Seeking the essence of Brahms

Posted on: April 10, 2017

“How do you describe the music of Brahms?,” writes Elinor Cooper in the April issue of BBC Music Magazine. “That very question has had both audiences and critics alike searching for an answer, and has often divided them into fiercely opposing camps along the way. At one level, Brahms’s position in the pantheon of great composers is absolutely secure. Everyone acknowledges the mastery of this composer who would write learned canons and fugues for fun. But some doubt that Brahms had that other quality necessary to the great composer, the burning inspiration and daring that justifies all the hard-won technique. …  And yet—again like the man himself—the stern surface hides a wealth of tender feeling. … Brahms’s refusal to revel in straightforward states of feeling and his craftsman’s pride in making every piece as perfect as it could be are two sides of the same coin. They show an unflinching respect for truth, both musical and emotional. …in an era which prefers quick gratifications, his music now seems peculiarly precious. It epitomizes what classical music stands for.” Following that introduction, classical music journalists Ivan Hewett, Bayan Northcott, and Jessica Duchen offer their own perspectives on Brahms.

Posted April 10, 2017