Day 307: Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 1

BrahmsCD1Today begins a new chapter in my three-year journey, and another exploration of the complete works of a Classical composer.

This time, I will listen to everything Johannes Brahams composed.

Once again, I turn to the wonderful label Brilliant Classics and their Johannes Brahams Complete Edition, which you can buy from Amazon.

I also turn to Wikipedia to tell me more about Johannes Brahms:

Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer and pianist.

Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria. In his lifetime, Brahms’s popularity and influence were considerable; following a comment by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow, he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the “Three Bs”.

Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works; he worked with some of the leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim. Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire. Brahms, an uncompromising perfectionist, destroyed some of his works and left others unpublished.

Brahms is often considered both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Baroque and Classical masters. He was a master of counterpoint, the complex and highly disciplined art for which Johann Sebastian Bach is famous, and of development, a compositional ethos pioneered by Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and other composers.

The musicians on Brahms CD 1 are:

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Jaap van Zweden, conductor

The composition is Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 68 and it consists of four movements:

I. Un poco sostenuto – Allegro – Meno allegro
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
IV. Adagio – Piu andante – Allegro non troppo ma con brio – Piu allegro

I had no idea what to expect with Brahms.

I’m sure I heard something he’s composed at some point in my life, quite possibly on the local Classic music radio station. But Continue reading