Who was Johannes Brahms?
Johannes Brahms was a famous German pianist and music composer. He was born in Hamburg to Lutheran family, though Brahms spent most of his time in Vienna, Austria. Some of his fellow experimental musicians considered his music old-fashioned, while others ranked him at the same level as Beethoven and Bach, who were legends. In fact, through his life in music, he supported the traditional Classical music of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. His father was a musician, a situation that made Brahms start performing in dance halls and taverns at an early age of thirteen, where he composed and performed his music, caught the attention of the music critics and musicians. However, his real fame came after he composed his masterpiece, “A German Requiem.” In his career, he composed different types of works, including symphonies, piano, concerti, choral, and chamber music. In fact, he had composed more than two hundred songs in his career. Therefore, to understand the life and career of Johannes Brahms, it is imperative to discuss his achievements and the influence he had on the society.
In 1850, Johannes met Eduard Remenyi, who familiarized him with Hungarian music. By 1853, Brahms had composed several pieces for piano, while in the same year, the duo decided to take a tour, which launched Brahms career. Later in 1858, Brahms performed Piano Concerto in D Minor in the German cities of Leipzig, Hanover, and Hamburg (Jan 12). However, only in Hamburg where his music was appreciated was a situation that followed his appointment as conductor of women’s choir in the city where he wrote the Marienlieder. In 1860, Brahms was angered by the fact that the Germans were accepting the experimental music of the German School, which Liszt headed. He decided to move to Hamburg, where he composed more songs and made several public appearances. In 1863, Brahms performed at a concert in Vienna, Austria, where he introduced his compositions to the public (Jan 14). In the same year, Brahms became the director of the Singakademie in Vienna, but a year later, he resigned and continued to compose more music.
According to Guido and Strunk, Brahms had a passion for music and made major achievements in his career. He first visited Vienna for the first time in 1860 and was later appointed as Singakademie choral group director in 1863. In the group, he concentrated on historical and modern Cappella musical works. Later in 1870, Brahms became the conductor of the Society of Friends of Music (118). Additionally, he served as a director of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for three terms. One of his major achievements came after the death of his mother, where he completed the famous “German Requiem” whose composition consisted of Biblical texts, which was considered as the most significant pieces of choral music created in the century. He later composed waltzes for piano duo and Hungarian Dances (Guido and Strunk 124). Therefore, it is evident that Brahms made major achievements in his career and played a role in growing other people musically.
Impact on the Society
Brahms style of music had major impacts on people, especially the artists. He maintained a classical form and order in his songs; hence, he was seen as a champion of pure traditional music. For this reason, most people enjoyed and related to his music since his melodic output was bold and had a sense of harmony and rhythm. Therefore, this style influenced the modern and the conservative music composers since a significant number of music lovers admired it. In his lifetime, Brahms greatly influenced and mentored several musicians, such as Julius Rontgen, Robert Fuchs, and Gustav, who was his only formal music student (Jan 77). He trained and gave the needed assistance to other musicians who admired and influenced by his music. Brahms style of music influenced many other musicians, while some British composers confessed to having learned a lot from him (Guido and Strunk 137). Under those premises, Brahms was honored at the German Hall of Fame as one of the greatest composers who greatly impacted peoples’ lives.
From the discussion, it is evident that Johannes was one of the most influential music composers in German and in the greater Europe. He was born in a musical family, although his father did not make it to the limelight. However, he drew inspiration from his father since he started performing alongside him at a young age of thirteen. By the age of twenty, Brahms had already composed his music. Although some people considered him old-fashioned, the critics compared him with the music giants such as Beethoven and Bach. He rose to fame after the popular “German Requiem,” which he composed after the death of his mother. In his career, he became the director and conductor of several musical groups. He was considered one of the most influential music composers in Europe and had major impacts on the musicians who admired his style and those who enjoyed his music.
Adler, Guido, and W. Oliver Strunk. “Johannes Brahms: His Achievement, His Personality, and His Position.” The Musical Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 2, 2003, pp. 113–142. www.jstor.org/stable/738793
Swafford, Jan. Johannes Brahms: A Biography. Vintage Books, 2000.