Talk:Johannes Brahms

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Influences on Brahms[edit]

While it's pretty much common knowledge that Brahms' 1st symphony's 4th movement's theme was similar to and influenced by Beethoven's 9th symphony's Ode to Joy theme, I'm not aware of any clear influences by the Hammerklavier sonata on Brahms' work. Of course, everybody was influenced by Beethoven: I refer only clear, specific examples of influence.

Hrm. The opening of the C major piano sonata sounds fairly close to me... Schissel : bowl listen 16:21, Apr 26, 2005 (UTC)

Particularly in how it deals with Brahms's allusions to Beethoven, The first paragraph of the "influences" section is overly simplistic. It needs revision in light of sophisticated work by Bonds, Knapp, Brodbeck and others. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:38, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Another influence to cite and include is Clara Schumann as his inspiration for the "Alto Rhapsody". SamHahn (talk) 06:28, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Delete Appearances in Film and Pop Culture and Eponyms[edit]

These sections seem to me completely trivial and add nothing substantive to the article. Brahms, as other major composers, has been used as incidental music in all kinds of media. The Star Trek connection is particularly flaky, and the Eponyms section lists only one example, though it claims more. I think that until more and better examples are found that these sections should be deleted. — J M Rice 21:54, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree. An article about a movie that used a composers piece would make sense to mention the composer, but I don't think it makes equal sense for the composer page to mention every trivial film or performance --Sketchee 22:14, 2 October 2005 (UTC)
I've tried to deal with this. Pop culture is now a separate article, so people who want to read about that stuff can, and the Eponym is reduced to a labeled See Also link to Brahms inlet.

Opus33 16:03, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

Wiegenlied - Brahms lullaby[edit]

Hello, I am not an expert in this subject but there seems to be an obvious omission from this page. There does not seem to be a mention of the famous Brahms lullaby? Have I misunderstood that Brahms is indeed the author?

No, you have not, but perhaps it is a good thing that minor contribution of his is not overemphasized as it is often the case when it comes to Brahms' music. Experience maker (talk) 14:10, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

It really his most famous work. Now, maybe it shouldn't be... but the fact is that, indeed, it really IS his most famous work and it is ridiculous not to mention it here. Gingermint (talk) 02:45, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Of course. Peremptory judgments such as "minor work" just reflect an opinion; the huge popularity of this "minor work" is a good deal more objective. NaySay (talk) 14:32, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Please see WP:BIG. Toccata quarta (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2013 (UTC)


Can anyone comment on whether "Anti-Wagnerite/Anti-Wagnerism" was an actual term used by any of the movement's purported members? If it was not, then should it be suggested that the category name be changed to something like "Brahmsians" or "Brahmsites"? Or perhaps even more historically accurate, should both categories be changed to say "The Leipzig School" and "The Weimar School"? It seems that either of these sets of category names would be a more fair and apt classification since Brahms didn't simply oppose the likes of Wagner's music, he also made musical prescriptions of his own. Either way, getting rid of the "Anti" qualification leads to a more constructive than destructive impression. --3-13-06

Brahms knowing early music of Schoenberg (or Zemlinsky)?[edit]

Did Brahms actually look at early quartets of Schoenberg, or was it Zemlinsky's music he saw? According to the Grove article on Schoenberg, Brahms had become familiar with the early compositions of Zemlinsky. I haven't been able to find any reference to him having seen an early quartet of Schoenberg. (Yet. I'm still looking. I'd never heard anything about this before.) Antandrus (talk) 19:38, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

According to the wikipedia text in String quartets (Schoenberg) Schoenbergs first string quartet was composed in 1904, when Brahms was already dead. If it was Schoenberg's work, perhaps it wasn't a published work. Otherwise, it must have been Zemlinsky.--Atavi 20:06, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
If I had been more careful, I'd have seen that indeed he composed two early string quartets, one of them in 1897, when Brahms was still alive.--Atavi 20:08, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Actually (iirc) he wrote it in the fall of 1897 (the quartet in D major), and Brahms died in April. There's a remote chance Brahms saw a draft, but I don't think the two crossed paths. There's still a couple more books I was going to peek into though... Thanks for checking! Antandrus (talk) 20:13, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Looked it up. Schoenberg wrote his early quartet in "summer-fall" 1897. Brahms died on April 3. I think the article means to say "Zemlinsky" ... I'll go ahead and fix it.  :-) Antandrus (talk) 20:16, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Bleah, now that sentence reads like a non-sequitur, since knowing Zemlinsky's early music has nothing to do with the breakdown of tonality. Maybe it should go. Antandrus (talk) 20:19, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it seems that neither any work of Zemlinsky neither the early quartets of Schoenberg were atonal.--Atavi 01:48, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Whoops, I found this edit made by an anonymous user and reverted it. I didn't know there was a talk page discussion, sorry. - Rainwarrior 20:35, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

The discussion started about a minute after you reverted it.  ;-) I saw the anonymous edit too, and was just starting to fish through the Grove to see if it was valid. Cheers! Antandrus (talk) 20:41, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

