Expressive Intersections in Brahms

Expressive Intersections in Brahms

Essays in Analysis and Meaning
Edited by Heather Platt and Peter H. Smith
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/18/2012
Format: Hardback 93 music exx., 1 b&w illus
ISBN: 978-0-253-35705-2
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Contributors to this exciting new volume examine the intersection of structure and meaning in Brahms's music, utilizing a wide range of approaches, from the theories of Schenker to the most recent analytical techniques. They combine various viewpoints with the semiotic-based approaches of Robert Hatten, and address many of the most important genres in which Brahms composed. The essays reveal the expressive power of a work through the comparison of specific passages in one piece to similar works and through other artistic realms such as literature and painting. The result of this intertextual re-framing is a new awareness of the meaningfulness of even Brahms’s most "absolute" works.

Author Bio

Peter H. Smith is Professor of Music at the University of Notre Dame and author of Expressive Forms in Brahms's Instrumental Music (IUP, 2005).

Heather Platt is Professor of Music History at Ball State University and author of Johannes Brahms: A Research and Information Guide (2nd edition, 2011).


“This exciting new volume explores the intersection of structure and meaning in Brahms’s music from the theories of Schenker to the most recent analytical techniques. The result is a new awareness of the meaningfulness of even Brahms’s most “absolute” works. ”

“In the work of these authors we encounter the productive intersection of the best analytical tools that contemporary music theory has to offer—Schenkerian analysis, sonata theory, semiotics, recent theories of rhythm and meter, and neo-Riemannian theory—and cultural criticism of the highest order. These scholars are musically sensitive and culturally savvy, and what they have to offer, both in broad strokes and in the nuance of the tiniest detail, is not to be missed.”
 — Patrick McCreless, Professor of Music, Yale University

“Through its unique combination of historical narrative, expressive content, and technical analytical approaches, the essays in Expressive Intersections in Brahms will have a profound impact on the current scholarly discourse surrounding Brahms analysis. Because the analyses are so engaged with expressivity, performers too, will likely find many of them enlightening and perhaps critical in helping to hone their interpretations.”
 — Notes

“This exceptionally fine collection brings together many of the best analysts of Brahms, and nineteenth-century music generally, in the English-speaking world today. ”
 — Nineteenth-Century Music Review

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Table of Contents

Part I
1. "The Wondrous Transformation of Thought into Sound": Some Preliminary Reflections on Musical Meaning in Brahms, Heather Platt and Peter H. Smith
2. The Learned Self: Artifice in Brahms’s Late Intermezzi, Steven Rings
Part II
3. "Alte Liebe" and the Birds of Spring: Text, Music, and Image in Max Klinger’s Brahms Fantasy, Yonatan Malin
4. Brahms’s Maidens in their Cultural Context, Heather Platt
5. Ancient Tragedy and Anachronism: Form as Expression in Brahms’s Gesang der Parzen, Margaret Notley
Part III
6. Sequence as Culmination in the Chamber Music of Brahms, Ryan McClelland
7. ‘Phantasia Subitanea’: Temporal Caprice in Brahms’s Op. 116, nos. 1 and 7, Frank Samarotto
8. Monumentality and Formal Processes in the First Movement of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, op. 15, James Hepokoski
9. The Drama of Tonal Pairing in Chamber Music of Schumann and Brahms, Peter H. Smith
List of Contributors

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