Johannes Brahms


Double Concerto (Finale) (1887)

This work is discussed in detail in the PROGRAM NOTES section, but a few words in closing seem appropriate. As noted, this is the final orchestral work by Brahms, written in 1887. The work makes use of a musical motive A-E-F, which is a permutation of F-A-E (Frei aber einsam) cipher that goes all the way back to 1853. Again, this tells us something about the character of the man. Brahms biographer puts it best: “In order to fulfill Schumann’s prophecy he would have to become in earnest what his teacher Marxsen would call “a priest of art”, to live something like a monastic existence. He must choose music instead of life. Brahms gradually and reluctantly chose the path of denial. Everything and everybody, including his own desires, must be subordinated to perfecting his art.” It was indeed a lonely life.