Johannes Brahms

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Johannes Brahms (1889)
Brahms signature

Johannes Brahms (born May 7, 1833 in Hamburg , † April 3, 1897 in Vienna ) was a German composer , pianist and conductor . His compositions are mainly assigned to high romanticism ; however, by including baroque and classical forms, they go beyond these. Brahms is considered one of the most important composers in music history.


Early years

Brahms was born on the first floor of this house in the Caffamacherreihe in Hamburg's Gängeviertel (photo 1891). The house was destroyed in Operation Gomorrah . Brahms's later apartments have not survived either.
Johannes Brahms around 1853

Johannes Brahms came from a widespread Lower Saxony-North German family. He was the second of the three children of Johann Jakob (1806–1872) and Johanna Henrika Christiane Brahms, née Nissen (1789–1865).

His father, who saw making music as a craft to earn a living, played the double bass and horn . He performed with small ensembles in dance halls in Hamburg. Later he was a member of the orchestra of the Stadttheater and the Hamburg Philharmonic under Julius Stockhausen .

Since his father came from Heide (Holstein) and his grandfather lived there, the young Johannes Brahms also spent a lot of time in the country in Dithmarschen in his youth . His grandfather's house in Heide is now a museum of the Brahms Society Schleswig-Holstein.

Brahms received his first piano lessons at the age of seven from Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel, and he also played the cello. Brahms' talent for composing was also evident early on, and through Cossel's mediation he was accepted as a piano and composition student in 1843 by the then well-known Hamburg composer Eduard Marxsen . His fantasies about a popular waltz , written under a pseudonym in 1849, are evidence of a virtuoso piano playing.

Brahms often published his early works under pseudonyms (GW Marks, Karl Würth) and assigned them higher opus numbers. In the beginning Brahms wrote only piano works, the possibilities and limits of the orchestra were too little familiar to him. Later he also asked experienced composers from his circle of friends for help in composing his first orchestral works.

In 1853 the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi, who was his friend, introduced the violinist Joseph Joachim, who was in Hanover, to meet him . Joachim recommended Brahms to contact Franz Liszt , who was then court conductor in Weimar . He promised to mention him in a letter to the music publisher Breitkopf & Härtel . Brahms did not expect much from this and turned to Joachim with the wish that the latter would introduce him to artistic life. Thereupon Joachim persuaded him to visit the composer Robert Schumann , who was in Düsseldorf .

Acquaintance with Robert and Clara Schumann

In Düsseldorf Brahms met Robert Schumann and his wife Clara . On October 25, 1853, the first article on Johannes Brahms was published in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, founded by Robert Schumann and published in Leipzig . Under the heading “New Railways” Schumann wrote:

“And he has come, a young blood, at whose cradle graces and heroes kept watch. His name is Johannes Brahms, he came from Hamburg, working there in dark silence, but trained by an excellent and enthusiastic teacher in difficult positions of art, recommended to me shortly beforehand by a well-known master. He wore all the signs on him, also on the outside, that announce to us: This is a called one. "

Schumann also campaigned for the Breitkopf & Härtel publishing house to publish some works by Brahms. This commitment made the twenty year old Brahms famous in Germany. Brahms thereupon expressed in letters to Schumann his fear that he would not be able to meet the standards of the public. He self-critically burned some of his works.

Clara Schumann had gained fame throughout Europe as a pianist - and surpassed her husband. After Robert Schumann was admitted to the Richarz'sche Heilanstalt in Endenich in the spring of 1854 , the contact between Clara and Brahms intensified. He lived temporarily in the same house in Düsseldorf where Clara Schumann and her six children lived. His intimate emotional interweaving with Clara and Robert Schumann is expressed in his piano variations op. 9 on a theme by Robert Schumann, who got to know these variations during his stay in Endenich and found them wonderful. In bars 30–32 of the 10th variation, a Clara's theme appears as the middle part, on which Robert Schumann had based his op. Between 1854 and 1858 Clara Schumann and Brahms maintained an extensive correspondence; they later destroyed it almost completely by mutual agreement. Brahms adored and loved Clara 14 years his senior.

Detmold and Hamburg

The young Johannes Brahms (around 1866)

In 1857 Brahms moved to Detmold . He led a choir there and gave piano lessons. During that time he was working on a new major project: the first piano concerto op. 15 in D minor . Regarding the orchestration was him Joseph Joachim ratgebend aside. It is often interpreted as a reflection of the futile passion for Clara Schumann; the phase was just over. It was premiered on January 22nd, 1859 in Hanover . Its repetition in Leipzig on the 27th of the same month failed the critics. Breitkopf & Härtel therefore did not want to publish it, which is why the Swiss publisher Jakob Melchior Rieter-Biedermann came on board from 1860 . From 1856, Brahms had contact with Rieter-Biedermann, who published 22 works by Brahms, the first in 1858 to be the "Volks-Kinderlieder" without any indication of the author. Brahms did not hide his disappointment at this and resolved that a second work should be “completely different”. His second piano concerto op. 83 in B flat major - it was published 22 years after the first - was completely different in character from the D minor concerto.

During the Detmold period, in addition to the piano concerto, two orchestral serenades ( op. 11 and op. 16 ) and songs were written, including Under Blossoms of May I play with her hand . Brahms hereby echoed his encounter with Agathe von Siebold. For one summer he gave in to his infatuation (Clara Schumann wrote offended that he had comforted himself very quickly). His second string sextet alludes to Agathe von Siebold in the first movement with a theme; it contains the tone sequence: AGAHE . No sooner had the engagement rings been exchanged with Agathe than Brahms withdrew. He found himself unable to commit himself, did not do so later either, and remained unmarried.

