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A Brahms Reader
     

A Brahms Reader

by Michael Musgrave
 
This engaging account of the life of Johannes Brahms provides a fuller portrait of the German composer than ever before. Eminent Brahms scholar Michael Musgrave draws on a wide array of documentation to illuminate Brahms's personality; his outlook as a composer; his activities as pianist, conductor, scholar, and traveler; his friendship with Robert and Clara Schumann;

Overview

This engaging account of the life of Johannes Brahms provides a fuller portrait of the German composer than ever before. Eminent Brahms scholar Michael Musgrave draws on a wide array of documentation to illuminate Brahms's personality; his outlook as a composer; his activities as pianist, conductor, scholar, and traveler; his friendship with Robert and Clara Schumann; and much more.

Editorial Reviews

John Daverio
Elegantly written and broad in scope. A richly drawn portrait of one of [music’s] most significant—but elusive—figures.
Walter Frisch
This volume immediately takes its place as an indispensable publication on Brahms.
Richard Cormier
Unique and compellingly written. —Tampa Tribune Times
Hilary Finch
A lucid and comprehensive overview of Brahms documentation and scholarship. —BBC Music Magazine
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Of all the books about Brahms (1833-1897) that have appeared since the centenary of his death, none is more comprehensive than Musgrave's (The Music of Brahms). This reader, while not a chronological narrative, examines various letters and reminiscences of Brahms's contemporaries, organized into broad categories: Brahms the Man; Brahms the Composer; Brahms the Performer; Brahms the Scholar and Student of the Arts; The Social Brahms: Friendship and Travel; and Brahms in Perspective. Musgrave, a visiting professor of music at the University of London, places Brahms's obsession with Clara Schumann, wife of his mentor Robert Schumann, in the broader context of the composer's difficult relationship with women--and Brahms fans should be prepared for shocks. The social reformer Ethel Smyth wrote this about Brahms: "If they [women] did not appeal to him he was incredibly awkward and ungracious; if they were pretty he had an unpleasant way of leaning back in his chair, pouting out his lips, stroking his mustache, and staring at them as a greedy boy stares at jam tartlets." The book bursts with Brahms's feelings about life and art, and completing the picture are the opinions of close colleagues (Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim), composers who praised him (Schoenberg and Mahler) and those who condemned him (Wagner, Liszt and Tchaikovsky, the latter of whom wrote, "I never could, and never can admire his music"). Brahms called his requiem A German Requiem rather than The German Requiem. It is tempting to suggest the opposite for the title of this all-encompassing book, which might have been called The Brahms Reader. 24 illus. not seen by PW. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Musgrave (Univ. of London), the author or editor of several other works on Brahms, here presents a historical-cultural narrative and a fascinating compendium of Brahms-related correspondence and opinion. Using excerpts from the composer's own writings--as well as from the writings of musicians and scholars influenced by him--Musgrave has written a fine account of the composer's legacy. The book is divided into sections devoted to Brahms's personality, family, and relations, as well as his role as composer, performer, and student of the arts and the critical reception of his creative efforts. Although the book is both clearly written and exhaustive, it can be disorderly, with an occasionally confusing organization and some unnecessary repetition. Nevertheless, this important contribution to Brahms literature will complement Jan Swafford's excellent Johannes Brahms: A Biography (an LJ Best Book of 1997). Recommended for academic and public libraries.--Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300068047
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
02/09/2000
Pages:
362
Product dimensions:
6.43(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.13(d)

What People are Saying About This

John Daverio
A richly drawn portrait of one of the most significant–but elusive–figures in the western musical canon.

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