Brahms mainly composed the eight Piano Pieces op. 76 in summer 1878 in the summer resort of Pörtschach at Lake Wörth. Theodor Billroth, a close friend, was enthusiastic about the new works: “These are magnificent pieces, beautiful and interesting to play. They lie so well under the hand for those who are a little used to Schumann’s and Chopin’s technique that it is a pleasure to practise them.” As the volume “Piano Pieces” was published in 2011 as part of the Johannes Brahms Complete Edition (HN 6014), we are now replacing the previous volume HN 118 with this new one, presenting these “magnificent pieces” in the musical text of the Complete Edition, accompanied by revealing commentaries detailing their genesis and publication.
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After Johannes Brahms (1833–97) had seen his earliest surviving piano work, the Scherzo op. 4, into print in 1854, followed two years later by the four Balladen op. 10, a long time was to elapse before he published any further keyboard pieces. Apart from his three Sonatas op. 1, 2, and 5 (printed at the end of 1853 and in early 1854), his interest in the realm of piano music … more
About the composer
His significant output comprises chamber music, piano works, numerous choral compositions and songs (including settings of folk-song lyrics), as well as large-scale orchestral works in the 1870s and 1880s. His compositions are characterized by the process of developing variation. He is considered an antithesis to the New German School around Liszt, and an advocate of “absolute” music.
|1833||Born in Hamburg on May 7, the son of a musician. His first piano instruction with Willibald Cossel at age seven, then with Eduard Marxen; first public performances from 1843.|
|1853||Concert tour through German cities; he meets Schumann, who announces him as the next great composer in his essay “Neue Bahnen” (“New Paths”). A lifelong, intimate friendship develops with Clara Schumann.|
|1854–57||Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15.|
|1857–59||Choir director, pianist, and teacher at the royal court in Detmold.|
|1859–61||Director of the Hamburg Women’s Choir.|
|1860||Manifesto against the New Germans around Liszt.|
|1863||Cantata “Rinaldo,” Op. 50.|
|1863–64||Director of the Wiener Singakademie.|
|1868||Partial performance in Vienna of “A German Requiem,” Op. 45 (the complete work premiered in Leipzig in 1869)|
|1871–74||Artistic director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of Friends of Music) in Vienna.|
|1873||Haydn Variations, Op. 56a, for orchestra.|
|from 1877||His symphonic output begins with the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (begun 1862); composition of the Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73; the Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 (1883); and Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (1884–85): cantabile themes, chamber-music-like style.|
|from 1878||Travels in Italy.|
|1878||Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, for Joseph Joachim.|
|1881||Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83, with a scherzo movement.|
|1886||Honorary president of Vienna’s Tonkünstlerverein (Association of Musicians).|
|1897||Four Serious Songs, Op. 121. Dies in Vienna on April 3.|
About the authors
Un pur chef-d'oeuvre du romantisme tardif magnifiquement bien amené dans la présente édition.
Bijzondere vermelding verdient de lay-out waarin een zichtbaar gevoel voor de coördinatie tussen hand- een oogbewegingen een heel praktisch onderscheid tussen hoofd en bijzaken mogelijk maakt.