“Smith 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, he considers how Brahms's approach in his piano quartet informs analysis of similar works by Brahms as well as by Beethoven and Mozart.
“Thisn [book's] strategy is to focus on a single critical work, using it as a stepping-stone to connect it to other works, reaching 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”
“For more than a decade Peter Smith has published extraordinarily insightful analyses of Brahms’s instrumental music. In Expressive Forms in Brahms’s Instrumental Music, he expands his focus to investigate the intersections of structure and expression, and in so doing he deftly explains the ways in which Brahms’s Piano Quartet in C minor op. 60 'correlates
with the agony of an individual about to commit suicide'.48.2 2004”
— Journal of Music Theory
“For its sincere committal to such an important message, brilliant use of dimensional noncongruence to lay bare the formal complexities of the Viennese tradition, and numerous insights into the structure and expression of one of Brahms’s most tragic musical portrayals, Smith’s book should be valued by music scholars and welcomed as a significant contribution to the study of meaning in Brahms’s music.”
— Music Theory Online