In May 1859 Brahms returned to Hamburg. Among other things, the Magelonen-Gesänge (completed in 1869), chamber music and several cycles of variations for piano were written there: Variations on a theme of their own , variations on a Hungarian song , variations on a theme by Handel and the variations on a theme by Schumann (four hands).

In 1860 Brahms made the acquaintance of the publisher Fritz Simrock . This helped Brahms to become widely known as a publisher of his work; It was not always easy for Brahms to publish his compositions in the 1860s. The publishers were careful - the first piano concerto had failed before the transfer; in addition, Brahms' piano pieces were considered difficult to play. Brahms' urge for perfection also led to delays: he often put off his publishers when they sent the manuscript, since it seemed to him that he could improve the composition.

One reason to turn your back on Hamburg was Brahms' displeasure that his patron and fatherly friend Theodor Avé-Lallemant had neither succeeded in getting him the post of director of the Philharmonic Concerts nor asserting him as choir master of the Singakademie in 1862/63. Although Brahms had never openly applied for these positions, he was deeply hurt that Julius Stockhausen was chosen over him. The process put a strain on the friendly relationship with Avé-Lallemant for years.

First stays in Vienna

Johannes Brahms (from: The Gazebo 1880)

A first engagement in Vienna in 1862 brought recognition and praise. Brahms played his first piano quartet in G minor with Josef Hellmesberger senior at a private evening event , whereupon the latter exclaimed enthusiastically: “This is Beethoven's legacy!” Brahms had a hard time with the bon mot; asked it to make comparisons that it feared would not be seen as equals.

In 1863 Brahms accepted the offer to become choirmaster of the Vienna Singing Academy . In 1864 he gave up this office again because he no longer felt that he could cope with its burdens.

One of the works that followed was the German Requiem , which does not follow the traditional Latin texts but contains Bible texts in German. The premiere in Bremen in 1868 was celebrated enthusiastically. On the other hand, the publication of the Hungarian Dances , in which Brahms had resorted to gypsy tunes belonging to the common good , almost turned into a scandal: Brahms reached a much wider audience with them than with his other works, but suddenly other musicians spoke up (including his old Freund Reményi) and claimed to be the originator of the music.

Move to Vienna

The house where Brahms lived and where he died at Karlsgasse 4, where he lived from January 1, 1872 until his death in 1897

In 1872 Brahms finally settled in Vienna and lived in two (from 1877 three) rooms in apartment no. 4 in house at Karlsgasse 4 in the Wieden district . As a pianist, Brahms was so successful in those years that he was able to earn a living without a permanent job. Nevertheless, he took over the management of the Vienna Singing Club from 1873 to 1875 . He and his publishers also earned so much from the compositions they had already published that Simrock insisted on giving him something new to publish.

Brahms became friends in Vienna with Heinrich von Herzogenberg , among others , whose wife Elisabeth later reviewed Brahms' plays in a lively correspondence, mostly even to Clara Schumann.

On November 4, 1876, the premiere of the first symphony in C minor op. 68 took place in Karlsruhe . Brahms had already started work on this work in 1862, but did not finish it until 1876 during a stay in Sassnitz on Rügen. On December 30, 1877, the second symphony in D major op. 73 was premiered in Vienna. In March 1878 Brahms received an honorary doctorate from the University of Breslau . In 1880 he worked on two overtures , the Academic Festival Overture op. 80 as thanks for the Wroclaw honorary doctorate and the Tragic Overture op. 81, of which he said: "One is crying, the other is laughing."

In 1883 Brahms was a founding member of the First Vienna Horn Club, which later became the Wiener Waldhornverein . Brahms was a horn player himself and remained active in the club.

During a stay of several months in Wiesbaden (formerly "Geisbergstrasse 19", today "Schöne Aussicht 7") in the summer of 1883, he composed the third symphony in F major, Op. 90 . This stay was made possible by his friendship with the couple Rudolf and Laura von Beckerath, the parents of the painter Willy von Beckerath , of whom there are many portraits by Brahms. The 3rd symphony was premiered in Vienna in December. The fourth symphony in E minor, Op. 98 , was composed during the summer stays in Mürzzuschlag in 1884 and 1885 ( Brahmsmuseum Mürzzuschlag ) in Styria . Its world premiere took place under the direction of Hans von Bülow with the Meiningen court orchestra on October 25, 1885 in Meiningen . Then Brahms and Bülow went on a tour of Rhineland-Holland with the piece, on which Brahms also conducted the court orchestra several times.

Last years

Brahms (right) with Johann Strauss (son) (1894)

In the following years Brahms composed mainly chamber music (violin and cello sonatas). In 1886 he became honorary president of the Vienna Tonkünstlerverein. In Meiningen, which he visited a total of 15 times, he developed a close friendship with the art-loving duke couple Georg II and Helene Freifrau von Heldburg , the conductor Fritz Steinbach and the well-known clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld , for whom he personally created the trio for clarinet, violoncello and piano A minor op.114 and the clarinet quintet in B minor op.115 (1891). His circle of friends in Vienna also included the court opera singer Gustav Walter , who premiered several of his songs, accompanied by Brahms himself.

For the last two decades of his life, Brahms was a leading figure on the international music scene and was admired and revered as a pianist, conductor and composer. He has received numerous awards and honorary memberships, which Brahms commented with the words: "If I can think of a nice melody, I prefer that to an order of Leopold." In 1889 he was granted honorary citizenship of Hamburg .

