Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) – a giant even amongst the most significant artists of his time. He was a German composer whose works are filled with themes taken from traditional German folk and religious music, in the same measure as Russian undertones may be detected in Tchaikovsky’s compositions. This particular quality is responsible for the fact that Brahms’s compositions are not fully accepted in such countries as France or Italy.
Eduard Hanslick, a very influential critic, claimed that Brahms’s music constitutes an embodiment of absolute music ‘clangourous form in movement’ and he contrasted it with Richard Wagner’s music. Brahms got thus involved in an aesthetic argument though he had never intended to impose his point of view to anybody else. He was twenty years younger than Wagner and was able to distance himself from the past, draw from Baroque and Classicism and delight himself with music composed by Viotti, Paganini, Beethoven and Schumann whom he saw as his predecessors. Brahms was trying to express himself through music and yet on doing so he was extremely forehanded.
Brahms was the master of form; however, his symphonies, chamber music pieces, piano compositions and songs have one common feature, namely realism. They were all meant to express truth, sometimes very painful yet declared in a very kind-hearted way.
His music ideas are very noble indeed, and the way in which they are being developed can warm up every heart. Even though Brahms’s music is filled with seriousness it is characterised by moderate tempo as well as vivid and rich sounds. It is energising and endowed with enormous power which means that the audience after having listened to his pieces feel invigorated and enlivened.