Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German composer and pianist. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria. In his lifetime, Brahms's popularity and influence were considerable. So much so, that he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the "Three Bs".
Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works; he worked with some of the leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim (the three were close friends). Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire.
Brahms is often considered both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Baroque and Classical masters. He was a master of counterpoint, the complex and highly disciplined art for which Johann Sebastian Bach is famous, and of development, a compositional ethos pioneered by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and other composers. Brahms aimed to honour the "purity" of these venerable "German" structures and advance them into a Romantic idiom, in the process creating bold new approaches to harmony and melody.
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