Expressive Forms in Brahms s Instrumental Music
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267 pages
English

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Description

A groundbreaking consideration of Brahms's instrumental works.


"This book is a substantial and timely contribution to Brahms studies. Its strategy is to focus on a single critical work, the C-Minor Piano Quartet, analyzing and interpreting it in great detail, but also using it as a stepping-stone to connect it to other central Brahms works in order to reach a new understanding of the composer's technical language and expressive intent. It is an original and worthy contribution on the music of a major composer." —Patrick McCreless

Expressive Forms in Brahms's Instrumental Music integrates a wide variety of analytical methods into a broader study of theoretical approaches, using a single work by Brahms as a case study. On the basis of his findings, Smith considers how Brahms's approach in this piano quartet informs analyses of similar works by Brahms as well as by Beethoven and Mozart.

Musical Meaning and Interpretation—Robert S. Hatten, editor


Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Quintessential Brahms and the Paradox of the C-Minor Piano Quartet: A Representative yet Exceptional Work
Part I
2. Analytical Preliminaries: Brahms's Sonata Forms and the Idea of Dimensional Counterpoint
3. A Schoenbergian Perspective: Compositional Economy, Developing Recapitulation, and Large-Scale Form
4. Brahms and Schenker: A Mutual Response to Sonata Form
5. Brahms's Expository Strategies: Two-Part Second Groups, Three-Key Expositions, and Modal Shifts
Part II
6. Toward an Expressive Interpretation: Correlations for Suicidal Despair
7. Intertextual Resonances: Tragic Expression, Dimensional Counterpoint, and the Great C-Minor Tradition
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 07 juillet 2005
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9780253023551
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

