Expressive Forms in Brahms's Instrumental Music

Expressive Forms in Brahms's Instrumental Music

Structure and Meaning in His Werther Quartet
Peter H. Smith
Distribution: World
Publication date: 7/7/2005
ISBN: 978-0-253-02355-1
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“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

Author Bio

Peter H. Smith is Associate Professor of Music Theory at the University of Notre Dame.


"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

"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'." —
Journal of Music Theory

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Table of Contents

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