In the same year a special kind of testimony emerged: On December 2, 1889, Brahms played in the house of his friend Richard Fellinger (1848–1903) and his wife Maria (1849–1925), who portrayed the composer as an artist and created sculptures and sculptures by him , a part of the Hungarian Dance No. 1 on the piano and was recorded with a phonograph . Despite its poor quality, the recording offers the only authentic testimony to Brahms' own piano playing. In addition, the announcement could have been partially spoken by himself. In honor of Johannes Brahms, the conductor Fritz Steinbach initiated the Meiningen State Music Festival in 1895, 1899 and 1903 with the presence and cooperation of the international Brahms community, with Brahms himself being the guest of honor at the 1st State Music Festival in September 1895.

Brahms died early morning on April 3, 1897 at the age of 63 in his apartment at Karlsgasse 4, which he had lived in since 1872, of liver cancer , according to some biographies, and of pancreatic cancer , according to more recent information . After being laid out in the mourning house, where Carl Kundmann removed his death mask and Ludwig Michalek made a last pastel picture , the blessing took place on April 6th in the Lutheran City Church . He was buried in an honorary grave in the Vienna Central Cemetery (Group 32A, No. 26). The grave monument designed by the sculptor Ilse Conrat (1880–1942) was unveiled with great solemnity on May 7, 1903, Brahms's 70th birthday.

Importance as a composer


Johannes Brahms' grave of honor in the Vienna Central Cemetery
Leschetizky-Höhe in Bad Ischl , where “Guten Abend, gut 'Nacht” was composed

Brahms' work is part of a pan-European musical tradition. Not only Beethoven and the composers of the early Romantic period like Schumann influenced his music, but also Bach , Handel and Palestrina . Brahms resorted to medieval church modes and the Dutch canon technique. He felt obliged to the past. The deviations from tradition he made were carried out in inconspicuous steps. Although Brahms essentially adopted traditional forms, he created an independent and autonomous work.

Brahms was already in his lifetime and is still occasionally referred to as the "legitimate successor of Ludwig van Beethoven". Hans von Bülow remarked that Brahms' first symphony was Beethoven's “Tenth”.

Musicological works speak of three creative periods for him: The first extends to the German Requiem , the second to the second piano concerto and the third begins with the third symphony. For the first period the romantic basic attitude is significant, the second is characterized by a strong classical influence, and the third is a fusion of these basic attitudes with one another.

In the so-called music dispute, Brahms was one of the opponents of the New German School , which propagated the program music of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner as musical progress. Brahms was a traditionalist and preferred what he called “permanent music”: music that was withdrawn from historical change due to its specific quality.


With his symphonies, Brahms not only put the general public to a severe test, but also his friends, as some of them are difficult to access. He already noted about his first symphony: “Now I would like to make the probably very surprising announcement that my symphony is long and not exactly lovable.” Brahms also worked with harmonies on the others that the audience did not want to understand. Eduard Hanslick commented on a piano rehearsal of the first movement of the complex fourth symphony with the words: "For the whole movement I had the feeling that I was being beaten by two terribly witty people."

The trigger for a reassessment of his work in the first half of the 20th century was the essay Brahms, the progressive by Arnold Schönberg (1933). Schönberg proved that Brahms had derived his works from the smallest motivic germ cells. Brahms, who had long been underestimated as a classicist, also contributed to the dissolution of tonality through the “centripetal harmony” of his late work (for example in the late Intermezzi op. 117 for piano).


Awards during his lifetime

Based on documents from the Brahms Museum Hamburg and the sources cited

Johannes Brahms ( Otto Böhler )


Honorary memberships

Posthumous honors

“Johannes Brahms” memorial complex in
Meiningen's English Garden
Monument on Karlsplatz in Vienna
Music Mile Vienna


Coins and postage stamps

Brahms as namesake





Brahms' house in Baden-Baden 1865–1874


  • Johannes Brahms Museum at Peterstrasse 39 in Hamburg, managed by the Johannes Brahms Society
  • Brahms house on Brahmsplatz in Baden-Baden, looked after by the Brahms Society
  • Brahmshaus , Lüttenheid 34, in Heide , Schleswig-Holstein, looked after by the Brahms Society
  • Brahms memorial in Altenstein Castle in Bad Liebenstein
  • Brahms memorial room in Vienna- Mariahilf , Haydngasse 19
  • Brahms Museum in Mürzzuschlag ; also the location of a bust of Maria Fellinger


Brahms was the closest friend of the surgeon Theodor Billroth . In his house he met Johann von Mikulicz , with whom he premiered the four-hand waltzes op. 39 .

Françoise Sagan published the novel Aimez-vous Brahms? The American / French film adaptation based on it Do you love Brahms? appeared in 1961.

In the 1970s, the music producer Frank Farian covered the string sextet No. 1 several times for himself and for Gilla (singer) , a. a. as it shouldn't be up to me , Atlantica and My Decision . In 2006 Farian used the melody for the song A Moment Of Love by Boney M.


