Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was prominent not only as a composer but as a pianist, conductor, editor, scholar, collector, and friend of many notables. He was also, in private, an articulate critic, connoisseur of other arts, and traveler. In this enlightening book, the eminent Brahms scholar Michael Musgrave presents a comprehensive and original account of the composer's private and professional lives. Drawing on an array of documentary materials, Musgrave weaves together diverse strands to illuminate Brahms's character and personality; his outlook as a composer; his attitudes toward other composers; his activities as pianist and conductor; his scholarly and cultural interests; his friendships with Robert and Clara Schumann and others; his social life and travel; and critical attitudes toward his music from his own time to the present. The book quotes extensively from Brahms's own words and those of his circle. Musgrave mines the composer's letters, reminiscences of his contemporaries, early biographies, reviews, and commentary by friends, critics, and scholars to create an unparalleled source of information about Brahms.
The author sets the materials in context, identifies sources in detail, includes a glossary of information on principal individuals, and notes recent research on the composer. This engaging biographical work, with a gallery of illustrations, will appeal to general music lovers as well as to scholars with a special interest in Brahms.