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Johannes Brahms Biography

Johannes Brahms

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Born: 1833. Died: 1897. Lived in: Germany

German pianist and composer Johannes Brahms is ranked among the masters of the Romantic era. Although he showed talent at the piano at an early age, he spent much of his young life performing rather than composing. Brahms's career was given a boost by composer Robert Schumann (1810-56) and his pianist wife Clara (1819-96); his close relationship with Clara, especially after she was widowed, has been the source of much speculation ever since. The pair exchanged passionate letters and went on holiday together, but Brahms opted to leave her behind to pursue his career and a life of bachelorhood. By the end of the 1860s he'd settled in Vienna, where he lived until his death from cancer in 1897. Musically he maintained the Romantic tradition of Ludwig van Beethoven, in opposition to the rise of composers such as Richard Wagner and Brahms's friend, Franz Liszt. His most famous composition is the lullaby, "Lied Wiegenlied" ("Cradle Song"), popularly known as simply "Brahms' Lullaby." His compositions include German Requiem (1866), Violin Concerto in D (1878) and Piano Concertos in B Flat (1878-81).