My favorite playlist (1): Brahms

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This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Favorite Playlist

Let’s first put some nice music background:


Direct Link to YouTube [BLSXaJIaKfo]

Those who know me personally will guess which composer I take first… and here he comes: Brahms! Ah, dear Johannes. I think there isn’t a day of the year that I don’t feel like listening to his music, in whatever circumstances. Probably because my character is also contemplative and nostalgic, like his music? And because I am crazy about Italy aswell? I guess many people have these characteristics.

Not that I was a Brahms fan as a kid, I discovered his music when I was around 17, but he is one of the rare composers that I don’t ever get tired of. I have had some phases, getting crazy for Haydn, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and many others. But Brahms stays, forever.

Honestly, what is better than going for a walk in the nature or in a city like Salzburg with wonderful landscapes with some Brahms chamber music in your headphones? It makes the trees look more beautiful, the fresh air more exquisite and the flowers more resplendent.

What you are listening right now if you followed my advice up there is the Horn Trio op.40. Besides hornists and a few educated people, it is quite unknown and rarely played. I trust you to listen to the other movements, the third one is amazing.

Let’s continue with more chamber music: it’s probably my favorite from Brahms. The old cliché of Brahms being a composer of heavy music can be erased completely from our memories if you listen to that. Close your eyes and remember all the moments of tenderness you have had in your life, or watch a landscape…


Direct Link to YouTube [dJl-AaGUkvU]

Pure beauty. Ah, by the way, it’s the 2nd movement of the Clarinet Trio op.114. Sometimes, I wish he would still be alive so I can give him a hug to thank him for his wonderful music! When I made my master thesis about his op.76 (another not often performed opus), I read in many books that he was rather a cold person, not showing much of his feelings, except to his closed friends for whom he would have done anything. Hard to believe after what we listened, or this extract of the op.76:


Direct Link to YouTube [dKnZ0c4Mb9s]

And I remember one of my friends asking me if there was actually an op.76 for piano? Yeah! Quite much, 25 minutes Klavierstücke. But everybody is obsessed about the op.118 and 119…

Let’s also discover some of his vocal music. I didn’t know this lied until some months ago that I was going around for something new on Youtube. Absolutely stunning:


Direct Link to YouTube [oEdBFtVR2Vw]

To finish our exploration, I let you with a pearl of his early piano music, the Variations on a Schumann Theme op.9, written when he was around 21. Yet the best recording I found on Youtube, given that there are only 3 (from what I have investigated, let me know if you find other ones!):


Direct Link to YouTube [cPZLj7DE2cI]

I will be proud of myself if I convinced you that Brahms should be treated as a Holy Spirit – I’m actually atheist: why would we need a God if we have Brahms?! :P
Or maybe you already loved him as I do. Anyway, if you want some more recordings, leave me a comment…

Series Navigation<< My favorite playlist: IntroductionMy favorite playlist (3): Debussy >>

One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. paul
    juin 14, 2012 @ 23:21:49

    wonderful post

    it would be hard to think of another composer that wrote as much music so full of tenderness and nobility and sanity as Brahms’

    and for me it is the ‘sanity’ that is the key with Brahms – to my ears Brahms has none of the excesses found in other romantic composers

    not that that makes Brahms necessarily better, but i think it does make his music a special source of comfort and inspiration

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