Music Composers


Johannes Brahms-Part 2

First Appearance as a Pianist

He made his first public appearance as a pianist when he was fourteen at a concert of which the program included his own variations upon a Volkslied. Brahms seems to have had a decided preference for the variation. Six of his works - his Opus 9, Variations on a Theme by Schumann; Op. 21 No. 1, Variations on an Original Theme; Op. 21, No. 2, Variations on a Hungarian Theme; Op. 23, Variations on a Theme by Schumann; Op. 24, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel; Op. 35, Variations on a Theme by Paganini - are all moulded into this form.

At the age of twenty he went for a concert tour with the Hungarian violinist Remenyi. In his intimate connection with this artist he gained a thorough knowledge of Hungarian melodies and rhythm, and from that time we find him constantly introducing them into his compositions.

At Celle an amusing incident occurred. A poor pianoforte had been provided and another had to be secured this being done just before the concert was timed to commence. It proved itself to be nearly a semitone below pitch, a very disconcerting thing for a violinist. Brahms, however, transposed Beethoven's Sonata in C minor up a semitone without rehearsal, a feat which so impressed Remenyi that he told the audience what had occurred.

The Etude Magazine April 1921





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