A significant new publication on the life and work of composer Johannes Brahms, and the first volume to focus on a major musical figure within the Cambridge University Press 'In Context' series.
Edited by Natasha Loges and Katy Hamilton, Johannes Brahms in Context includes over 38 short, approachable essays by leading international scholars offering a view of the rich cultural, professional and historical landscape in which Brahms composed, performed and socialised, covering his background, lifestyle, concert career, and artistic collaborators. Individual contributions explore Brahms’ place within music life, with explorations of copyright law, finances, arranging, editing and publishing. Further chapters on his relationship to religion, politics, science, philosophy, literature, art and music history give a still wider perspective. The volume closes with a consideration of Brahms reception, imitation and performance today.
The vast existing scholarship on Brahms still tends to fall into traditional 'life' or 'works' categories. Existing general studies of Brahms, such as M. Musgrave, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Brahms (CUP, 1999); M. Musgrave, A Brahms Reader (Yale University Press, 2000); W. Frisch & K. Karnes, eds., Brahms and his World (revised edn, Princeton University Press, 2009); and W. Sandberger, Brahms Handbuch (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2009), still focus largely on the composer as a generator of musical works, rather than as a working musician in a century of change. This work-based approach often leaves little room for valuable contextual information.
Natasha Loges and Katy Hamilton co-edited the well-received collection Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall (Cambridge University Press, 2014). The Gramophone reviewer wrote that 'few books on 19th-century music have told me as much or afforded such pleasure in the reading of them.' Scholarly reviews praised the 'wide range of methodological perspectives' and the drawing of 'various strands into a coherent whole'. Loges’s encyclopaedia of Brahms's song poetry, Brahms and His Poets: A Handbook appeared in autumn 2017 (Boydell & Brewer). Hamilton, who gained her PhD at the RCM, is a leading figure in public engagement in classical music, giving talks and writing programme notes for a large range of festivals.
The editors have drawn on innovative scholarship from within Brahms studies and beyond, inviting established and emerging figures from the UK, USA and Austria/Germany. Authors include Renate Hofmann, Thomas Synofzik, Karen Leistra-Jones, Wolfgang Sandberger, William Horne, Inga-Mai Groote, Laurenz Lütteken, Katrin Eich, Michael Musgrave, Walter Frisch, Leon Botstein, Heather Platt, Anneke Scott, Peter Schmitz, Valerie Woodring Goertzen, Friedemann Kawohl, Jakob Hauschildt, Michael Struck, David Brodbeck, Myles Jackson, Nicole Grimes, Matthew Gelbart, Virginia Hancock, George Bozarth, William Vaughan, Johannes Behr, Ulrike Petersen, Ivan Hewett and the editors.