The source for Brahms seeing an early Schoenberg Quartet - specifically the D major of 1897 - is Hanns Eisler, Materialen zu einer Dialektik der Musik (Leipzig, 1973), p.206. The passage has been translated by Malcolm MacDonald in his Brahms book. Eisler was Schoenberg’s pupil – for a while, one of his favourites – from 1919 to 1923; he was also close to Zemlinsky in the mid-1920s. He can only have heard the story direct from one of them (perhaps more likely from Zemlinsky). As it stands the account poses problems: it's generally assumed that Schoenberg composed the D major Quartet in summer 1897, yet Zemlinsky cannot have shown it to Brahms later than March. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that, as Schoenberg told Egon Wellesz, he first presented the score to Zemlinsky for criticism when only the first two movements had been written and he had just started the third. So likely Brahms saw only this portion.Cenedi 09:34, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

I've added a link to the String quartets (Schoenberg) page, and have added some material about the D major quartet. If any of you know any more about that quartet (or any of them), please go and add your knowledge to the page! - Rainwarrior 06:14, 8 September 2006 (UTC)


I think Brahms' legacy probably amounts to more than his music's use in film and popular culture, and one "honour". --RobertGtalk 09:25, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

If the legacy section isn't developed more maybe it should be removed. Some music in a movie isn't really worth being called a legacy IMO. --DarthUltima 06:27, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Schoenberg's admiration for Brahms had a lot more to do with his motivic technique than it did "odd, angular rhythmic themes," whatever that might mean. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Chromaticism != atonality[edit]

It is (perhaps) significant that Brahms himself had considered giving up composition at a time when all notions of tonality were being stretched to their limit and that further expansion would seemingly only result in the rules of tonality being broken altogether.

Unless there is some documentary evidence, this seems to have been "noticed" retrospectively. It is only significant in light of what happened much later. Sure enough, later in the paragraph we read: "He offered substantial encouragement to Schoenberg's teacher Alexander Zemlinsky." Zemlinsky never wrote in an atonal/twelve-tone idiom, but the connection to Schoenberg seems sufficient to provide the sought-after link to atonality.

Brahms's interaction with more radical composers (especially Wagner) and with younger composers (like Zemlinsky) is interesting and important, and I agree it should be in the article. Whether the music of 1890 gestured towards atonality, though, is up for debate, and that debate probably doesn't belong in the Brahms article. Kidnapped 10:37, 18 December 2006 (UTC)


I see that the infobox ha been removed, again, There has been no discussion, let alone consensus, here, about removing it; and the consensus claimed for Wikiproject Composers does not exists, as I demonstrated recently by posting a list of those saying otherwise; and by the on-going discussion there. Andy Mabbett 18:43, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Why do you insist we have to discuss the removal of every single infobox individually? So if you were to go to Schubert's article and put up an infobox, I would have to discuss it with you before I take it down? There's already been lengthy discussions on WP:Composers, WP:Classical music and WP:Opera where everyone but you wants to see them go. Please show me this list of people who want them, because I'll set them the task of infoboxing EVERY single composer in Category:Composers by nationality. Just stop you point pushing until you have enough supporters such that you can complete the above task. Centy 18:55, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Andy Mabbett, It's already been discussed and decided that popular musician boxes should not be used on composers' or opera pages. -- Kleinzach 07:00, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
You may have decided that, but there is no consensus. Andy Mabbett
"...where everyone but you wants to see them go." - that simply isn't true. Andy Mabbett 14:54, 29 May 2007 (UTC)


The illustrations of Brahms in the present article are all from rather late in his life, and tend to convey a 'Papa Brahms' impression. But the article in New Oxford Companion to Music has what appears to be a photo (Daguerreotype?) c 1866, when he was 33 and arguably about to enter his most productive period. (The image at the front of the Dover score of the Requiem appears to be derived from this.) Any one know a web copy, or the likely copyright position? Linuxlad 14:56, 21 July 2007 (UTC)


Edited a paragraph in the influences section --- I have never read anywhere the criticism that Brahms felt that Wagner's music "lacked counterpoint"; that paragraph seems to have been plagiarised without thought and verification from a minor programme note to some symphonic concert; indeed, as far as I know, in all biographies and sources we have recorded Brahms' practically unalloyed awe and enthusiasm for Wagner's music, if not necessarily concording with the directions and aims of Wagner's programme. Wagner wasn't so charitable going the other way; I have corrected the paragraph in question. -- Aug 7, 2007.

Subjects left[edit]

The omission of at least two things is immediately noted:

1. Romance life and marital status.

2. Synopsis of literature assessing his work.

These at least sound like curious subjects to me, don't you think? So... is anyone in the mood to contribute on those subjects in the article? -- Fancytales 14:31, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

  • I think there's a lot more that can be said about Brahms and Clara Schumann. By most accounts he was head over heels in love with her, and she eventually with him. I know there is a paucity of evidence,mostly because of the two of them destroying their letters to each other, but can we really say that their relationship was "probably platonic"?--Bwthemoose/Talk 17:47, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

No, we can't "really" say that and we shouldn't. It remains a quasi-interesting mystery what the heck was going on with those two. Gingermint (talk) 05:36, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

"G W Marks" pseudonym[edit]

By chance I’ve come across a composition here called Souvenir de la Russie, a piece for piano 4-hands. The website presents it as a work by Brahms. The front page of the music is inscribed "par G.W. Marks, Op.151" and underneath in brackets, written by hand, is "Pseudonym for J. Brahms". I wondered about this and went off to do some googling.

