Brahms and the Scherzo: Studies in Musical Narrative by Ryan McClelland, Daniel Dorff

By Ryan McClelland, Daniel Dorff

Regardless of the fantastic range in Brahms' scherzo-type events, there was no entire attention of this element of his oeuvre. Professor Ryan McClelland presents an in-depth learn of those events that still contributes considerably to an realizing of Brahms' compositional language and his artistic discussion with musical traditions. McClelland particularly highlights the position of rhythmic-metric layout in Brahms' song and its courting to expressive which means. In Brahms' scherzo-type events, McClelland lines ameliorations of basic thematic fabric, demonstrating how the connection of the preliminary track to its next types creates a musical narrative that gives structural coherence and generates expressive which means. McClelland's interpretations of the expressive implications of Brahms' fascinatingly problematic musical buildings often interact matters without delay appropriate to functionality. This illuminating publication will attract song theorists, musicologists engaged on nineteenth-century instrumental track and performers.

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1–21 measures long, this is an exceptional amount to bring back without variation. In fact, the stasis on the Neapolitan harmony during the fifth and sixth measures gets Brahms into a rather tight spot in the second reprise. Moving from the Neapolitan of D major—that is, an E-major harmony—to a cadence in B minor in the space of two measures (mm. 15–16) results in a hasty enharmonic reinterpretation (which was more convincing in its original slow-tempo version). After the brevity of the scherzo, the spacious deployment of rounded binary form in the trio is particularly welcome.

Further, throughout the digression the bass remains in a relatively high register and only returns to a lower register at the thematic rounding. 8 Brahms, Piano Sonata, Op. 1, III, mm. 179–96 The significance of this thematic reminiscence, though, is broader since the <7, 6, 4, 5> motive of the scherzo’s incipit actually comes from the final three measures of the preceding slow movement. At the end of the slow movement, it is introduced as a post-cadential idea in the inner voices against tonic pedal points in the outer voices.

In my analyses, I will refer to these passages as codettas even when their musical content seems inconsistent with the term; one instance is the powerful closing section in the Piano Quintet, Op. 34. 40 The label Y(B) indicates a coda that is formed primarily from trio material; some of the codas labeled Y have references to trio material. Many of the Y(B) codas begin as deceptive returns to the trio, momentarily raising the possibility of a five-part (ABABA) movement—a possibility that Brahms was actually more reluctant to explore than his predecessors (especially Schumann).

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