Why did Brahms turn to the left?

Why did Brahms turn to the left?


norman lebrecht

August 11, 2014

In enjoying and reviewing Leon Fleisher’s 85th birthday release – it’s my album of the week on sinfinimusic.com – I mulled a good deal over a fugue by Bach that was transcribed for the left hand by Johannes Brahms.

Does anyone know why? Or for whom?





  • Nicolas Nebout says:

    Hello Norman,
    I believe Brahms transcribed it for Clara Schumann as she suffered an injury to her right hand.

  • Paul says:

    of course there is also the Brahms Left-hand transcription of the Bach Chaconne

    and although not just for the left hand, he also wrote this witty arrangement which is an inversion of a Schubert Impromtu:

  • Rob van der Hilst says:

    Which fugue of Bach has Brahms rewritten, adapted or what so ever for a pianist’s left hand?? The one and only ‘Bach-Brahmspiece’ for the left hand I know concerns Bach’s famous Chaconne in d-minor for solo-violin. So what’s up?

    • Paul Lanfear says:

      I think Norman means the Chaconne. It´s a great transcription that I prefer in many ways to the more frequently played Busoni transcription.

      Yes, I believe it was presented to Clara when she injured her right hand (tendonitis perhaps?).