Johannes Brahms

"New Trails“ was the title of an enthusiastic article in the "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik“ in which Robert Schumann introduced Johannes Brahms (born on May 7th 1833 in Hamburg) to the musical world. Praised as an innovator by Schumann, Brahms was elevated against his will by the influential Viennese music critic Eduard Hanslick to a position as figurehead of a conservative "music party“: Hanslick saw Brahms as a guarantor for the continuation of the tradition of Beethoven, which needed to be defended against inroads from the "new Germans“, Wagner, Liszt and Bruckner. More because of Hanslick's advocacy than because of his compositions, Brahms became known as a conservative composer, an appraisal Arnold Schönberg vehemently challenged in his article: "Brahms, the Progressive“. Weighed down by the burden of having to write in the symphonic form after Beethoven's Ninth, Brahms waited until he was 43 years old before presenting his First Symphony. Three others followed and represent, beside Bruckner's compositions, the most significant contribution to the symphonic form after Beethoven in the 19th century. But Brahms created trail-blazing works in the areas of chamber music and choral music, too. In this genre, his "Ein deutsches Requiem“ became one of his greatest successes.

Johannes Brahms died on April 3rd 1897 in Vienna.