This says “Brahms's first compositions were written under the pseudonym of G W Marks.”

This gives it the reference “Anh 4/6” but calls the piece “spurious”. That suggests it appears in an appendix of some edition of Brahms’s collected works as a piece possibly but not definitely written by him.

This says "As a young struggling musician, Brahms made some 4-hand arrangements of other composers' works, some of which were published under the common pseudonym "G.W. Marks" by August Cranz; one such publication has definitely been identified as being by Brahms, the Souvenir de la Russie, Brahms Werkverzeichnis Anhang IV no. 6." I wonder what was meant by "the common pseudonym G W Marks".

This gives some detailed background, from a person who edited the publication in 1971 and researched its history. He concludes it is most likely the work of Brahms, but the evidence is circumstantial. It also refers to 2 other works (Opp. 158 and 160) which may also be pseudonymous works by Brahms. It also says Brahms played at a concert in 1851 under the name “Karl Würth”, so apparently he was not averse to using pseudonyms.

The Souvenir has been recorded many times, usually as a work of Brahms. What can we say about these pieces in our article? -- JackofOz 01:57, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Scores now published on the Internet[edit]

On 1 November 2007, the Musikhochschule Lübeck opened a Digital Score Cabinet with more that 10,000 pages of digitised first edition prints of Brahms' works. See:
Michael Bednarek 13:43, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Letting you know about Fritz Simrock article[edit]

Just thought you who work on this article might like to know that the article about Fritz Simrock has been created again, this time with content that actually pertains to the topic. Jindřichův Smith 22:36, 3 November 2007 (UTC)


During a Google search on Brahms (I was writing a report), I came across a page on The "Life" section of this article strikes an uncanny resemblance to the one on this page (look especially at the section about the conflict with the "New German School"). It looks very much like plagiarism. What should we do? --~~MusicalConnoisseur~~ Got Classical? 00:40, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it's plagiarism -- but not the way you think. It appears they steal content from us. Look at the Szymanowski page and compare it to ours, to take one other random example. Lots of sites pillage our content -- it's allowed under the GFDL -- but they're supposed to acknowledge it. You can always be sure by looking at their version, and then looking carefully in the history of our articles -- if we stole from them you'd find an obvious copy-paste at some point in our article history. Cheers! Antandrus (talk) 00:53, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Took me a minute to find it, but here's the edit where Cenedi added that part. If you look carefully through the history you can see how he refined the article gradually; it couldn't possibly be a copy-paste from them. Antandrus (talk) 01:02, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. :) --~~MusicalConnoisseur~~ Got Classical? 04:40, 11 February 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone have any idea why this article is subject to such frequent attacks of vandalism? I have worked on articles that are politically sensitive, of greater common interest, and none of them has been subject to so many attacks.

Bizarre. --Ravpapa (talk) 10:30, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Ditto on "bizarre..." I've got no clue, either. Look here; the same question has been raised on the Debussy article, too. We'd best see into protecting this article, if feasible and following the guidelines.--~~MusicalConnoisseur~~ Got Classical? 22:34, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
In my experience here, anything that is likely to be an assigned topic for school homework will be targeted by resentful children. Music appreciation, history, math, and a few other subjects seem to be singularly vulnerable. Watch how vandalism falls off after hours in the U.S. (and then commences from Australian IPs). I just went looking through a bunch of American-history-related articles for vandalism frequency, and found it to be about the same for everything that isn't already semi-protected. Permanent semiprotection may be the future of Wikipedia, I fear, though it is currently officially against policy. Oh well ... Antandrus (talk) 22:47, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
It's not against Moreschi policy. If we're getting a lot of vandalism on this article with no productive edits from IPs I'll happily semi-protect permanently. Moreschi (talk) 22:49, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
I think you guys are right. After a few more reverts, and getting a feeling not many people have this on their watchlist, I semi-protected it for 30 days. Anons, if you'd like to edit please say so here. Thanks, Antandrus (talk) 17:03, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
The right thing to do. Thank you. --Ravpapa (talk) 04:31, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
"Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." --Benjamin Franklin
^This. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Some attribution required?[edit]

The section on Style has an awful lot of commentary which seems pretty editorial. "His symphonies helped revive a virtually moribund genre." Is there really general agreement to this statement? "it is incorrect to characterize Brahms as a reactionary." Kind of suggests that someone does characterize him this way.

It seems some attribution to this whole section would be in order. --Ravpapa (talk) 06:26, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

I agreed with you, and additionally concluded that any reliable attribution for some of the material was unlikely to be forthcoming. --RobertGtalk 09:33, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Link to sheet music site[edit]

@User:Blnguyen: Why did you remove the link to Free Piano Scores added by Roparucci? It looks like a legit site to me. --Ravpapa (talk) 06:03, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Well it seems he has just linked to the front page of a website without going to a specific profile, which sets off a red alarm for me. How come I can't seem to get through to the individual samples in the back? Blnguyen (bananabucket) 02:19, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I changed the link so it goes directly to the page with the Brahms scores. --Ravpapa (talk) 05:27, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
That's fine. Blnguyen (bananabucket) 04:57, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Ballet composer?[edit]

