May 7 marks a milestone in the world of classical music, as it marks the 190th birthday of legend Johannes Brahms.
Brahms was a German composer and pianist of the Romantic period. Also born in Hamburg, he spent much of his professional life in Vienna. Brahms was an uncompromising perfectionist who destroyed some of his works and left others unpublished.
The Double Concerto was Brahms’ final work for orchestra and was the product of a rich lifetime of experience. It was composed in the summer of 1887 in Thun, Switzerland, and premiered on October 18, 1887. It was noted that Brahms treated the orchestra symphonically, which led to the complaints that the solo parts were enormously tricky, as it was impossible to hear them. There was not nearly enough of them.
In 1853, a mutual friend introduced Brahms to renowned composer Robert Schumann. He praised Brahms’ compositions in the periodical Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, and soon after, a German music publishing house began to circulate his work.
The Symphony No. 1 in C Minor was one of Brahms’ first orchestral compositions and received widespread praise. Brahms earned new fans worldwide and continued to create more ambitious compositions, such as his famous Hungarian Dances (Danzas Húngaras), as he toured Switzerland, Hungary, and Poland. In 1875, he retired from his director position and focused on composing for the rest of his life.
In the summer of 1896, Brahms was diagnosed with jaundice, and later in the year, his Viennese doctor diagnosed him with liver cancer. His condition gradually worsened, and he died in Vienna on April 3, 1897, at 63. Brahms is buried in the Vienna Central Cemetery in Vienna.
Throughout his career, Brahms paid homage to traditionalist compositions with innovative techniques that evolved the Romantic moment. His work continues to influence modern-day musicians and composers.