Orchestral works


Instrumental concerts

Other orchestral works

Piano music

For two hands

For the left hand alone

For four hands

  • Souvenir de la Russie, WoO
  • 21 Hungarian dances (1869 and 1880)
  • Variations on a Theme by Schumann in E flat major, op.23 (1863)
  • 16 Waltz, op.39
  • 18 love songs (waltzes), op.52 a
  • 15 New Love Songs (Waltz), op. 65 a

For two pianos

  • Sonata in F minor, op.34b (based on his piano quintet in F minor, op.34)
  • Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn op.56b (arrangement of op.56a for orchestra)
  • Five waltzes from op. 39, edition for two pianos four hands arranged by the composer for Ms. Seraphine Tausig

Chamber music with piano

Autograph of the Piano Trio No. 2 in C major, Op. 87 (fragment)
  • Piano trio in A major (probably around 1853, only ascribed to Brahms)
  • Piano trio No. 1 in B major op.8 (1854, new version 1891)
  • Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 (1863)
  • Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major op.26 (1863)
  • Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 (1865)
  • Sonata for piano and violoncello No. 1 in E minor op.38 (1865)
  • Trio for horn, violin and piano in E flat major op.40 (1865)
  • Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60 (1875)
  • Sonata for piano and violin No. 1 in G major op.78 (1879)
  • Piano trio No. 2 in C major op.87 (1880)
  • Sonata for violoncello and piano No. 2 in F major op.99 (1886)
  • Sonata for piano and violin No. 2 in A major op.100 (1886)
  • Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Op. 101 (1887)
  • Sonata for piano and violin No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108 (1889)
  • Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114 (1891)
  • 2 sonatas for piano and clarinet (viola) in F minor, E flat major op.120 (1894)
  • Scherzo in C minor for violin and piano WoO 2 (1853, from the FAE Sonata , a joint composition by Brahms, Schumann and Albert Dietrich )

Chamber music without a piano

  • String Sextet No. 1 in B flat major op.18 (1862)
  • String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36 (1866)
  • String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51/1 (1873)
  • String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51/2 (1873)
  • String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major op.67 (1876)
  • String Quintet No. 1 in F major, Op. 88 (1882)
  • String Quintet No. 2 in G major op.111 (1891)
  • Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 (1891)

Organ works

  • Fugue in A minor WoO 8
  • Prelude and Fugue in A minor WoO 9
  • Prelude and Fugue in G minor WoO 10
  • Choral prelude and fugue about "O Sadness, O Heartache" WoO 7
  • Eleven chorale preludes op. Posth. 122

Choral works

  • Postillons Morgenlied (~ 1847/50?) For male choir (found in 2010 in the Celle town archive ). Text: Wilhelm Müller
  • The golden bridges (1853) for male choir (found in 2010 in the Celle town archive). Text: Emanuel Geibel
  • Missa Canonica op. Posth. (1856-, fragment). Later partly used in the motet op. 74,1
  • Ave Maria op.12 (1860)
  • Funeral song op.13 for choir and wind instruments (1860), also as an organ version by Karl Michael Komma
  • Chants for female choir with accompaniment of 2 horns and harp op.17 (1860)
  • Marienlieder for mixed choir op.22 (1859)
  • The 13th Psalm for three-part female choir with accompaniment of the organ or the pianoforte op.27 (1859)
  • Two motets op. 29 (1857–1860): “God create a pure heart in me” op. 29,2 (Psalm 51, 12–14)
  • Sacred song op. 30 (1856)
  • Three sacred choirs for female voices without accompaniment op. 37 (1859/1863)
  • Five songs for four-part male choir op.41 (1861-62?)
  • Three chants for six-part choir a cappella op. 42 (1859–1861), including: Vineta op. 42 No. 2 (1860) based on a poem by Wilhelm Müller and Darthulas Grabesgesang op. 42 No. 3 after Ossian
  • Twelve songs and romances for female choir op.44
  • A German Requiem op.45 (1866/67 and 1868 (movement 5))
  • Rinaldo op.50 (1869)
  • Liebeslieder-Waltz op.52 (1868) and Neue Liebeslieder op.65 (1874). Texts: Georg Friedrich Daumer
  • Rhapsody for alto, male choir and orchestra on a fragment from Goethe's "Harzreise im Winter" op. 53 (1869)
  • Song of Destiny op.54 (1871). Text: Friedrich Hölderlin
  • Triumphal Song op.55 (1871). Text: from the Revelation of John
  • Seven songs for mixed choir op.62 (1874)
  • Two motets op. 74 (1878): Why is light given to the laborious? op. 74,1 and "O Savior, tear open the heavens"
  • Nänie op.82 (1881). Text: Friedrich Schiller
  • Song of the Parzen op.89 (1882). Text: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Songs and romances for four-part mixed choir op.93a (1883/84)
  • Table song by Joseph von Eichendorff for six-part mixed choir with piano op.93b (1884)
  • Gypsy songs op. 103 and 112 for 4 voices and piano
  • Five chants for mixed choir a cappella op.104 (1888)
  • Festive and commemorative speeches a cappella op. 109, “His Magnificence to the Mayor Dr. Admirably dedicated to Carl Petersen in Hamburg "(1888)
  • Three motets op.110 (1889)
  • 13 canons for female voices op.113 (tw. 1863)
  • 14 folk songs for mixed choir without accompaniment WoO 34 (1857–58; 1863–64)
Of noble nature, I would ride with pleasure, At night because of the holy martyr Emmerano, Täublein knows, Oh dear Lord Jesus Christ, Saint Raphael, In a silent night, farewell song, the dead boy, Lust in the May, morning song, reaper Death, The English Hunter
  • 12 folk songs for mixed choir without accompaniment WoO 35 (1863–64)
Divorce, wake up, allow me, the fiddler, down there in the valley, in the evening, wake up, there in the willows, old folk song, the knight and the fine, the carpenter, old German battle song

Songs (monophonic and polyphonic)

