Performing Brahms: Early Evidence of Performance Style
Michael Musgrave and
Bernard D. Sherman, editors
Cambridge University Press, 2003

391 pages; ISBN 0 521 65273 1

Winner, 2004 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Award for Excellence: "Best Research in Recorded Classical Music"

"This is about as all-embracing a work as you could imagine. Every aspect of Brahms's oeuvre and its interpretation is thoroughly discussed and analysed and the style of playing of well-known Brahms interpreters such as Fanny Davies and Joachim is gone into in great depth. One gets a real impression of the conditions of music making in Brahms's time and of the way this fits into his artistic milieu. This is a book for professional and amateur Brahms aficionados which I predict will never be surpassed or superseded." - Sir Charles Mackerras

"As though on cue to rebut the notion that musicology today has no connection to 'real' music, this impressive book arrives, detailing the evidence that survives about how Brahms and his contemporaries performed his music. Not only are all the chapters eminently readable, but they raise fundamental issues about how styles of performance have changed over the last century or so." - Barry Millington, BBC Music Magazine, April 2003

"Fascinating.. By contextualizing Brahms in performance traditions of, if not his time, then close to it, it becomes possible to make sense of the evidence that survives; and at the same time the book serves as a valuable investigation into performance style at the end of the 19th century." - Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, Early Music, May 2005

How did Brahms perform his music? How did he expect it to be played? Mounds of evidence survive regarding both questions, but until now has been scattered among letters, manuscripts, journals, and recordings, many of them unpublished or hard to find.

Performing Brahms collects most of this evidence between two covers, along with expert discussions by Styra Avins, Jonathan Bellman, George Bozarth, Clive Brown, Walter Frisch, Michael Musgrave, Robert Pascall, Robert Philip, Bernard D. Sherman, and Philip Weller. (For a table of contents, click here.) The contributors address not only the evidence, but also the tricky question of how performers might use it today.

The book also a CD with historical recordings of Brahms by the composer himself and by many of his friends and associates. .(For CD contents, click here.) [SPECIAL BONUS FOR GERMAN READERS: I'm posting Brahms in the Meiningen Tradition: His Symphonies and Haydn Variations in the Markings by Fritz Steinbach - the unpublished 1933 typescript by Walter Blume - for free online. Intro; Ch. 2, Ch. 3, Ch. 4) ] Walter Frisch discusses it in detail and translates Chapter 8 below

Below is a page from the autograph of A German Requiem, showing the first entry of the chorus. Detailed information remains about how Brahms and his contemporaries performed the Requiem, as Michael Musgrave explains in his chapter.

Table of Contents for Performing Brahms

Introduction: Michael Musgrave and Bernard D. Sherman

Chapter 1. How Different Was Brahms's Playing Style from Our Own?- Bernard D. Sherman, author of Inside Early Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Chapter 2. Performing Brahms's Music: Clues from His Letters - Styra Avins, author of Johannes Brahms: Life and Letters (Oxford University Press)

Chapter 3. Joachim's Violin Playing and the Performance of Brahms's String Music - Clive Brown, author of Classical and Romantic Performing Practice (Oxford University Press, 1999)

Chapter 4. Proportions and Tempos in Brahms Performance: contemporary evidence - Bernard D. Sherman, author of Inside Early Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Chapter 5. "Performance Issues in A German Requiem"; - Michael Musgrave, author of numerous books on Brahms. Appendix: Siegfried Ochs. 'Ein deutsches Requiem', introduced and translated by Michael Musgrave.

Chapter 6. Fanny Davies and Brahms's Late Chamber Music - George Bozarth, author of numerous studies of Brahms, editor of Brahms Studies: Analytical and Historical Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 1990)

Chapter 7. Flexible Tempo and Nuancing in Orchestral Music: Understanding Brahms's view of interpretation in his Second Piano Concerto and Fourth Symphony - Robert Pascall, editor of the Brahms symphonies for the Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke (Munich, Henle, 1996- ) and of Brahms: Biographical, Documentary, and Analytical Studies (Cambridge University Press, 1983); Philip Weller

Chapter 8. Excerpt from Brahms in the Meiningen Tradition: His Symphonies and Haydn Variations in the Markings by Fritz Steinbach - 1933 typescript by Walter Blume. Excerpt: The First Symphony- Walter Frisch, translation and introduction. See SPECIAL BONUS above.

