Goodbye Again

In defense of Brahms

By Jens F. Laurson

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Upon hearing the second ever performance of Brahms’s First Piano Concerto in 1859, an anonymous critic for the Leipzig magazine Signale für die musikalische Welt proclaimed, “A new composition has been carried to its grave.” And it didn’t go quietly, or quickly: “This retching and plowing, jerking and yanking, this patching and tearing of phrases — mostly clichéd — has to be endured for over three quarters of an hour.”...

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