Is this a pertinent category? Ballets have been choreographed to various works by Brahms, but he wrote no music specifically for the ballet. The Hungarian Dances and Waltzes can be danced to, but they weren't intended for it. Cenedi (talk) 14:35, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

  • it is not pertinent: for the reasons you state. J. Van Meter (talk) 15:04, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

ballet music[edit]

Brahms did not write any ballet music as far as I know, but his music has been used for ballets, in particuler Brahms/Handel. — Robert Greer (talk) 17:17, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Brahms was not a ballet composer by any stretch. Tchaikovsky was. Delibes was. Prokofiev was. Stravinsky was. But Brahms? That's seriously misleading. Please, no "ballet composer" category: we're giving people the wrong idea. You might as well say he's a "video game" composer because they use the Academic Festival Overture in a shooter game somewhere. He did not write for ballet. Thanks, Antandrus (talk) 17:22, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
sorry - i removed the ballet cat from the article w/o realizing that others have been going back and forth with it today. clearly, i don't believe it is an appropriate category in this instance, but i wasn't trying to be sneaky.
the category is ballet composers. that's not 'anyone whose music has ever been used in a ballet'. if the latter were the case, even the beach boys would have to go on the list. J. Van Meter (talk) 17:48, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

The tortuous trail[edit]

I recently read something in a newspaper that caused me to ask a question here. That led me to ask another question here. One of the responses alerted me to this, where I read the following about Brahms:

"When he retired, he even destroyed manuscripts of his fifth and sixth symphonies".

Can this be true? I could believe he was working on a 5th symphony when he died (although I’ve never actually heard such a claim), but would he have been working on 2 symphonies simultaneously? Further, did he ever “retire”? I thought he just went on composing till he couldn’t any more, then died. -- JackofOz (talk) 07:56, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I read somewhere that he mentioned a symphony in a minor to someone, perhaps Dvorak, the 1890s... perhaps it was the destruction of a symphony in a minor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:45, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Composer project review[edit]

I've reviewed this article as part of the Composers project review of its B-class articles. This is a fine article, possibly meriting an A rating; my full review is on the comments page. Questions and comments can be left here or on my talk page. (The hardest-to-fix issue with it is the relative lack of inline citations.) Magic♪piano 03:16, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


I don't want to get into an edit war about punctuation marks, but according to the Chicago Style Manual, proper nouns in the possessive ending in sibilants take 's (see section 6.23 of the manual). Thus, Mysloop's edits, changing Brahms' to Brahms's is correct.

I wanted to raise this on the talk page before doing a revert. --Ravpapa (talk) 05:51, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I've seen it both ways in Wikipedia. Personally I prefer the Chicago way, probably because it's the way I learned. It's not a BE/AE thing, is it? Antandrus (talk) 05:54, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Hmm, that's an issue I hadn't considered. Anyway, Mysloop did some other changes, as well, that are unassailable (changing n-dashes to m-dashes, removing extra spaces after periods). So if Aussie feels very strongly about this, he should make the changes to s' manually. --Ravpapa (talk) 06:09, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I have great respect for style manuals generally, and CSM in particular, but in matters such as this, I believe we need to be guided in our spelling by what we would actually say out loud. Do we say "Brahmzəz <whatever>" or simply "Brahmz <whatever>"? I'd say "the Brahms Violin Concerto" (cf. the Beethoven VC), but "Brahms's Violin Concerto" (cf. Beethoven's VC). I've never seen any reason not to add the -əz to the end in speaking when making the possessive, so -'s should therefore appear in writing. True, we do hear people talking about "Brahms' Lullaby", but many of them might be assuming it was written by a person named Brahm, and if asked to write it, they'd write "Brahm's Lullaby". -- JackofOz (talk) 06:05, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
The next thread header is a fine example of this. -- JackofOz (talk) 02:33, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Traditionally, if a word ends in s, you add an apostrophe ; if it has no s, you add 's. ( Under this rule : one apostrophe, one s ; no bigamist apostrophes. ) That's the simple, traditional way. Under the old, simple ( and still correct ) rules, x's = correct ; s' = correct ( x being any non-s letter ). Doesn't everyone say Brahms' Lullaby, et c ? I've never heard any other pronunciation. ( But this is a style matter. )  :) (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:47, 10 October 2009 (GMT).

In spelling, there are many traditions, depending on where you were taught, when you were taught, by whom you were taught, how well you were taught, ..... As you say, it's a matter of style, not correctness one way or the other. I'm just as happy when I see an article full of Brahms' as I am to find one full of Brahms's. But I'm very unhappy when I see both forms used in the same article. -- JackofOz (talk) 20:18, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
It was brought to my attention when I was writing a scholarly paper that proper names that end in S need to still have the 's. I know, it sounds ridiculous, especially if you get a last name like Ross (i.e. Ross's) but apparently, this is the correct way to do it. The person who raised the point cited Turabian (Chicago style). I don't have my book on hand at the moment, but if anyone wants to look at the most recent edition, I'm sure you'll find the answer there. (And yes, this goes contrary to what my elementary English teachers told me as well.) Devin.chaloux (chat) 04:04, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Brahm's childhood[edit]

