Akademische Festouvertüre

Orchestre d'Harmonie

Akademische Festouvertüre
c-Moll op.80

Academic Festival Overture
Ouverture pour une Fête Académique

Compositeur:
Catégorie:
Pièce de concert, Classique, Ouverture
Difficulté:
Höchststufe
Durée:
00:11:03
Maison d'édition:
Rundel
Format:
DIN A3 (Score) + DIN A4 (Parts)
Info:
Partition + Parties
Numéro d'édition:
MVSR2580
Date de publication:
2010

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The composer Johannes Brahms was born into a family of musicians from Hamburg. His father was a simple tavern musician who, by his great diligence, worked his way up to become a respected double bass player at the City Theatre. Apart from his father’s musical encouragement, Brahms gained a thorough musical education from Eduard Marxsen (1806-1887). His eminent musical skill and early maturity as a pianist soon brought him considerable concert activity in Hamburg and other cities, giving him confidence on stage and before audiences even as a young man.

Together with the violinist Eduard Reményi (1828-1892) he undertook an extensive concert tour in 1853 at the age of 20. In his luggage he had several notebooks with songs, piano pieces, a trio and a quartet. This tour was to be the beginning of his extraordinary artistic career. In Hanover he met the prominent Hungarian-born violinist Joseph Joachim (1831-1907), who recognised Brahms’ outstanding talent and praised it with the words: “In his playing there is the intensive fire, I would say the fatalistic energy which predict the artist.” He sent him with a recommendation to Franz Liszt (1811-1886) in Weimar, who received him for several weeks.

Liszt also recognised the young man’s exceptional talent and recommended him to Robert Schumann (1810-1856), who as a composer and music author had a decisive influence on the German artistic scene. Schumann wrote enthusiastically in his “New Journal for Music” about Brahms: “…and he has come, a young blood at whose cradle Graces and Heroes kept watch…that is one who has been called!”

A lifelong and intense friendship existed between Brahms and the pianist Clara Schumann (1819-1896), Robert’s wife. Many of his piano works were dedicated to her and she remained an understanding, yet strict critic whose opinion Brahms attached great importance to, even in old age. Despite overwhelming successes, Brahms remained rather reserved as a composer and hesitated to enter the limelight. He himself rejected some of his early works and either destroyed them or published them under the pseudonyms of G.W. Marks and Karl Wörth. His characterisation as Beethoven’s legitimate successor by Joseph Joachim and Eduard Hanslick (1825-1904) was a description which he felt to be an immense burden. The idea of being placed next to Beethoven was such an encumbrance that he could constantly feel “this giant marching behind him”. It is therefore not surprising that his “First Symphony” only appeared as Opus 68 in 1876, almost ten years after his “German Requiem”. It was then received by an enthusiastic public as Beethoven’s “Tenth Symphony”.

The remainder of Johannes Brahms’ career was marked by waves of success and recognition. He is a giant among the many greats of the 19th century who attained an unsurpassed level of art in all musical forms. In 1879 Breslau followed the example of Cambridge and awarded Brahms an honorary doctorate as “the present first master of the stricter musical art in Germany” (artis musicae severioris in Germania nunc princeps). Brahms thanked the dignitaries of the Philosophical Faculty in Breslau with his “Academic Festival Overture” op. 80. At almost the same time he produced his “Tragic Overture” op. 81. He himself wrote about both works: “The one laughs, the other weeps.”

This humorous work produced consternation amongst the musical Philistines who saw Brahms only as a creator of serious music. The rich thematic material of the overture is taken from a series of well-known student corps songs which have been artistically woven together into a contrapuntal whole. Using the songs „Wir hatten gebaut ein stattliches Haus“, „Hört, ich sing das Lied der Lieder“, „Was kommt dort von der Höh’“ and the song to end all student songs „Gaudeamus igitur!“ Brahms tells a story of student life filled with buoyant fun at which even „old boys“ can only shake their sides with laughter.

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