Loges, N. (2019) Singers. In: Brahms in Context. Composers in Context . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 187-195. ISBN 9781107163416 (hardback) 9781316730317 (e-book)


Throughout his lifetime, Brahms accompanied dozens of singers in a variety of settings, ranging from huge public halls to his friends’ homes, and conducted many others in choirs. Some of those working relationships were one-offs, arising from the widespread practice of including a set of piano-accompanied songs within most concerts and the expediency and cost-effectiveness of using local talent. Others were deep, enduring partnerships; the timbres and interpretative approaches of those singers are surely ingrained in his vocal music. Overall, Brahms’s singers were generally not part of the international operatic elite associated with Verdi, Bizet and Massenet. Figures like Julius Stockhausen (1826–1906) and Raimund von Zur-Mühlen (1854–1931) were almost exclusively concert singers and, later on, teachers. Most hailed from German-speaking territories, reflecting Brahms’s own concert career.

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