I don't buy Kurt Hoffman's so-called refutation at the notion that Brahms played in the brothels of Hamburg's red-light district. Swafford's biography is extensive. It also includes an eye-witness account of someone who had seen Brahms in the company of hookers and going to the piano where he played, though Brahms was an adult by then. Brahms' childhood is revealed through his letters and statements (outbursts) to others. If Hoffman is correct, that would imply that Brahms lied through his teeth. In fact, Brahms was not only honest, he was brutally honest. Brahms's claims about his childhood are good enough for me.HammerFilmFan (talk) 19:29, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Hoffman's best argument is that these brothels would not employ children. Certainly, it is unlikely that giving beer to a thirteen year old ('two thaler and all you can drink') will appear in the books. Clearly, the (adult) Father was paid while the young Johannes did all the work. The father had lived near the docks and thus the red-light district for as much as 6 months and knew it well. I don't know about the mother's involvement though. Hoffman cannot deny that the young Brahms was put to work at 13 or 14 to bring money to the family. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I have done some more checking. German law is and was complex even in the 19th century. The age requirement mentioned by Hoffman was something specific concerning the employment of women i.e. prostitutes in these brothels. That makes sense. When it came to services involving musical entertainment, the same rule would have applied to these brothels as well as those working-class restaurants mentioned in the article by Robert Kameczura. We thus have a contradiction if the same age requirement rule applies to the young Brahms whether he played in the port brothels or the restaurants in his neighborhood. Clearly, in all cases, Brahms' father, Jakob, pocketed the money. The father tried all kinds of schemes to get money without success and Brahms' musical studies costed money. Brahm's musical ability was the one constant that could draw money for the family. It seems certain Jakob was involved. The mother is a different story. If Brahms' did indeed become pale and sick, she likely became aware of it (after the fact). We don't know what happened between the parents but we do know they divorced.

External Links and Value vs. Spam[edit]

Please do not add inappropriate external links to Wikipedia... Thank you. ThemFromSpace 15:41, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

I find it interesting that you arbitrarily remove external links while others remain. If in fact you believe the links to be spam then I would like to know how and why. I am not affiliated with Classical Connect. They are an excellent resource to listen to the composers in question. Each and every link was unique in that they went directly to the composer in question so that one might listen to artists' renditions of the composers music.

And yet, other sites have links on every composer page which offer nothing of value and the same link is plastered to every page in question, therefore should be considered as spam. For example ( others.

So I ask you again, how are the links that I created, which are all unique URLs, of value and provide a free service and pertain to the topic at hand considered spam? It seems all arbitrary and without guidance to me.

Classical Connect is a great site for FREE listening. As such I believe it should be included as a resource. They are not requiring anything but an account sign up to listen to full-length performances of classical music. They are not a pay service, there is no hidden fee. They are a business, yes and as such need to make profit and revenue, but they are not doing it by charging users to listen to the music. Additionally, there are both composers and musicians active on the site meaning that you could connect directly to a contemporary composer ergo CC is one step between someone and that composer... So I ask you again, how is the link spam and who makes these determinations so that I can get the links veted? I am simply trying to contribute, but you seem to not desire all forms of contribution... Chrisrick 13 August 2009

5th and 6th symphonies?[edit]

From Lost work: When he retired, he even destroyed manuscripts of his fifth and sixth symphonies. There's no citation. I can believe that he made some sketches for his next symphony after the 4th was finished, but I've never heard that he was planning two more symphonies and was working on them concurrently. Can this be confirmed, or removed? -- JackofOz (talk) 21:42, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Surely you know about Schoenberg's arrangement of the G minor quartet. The sixth symphony is most likely pure wishful thinking. James470 (talk) 00:48, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Not sure of the relevance of the Schoenberg reference. What did the quartet have to do with any of Brahms's symphonies? -- JackofOz (talk) 02:30, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
That it's been called Brahms' fifth symphony. James470 (talk) 03:27, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I never knew that. But then we're talking about Brahms destroying the manuscript of Schoenberg's arrangement of Brahms's G minor quartet, a chronological impossibility since the arangement wasn't made until 1937. -- JackofOz (talk) 20:06, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Infobox (again)[edit]

I thought we didn't do this for composers? Should we state in the article's lead that his religious beliefs were "unclear", that he died of cancer, and his parents' names? If so, put it in the lead. If not, why put it in an infobox which is just as much a part of the lead? If it's already in the lead, why state it again in an infobox? --RobertGtalk 06:12, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Recommended reference[edit]

My library contains over thirty books (including the 4 volume Kalbeck biography) pertaining to Johannes Brahms. The Hans Gal (see main page, further reading) I can strongly recommend as one of the most scholarly yet readable accounts of the composer written to date.

In this year (2009), when we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Franz Joseph Haydn, it is worth quoting from a letter written by Brahms to Joachim dated 2 September 1896. (Joachim had invited Brahms to join him, together with the other members of his quartet, in order to perform the f minor Piano Quintet, Opus 34.) Brahms replied: Under absolutely no circumstances! Even if you were four lovely, loveable loves instead of being serious and dignified gentlemen. I am here for only twenty-four hours and leave for Karlsbad today. So forgive me if, in the meantime, I just send my heartfelt thanks, look forward to next December, and beg for a Haydn quartet in your programme.

