Johannes Brahms: His Work and Personality

Johannes Brahms: His Work and Personality

Johannes Brahms: His Work and Personality

Johannes Brahms: His Work and Personality

Excerpt

Seen with a certain detachment, the life story of any great person is seldom more than a background: indispensable for understanding his development, but beyond that hardly of any basic significance. For this reason I have confined to a minimum whatever is biographical in a narrow sense. The depth and aura of Brahms, as a character as well as an artist, justify a presentation centered on problems of personality and artistic creation; from these problems, however, all kinds of side lights will inevitably fall on the story of his life.

Concerning the bare facts of Brahms's life we are in a more fortunate position than with any of the great musicians of the more distant past. In his comprehensive, multivolume, and factually almost exhaustive biographical study, written at a time when direct sources of information were still readily available, Max Kalbeck compiled and presented everything of biographic significance. Also, all accessible correspondence carried on by Brahms with friends, colleagues, and performing artists has been presented in publications. Added to all this material, there also exists an almost unlimited literature of old and new biographies, articles, all types of essays, personal . . .

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