In 1879, about ten years before Johannes Brahms composed his late, melancholic piano pieces, he wrote the two Rhapsodies op. 79 – two markedly passionate and comparatively extensive works. In a letter to the convalescent Clara Schumann, Brahms spoke in a typically understated fashion about the two pieces “with which you can really run riot and test whether the course of treatment has actually had any effect”. We prefer to agree with Brahms’ friend Elisabeth von Herzogenberg: “the fact that the g minor is my favourite does not make me insensitive towards the intensely prickly beauty of the one in b minor”. Both of these popular works have now been revised on the basis of the new Brahms Complete Edition.
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