" Guten Abend, gut 'Nacht " ( Lullaby , op. 49), sung by Ernestine Schumann-Heink (recording from 1915)
Brahms autograph ( Alternating Song to Dance Op. 31,1) from the estate of Theodor Avé-Lallemant

With opus number

  • Six songs for tenor or soprano and piano op. 3. Dedicated to Bettina von Arnim .
    Liebestreu , Liebe und Frühling I , Liebe und Frühling II , Lied ( Far over the field ), In der Fremde , Lied ( Linde's noise in the tree tops )
  • Six songs for tenor or soprano and piano op. 6. Dedicated to Luise and Minna Japha.
    Spanish song , The spring , aftermath , Juchhe , Like the cloud after the sun , nightingales swing merrily
  • Six songs for voice and piano op. 7. Dedicated to Albert Dietrich .
    Faithful love , slogan , echoes , folk song , the mourners , homecoming
  • Eight songs and romances for a voice and piano op.14 In
    front of the window , From the wounded boy , Murray's murder , A sonnet , separation , going to a loved one , serenade , longing ( My sweetheart is not there )
  • Five poems for voice and piano op. 19
    The kiss , parting and avoiding , in the distance , the blacksmith , to an Aeolian harp
  • Three duets for soprano and alto with piano op.20
  • Four duets for alto and baritone with piano op.28
  • Three quartets for four solo voices (SATB) with piano op.31
  • Nine songs and chants for a voice and piano op. 32
    How do I pull myself up in the night , No longer going to you , I creep around , The river that rustled next to me , Woe, you want me again , You speak that I was wrong , to say bitter things you think , how we stand, I and my pasture , How are you, my queen
  • Dedicated to Julius Stockhausen . Romances from L. Tieck’s Magelone for a voice with pianoforte. op. 33 (1861-1869).
    Nobody has regretted it , Traun! Bow and arrow are good for the enemy , Are they pains, are they joys , Love came from distant lands , So will you of the poor , How am I supposed to bear the joys, the bliss? , Was it you, whose lips trembled , We have to part, beloved string play , calm, sweet love, in the shadow , despair , How quickly disappears in the light as shine , There must be a separation , Sulima , How happy and fresh my mind lifts up , faithful love lasts a long time
  • Four songs for voice and piano op. 43
    Of Eternal Love , The May Night ,
    I Ring My Horn , The Song of Lord von Falkenstein
  • Four songs for voice and piano op. 46
    The wreaths , Magyar , The bowl of oblivion , To the nightingale
  • Five songs for a voice and piano op. 47
    Message , Liebesglut , Sunday , O lovely cheeks , the lovers write
  • Seven songs for a voice and piano op. 48
    The walk to love , the defector , love lament of the girl , gold outweighs love , consolation in tears , past is happiness and salvation , autumn feeling
  • Five songs for voice and piano op. 49
    On Sunday morning , An ein Veilchen , Sehnsucht ( Behind those dense forests ), Lullaby , Dusk
  • Eight songs and songs for voice and piano, Op. 57
    From waldbekränzter height , When you smile only occasionally , I dreamed I was you expensive , Oh, turn that look , in my nights tendons , beam and a soft light at times , The String, pearl to pearl , motionless, mild air
  • Eight songs and chants for a voice and piano op.58
    Blind cow , During the rain , The brittle , O come, lovely summer night , melancholy , In the alley , Past , Serenade ( softly, so as not to wake you )
  • Eight songs and chants for a voice and piano op. 59
    Dämmrung fell from above , On the lake ( blue sky, blue waves ), rain song ( walle, rain, walle down ), echo , Agnes , a good, good night , mine sore heart , your black eye
  • Four duets for soprano and alto with piano op.61
  • Nine songs and chants for a voice and piano op. 63
    Spring Frost , Memory , An Image , An Die Tauben , Young Songs I , Young Songs II , Homesickness I , Homesickness II , Homesickness III
  • Quartets for four solo voices with piano op.64
  • Five duets for soprano and alto with piano op.66
  • Nine Chants for Voice and Piano, Op. 69
    Lament I , Lament II , Farewell , The Dearest Oath , Tambour Song , Vom Strande , Über die See , Salome , Mädchenfluch
  • Four Songs for Voice and Piano, Op. 70
    In the garden at the sea-shore , Lerchengesang , Serenade ( Lovely child, can you tell me ), Evening rain
  • Five songs for a voice and piano op. 71
    It loves each other so sweetly in the spring , To the moon , secret , Do you want me to go? , Minnelong
  • Five songs for voice and piano op. 72
    Old love , summer threads , O cool forest , despair , insurmountable
  • Ballads and Romances for two voices with piano op.75 (1877/78)
  • Five romances and songs for one or two voices and piano op. 84
    Summer evening , The wreath , In the berries , In vain serenade , tension
  • Six songs for a voice and piano op. 85
    Summer evening , moonlight , girl's song ( oh, and you my cool water ), goodbye! , Spring song , In the forest loneliness
  • Six songs for a lower voice and piano op. 86
    Therese , Feldeinsamkeit , Nachtwandler , Über die Heide , Versunken , Todessehn
  • Two chants for an alto part with viola and piano op.91
  • Quartets for soprano, alto, tenor and bass with piano op.92
  • Five songs for a deep voice and piano op. 94
    At the age of forty , Rise up, beloved shadow , My heart is heavy , Sapphic Ode , No house, no home
  • Seven songs for voice and piano op. 95
    The girl ( On the last day I rise ), With you are my thoughts , When parting , The hunter , hasty oath , girl's song , It was beautiful that I consecrated to you
  • Four songs for a voice and piano op. 96
    Death, that is the cool night , we walked , the flowers look , sea ​​voyage
  • Six songs for voice and piano op. 97
    Nightingale , On the ship , kidnapping , there in the willows , come soon , separation
  • Eight Gypsy songs for a voice with piano accompaniment op. 103. Based on the Hungarian by Hugo Conrat.
    Hey, gypsies, grab the strings , towering Rimaflut , you know when my child , dear God, you know , the brown lad leads to the dance , three roses in a row , sometimes comes to mind , red evening clouds draw
  • Five songs for a lower voice and piano op. 105
    I am drawn to melodies , My slumber is getting quieter , lament , In the churchyard , betrayal
  • Five songs for a voice and piano op. 106
    serenade ( the moon stands over the mountain ), on the lake ( nestle against this little ship, lovely lake ), the hoop hung , my songs , a wanderer
  • Five songs for a voice and piano op.107
    An die Stolze , Salamander (Text: Karl Lemcke), The girl speaks , Maienkitten , Mädchenlied ( Auf die Nacht in der Spinnstub'n )
  • Four serious songs for a bass voice and piano op. 121. Dedicated to Max Klinger .
    For man is like cattle (from Ecclesiastes Solomon , chap. 3), I turned and looked (from Ecclesiastes Solomon, chap. 4), O death, how bitter you are (from Jesus Sirach , chap. 41 ), When I speak with the tongues of men and angels (from 1 Corinthians , chap. 13)

