|Johannes Brahms (May 7, 1833 – April 3, 1897) was a German composer of Romantic music, who lived mostly in Vienna, Austria.
Brahms wrote a number of major works for orchestra, including four symphonies, two piano concertos (See First Piano Concerto; Second Piano Concerto), a Violin Concerto, a Double Concerto for violin and cello. His large choral work Ein deutsches Requiem ("A German Requiem") is not a traditional, liturgical requiem (Missa pro defunctis), but a setting of texts which Brahms selected from the Luther Bible.
Brahms' works in variation form include the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel and the Paganini Variations, both for solo piano, and the Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn for orchestra.
His chamber works include three string quartets, two string quintets and two string sextets, as well as a clarinet quintet, a piano quintet, three piano quartets and a number of piano trios. He composed several instrumental sonatas with piano, including three for violin and two each for clarinet and cello. His solo piano works range from his early piano sonatas and ballades to his late sets of character pieces. Brahms also wrote about 200 songs and is considered among the greatest of Lieder composers. His chorale preludes for organ, which he wrote shortly before his death, have become an important part of the organists' repertoire.
Brahms never wrote an opera, nor did he ever write in the characteristic late-19th century form of the tone poem, strongly preferring to compose absolute music that does not refer to an explicit scene or narrative.
Despite his reputation as a serious composer of large, complex musical designs, some of Brahms's most widely known and commercially successful compositions during his life were aimed at the large contemporary market of domestic music making, and are small-scale and popular in intention. These included his arrangements of Hungarian Dances, the Waltzes op.39 for piano duet, the Liebeslieder Waltzes for vocal quartet and piano, and some of his many songs, notably the Wiegenlied, op.49 no.4 (published in 1868). This last item was written (to a folk text) to celebrate the birth of a son to Brahms's friend Bertha Faber, and is known as Brahms' Lullaby.