May’s Composer of the Month – Brahms

Each month we will take some time to  focus on a different composer. Learning the personal and musical history of some of the biggest influences to modern music today!

johannesbrahmsAll of May we will be learning about Johannes Brahms. Undoubtedly best known for his composition "Lullaby" which to this day is still sung to children all over the world. Brahms was born in Hamburg Germany on May 7th 1833. His father was a double bassist for the Hamburg Philharmonic Society, introducing young Johannes to music from the time he was born. He began playing the piano at age 7 and quickly began to out shine his peers. By his teenage years he was already an accomplished musician, and used his talents playing in local Inn's and city docks to make extra money for his often struggling family.

In 1853 Brahms was introduced to the renowned German composer and music critic Robert Schumann. The two men quickly grew close, with Schumann seeing in his younger friends great hope for the future of music. He dubbed Brahms a genius and praised the "young eagle" publicly in a famous article. The kind words quickly made the young composer a known entity in the music world. In 1854 Schumann fell ill. In a sign of his close friendship with his mentor and his family, Brahms assisted Schumann's wife, Clara, with the management of her household affairs. Music historians believe that Brahms soon fell in love with Clara, though she doesn't seem to have reciprocated his admiration. Even after Schumann's death in 1856, the two remained solely friends.

In 1863 Brahms moved to Vienna where he worked as a choral director and composer. In 1868, following the death of his mother, he finished his composition  "A German Requiem" a piece often cited as one of the most important pieces of choral music created in the 19th century. Brahms lived out the rest of his life in Vienna, passing away on April 3rd, 1897. Although he was a known romantic, falling in love with many women, he was never married.

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