianist and the composer.2 Theirs was a many-layered relationship...

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The Pianos of Johannes Brahms

George S. Bozarth, Stephen H. Brady

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pp. 73-94

The pianos Johannes Brahms encountered in Hamburg during his youth would have been essentially the same as the early Romantic fortepianos of Beethoven and Schubert. By the time Brahms wrote his final compositions half a century later, the piano had evolved to a state of construction—if not hammer design and voicing—virtually identical with the modern instrument...

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Brahms, the Third Symphony, and the New German School

David Brodbeck

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pp. 95-116

During the first week of May 1883, Leipzig played host to the twentieth Tonkünstler-Versammlung of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein, the organization founded by Franz Brendel some years earlier to promote the musical avant-garde. The opening of the congress was marked by C. F. Kahnt, publisher of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, with a reverential greeting of the group’s honorary president...

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The “Brahms Fog”: On Analyzing Brahmsian Influences at the Fin de Siècle

Walter Frisch

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pp. 117-136

In a letter written in April 1894 to his friend Adalbert Lindner, the twenty-one- year-old Max Reger staunchly defended Brahms against his opponents. Although the music may at first be difficult to grasp, Reger noted, “Brahms has nevertheless come so far that all truly intelligent and sensitive musicians, unless they want to make fools of themselves, must acknowledge him as the greatest of living composers.”...

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Between Work and Play: Brahms as Performer of His Own Music

Roger Moseley

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pp. 137-166

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we can hear Brahms’s music wherever and whenever we like. But can we locate its source? The composer himself is long dead, even if his defiant gaze and formidable beard still haunt us. His printed musical texts survive, of course, taking up generous shelf space in libraries, music shops, and homes throughout the world, but their circles and lines will always remain mutely imprisoned on the page...

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Brahms, Max Klinger, and the Promise of the Gesamtkunstwerk: Revisiting the Brahms-Phantasie (1894)

Kevin C. Karnes

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pp. 167-192

On the first day of January 1894, the artist Max Klinger sent Brahms a remarkable gift in the form of his newest creation. That gift, a volume consisting of forty-one etchings and engravings interspersed with the complete scores of six of Brahms’s vocal works, Klinger called the Brahms-Phantasie.1 By the time Klinger unveiled his tribute to Brahms, he had achieved considerable renown as a visual artist...

Part 2. Reception and Analysis

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Adolf Schubring Five Early Works by Brahms (1862); Translated, Introduced, and Annotated by Walter Frisch

Adolf Schubring

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pp. 195-216

In his musical testament and swan song, “Neue Bahnen,” Robert Schumann wrote that he had always thought that, with music on the upturn in recent times, there inevitably must appear a musician called to give expression to his times in ideal fashion; a musician who would reveal his mastery not in a gradual evolution, but like Athene would spring fully armed from Zeus’s head....

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Eduard Hanslick Discovering Brahms (1862–72); Translated, Introduced, and Annotated by Kevin C. Karnes

Eduard Hanslick

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pp. 217-232

Johannes Brahms has now presented himself as composer and virtuoso before the public in a concert of his own.6 Brahms’s compositions do not number among those immediately understandable and captivating works that carry one along in their flight. Their esoteric character, nobly disavowing every sort of popular effect, combined with their significant technical difficulties...

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Hermann Kretzschmar The Brahms Symphonies (1887); Translated by Susan Gillespie, Introduced by Kevin C. Karnes

Hermann Kretzschmar

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pp. 233-252

Brahms, who emerged from the circles of the Romantics, embodies the enduring principle of the Romantic tendency: the principle of mixed moods and rapid movement in the life of the emotions. But Brahms surpasses all previous representatives of musical Romanticism in the versatility of his spirit...

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Heinrich Schenker Brahms’s A Cappella Choral Pieces, op. 104 (1892); Translated, Introduced, and Annotated by Kevin C. Karnes

Heinrich Schenker

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pp. 253-266

There are six voices in the choir: soprano, first and second altos, tenor, first and second basses. The melodic construction makes clear that its invention was inspired from the start by an antiphonal exchange...

