Karl Geiringer’s biography of Brahms is generally regarded as the finest study of the composer ever published in any language. It is based upon the great body of material in the archives of the Viennese Society of Friends, for which Dr. Geiringer was curator from 1930-1938, and which contains more than a thousand letters written by and to Brahms. These letters, exchanged with family and with his famous contemporaries, reveal his loneliness, grim humor, loyalty, painful shyness, and enthusiasm for the music of Beethoven and Schubert-moods that the self-effacing composer did not publicly display. Divided into sections on Brahms’s solitary, scholarly existence and his fruitful composing career-including examinations of rare first drafts-the biography relates how crises in Brahms’s personal life were translated into his music, and how he often managed to ignore or suppress them. Supplemented with a new appendix on “Brahms as a Reader and Collector,” this third edition of a classic biography is both a literary and musicological event.
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