Brahms in Context offers a fresh perspective on the much-admired 19th-century German composer. Including 39 chapters on historical, social and cultural contexts, the book brings together internationally renowned experts in music, law, science, art history and other areas, including many figures whose work is appearing in English for the first time. The essays are accessibly written, with short reading lists aimed at music students and educators.
The book opens with personal topics including Brahms's Hamburg childhood, his move to Vienna and his rich social life. It considers professional matters from finance to publishing and copyright; the musicians who shaped and transmitted his works; and the larger musical styles which influenced him. Casting the net wider, other essays embrace politics, religion, literature, philosophy, art and science.
The book closes with chapters on reception, including recordings, historical performance, his compositional legacy, and a reflection on the power of composer myths.