A focal point of the Vienna research group of the Johannes Brahms Gesamtausgabe (JBG) – besides editing Brahms’s musical works – is the systematic analysis of his reception in the Viennese press between 1862 and 1902. Contemporary journals and daily newspapers provide documentation that can be used to trace first performances, performance venues and dates as well as performers. Furthermore, critiques and extensive reviews allow to outline performance profiles and the ways in which musical works were perceived by contemporaries. Newspaper reports also reveal hitherto unknown biographical details about Brahms’s life.
Thanks to research funding by the City of Vienna since 2016, nine significant Viennese newspapers and periodicals have been explored, including politically polarizing media – such as Catholic-conservative, German-national and social-democratic papers: Blätter für Musik, Theater und Kunst, Wiener Zeitung, Neues Fremden-Blatt, Neue Wiener Musik-Zeitung, Neues Wiener Tagblatt, Die Presse, Das Vaterland, Arbeiter-Zeitung, and Deutsches Volksblatt. In addition to organising this information in a database, previously unknown findings are also published in the printed volumes of the Gesamtausgabe.
The current research project (2021–2022) will make part of this broad data corpus accessible to the public on the open access platform brahms-online.at by means of a database on MEI basis (Music Encoding Initiative). The comprehensive systematisation and categorisation already undertaken will provide a reliable basis for further research – be it the reception of Brahms’s works in Viennese concert life, be it concerts or events in which the composer participated, but also regarding socio-cultural and political issues in connection with an eminent figure of cultural life in Vienna at that time.