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Max Kalbeck Brahms’s Four Serious Songs, op. 121 (1914); Translated by William Miller, Introduced and Annotated by Kevin C. Karnes

Max Kalbeck

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pp. 267-286

Brahms left us several written statements about his Four Serious Songs, the maestro’s final work, designated opus 121. These statements—sometimes running parallel to, other times diverging from his verbal remarks—might seem to contradict each other. At first glance, the contradictions appear to be profound. However, a closer look does away with them completely...

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“A Modern of the Moderns”: Brahms’s First Symphony in New York and Boston

George S. Bozarth

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pp. 287-304

The real interest of the evening centered upon the Brahms Symphony, which stood at the head of the programme. There is no living musician about whose compositions there is a greater variety of opinions, or these opinions more changeable, than the same Johannes Brahms. People whose patience is limited, and whose ears itch for taking melodies—well or ill elaborated—may find enchantment at a first hearing of such limpid works as Raff ’s “Leonore” Symphony...

Part 3. Memoirs

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Eduard Hanslick Johannes Brahms: The Last Days Memories and Letters; Translated by Susan Gillespie, Andrew Hoffman, and Caroline Homan; Introduction by Kevin C. Karnes; Annotated by Leon Botstein and Kevin C. Karnes

Eduard Hanslick

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pp. 307-338

Alas, we have lost him, too, the true, great master and loyal friend! He, who until recently was able to vaunt the fact that he had never been sick in his entire life, not even for a single day! That had continued to be the case until the end of the summer, when he suddenly became sick without realizing it himself. In Ischl, some friends pointed out to him that his face had acquired a sickly yellow hue...

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Richard Heuberger My Early Acquaintance with Brahms; Translated, Introduced, and Annotated by Styra Avins

Richard Heuberger

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pp. 339-348

I saw Brahms for the first time in November 1867. He came to my home town of Graz, where on November 11 and 14 he gave concerts with Joachim (at the Saale der Ressource). I remember precisely the deep impression that the performance of Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and Violin in C Minor, op. 30, no. 2, made on me. The two Brahms compositions played by the Master—at that time a blond, lean, markedly professorial type— appeared to me as decidedly perplexing stuff...

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Heinz von Beckerath Remembering Johannes Brahms: Brahms and His Krefeld Friends; Translated by Josef Eisinger, Introduced and Annotated by Styra Avins

Heinz von Beckerath

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pp. 349-380

On the morning of a lovely, sunny day in the early spring of the year 1885, an animated, chatty group of people wandered through the countryside of the Lower Rhine. The high-spirited company had traveled by train from Krefeld to the village of Grefrath, which is situated on the main train line to Holland. In those days Grefrath was one of many settlements in the vicinity of Krefeld in whose houses chattered the looms of the Krefeld silk manufacturers...

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Gustav Jenner Johannes Brahms as Man, Teacher, and Artist; Translated by Susan Gillespie and Elisabeth Kaestner, Introduced by Kevin C. Karnes, Annotated by Leon Botstein and Kevin C. Karnes

Gustav Jenner

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pp. 381-424

It was in Leipzig in late December of the year 1887 that I first met Brahms. He had traveled there to oversee the performance of two of his newest works, the Double Concerto and the Piano Trio in C Minor, and he knew that I was coming from Kiel to visit him, to ask him to give his opinion of my musical abilities based on a selection of my compositions. This is how it came about...

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Brahms and the Newer Generation: Personal Reminiscences by Alexander von Zemlinsky and Karl Weigl; Translated, Introduced, and Annotated by Walter Frisch

Alexander von Zemlinsky, Karl Weigl

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pp. 425-430

When I think of the time during which I had the fortune to know Brahms personally—it was during the last two years of his life —I can recall immediately how his music affected me and my colleagues in composition, including Schoenberg. It was fascinating, its influence inescapable, its effect intoxicating. I was still a pupil at the Vienna Conservatory and knew most of Brahms’s works thoroughly...

Part 4. "Dedicated to Johannes Brahms"

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“Dedicated to Johannes Brahms”

Walter Frisch

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pp. 433-440

Something of the esteem in which Brahms was held can be seen by the large number of works dedicated to him by other composers. In a small notebook now at the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, Brahms himself kept an ongoing handwritten list of dedications (headed “Widmungen”) of these titles; the list runs to seventy-eight musical entries, plus four books and one collection of prints...

Index

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pp. 441-458

Notes on the Contributors

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pp. 459-464