Johannes Brahms was a German romantic song composer and pianist. He was born in May, 1833 in Hamburg in Germany. Brahms however, spent most of his life in Austria where he extended his professional life. Brahms was influential with his compositions during the romantic period. Majorly, he composed of piano, voice and choruses. Brahms was assisted by his great friends who assisted him in perfecting his works. These include; Clara Schumann who was a pianist and Joseph Joachim who was a violinist.
Johannes Brahms musical life was majorly influenced by his father, Johann Jakob Brahms who was a musician. Jakob Brahms moved to Humburg in search of music job. Reaching Humburg, he never succeeded with his mission, and ventured into something else, playing horn and double bass. Johannes Brahms received most of his early life training in music from his father. His father taught him how to play a piano. At his early age, Johannes played piano in dance halls to support his family. Johannes played piano with his childhood friends such as, Eduard Marxsen. With him, he moved from Humgurg to Viena where he established his home. He advanced his musical career at University of Breslau where he was a warded with an honorary doctorate of music.
Some of the works which Johannes composed during his life time include; the academic festival overture, tragic overture, Paganini variation and variations on a theme by Haydn. Johannes composed Academic Festival Overture in summer of 1880 as a thanks giving to the university that awarded him with honorary doctorate in music, the University of Breslau (Kamien et al. 1988). This composition consisted of four major sections; the allegro (C minor), maestoso (C major), animato (G major) and maestoso (C major). He himself conducted the composition at the ceremony organized by the University of Breslau.
Johannes Brahms influence emerged between 1865 and 1868 with his composition, A German Requiem. This composition consisted of seven major movements which took 65 to 80 minutes in performance. This was his longest composition. This composition was influenced by the death of his mother in 1865 and his close friend, Robert Schumann in 1856. Brahms was further motivated to give his performance such name when he found out that his late friend, Robert Schumann had also planned to compose a song with such name. This composition gained fame during the romantic era. This composition was a motivation to the living for their loved ones they have lost. The song begins with beatitudes Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted (Kamien et al. 1988). This is just the translated stanza from the composition which was written in Germany. Some of the instruments used during the performance include; 4 horns, 2 trumpets and 3 trombones, Timpani, strings and harp. Brahms work A German Requiem influenced several works later such as; the short story Deutsches Requiem by Jorge Luis Borge published in 1949. In addition, the composition also influenced novel writer Philip Kerr in 1991 when he published A German Requiem. Brahms work is still influential up to now because it can be seen in the instances it is applied. For instance, the composition, A German Requiem is now used in the opening of BBC film documentary on the history of the Nazi community during the world war The Nazis: A warning from the History. Johannes Brahms died in April, 3rd 1897. Most of the compositions during this era were typical with various artist. This is because most of the upcoming artist were influenced by their predecessors who laid a platform for them (Kamien et al. 1988). For instance, Brahms works influenced other artists such as; Ferruccio Busoni. The music style during this era was symphony which influenced performance and compositions of many artist.
In conclusion, this paper has examined the great composer during the romantic era, Johannes Brahms whose works are still influential up to now. The paper has examined his major works that marked his influence during this era.
Kamien, Roger, and Nicki James. Music: an appreciation. McGraw-Hill, 1988.
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