"It does not just come to you!" Brahms said of composing. "It is torture!" Johannes Brahms was a perfectionist who prepared meticulous manuscripts. If he was not satisfied with a piece, he would throw the pages into the river or burn them. He spent ten years working on his first symphony.
Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1833, the son of a bass player. Although he grew up in the slums of Hamburg, he later became one of the first composers who did not have to take another job to make a living. As a young boy, Brahms helped support his family by playing dance music on the piano. At 14, he began composing, performing his own variations on a folk song. At 20, Brahms made a concert tour with violinist Remenyi. While on tour Brahms met composer Robert Schumann and his wife Clara who remained close friends with him for the rest of his life. Brahms held the position of music director for a German prince for 4 years. In 1878, he moved to Vienna where he remained until he died in 1897 at the age of 64.
Brahms wrote all types of music except opera. His works include four symphonies, concertos, chamber music, choral works, and choral-orchestral compositions. Although his "German Requiem" established his reputation as a composer, he is most famous to day for the "Brahms's Lullaby." His first symphony is often called "Beethoven's Tenth" meaning that Brahms's music was the next logical step after Beethoven's.
Brahms is the third of the "Three B's" (Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms) in the term coined by conductor Hans Bulow.
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