Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
November 8
Can You Guess?
Brahms composed a piece of music that almost everyone has heard, especially at night.  Can You Guess what that piece of music was, babe?

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1830 - Eleven year old pianist Clara Wieck Schumann (see Brahms biography to the left) gives her first performance, at Leipzig Gewandhaus.

1882
- Lazare Saminsky, Russian-American composer and conductor, was born.

1919 - First performance of Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat 'The Soldier's Tale' Suite for violin, clarinet and piano, in Lausanne


1926 - First performance of Gershwin's musical Oh, Kay! in NYC, with songs Clap Yo' Hands; Do, Do, Do; and Someone to Watch over Me which became standards.

1949
- Maria Callas made her first commercial recordings in Turin, Italy.

1950
- Christopher Bochmann, English composer, was born.

1997 -
Johnny Paycheck officially joined the Grand Ole Opry. He was the 72nd member of the radio show's cast.

Did You Guess?
One of the most recognizable songs in the world is the Brahms Lullaby.  Click HERE to listen to a MIDI version of the piece.
Johannes Brahms
1833-1897
From an early age Brahms helped support his family by playing in dance halls.  He also began arranging music for  his father's light orchestra while absorbing the popular alla zingarese (gypsy) style that was associated with Hungarian folk music.

In 1853, on a tour with the Hungarian violinist Reményi, 15-year old Brahms met violinist Joseph Joachim and Franz Liszt.  Brahms and Joachim were instantly drawn to one another and became lifelong friends.  Joachim encouraged Brahms to meet Robert Schumann. Brahms and the Schumanns (Robert and his wife Clara) became great friends and artistic colleagues.


Brahms moved to Hamburg in 1859 to direct a women's chorus. Though he was well known as a pianist, Brahms's distaste for much of the popular music of the day (notably that of Franz Liszt and the like) caused him to have trouble being accepted as a composer.

Slowly he gained the public's approval with his two orchestral serenades, the Handel Variations for piano and the early piano quartets. He became director of the Vienna Singakadamie in 1863.  Besides giving concerts of his own music, he made tours throughout northern and central Europe and began teaching the piano. He settled permanently in Vienna in 1868.

Although Brahms composed many types of music, of special interest to violin students is his violin concerto. 

Brahms wanted to write a concerto for his friend Joachim, but he felt unfamiliar with the violin, and it took 30 years for him to so.  When he finally did he sent a copy of the score to Joachim with a request for him to comment on what was "difficult, uncomfortable, impossible, etc.,'' but Joachim replied that "most of the material is playable---some of it, in fact, quite originally violinistic.'' Joachim's major concern was the stamina required to play it "in an overheated concert hall!''

Brahms continued to have doubts, and discarded the middle two of the original four movements, replacing them with what he called "a feeble Adagio.'' When Joachim received the piece he wasted not time presenting the work.  January 1, 1879 saw the first performance.  It was not well-received by the critics.  One, in fact, called it a "Concerto against the Violin," and questioning the ability of any violinist to perform it.  But time has allowed the piece to be seen as the true virtuoso piece that it is, and it is now part of the standard repertoire.rough his old friend's self-deprecation and wasted no time in presenting the new work to the public. It was not well-received at first, despite repeated performances (one critic referred to it as ``a Concerto versus the violin''),


Brahms continued to work into the 1890s.  He maintained his friendship with Clara Schumann.  Her death in 1896 was very hard on him.  Less than a year later, on March 26, 1897, Johannes Brahms died from cancer, age 63, and was buried in Vienna.
Johannes Brahms' Violin Sonata No. 1 in G, Op. 78 was first performed November 8, 1879. Joseph Joachim, played violin and Brahms played the piano.

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, May 7, 1833.  His father was a  double bass player. Brahms began studying the piano when he was 7, and started theory and compositon lessons under Eduard Marxsen when he was 13.  Marxsen was a fan of Johann Sebastian Bach, so Brahms was well-trained in the classics.
Brahms Violin Concerto
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