Johannes Brahms was born on May 7th, 1833 in Hamburg, Germany into a family that was already a part of the romantic music scene. His father, Johann Jakob Brahms, was known as a skilled string and wind performer, and gave his son his first musical lessons. Brahms's parents did not approve of his early efforts as a composer, as they felt that he had more potential for a career as a performer. However, the German pianist of the romantic era still dedicated much of his time to his own compositional endeavors, and had several works published under the pseudonym 'G.W. Marks'. Unfortunately, he had many of these early works destroyed. Brahms spent most of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he composed for chamber ensembles, piano, symphony orchestra, chorus, and voice, before he passed away on April 3rd, 1897. Today, he is regarded as one of the 19th century's leading composers.
Brahms dedicated his Quintet for Piano and Strings in F Minor, Op. 34 to Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Anna Friederike of Prussia. Having completed it in the Autumn of 1864, and publishing it the following year, it is often referred to as “The Crown of his Chamber Music.” Like most Piano and String Quintets, it is scored for two violins, viola, cello, and two-hand piano. However, this was not always the case; before being reworked to a quintet for piano and strings, Brahms’s Op. 34 had been set for string quintet, which he found unconvincing, and then again for two pianos. It was in this