Brahms in the home: an introduction

Hamilton, K. and Loges, N. (2014) Brahms in the home: an introduction. In: Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall: Between Private and Public Performance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1-22. ISBN 9781107042704 (hardback) 9781108458085 (paperback) 9781316056585 (e-book)


Any exploration of domestic music-making is confronted with heavy over-laps between areas which, if they are considered at all, are usually considered quite separately. This sort of music-making is necessarily muddied by con-siderations of venue, performer, performing ensemble and audience, as well as by the actual music performed and the existence of multiple instantiations. The biggest challenge is the ubiquity – yet impermanence – of both the activity and its materials. The details of private music-making within Brahms’s circle can be partially reconstructed, but it is much harder to trace the extent of this activity beyond the orbit of a known musical personality or a canonical work. Locating such traces involves drawing a different kind of information from sources which are not necessarily event-specific, and often concern themselves with broader categories and practices. Thus, for example, publishers’ catalogues, private recollections and correspondence by figures within Brahms’s wider circle of friends become central to reconstructing these musical practices

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