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Extrait

Expressive Forms in Brahms s Instrumental Music
M USICAL M EANING AND I NTERPRETATION
Robert S. Hatten, editor
PETER H. SMITH
Expressive Forms in Brahms s Instrumental Music
Structure and Meaning in His Werther Quartet
Chapter 4 is a revised version of Brahms and Schenker: A Mutual Response to Sonata Form, 1994 by the Society for Music Theory, Inc., reprinted from Music Theory Spectrum 16, no. 1, by permission of the publisher, University of California Press.
Example 2.10 is from Charles J. Smith, Musical Form and Fundamental Structure: An Investigation of Schenker s Formenlehre , Music Analysis 15 (1996): 263, by permission of the publisher, Blackwell Publishing.
Example 2.16 is from Carl Schachter, The First Movement of Brahms s Second Symphony: The Opening Theme and Its Consequences, Music Analysis 2 (1983): 62 and 64, by permission of the publisher, Blackwell Publishing.
Example 5.11 is reproduced from Maury Yeston, ed., Readings in Schenkerian Analysis and Other Approaches , by permission of the publisher, Yale University Press.
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
601 North Morton Street
Bloomington, IN 47404-3797 USA
http://iupress.indiana.edu
Telephone orders 800-842-6796
Fax orders 812-855-7931
Orders by e-mail iuporder@indiana.edu
2005 by Peter H. Smith
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Smith, Peter Howard.
Expressive forms in Brahms s instrumental music : structure and meaning in his Werther quartet / Peter H. Smith.
p. cm. - (Musical meaning and interpretation)
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
ISBN 0-253-34483-2 (cloth : alk. paper)
1. Brahms, Johannes, 1833-1897. Quartets, piano, strings, no. 3, op. 60, C minor. 2. Brahms, Johannes, 1833-1897-Criticism and interpretation. I. Title. II. Series.
MT145.B72S65 2005
785 .28194-dc22
2004017942
1 2 3 4 5 10 09 08 07 06 05
To the memory of my mother,
Carol Ruth Carlin
1933-2003
Contents
Acknowledgments
INTRODUCTION
1. Quintessential Brahms and the Paradox of the C-Minor Piano Quartet: A Representative yet Exceptional Work
PART ONE
2. Analytical Preliminaries: Brahms s Sonata Forms and the Idea of Dimensional Counterpoint
3. A Schoenbergian Perspective: Compositional Economy, Developing Recapitulation, and Large-Scale Form
4. Brahms and Schenker: A Mutual Response to Sonata Form
5. Brahms s Expository Strategies: Two-Part Second Groups, Three-Key Expositions, and Modal Shifts
PART TWO
6. Toward an Expressive Interpretation: Correlations for Suicidal Despair
7. Intertextual Resonances: Tragic Expression, Dimensional Counterpoint, and the Great C-Minor Tradition
Notes
Bibliography
Index of Brahms s Works
General Index
Acknowledgments
It would be difficult given limitations of space and memory to acknowledge each and every individual who assisted in the completion of this book. I nevertheless would like to recognize those who were at the forefront in helping me develop the book s intellectual substance and sustaining me through the inevitable ups and downs of authorship. My interest in the dialectic of articulation and continuity in nineteenth-century music was first sparked by the teaching of Robert Morgan of Yale University. Professor Morgan was kind enough to accept me as a dissertation advisee at a time at which my application of his insights to the music of Brahms was in its most formative stages. It is a testament to his powerful influence as a teacher and musician that the ideas that he helped me develop then still stand at the core not just of this book but of my work in general.
The idea for a monograph focusing on intersections of structure and expression in the C-minor Piano Quartet, op. 60, grew out of a long series of discussions of the work with Professor Michael Friedmann, also of Yale University. Professor Friedmann s passion for music in general and Brahms in particular has been an ongoing source of inspiration. The three professors who have served as departmental chair during my years on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame-Ethan Haimo, Susan Youens, and Paul Johnson-have each in their own separate ways provided professional accommodation and personal support. Without their help I would have had a much more difficult time maintaining the proper balance among research, teaching, and service necessary to see me through to the completion of this book.
I also would like to thank Robert Hatten of Indiana University for his immediate interest when I first brought my ideas for a book to him and for his careful reading and editing of the completed manuscript. Gayle Sherwood and the staff of Indiana University Press deserve credit for their professionalism in handling all aspects of the book s production. Ken Froelich provided expert note-processing of the music examples, whose preparation was made possible by a generous grant from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame.
Finally I owe my deepest gratitude to my family. My wife, Lumi, and my son, Manny, have an uncanny ability to take me away from the struggles and frustrations of academia, providing a joyous home life that allows me to put all else in perspective. Over the years my parents and stepfather have provided not only unconditional love but also all the support for a musical career that any son could wish for, starting with viola lessons in the third grade and continuing on through graduate school and beyond. It will always hearten me to recall the sudden brightness in my mother s voice as she responded to my report that my book had been accepted for publication, even as she was struggling with the later stages of the cancer that was to take her life.
Introduction
1 Quintessential Brahms and the Paradox of the C-Minor Piano Quartet: A Representative yet Exceptional Work
Imagine a man who is about to shoot himself, and for whom there is no other way out. So suggested Johannes Brahms to his friend Hermann Deiters upon showing him a version of the first movement of his C-Minor Piano Quartet, op. 60, in the summer of 1868. 1 As advice for music appreciation, this certainly stands out as one of the most unusual suggestions ever offered by a composer. Brahms nevertheless continued to associate the quartet with images of suicide through the work s completion in 1873-74. He wrote to another friend, Theodore Billroth, to explain that he was presenting him the final version of the quartet purely as a curiosity! An illustration, as it were, to the last chapter of the man in a blue swallow-tail coat and yellow waistcoat. 2 This sartorial description is an obvious reference to the famous dress of Werther, the central character in Goethe s Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther), a novella about the emotional agony and eventual suicide of a young man in love with the wife of an admired older friend. 3
What could it possibly mean to suggest that an abstract instrumental work, by of all composers Brahms, illustrates an act of suicide? The quartet is a piece, after all, that like so many of Brahms s instrumental cycles unfolds in four movements, in a standard fast-fast-slow-fast pattern. Moreover, as is typical for Brahms, each movement follows conventions of the Classical forms traditionally associated with its position in the cycle: sonata form for the first and last movements, an ABA ternary pattern for the scherzo, and for the Andante a sonata-ternary hybrid characteristic for Brahms and in no way unprecedented in the Viennese tradition. In genre, instrumentation, form, tonal language, and motivic process, the quartet hardly appears to stand apart from Brahms s other chamber works in a manner that would justify associations with something as disturbing as the image of a man about to commit suicide.
Yet the crucial phrase here is hardly appears. For, as we all know, appearances can be deceiving, especially when considered superficially. The connection Brahms suggested between the quartet and Goethe s Werther -and by extension with his relationship to Robert and Clara Schumann-has often been cited in the Brahms literature. One nevertheless searches in vain for sustained exploration of specifically how the musical processes of this amazing composition could possibly correlate with the agony of an individual about to commit suicide. My intention is to fill this gaping lacuna in Brahms studies.
Music theory-at least in its contemporary guise as a postwar academic discipline-has tended to pursue issues of structure rather than expression. This in part is a consequence of the historical context in which the seeds for postwar, Anglo-American theory were first planted. In carving out a place for a new discipline, musicians such as Milton Babbitt and Allen Forte presented their approach as an alternative to what they saw as the unselfconscious analytic habits of musicology, as well as to that discipline s focus on historical context. Theory was to correct these

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