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Memories of a Musical Life
written by "Mason, William, 1829-1908"
...1853; do you remember it?" "Very well indeed, and I am glad to see you again. Just now my time is very much engaged, but we are going up the river on a picnic this afternoon—Joachim and others; will you come along? We are going to a summer restaurant on the Rhine, where they have excellent beer, and it will be ganz gemtlich." I regretted extremely that I had to forego the pleasure of this excursion, and fully realized the opportunity I was losing; but my party—there were four of us, my wife and I and two children—had previously arranged our plans, and in order to make connections we were obliged to go on to Cologne that day. Here was a companion-piece to the disappointment occasioned by my having to forego the pleasure and profit of a foot-tramp through the Tyrol with Richard Wagner, as already related in these "Memories." But so the Fates ordained. Partly on account of the untoward Weimar incident, and partly for the sake of his own individuality, I took a peculiar interest in Brahms. His work is wonderfully condensed, his constructive power masterly. By his scholarly development of themes through augmentation, diminution, inversion, imitation, and other devices, he seems to be introducing new thematic material, while the fact is, as will be seen on close investigation, that he is presenting the original theme in varied form and shape, and gradually unfolding and expanding its possibilities to the uttermost. In other words, his treatment is exhaustive and complete. In his later piano compositions this is readily apparent, and as these pieces are short, and at the same time complete in form, they furnish excellent opportunities to the student for analytical studies. In all that relates to the intellectual faculty Brahms is indisputably a master. I find this to be the consensus of opinion among intelligent musicians. But there are differences of opinion as regards his emotional susceptibilities, and it is just ...

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