Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Sorry about the recent absence of posting. I think I can speak for all Masterfaders when I say we've been busy as hell. I expect posting to pick up again after next week.
The works that Johannes Brahms wrote for organ are not well known. His output for organ was small, but it spanned almost his entire composing career. The first preludes and fugues on here are from the mid 1850s, probably from around the time Brahms, still a young man, wanted to make a living as an organist. Brahms did not want these published, but they escaped destruction and are rare surviving examples of pieces that Brahms was not happy with; they show his amazing potential more than anything else.
The last work, the opus 122 11 chorale preludes of 1896, is the last thing Brahms ever wrote, and is among my favorite pieces of his entire output. Brahms wrote them partly as a reaction to his intimate friend Clara Schumann's death, and partly as a recognition of his own impending death. The conservative Brahms always drew inspiration from JS Bach, and on Bach's preferred instrument his influence is unmistakable. However, these melancholy, reflective pieces are most definitely Brahmsian; his characteristic 2-on-3 hemiolas and barline-transcending rhythms abound. It is obvious when one listens to these pieces, especially the final chorale, O Welt, ich muss dich lassen, that Brahms knew he hadn't long to live- as the organ drops to pianissimo at the end of the piece and sings one last beautiful F major chord, I picture a tearful goodbye from the greatest Romantic composer ever.
Robert Parkins- Brahms complete organ works
(To accompany his last musical work, the picture above is the last ever taken of Brahms, in 1896)