Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1


VIDEO: Johannes Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 00:00 I. Maestoso 24:06 II. Adagio 38:45 III. Rondo Hélène Grimaud, piano, Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra | SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Michael Gielen, 17.IV.2005.

Johannes Brahms was 20 years old when, in 1853, he first made the acquaintance of Robert Schumann through a letter of recommendation provided by the famous violinist Joseph Joachim. It was Schumann's unabashed praise of the music that Brahms showed him that, more than anything else, provided the young composer with the courage necessary to begin work on a full-scale symphony the next year. That courage, however, fell short in the end -- Brahms felt himself too inexperienced and was too haunted by the "footsteps of a giant" (Beethoven) to begin fruitful symphonic work -- and Brahms reorganized the material he had written as a sonata for two pianos. By 1858, this sonata for two pianos had itself been reborn as the Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15. The Piano Concerto No. 1 as we know it today is a complete reworking of the ideas and themes of the original duo-sonata source; much of it is completely new music. The premiere of the piece in January 1859 was not the failure that it is sometimes portrayed to have been, but the cold response at a follow-up performance in Leipzig left a bitter taste in Brahms' mouth that he never forgot -- Leipzig remained an enemy for the rest of his life.

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