Without opus number

  • Moon Night WoO 21
  • Rain song ( raindrops fall from the trees ) WoO posth. 23
  • Folk children's songs for voice and piano WoO 31, dedicated to the children of Robert and Clara Schumann
    • sleeping Beauty
    • The Nightingale
    • The man
    • Sandman
    • The hen
    • Heidenröslein
    • The land of milk and honey
    • When riding on the knee
    • The hunter in the forest
    • Lullaby
    • The girl and the hazel
    • Christmas
    • Marian worms
    • The Guardian Angel
  • German folk songs for one voice and piano WoO 33
    • Tell me, my most beautiful shepherd
    • Allow me, fine girl
    • Has sat down very nicely
    • Good evening, good evening, my thousand treasure
    • The sun does not shine anymore
    • Down there in the valley
    • Gunhilde lived very quietly and piously
    • Oh, English shepherdess
    • It was a beautiful Jewess
    • A knight rode
    • Virgin, shall I go with you?
    • Feinsliebchen, you shouldn't go barefoot on me
    • Wake up my hoard
    • Maria went out hiking
    • Little sister, little sister
    • Wake up my beautiful heart
    • Oh God, how painful it is to part
    • So I wish her a good night
    • Only one face on earth lives
    • Most beautiful darling, my angel
    • It was a tender maiden
    • Where are you going, you proud one
    • The rider spreads his cloak
    • I am a beautiful brown maiden
    • My girl has a rose mouth
    • Oh, could I this evening
    • I stood on a high mountain
    • There rides a master and his servant too
    • It was a margrave over the Rhine
    • All of 'my' thoughts
    • There's a house there in the pastures
    • So I want to be fresh and happy
    • Oh Moder, I have a thing
    • How do I get in the door (How do I get the pooz then)
    • Shouldn't the moon shine brighter
    • A fiddler lives
    • You my only light
    • I can't go to sleep in the evening
    • Beautiful eyes beautiful rays
    • I know a maiden
    • There is a 'Lind
    • In a quiet night, at the first watch
    • There were three roses
    • I want to complain to heaven
    • A snow-white bird sat there
    • Once upon a time there was a roommate
    • It was our wife
    • Nightingale, say what kind of regards
    • The moon rises stealthily

Editions of works (selection)

  • Johannes Brahms, Complete Piano Works in 5 Volumes. Koenemann Music, Budapest.




  • Siegfried Kross: Brahms Bibliography. Schneider, Tutzing 1983, ISBN 3-7952-0394-5 .
  • Margit L. McCorkle: Johannes Brahms thematic-bibliographical catalog of works. Henle Verlag, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-87328-041-8 .
  • Thomas Quigley: Johannes Brahms. An annotated bibliography of the literature through 1982. Scarecrow Press, Metuchen NJ 1990, ISBN 0-8108-2196-6 .
  • Thomas Quigley: Johannes Brahms. An annotated bibliography of the literature from 1982 to 1996, with an appendix on Brahms and the Internet. Scarecrow Press, Metuchen NJ 1998, ISBN 0-8108-3439-1 .


