chapter  4
36 Pages

Johannes Brahms: Volkslied/Kunstlied

WithVirginia Hancock

Johannes Brahms (1833-97) composed lieder all his life. In the portfolio of pieces that impressed Robert and Clara Schumann when he arrived on their doorstep in September 1853 were a number of songs. In 1896, at a gathering of friends after Clara’s funeral, Brahms played through his latest compositions, the Vier ernste Gesänge Op. 121.1 In all, the works he published for solo voice (or voices) and piano number 196 solo songs,2 twenty duets, sixty quartets, and fifty-seven arrangements of German folksongs (WoO 31, 33).3 Posthumous publications include twenty-eight additional folk song arrangements (WoO 32) and a few additional art songs, including the five Ophelia songs (WoO 22).