Brahms hesitated for a long time over writing a solo concerto for an instrument whose technique he was not very familiar with. Therefore in 1877/78 his Concerto for violin and orchestra op. 77 came into being in close collaboration with his friend Joseph Joachim, who also contributed a cadenza for it. The work was quickly received with enthusiasm by Brahms’s contemporaries, and today is still considered a central piece in the repertoire, so an Urtext edition in a convenient small format is useful for study purposes. It is based on the musical text of the New Brahms Complete Edition, and likewise contains the cadenza by Joachim in two different variants, first in the original form, and second, in a very interesting, condensed variant that Brahms made later with the violinist Marie Soldat.
- Violin Concerto D major op. 77
Johannes Brahms’s Concerto for Violin with Orchestral Accompaniment, op. 77, is one of the most significant violin concertos of the nineteenth century. Like its companions by Ludwig van Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert Schumann, Antonín Dvorák, Peter Tchaikovsky, and Max Bruch, it bears the imprint of the composer’s working relationship with a leading … 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
Preface and endnotes are copious, much space being taken up by spelling out alternative fingerings and bowings for the solo part on fragments of stave rather than in the score itself. Violinists will consult these with interest, ditto the two versions of Joachim’s cadenza (the traditional and an earlier, slightly shorter one).