Full Name: Johannes Brahms
Years active: 1833-1897
Number of compositions: 122
Number of symphonies: 4
Number of concertos: 4
Number of string quartets: 3
Style: Powerful, grand and imposing Romantic music. He is well known for his beautiful (and catchy) melodies. He is often compared to Beethoven (and in fact both of them are highly regarded, along with Bach, as the great “three B’s”). Although their music has a similar underlying feel, Beethoven was only just a Romantic composer, whereas Brahms was completely Romantic. This means that his music has significantly lusher instrumentation, and sounds (a bit) more modern.
Piano Concerto No. 1, 3rd Movement
Brahms’ music often gives the impression of enormous amounts of power hidden just below the surface. This movement from his 1st piano concerto is a perfect example: the piano melody is a little unsure and frantic, but is backed up by the enormous force of the orchestra.
Cello Sonata No. 1, 1st Movement
This is a stunning example of the beautiful melodies that Brahms is so well known for. I think it has the same eerie tranquility of Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata.
Symphony No. 3, 3rd Movement
Another beautiful melody gets passed around the orchestra. This symphony is extra awesome because it has a coded message in it.
Symphony No. 4, 4th Movement
This is one of my favorites. It’s a passacaglia or a chaconne (nobody seems to really know which is which) which means that there is a certain phrase repeated through the whole movement. In this case it’s that intimidating chord sequence blasted out right at the beginning.