Brahms's Symphonies A Closer LookBy David Hurwitz
Though Brahms' symphonies are often treated somewhat like medicine, as something 'good for you', but otherwise lacking in purely sensual pleasure, David Hurwitz takes the reader beyond the jargon and pedantry and unlocks the mystery (and the joy) contained within Brahms' symphonies. In short, Brahms was a musician's musician, in some respects and 'academic' (which is not to say 'pedantic') composer, and so it's practically impossible for professional scholars and musicians to approach his music without wanting to demonstrate at some point that they are as smart as Brahms, and uniquely able to unravel the technical intricacies of his larger works. For the general reader, this obviously represents a problem; indeed, it's not exactly a joy for the music professional either. Indeed, there is a sense in which Brahms' own seriousness of purpose is mistaken for a uniform seriousness of expression, with the result that his music is often treated somewhat like medicine, as something 'good for you', but otherwise lacking in purely sensual pleasure. Brahms' well-known struggles with orchestration compound this impression, but since no less an authority than Ravel praised the orchestration of the Second Symphony, we know that this fact is, at best, a generalization only partially true. "Magnum Opus" is a series for anyone seeking a greater familiarity with the cornerstones of Western Classical Music - operatic, choral and symphonic. Always passionate, down-to-earth, and authoritative on the works and their creators, "Magnum Opus" is an indispensable resource for anyone's musical library and the perfect gift for the music-lover in your life.