  • Dieter Boeck: Johannes Brahms. Life report with pictures and documents . Kassel 1998. ISBN 978-3-87013-017-6 .
  • Peter Clive: Brahms and his world. A biographical dictionary . Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Md. 2006, ISBN 978-0-8108-5721-6 .
  • Sibylle Ehrismann (Ed.): "High on the mountain, deep in the valley ...". The Swiss inspirations of Johannes Brahms . Hug, Zurich 1997.
  • Constantin Floros : Johannes Brahms. "Free but lonely"; a life for poetic music. Arche, Zurich 1997, ISBN 3-7160-3900-4 .
  • Hans Gál : Johannes Brahms. Work and personality (books of knowledge; Bd. 395) Fischer, Frankfurt / M. 1961.
  • Martin Geck : Johannes Brahms (Rowohlt's monographs). Rowohlt, Reinbek 2013, ISBN 978-3-499-50686-4 (M. Geck thus replaces the "Brahms biography" by Hans A. Neunzig from 1973).
  • Walter Gieseler: The harmonics with Johannes Brahms (musicology, music education in the blue owl; vol. 32). Verlag Die Blaue Eule, Essen 1997, ISBN 3-89206-809-7 (plus dissertation, University of Göttingen 1949).
  • Kurt Hofmann: Johannes Brahms and Hamburg. New knowledge on an old topic . 2nd Edition. Dialog-Verlag, Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-923707-12-6 .
  • Kurt Hofmann: "I always long for Hamburg". Johannes Brahms and his hometown . Dialog-Verlag, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-923707-33-9 .
  • Renate Hofmann, Kurt Hofmann: Johannes Brahms private. Dinner and socializing . Verlag Boyens, Heide 2002, ISBN 3-8042-1091-0 .
  • Renate Hofmann, Kurt Hofmann: Johannes Brahms. Timeline of life and work. Schneider Verlag, Tutzing 1983, ISBN 3-7952-0394-5 .
  • Renate Hofmann, Kurt Hofmann: Johannes Brahms at Altenstein Castle . Verlag Kamprad, Altenburg 2003, ISBN 3-930550-29-6 .
  • Renate Hofmann, Kurt Hofmann: Johannes Brahms at Altenstein Castle and at Meininger Hof. Official Guide Special of the Thuringian Palaces and Gardens Foundation . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-422-02347-5 .
  • Max Kalbeck : Johannes Brahms. Biography in 4 volumes . Severus-Verlag, Hamburg 2013 (reprint of the Tutzing 1976 edition, EA Vienna 1904/14; digitized version )
  1. 2013, ISBN 978-3-86347-610-6 .
  2. 2013, ISBN 978-3-86347-615-1 .
  3. 2013, ISBN 978-3-86347-655-7 .
  4. 2013, ISBN 978-3-86347-656-4 .
  • Malte Korff: Johannes Brahms. dtv premium, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-423-24656-9 .
  • Siegfried Kross: The choral works by Johannes Brahms . 2nd edition Max Hesse Verlag, Berlin 1963 (EA Berlin 1957; also dissertation, University of Bonn 1957).
  • Siegfried Kross: Johannes Brahms. An attempt at a critical documentary biography. Bouvier, Bonn 1997, ISBN 3-416-02699-3 (2 volumes).
  • Florence May: The life of Johannes Brahms . Arnold, London 1905 (2 vols.).
    • Johannes Brahms. The story of his life . Matthes & Seitz, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-88221-343-4 (reprint of the Leipzig edition 1925; translated by Ludmille Kirschbaum).
  • Wilibald Nagel : Johannes Brahms. Engelhorn Verlag, Stuttgart 1923.
  • Willibald Nagel: Johannes Brahms as Beethoven's successor . Hug-Verlag, Leipzig 1892.
  • Matthias Rohn: The Coda with Johannes Brahms (series of publications on music; Vol. 25). Wagner, Heidelberg 1986, ISBN 3-88979-017-8 (plus dissertation, University of Bonn 1985).
  • Wolfgang Sandberger: Brahms Handbook . Metzler, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-476-02233-2 .
  • Christian Martin Schmidt : Johannes Brahms and his time. 2nd edition Laaber-Verlag, Regensburg 1983, ISBN 3-921518-77-6 .
  • Christian Martin Schmidt: Reclam's music guide Johannes Brahms. Reclam, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-15-010401-7 .
  • Peter Schmitz: Johannes Brahms and the Leipzig music publisher “Breitkopf & Härtel” (treatises on music history; Volume 20). V&R Unipress, Göttingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-89971-728-0 (also dissertation, University of Münster 2008).
  • Joseph Viktor Widmann : Johannes Brahms in memories . Paetel, Berlin 1898 ( ; reprint with the title Memories of Johannes Brahms in Rotapfel-Verlag, Zurich / Stuttgart 1980).


  • The relationship between Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms is also interpreted in the feature film Clara Schumann's great love (USA 1947).
  • Brahms in Baden-Baden. Documentary and docu-drama , Germany 2011, 29 min. Script and director: Nanna Schmidt , production: SWR , series: Musical travel guide, first broadcast: September 9, 2012 on SWR. Film information from ARD

radio play


  1. Brahms apartments in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
    The original house at Karlsgasse 4 is no longer there. In 1909, an extension to the Technical University was opened in its place and the adjacent houses, which were also demolished, which today includes house numbers 2 to 10 and on which there is now a memorial plaque for him.
  2. See a detailed article on the recording and its fate by Stephan Puille; The recording is available on YouTube .
  3. ^ Vienna City Council. (Meeting of April 6th). In:  Wiener Zeitung , April 7, 1897, p. 10 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz( 3rd column below )
    ... The following matters were dealt with: City Councilor Dr. Krenn informs that the Society of Friends of Music has requested that an honorary grave be granted for the remains of the clay poet Johannes Brahms and that Vice Mayor Dr. Lueger followed this request out of consideration of the urgency of the matter, subject to the approval of the city council. The speaker requests that this ruling be approved. (Adopted unanimously.)
  4. To Dr. Brahms' 60th birthday .. In:  Die Presse , May 9, 1893, p. 10 (online at ANNO ). ... Among the many signs of recognition and admiration that Johannes Brahms receives on his 60th birthday, the most distinguished honor is likely to be that of the Society of Friends of Music, whose long-time honorary and directions member is the celebrated. This honorary gift, which will be presented to Brahms by the company management on his arrival in Vienna, is a large commemorative coin executed in gold by the chamber medalist Scharff, with the master's profile on the obverse and a palm and laurel branch on the reverse A swan sign enclosing the foot end with the inscription: "To the 60th birthday, May 5, 1893" and the margin inscription: "The Society of Music Friends in Vienna". Dr. Johannes Brahms .. In:  Die Presse , May 13, 1893, p. 9 (online at ANNO ). The presidium of the management of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde and the representatives of the branch associations and the faculty at the Conservatory went to see Dr. Johannes Brahms to present him with the Bezecny gold medal voted by the society. Baron Bezecny emphasized the importance of the master and his relationship with the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in lively, heartfelt words, congratulated him warmly and presented him with the medal executed by the chamber medalist Scharff. Brahms thanked him, visibly moved and pleased, by lending warm words to his solidarity with society.Template: ANNO / maintenance / apr

