A Guide to the Musical Works of Johannes Brahms
Hardcover - 448 pages 1 Ed edition (March 1, 1999), usually ships within 24 hours.
is the first word that occurs to you when you begin exploring what has been put together by Leon Botstein and his 29 collaborators--and it's appropriate. Seen from a distance (and how else can we see him more than a century after his death?) there is also something monumental--almost forbidding--about the figure of Brahms himself. He was the great musical conservative in the creative ferment of the late 19th century. Haunted by the figure of Beethoven, he destroyed much of his own work--carefully tailoring his posthumous image--in fear of negative comparisons. At the same time, he preserved almost single-handedly the great classical tradition embodied in Beethoven's work, particularly the tradition of the symphony and other abstract works using sonata form, which was nearly engulfed in Brahms's lifetime by Lisztian tone poems, Wagnerian "music of the future," the rise of musical nationalism, and even the first stirrings of impressionism. In this context, Brahms becomes a lonely figure but a vital one. Virtually every piece composed by Brahms and not sacrificed to his uncompromising critical standards is discussed in this compendium, lucidly, readably, in biographical and cultural context, and in fine detail. The writers are all scholars or professional performers--often both--but they have worked hard to make their discussions and analyses accessible to the interested general reader, and in their diversity of approaches they have made the book a compendium of the varied techniques for writing readably about music. You may not agree with every word (a fine seasoning of opinion has been allowed to flavor the masses of fact), and it is not the sort of book that anyone but a fanatic will gallop through from cover to cover. But you will find Brahms here in all his complexity, still monumental but more approachable than ever. --Joe McLellan
A Guide to the Musical Works of Johannes Brahms The 1997 centennial of Brahms's death has intensified interest among concertgoers and music lovers in the composer's prodigious body of work. For all those eager to delve more deeply into Brahms's music, The Compleat Brahms is an indispensable companion. In a single volume that covers every work written by Brahms, leading scholars from across the country provide details of each work's composition and discuss its important stylistic features....