Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Brahms was an extreme perfectionist; he threw into the fire any music he did not deem up to his high standards. As a result, the ratio of masterpieces to lesser works in his output is extremely high. At an early age, critics began calling Brahms the successor to Beethoven, and he cemented this legacy with his four symphonies and profusion of chamber music. Brahms avoided the dramatic Romanticism of Berlioz and Liszt, and instead took after the Viennese Classical masters Mozart and Beethoven, as well as his more recent predecessors Schubert and Schumann. Unlike his contemporary Richard Wagner, Brahms composed no operas, and as the nineteenth century drew to a close musicians were divided into the "Brahmsians," who emphasized controlled passion in traditional styles, and "Wagnerians," who favored dramatic expression and formal experimentation. Today Brahms is one of the "three great B's" of classical music (along with Bach and Beethoven), and his music is loved worldwide for its beauty and its emotional power. However, the music is often regarded as "brainy," and its complexities aren't always immediately unraveled by the first-time listener. But Brahms's music is so incredibly rich that his works always offer something new to the listener, even on the tenth or 20th or 100th hearing.
Brahms was born into a musical family in northern Germany. He earned his living as a pianist until the age of twenty, after which he was able to concentrate solely on composition. He incorporated himself into the leading musical circles, making friends with Robert and Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt, and the violinist Joseph Joachim. In the 1860s Brahms settled in Vienna, from whence he made occasional concert tours throughout Germany and Austria. As he produced masterpiece after masterpiece, his fame spread throughout Europe and the United States, and in his later years he was viewed as the greatest living composer of orchestral and chamber music. Brahms's influence on later music was enormous. Many twentieth-century composers looked to him for inspiration in their own works. In particular Arnold Schoenberg, founder of Serialism, wrote an essay entitled "Brahms the Progressive" that showed how Brahms's ability to develop enormous compositions out of tiny musical gestures paved the way for the musical revolutions of the early 1900s.
What to do next
Once you have browsed and read about the recommended albums of this section at Classicalcdguide.com, you can come back here and download the albums that has cought your interest. The albums marked by a red number are the ones I have yet been unable to find anywhere so any help on that matter would be very much appreciated.
If you want more
In case you feel inspired to get more you are welcome to visit the main page of project Climax from where you will have access to a virtual library of quality recordings of classical music. Everything indexed into a variety of categories that should suit everyones taste.
Big Thanks to incerta for buying and sharing album no. 7: String Sextets 1&2
01 - Piano Trio No. 1 Op. 8, No. 2 Op. 87 - Eroica Trio (EMI 2002)
02 - Brahms & Tchaikovsky; Violin concertos Op. 77 & 35 - Heifetz, Reiner & CSO (RCA 1993)
03 - Mozart & Brahms; Clarinet Quintets - David Shifrin & Emerson String Quartet (DG 1999)
04 - Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 - Bruno Walter & Columbia Symphony Orchestra (Sony 1995)
05 - Piano Quartets: No. 1-3 Op. 25, 26 & 60 - Walter Trampler, Beaux Arts Trio (Philips 1996)
06 - Ein Deutsches Requiem - Margiono, Gilfry, Gardiner & The Monteverdi Choir (Philips 1991)
07 - String Sextets: No. 1 Op.18, No. 2 Op. 36 - Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, Ax, Robinson (Sony 1992)
08 - Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Eskin, Fleisher, Szell & Cleveland Orchestra (Sony 1997) 2 CDs
09 - Symphony No. 1, Tragic Overture, Alto Rhapsody - Klemperer & Philharmonia Orchestra (EMI 1999)
10 - Rhapsodies Op. 79, Piano Pieces Opp. 117-119 - Radu Lupu (Decca 1990)
11 - Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 Opp. 78, 100, 108 - Artur Rubinstein, Henryk Szeryng (RCA 2000)
12 - String Quartets No. 1 & 2 Op. 51, No. 3 Op. 67 - Amadeus String Quartet (DG 1998)
13 - Bach; Cantata No. 82, Brahms; Vier erneste Gesänge - Bernard, Moore (EMI 2004)