Johannes Brahms was a man of contrasts. His serious Teutonic music was balanced by joyful dance music. His miserliness with himself by exceeding generosity with family and associates. His kindness to working people with a biting, malicious wit reserved for those he encountered in artistic and aristocratic circles.
He was not an easy man to know, destroying a good deal of his own work and almost all of his lifetime's correspondence, in later years even collecting his letters from friends so that he could consign them to the flames.
Yet you can know this enigmatic genius through this 8-lecture series, which uses biographical information and musical commentary to link the complexities of Brahms the man with the electrifying music of Brahms the composer.You'll learn how Brahms found unique ways of combining the rigor and formal complexity of older Classical and even Baroque genres and forms with the melodic inventiveness, harmonic sophistication, and expressive richness so prized in the Romantic age. And how his fanatical perfectionism led him to write, rewrite, and ultimately destroy more than 20 string quartets before publishing a pair of exceptionally exquisite pieces at the age of 40, breathing new life into the old bones of this exacting chamber music form.
"His legacy," notes Professor Greenberg, "is a lifetime of extraordinary craft and artistic beauty without an inferior piece in the collection."