Johannes Brahms


Scherzo for Piano in Eb Minor


Brahms began his composing career with a number of works for piano, as he was a budding virtuoso on the instrument and likely headed for a performing career. The Eb Minor Scherzo was composed when he was eighteen years old and is characterized by demonic energy with a relentless rhythmic drive. Contrasting the opening impulsive statement, there are two contrasting lyrical trios. The Eb Minor Scherzo would soon drop the jaws of of leading musicians in Europe.  Although consciously published as Op. 4, this unusual piece can claim to be the earliest work by Brahms with an opus number. The pieces with which it is most often compared are Chopin’s four independent Scherzos, which Brahms claimed not to have known at the time he wrote it. The very fast triple meter, combined with the fully written-out second scherzo reprise, results in the highest measure count of any Brahms vocal or instrumental movement. Even a casual glance at the score will show that Brahms was already writing exceedingly difficult music with “fistfuls of notes”. Check it out!

The young Brahms

BONUS: If you are interested in looking at the music while listening, click on the

video above! Be sure to zoom in so you can easily view the music!