Chapter 9. In Search of Brahms's First Symphony: Steinbach, the Meiningen Tradition, and the Recordings of Hermann Abendroth - Walter Frisch, author and editor of numerous books on Brahms

Chapter 10. Performing Brahms in the Style Hongrois -Jonathan Bellman, author of The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993)

Chapter 11. Early Piano Recordings of Brahms - Michael Musgrave

Chapter 12 Brahms's Musical World: Balancing the Evidence - Robert Philip, author of Early Recordings and Musical Style: Changing Tastes in Instrumental Performance, 1900-1950 (Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Accompanying CD: table of contents:

1. The Violin Playing of Joseph Joachim

Track 1. Bach: Bourée (Partita in B minor):
Track 2. Bach: Adagio (Sonata in G minor)
Track 3. Joachim: Romance in C major.

2. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem
Track 4. Movement 5: mm 1-26. Furtwängler/Musikaliska Sällskapet Kor; Stockholms KonsertföreningsOrkester, Kerstin Lindberg-Torlind, soprano (1948)

3. Brahms: Symphonies

Excerpts from Symphony No. 1:

First movement, mm. 117-158
Track 5 Abendroth/London Symphony 1928
Track 6 Weingartner/ London Symphony 1939.

Finale, Mm. 1-13
Track 7 Abendroth/London Symphony 1928
Track 8 Stokowski/Philadelphia1927
Track 9 Klemperer /Berlin State Opera 1928

Finale, MM. 279-302

Track 10 Abendroth/London Symphony 1928
Track 11 Walter/Vienna Philharmonic 1937
Track 12 Furtwängler/Berlin Philharmonic (1945)

Finale. MM 386-96
Track 13 Abendroth/London Symphony 1928
Track 14. Walter/Vienna Philharmonic 1937
Track 15 Furtwängler/Berlin Philharmonic (1945)

Excerpts from Symphony No. 3 Third movement (to letter C)
Track 16 Clemens Kraus/Vienna Philharmonic 1930
Track 17 Walter/Vienna Philharmonic, 1937

4 Brahms. Piano Music performed by his associates

Track 18 Trio in C Minor, op. 101: opening of the third movement as rendered impromptu by Ilona Eibenschütz (recorded by the BBC, 1952)

Track 19. Ballade in G Minor, Op. 118/3 Ilona Eibenschütz, piano

Track 20. Intermezzo in E minor, Op. 119/2. Ilona Eibenschütz, piano

Track 21 Intermezzo in E flat, Op.117/1. Adelina de Lara

Track 22. Rhapsody in G minor, Op. 79/2. Adelina de Lara.

Track 23. Capriccio in B minor, Op 76/2. Alfred Grünfeld.

Track 24 Waltz in E, Op 39/2. Ilona Eibenschütz;

Track 25 Waltz in E, Op 39/2: Alfred Grünfeld.

Track 26 Waltz in A flat, Op. 39/15: Ilona Eibenschutz, piano.

Track 27 Waltz in A flat, Op. 39/15: Alfred Grünfeld


5 Brahms in the Style Hongrois

Track 28 Brahms: Hungarian Dance No 1 in G minor (Johannes Brahms (piano): cylinder. Digitally remastered by Jonathan Berger.

Track 29 Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor. (Joseph Joachim, violin):

Track 30. Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 2 in D minor. (Joseph Joachim, violin):

Track 31. Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.1 in G minor (Leopold Auer, violin)

Track 32.. Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.7 in A major: Bronislaw Huberman, violin):

Track 33. Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.6 in E-flat major: Henri Marteau, violin):

Track 34. Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor (Eugène Ysaÿe: violin):

Track 35 .Brahms Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115, Second movement, bars 52-86 Charles Draper/ Lener Quartet,


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