It was not to be. Within a little over six months of this letter having been written, Brahms was dead. Wilberfalse (talk) 20:15, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

     My comment "Sources: Gal" added today agrees in recommending the Gal biography. Marlindale (talk) 04:44, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Second Symphony[edit]

Long before I had read anything about the Second Symphony I have to admit to finding the work far from pastoral, sunny or any of the many similar adjectives used in connection with this, Brahms’s longest symphony. Of impeccable structure (first movement) yes, melancholic (second movement) yes, and for the rest? Well, the remark that Brahms (unlike Beethoven) could never exult is surely contradicted by the finale of the Second? I thoroughly commend Reinhold Brinkmann’s searching account of this work.

Wilberfalse (talk) 20:55, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Compared to Brahms' (Brahms's?) other symphonies, the Second certainly comes across sunny. Likewise, Vagn Holmboe's Trumpet Concerto is sunny compared to most of his other music, but definitely not compared to Haydn's. James470 (talk) 06:02, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

(in intro, 3rd §) Reference to Elgar[edit]

Describing Elgar as a "conservative" composer is a quite disputable assessment (even if this had been the dominant opinion for some time). He is often obsessed by typical early 20th century preoccupations (the angst following WWI, and the decline of the British Empire), and this can be seen in some of his works (the Second Symphony, the Cello Concerto, etc...). See for instance J.P.E. Harper-Scott, Edward Elgar, Modernist (Cambridge University Press). Should we therefore edit the sentence "[Brahms] contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by subsequent figures as diverse as the progressive Arnold Schoenberg and the conservative Edward Elgar" into "[Brahms] contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by subsequent figures as diverse as the expressionist Arnold Schoenberg and the late romanticist Edward Elgar" ? (talk) 23:00, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

I think it is not terribly disputable. His harmony and structural ideas are not very exciting and most of his music is downright stodgy. I can't think of a reason for not considering him conservative. Gingermint (talk) 02:49, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

More Research and Less Gushing[edit]

Of course it is nice that there are Brahms fans, but this article is slightly overboard in its praise. Also, it would be nice to have less opinion and more citations. A lot less opinion would even be better! Gingermint (talk) 02:43, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree. And I'm a tremendous fan of Brahms. NaySay (talk) 14:28, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

Premiere of Brahms piano concerto No.2[edit]

The arcticle implies that Brahms performed the world premiere with the Meiningen Court Orchestra in 1881. I've found evidence that the premiere was in Pest, and then later that month, he performed it with the Meiningen Court Orchestra. Brahms, at the time, lived near the court orchestra and had many dealings with it, including them rehearsing his works as 'guinepigs.' It is possible that the blurb (tho as it's from naxos, it's unlikely) is incorrect, or that the article could be re-worded to make it clearer. Thewar364 (talk) 08:51, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I wouldn't say the article "implies" that, but I agree someone could read it that way. There's no doubt the premiere was in Pest, so I've made that clear. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 12:24, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Split the list.[edit]

I split the List of compositions by Johannes Brahms page because it was loo long: List of compositions by Johannes Brahms by opus number, List of compositions by Johannes Brahms by genre. I'll go ahead and replace the links in the main page. - Gus (T, C) 2011-10-26 22:25Z

huge amount of white space at "Music of Brahms"[edit]

Someone needs to fix, please - thx. Milkunderwood (talk) 09:53, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

I strongly dislike these playlists on composers' pages, drawn from the random collection we have at Commons, but, using three browsers (IE8, Firefox, Chrome), I don't see any white space in the article. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:04, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi Michael- Here's the strange thing. I have two computers here, and although nearly all the time their displays are pretty much identical, sometimes they are not. Right now I'm on an HP running XP Pro, with a 15" flatscreen monitor; and as you say, on this computer there is no white space. But on my Dell running XP Home, with an identical monitor, which I was using last night, I still now see immediately below the "Music of Brahms" section a long list of media files on the right, and nothing but white space on the remainder of the screen until "Works" starts down below all of the media files. I've noticed a roughly similar situation in the very long list of references at the bottom of Arthur Rubinstein discography. On my Dell, I see an extremely long list of refs in a single column -- but on my HP I see two columns, side by side, with #s 1-45 on the left, and 46-89 on the right. Our readers might be using any kind of computer and display. I haven't the faintest idea what causes these differences, but I feel sure that others besides myself will be finding that white space at Brahms. Does this explanation help? Oh - my HP is running Chrome, and the Dell is running IE, I think 7. Milkunderwood (talk) 19:36, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm using Firefox and don't notice any white space. AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 19:43, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
And thanks, Michael, for getting rid of the extraneous stuff at the top of the TOC I had added. Milkunderwood (talk) 19:47, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Squirrel, I see where you moved the photo, and also now I'm not getting the white space on either computer - did you fix this also? Milkunderwood (talk) 19:55, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
If anyone would care to look, I'm a little curious whether they find one single column, or two side-by-side columns, of refs at the bottom of Arthur Rubinstein discography. This mystifies me. Milkunderwood (talk) 20:05, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
That's a known issue: Internet Explorer will not show columns, Firefox and Chrome will. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:04, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

