Johannes Brahms – Rhapsodie (Fragment aus Goethe “Harzreise im Winter”)
(b. Hamburg, 7 May 1833 — d. Vienna, 3 April 1897)
for Alto, Men’s Chorus, and Orchestra, op.53
for Chorus and Orchestra, op.54
for Chorus and Orchestra, op.82
The edition and the preface to Brahms’s Choral Works with Orchestra are dedicated to the memory of a friend of my early years:
Professor Dr. med. Dr. h.c., Heinrich Schmidt-Gayk (1944-2007)
He enriched the medical arts through research and teaching at the University of Heidelberg.
Jürgen Thym, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
To me who followed the progress [of many young composers] with the greatest sympathy, it seemed … there inevitably must appear a musician called to give expression to his times in an ideal fashion: a musician who would reveal his mastery not in a gradual evolution, but like Athena would spring fully armed from the head of Zeus. And such a musician has appeared: a young man over whose cradle Graces and Heroes have stood watch. His name is Johannes Brahms. … Should he direct his magic wand where the powers of the masses in chorus and orchestra may lend him their forces, we can look forward to even more wondrous glimpses of the secret world of spirits.
Thus wrote Robert Schumann in late October of 1853—an amazingly clairvoyant assessment of a budding composer, just twenty years of age, who at the time had not published any of his works. Just a few weeks earlier, Brahms had visited the Schumanns in Düsseldorf, he played for them a few of his compositions, and both Robert and Clara were tremendously impressed by what they heard. Schumann’s wonderful letter of recommendation was a two-edged sword. True, it facilitated the young composer’s entry into the musical work by calling attention to his genius in an unequivocal fashion, but it also raised expectations that it constituted a lifelong burden to the artist. Brahms was in his mid-forties (an age when Beethoven had composed all of his symphonies except for the Ninth) before he felt ready, in 1876, to go public with his first symphony, on which he had labored for almost two decades…
Read full preface > HERE