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The A-Z of Richard Strauss: B is for Johannes Brahms

The elder composer influenced hugely Strauss, but was critical of his fan's musical style.

By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

17 February 2014 at 2.28pm | Comment on this article

Johannes Brahms (1830–1897) was a German composer who wrote for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, voice and chorus. While Strauss would later dedicate his career to opera, during his youth he pored over the music of the Austro-Germanic symphonic tradition, particularly that of Brahms, its then greatest living exponent.

While Strauss was Hofmusikdirektor in Meiningen from 1885 to 1886, he had the great fortune to meet Brahms, who had a strong working relationship with the city’s orchestra. Brahms was critical of Strauss’s musical style, but the younger composer nonetheless maintained what he called his Brahmsschwärmerei (‘Brahms adoration’), until his friend Alexander Ritter, the husband of Wagner’s niece, placed him on a very different path.

View other posts in our weekly Richard Strauss A-Z series

2014 sees the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth. The composer will be celebrated at the ROH with stagings of Die Frau ohne Schatten (14 March-2 April) and Ariadne auf Naxos (25 June-13 July). Tickets for both are still available.

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