It was definitely AdventurousSquirrel who fixed the white space problem by moving the photo of the grave up out of the "Music of Brahms" section title line. On my HP with Chrome there hasn't been any white space since I first looked at the page; on the Dell with IE8 (not 7), with the photo out of the title line the white space is gone, but if I "View history" from back before the photo move, all the text is again pushed down to below the media files. So that's the answer, to keep stuff from breaking title lines. And thank you Michael, for your explanation of the reflist columns. Milkunderwood (talk) 10:49, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Nice. I thought that would help. AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 17:52, 3 November 2011 (UTC)


I just took a look at this article's history and found out that, in the last 500 edits, over 100 edits (if I counted correctly) have been reverted, since they constituted vandalism. Perhaps it's time for this article to get semi-protected? --Toccata quarta (talk) 21:46, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

'Wondrous Cool' by the dwsChorale or the Sound of the Apocalypse[edit]

I don't know how Wikipedia works exactly, or therefore who to address, but whoever you are in charge of this page: I am no especial Brahms lover but I can only assume either you haven't listened to this particular version and just added it as being the first that came up on youtube or google (which it unfortunately is), or you have a loathing of the composer. If the latter then fair enough, this piece is perfect. If the former, then I'll explain why it sounds so ghastly. The DWS 'chorale' is one man, David Solomons (a well-meaning lover of music and great individual no doubt), singing each part himself separately in a supremely ugly nasal voice and then mashing them together electronically to create an inhuman discord that no normal choir could produce. Today in the paper there was a story about a Kazakh athlete who was grossly offended on the rostrum at games in Kuwait because some idiot had taken the first version of the Kazakh national anthem that they found on the internet, which happened to be by Borat. I am very much hoping that the presenting on a pedestal of this disaster as an interesting, fine and representative work of Brahms to millions of people who don't necessarily know any better is similarly an accident. Even if you are by some chance D. Solomons himself, I beg you in the name of humanity keep it off Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:38, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Picking this up late, the recordings by DwsChorale are now removed everywhere. They are, as you say, not of sufficient quality. There is a good reason for this but there's no point going through it here. Guy (Help!) 21:25, 7 March 2013 (UTC)


It might simply be that my class is incorrect, but I'm being taught that Brahms was a Neoclassical composer, who sought to return to the restraint of the Classical Era while keeping the updated tonality of Romanticism. Is there any truth to this? I can't find any reference of it on Wikipedia, I only see him being called a Romantic here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:16, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

He sort of was, but not quite. He was what is called a conservative romantic; he wanted to create new and more expressive music but retained the forms of the classical period. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:42, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
And you oughta refer to rule one at the top of the page. (talk) 19:22, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Proposed merge with Brahms-Institut[edit]

I do not believe this institution on its own is notable enough to warrant an article. TKK bark ! 12:59, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

There seems to be no strong feeling either way, and the proposer is free to carry out an uncontested merger after about a week. If no merger is carried out in the next few days I will be removing the tags. William Avery (talk) 21:40, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

Infobox (3)[edit]

Again, an infobox has been added. Since its last incarnation, I don't believe that consesus has changed. It contains various howlers, like flags, wrong date order, non-notable family. I'm going to remove it. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:43, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

In the light of the pending arbcom case let me clarify: not added by me or another party. We know better that even proposing such a thing is not welcome. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:16, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Sources: Gal[edit]

There is of course a lot written about Brahms. The 8-volume biography by Kalbeck mentioned in the article has never been translated. There is a lot of published correspondence, also probably not translated. Also relevant are memoirs of one or more daughters of the Schumanns, one book of which I believe has been translated. The biography by Gal, now mentioned under Further Reading, I propose should be used for a few references. It is based on a lot of more primary sources and quotes from them, yet it is concise. Gal was co-editor with Mandyczewski of the Breitkopf and Haertel edition of Brahms's complete works. As the copy I have of the translation was published by Knopf in 1971 (the article now gives Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1963) I would propose to use the Knopf version so that the page numbers I give would match up. "Johannes Brahms: His Work and Personality," by Hans Gal (Translated by Joseph Stein). Knopf, 1971. Marlindale (talk) 18:28, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Brahms and Clara Schumann[edit]

Some corrections are needed in the discussion. 1. According to Gal p. 9, it was in 1854, on Robert's confinement, not in 1856 on his death, that Brahms "hurried to Dusseldorf". One can see this just for internal consistency of the article itself, as in 1856, Brahms moved on to "Detmold and Hamburg" (his home city) as described in the next section.

2. About destruction of letters between the two: Brahms in 1887, according to Gal, proposed that he and Clara return all letters between each other for the purpose of destroying them. On Oct. 16, according to Clara's diary as quoted by Gal, p. 89, Brahms visited and returned to Clara all letters she had written to him. He requested that she give him back the letters he had written her, but she was reluctant about the whole matter and persuaded him to let her keep at least a few of those letters. Actually it seems to me that she must have kept more than a few. Gal documents a lot of events in Brahms's career by his self-reports in letters to Clara. Moreover, her daughter Marie interrupted her in the process of destroying the letters returned to her and persuaded her to keep the remaining ones.

There are volumes of published letters between Clara and Brahms. Here are some references, of course in German:

Brahms, Briefwechsel mit [exchange of letters with] Clara Schumann, Leipzig, B. Litzmann, 1927.

Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms: Briefe aus den Jahren [Letters from the years] 1853--1896, a Google Book. Berthold Litzmann, publisher; [I have a note G. Olms, 1970] [1853 was the year Brahms first met the Schumanns; 1896 the year Clara died]

A second volume, "Band 2" in German, "Briefe aus den Jahren 1872--1896" also published by Litzmann had 1 copy available on German Amazon Jan. 3, 2014. The first volume was out of stock. Anyhow unless one has read the existing letters it is risky to say much about them. The clause "their destruction of their letters to each other may point to something beyond a desire for privacy" is hedged, but still based on a partly false premise, and the given footnote to R. A. Leonard, "The Stream of Music," is not to a specialist and I propose to omit it.

3. Mutual gratitude: In his article that launched Brahms into fame, Robert Schumann wrote "we" I suppose not in an editorial sense, but referring to himself and Clara. Gal (p. 91) writes that Brahms highly valued Clara's advice as a composer. and that as soon as he had finished a composition, he would send it to her for criticism. Later in his career, Brahms advised Clara on her compositions. On the other hand Clara and her children very much appreciated the help Brahms offered to the family in the difficult period of Robert's confinement.

4. A complex relationship: it seems that Brahms himself had conflicting feelings. According to Gal p. 90, there was a letter from Brahms to Joachim in July 1859, omitted for unknown reasons from the 1908 publication by A. Moser of Brahms-Joachim correspondence, but made known by Arthur Holde in "The Musical Quarterly" (New York: July 1959), Brahms wrote that he often had to "forcibly restrain" himself from putting his arms around Clara.

This was 6 years after Brahms first met the Schumanns, after the period 1854--1856 spent in close company, and 3 years after Robert Schumann's death.

Brahms expressed strongly loving feelings in letters to Clara. Marlindale (talk) 18:28, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

5. Wikipedia on Clara Schumann. I don't propose to use this as a reference as it could change, but some excerpts from it seem relevant and I quote them here to be handy: under `later career', second para., `Clara Schumann often took charge of the finances and general household affairs. Part of her responsibility included making money, which she did by giving concerts.'

Here `often' might apply before 1856 when Robert died and Brahms left the household, and probably became `always" from 1856. Later under `Character': `Clara Schumann was the main breadwinner for her family through giving concerts and teaching ... she refused to accept charity when a group of musicians offered to put on a benefit concert for her.' ... `Her son Ferdinand died at the age of 43 and she was required to raise his children' after her own were all grown up.

Gal, pp. 92--93 says that (in a year not stated): Brahms disapproved of Clara's tiring concert schedule, but she replied that she was anxious in providing for seven children, only two of whom had grown up at the time, and that in the next winter, the five would be at home. She also asked understanding for providing for her own future (which turned out to be long).

From all this, it seems to me that in the article on Brahms, the statement that in the two years he spent in the Schumanns' house he "found himself virtually head of the household' implausible, and I propose to say instead that he shared household responsibilities with Clara.

Marlindale (talk) 00:56, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Many but not all proposed changes have now been made in the article. Here, minor fixes made.Marlindale (talk) 23:05, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Another very minor fix.Marlindale (talk) 23:12, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Clara S's opinion on the First Symphony[edit]

In the "Works" section there are some statements about this lacking references. Someone has inserted "when?" and three times, "citation needed". That was in May 2013. The word "noted" seems not appropriate for an esthetic opinion. Maybe if this is not repaired by the end of May 2014, it should be deleted? I would not know where to look for references. I tried looking at the Brahms-Clara correspondence in the relevant period and didn't find it there. In the book by Eugenie Schumann on her parents and Brahms I also didn't find it.Marlindale (talk) 23:24, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Those tages were, correctly, added by User:Softlavender in this edit on 17 May 2013. I believe those paragraphs used to be part for some years of the section "Personality". There's much in that vicinity that needs citations or can be removed right away. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:23, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

===For Clara to criticize the 1st symphony, on which Brahms had worked hardest over many years, a reference seems to me very much needed. Without one I would put it in the category of hearsay. So I'm going to delete that part now.Marlindale (talk) 22:45, 30 May 2014 (UTC)


I heard a story on the radio years ago that a niece of Brahms visited New Orleans and brought back, at his request, sheet music of ragtime tunes, which he was teaching himself on violin when he was bed-ridden. Anyone know of any corroborating material? BubbleDine (talk) 16:28, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

First of all, did Brahms have any niece that we know of? The story seems strange. How much did Brahms play the violin, for that matter? Marlindale (talk) 02:24, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Brahms's siblings; unable to find offspring[edit]

Brahms had an older sister Elisabeth (Elise) Wilhelmine Brahms, 1831-1892, who in 1871 when she was 40 is said to have married Johann Christian Georg Grund, then age 60, a widower and watchmaker. From Rootsweb, starting with Johannes and then looking at descendancy of his father, no offspring of Elise were found.

Brahms also had a younger brother Friedrich (Fritz), 1835-1886, a composer. WikiTree has for him "children unknown."

In the websites I looked at, I also found no further siblings of Brahms.

So it seems no nieces (or nephews) of Brahms are known. Also, late in his life, saying he had no dependents, he offered most of his estate to Dvořák. Marlindale (talk) 20:18, 26 October 2014 (UTC)