Today, Google Doodle is celebrating Johannes Brahms’s 190th birthday. Brahms was one of the most important composers and pianists of the Romantic period. Johannes Brahms’s Google Doodle is a beautiful sketch, portraying the essence of Brahms’s musical journey, from producing some of the world’s best choirs to orchestral sonatas to piano pieces.
He was born on May 7, 1833, in Hamburg, Germany. Today marks the 190th birthday of the greatest German artist of all time. So, many of you might know a bit about some of his famous musical compositions and choirs, but there are many things about this great personality that are not very well known to the majority of people.
Let’s try to unravel some of them right here, honoring one of the biggest musical legends of all time.
Johannes Brahms’s Google Doodle: Johannes Brahms’s Childhood and Early Life
Johannes Brahms was born into a poor family. His father used to play double bass and the French horn as a jobbing musician, and his mother was a seamstress. Johannes Brahms also had a younger brother and an elder sister. Due to his family’s poor financial condition, Brahms started working very early in his life, playing piano in dance halls, pubs, and inns.
Brahms’s initial teacher was his own father. He began learning music from his father at the age of seven. Later, he studied piano with Otto Friedrich Willibald Cassel, then with Eduard Marxsen, and eventually with Carl Maria von Bockle.
After some years of rigorous training and practice, one of the Three B’s (Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms), Johannes Brahms, composed his first-ever musical.
Johannes Brahms’s Google Doodle: Johannes Brahms’s Education and Career
Johannes Brahms’s education was anything but conventional, as he did not go to any formal music school or college. He learned everything on his own and, of course, under the guidance of his father and some of the Romantic era’s most famous artists and pianists.
Brahms’ initial exposure to the music world came in 1853 when he went on a concert tour with the Hungarian violinist Ede Reményi. He took him to various cities in Germany, Austria, and Hungary, and this tour gave him immense exposure, helping him establish himself as a professional musician.
Brahms’s first musical breakthrough came when he was given the opportunity to produce a piano sonata by the publisher Julius Schuberth. It helped establish him as a budding star in the world of classical music.
Renowned German composer Johannes Brahms played musical chairs throughout his career.
Learn more about the man behind the choir, piano, and orchestra pieces that continue to inspire musicians in today’s #GoogleDoodle —> https://t.co/ytPzuthtId pic.twitter.com/MZy6pvDyIf
— Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) May 7, 2023
Johannes Brahms’s Google Doodle: How Did Robert Schumann Play An Important Role In Brahms’s Musical Journey?
It was the year 1853 when a mutual friend of Johannes Brahms introduced him to one of the most prominent composers of that time, Robert Schumann. According to Schumann’s famous periodical Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Brahms visited the Schumanns in Düsseldorf and performed many of his compositions for him, who hailed the young man as the most capable artist to carry forward the legacy of Beethoven.
Because of the great words of praise by Robert Schumann, a German music publishing house instantly began to promote and circulate the work of Brahms, and that’s how he tasted the initial widespread recognition in the musical world.
Johannes Brahms’s Google Doodle: Johannes Brahms’s Later Career and Success
After getting recognition and meeting Schumann, Brahms started teaching piano and became the conductor of a women’s choir in Hamburg in the year 1860.
Brahms later led the Singakademie, a choral society in Vienna. Apparently, in his free time, he also developed some of his most popular compositions, like Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor and String Sextet in B-flat Major.
His success and recognition in the musical field also earned him a conductor position at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of Friends of Music). To let you know, he simultaneously directed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for three consecutive seasons.
In the year 1868, Brahms debuted Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) in Bremen. This composition became his most famous choral work, and many still consider it one of the most special music pieces produced in the 19th century.
The Symphony No. 1 in C Minor was one of Brahms’ first orchestral compositions and received global praise and success. Brahms earned millions of fans around the world during the romantic era and continued to create more and more ambitious and complex compositions, such as his famous Hungarian Dances (Danzas Hngaras), as he toured Switzerland, Hungary, and Poland.
Johannes Brahms’s Google Doodle: Johannes Brahms’s Retirement
Back in 1875, when Johannes Brahms was only 57 years old, he announced his retirement and said that he was now done with composing. However, he was such a creative soul that he kept on producing some of the world’s classics. In fact, according to many, he composed some of his most brilliant and unmatched work during that time, especially for the clarinet, like his clarinet sonatas, trio, and quintet.
Johannes Brahms’s Google Doodle: Johannes Brahms’s Death
According to old writings, Johannes Brahms died of pancreatic or liver cancer on April 3rd, 1897 (the reason for his death remained unconfirmed to date). The British composer Hubert Parry also composed Elegy for Brahms (a short symphonic movement for orchestra) in the same year as a musical tribute to the legendary artist.
Some More Amazing Facts About The One And Only Johannes Brahms
- Brahms began composing when he was just 11 years old—a kid, basically. However, as he grew older, not just in age but also as an artist, he felt quite embarrassed about some of his previous work. He was a perfectionist, indeed!
- It’s quite an unheard-of anecdote about Brahms. When Schumann died in the year 1856, Brahms apparently went to Düsseldorf to be with Schumann’s wife, Clara. It was quite unclear exactly what kind of relationship the two had. But, according to some chroniclers, they burned many letters they wrote to each other; maybe they had something to hide (God only knows!).
- It is not known to many that Brahms’ most successful work was inspired by grief and pain. When his mother died in 1865, he was in immense pain, which led him to compose the German Requiem, which to date is one of the best musical compositions ever produced.
- When we talk about Johannes Brahms, the War of the Romantics also comes into the picture. The War of the Romantics was nothing but a so-called musical argument between composers like Wagner and Liszt, who represented a more radical approach to music, and artists like Brahms and Clara Schumann, who were more conservative in their musical approach.
- Johannes Brahms’s major works include a vast number of works in various different genres, including symphonies, concertos, chamber music, piano music, and choral music. Here are some of his most famous and widely recognized works:
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73, Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90, Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98, Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15, Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83, Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 102histfamou, Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80, Tragic Overture, Op. 81.
The Last Words
During his entire career, Brahms paid homage to some of the world’s most traditionalist compositions, using innovative techniques that really helped the Romantic moment evolve and advance. His musical compositions and choirs still continue to influence many of us to this day.
Before you leave, here’s a beautiful Brahms Cadenza played by Julian Rachlin:
It’s melting, to say the least!!
~ Written By
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