In the 19th century, arrangements for piano four-hands were usually versions which people played at home if the works could not be heard in concert. In cases such as these Brahms did not, however, just make functional versions but creatively transcribed his works for the piano. As the composer he allowed himself greater freedom than arrangers for publishers did. In this form his arrangements greatly contributed to the success of his works in musical life in the 19th century. It is on account of their creativity that Brahms’ arrangements have attracted new interest in musical circles over the last few decades. Our Urtext edition of the Symphonies nos. 1 and 2 for piano four hands offers a scholarly musical text following the recently published volume in the Brahms Complete Edition.
- Symphony no. 1 c minor op. 68
- Symphony no. 2 D major op. 73
The arranging of large-scale works for piano duet, on one or two pianos, is an important music-sociological and music-historical fact of the 19th century. With the move of orchestral and choral music into the sphere of domestic music-making, amateurs and professionals alike had many more opportunities, as players and listeners, to immerse themselves in these works and to … 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
Het is een genot om uit de prachtig overzichtelijke Urtext van Henle te spelen.
Not surprisingly, it does not include absolutely all the orchestral parts but does make a coherent piece of piano music and is very rewarding for advanced students to play.