    Template: ANNO / maintenance / apr
  5. ^ Official part. In:  Wiener Zeitung , June 20, 1889, p. 1 (online at ANNO ). Se. k. and k. Apostolic Majesty have with the highest resolution of June 6th. J. the composer and sound artist Dr. Johannes Brahms has graciously deigned to bestow the Knight's Cross of the Austrian Imperial Leopold Order.Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  6. ^ Official part. In:  Wiener Zeitung , May 3, 1896, p. 1 (online at ANNO ). His k. and k. Apostolic Majesty have with the highest resolution of March 25th. J. the Directions member of the Conservatory for Music and Performing Arts of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna, composers and sound artists Dr. Johannes Brahms graciously deigns to bestow the "Decoration of Honor for Art and Science". "Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  7. The (very difficult) "bestseller" is dedicated to Eduard Hanslick. At the same time, Brahms published a simplified version and a four-hand version.

Web links

Commons : Johannes Brahms  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Johannes Brahms  - Sources and full texts




Individual evidence

  1. ^ Eva-Maria Bast: Christiane Brahms, the mother of the music genius. In: . December 9, 2016, accessed November 10, 2018 .
  2. ^ Levke Heed: Johannes Brahms - The Called One. In: . May 6, 2013, accessed November 10, 2018 .
  3. a b Katharina Höhne: piece of music of the week. (PDF; 277 kB) SWR2 , November 9, 2018, accessed on November 10, 2018 .
  4. Robert Schumann: New paths . October 28, 1853 ( Wikisource ).
  5. Joachim Reiber : Duet for three. Composers in the relationship triangle . Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 2014.
  6. From the Winterthur music publisher Jakob Melchior Rieter-Biedermann , Librarium: Journal of the Swiss Bibliophile Society = revue de la Société Suisse des Bibliophiles, Volume 34 (1991), Issue 1
  7. Entry on the memorial plaque at Brahms' place of death in the Austria Forum , accessed on 23 September 2018.
  8. ^ History of the Wiener Waldhornverein ( Memento from July 13, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  11. a b Johannes Brahms. Brief biography. (No longer available online.) In: Meiningen museums , archived from the original on April 24, 2011 ; Retrieved April 24, 2011 .
  12. Herta Müller: Meiningen set the first monument to Brahms . in Meininger Tageblatt, published on October 14, 2019.
  13. (Johannes Brahms †.). In:  Wiener Zeitung , Wiener Abendpost, April 3, 1897, p. 2 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz( 3rd column from top left )
    Johannes Brahms † .. In:  Deutsches Volksblatt / Deutsches Volksblatt. Radical medium-sized organ / telegraph. Radical Mittelstandsorgan / Deutsches Volksblatt. Daily newspaper for Christian German politics , evening edition, April 3, 1897, p. 2 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / dvb( 1st column )
  14. (Dr. Johannes Brahms †.). In:  Wiener Zeitung , April 4, 1897, p. 3 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz( 2nd column below )
  15. The unveiling of the grave monument for Johannes Brahms. With two photographs (...). In:  Wiener Bilder , No. 20/1903 (8th year), May 13, 1903, p. 8, center left. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrb.
  16. ^ Membership of Johannes Brahms Academy of the Arts, Berlin
  17. Richard Kötzschke: History of the university singers at St. Pauli in Leipzig. 1822–1922, Leipzig 1922.
  18. ^ Gerhard Kunze: The singers to St. Pauli in Jena 1828–1928. Publishing house of the Altherrenverband der Sängerschaft zu St. Pauli, Jena 1928, p. 306.
  19. Brahms monument in Vienna History Wiki of the city of Vienna
  20. ^ Wolfgang Sandberger: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). (No longer available online.) In: Brahms Institute at the Musikhochschule Lübeck, 2007, archived from the original on April 24, 2011 ; Retrieved April 24, 2011 .
  21. Don't you "say hello" to Johannes Brahms? In: Lübecker Nachrichten of May 6, 2012, p. 30.
  22. Composers: 100th anniversary of the death of Johannes Brahms . Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  23. Entry in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)
  24. ^ Brahms memorial room in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  26. Ernst Kern : Seeing - Thinking - Acting of a surgeon in the 20th century. ecomed, Landsberg am Lech 2000, ISBN 3-609-20149-5 , p. 40.
  27. Brahms piano piece to get its premiere 159 years after its creation. In: The Guardian of January 13, 2012.
  28. Anatol Ugorski (YouTube)
  29. Clarinet Sonata in F minor, op. 120,1 | Chamber music guide - Villa Musica Rhineland-Palatinate. Retrieved May 11, 2020 .
  30. Illustration of the first edition