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Bach to Brahms

Bach to Brahms: Essays on Musical Design and Structure

David Beach
Yosef Goldenberg
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 326
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    Bach to Brahms
    Book Description:

    Bach to Brahms presents current analytic views by established scholars of the traditional tonal repertoire, with essays on works by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Brahms. The fifteen essays are divided into three groups, two of which focus primarily on the interaction of elements of musical design (formal, metric, and tonal organization) and voice leading at multiple levels of structure. The third group of essays focusses on the "motive" from different perspectives. The result is a volume of integrated studies on the music of the common-practice period, a body of music that remains at the core of modern concert and classroom repertoire. Contributors: Eytan Agmon, David Beach, Charles Burkhart, L. Poundie Burstein, Yosef Goldenberg, Timothy Jackson, William Kinderman, Joel Lester, Boyd Pomeroy, John Rink, Frank Samarotto, Lauri Suurpää, Naphtali Wagner, Eric Wen, Channan Willner. David Beach is professor emeritus and former dean of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. Recent publications include Advanced Schenkerian Analysis, and Analysis of 18th- and 19th-Century Musical Works in the Classical Tradition/ (co-authored with Ryan McClelland). Yosef Goldenberg teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, where he also serves as head librarian. He is the author of Prolongation of Seventh Chords in Tonal Music (Edwin Mellen Press, 2008) and published in leading journals on music theory and on Israeli music.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-877-0
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    David Beach and Yosef Goldenberg

    This volume of fifteen essays has been created as a means of honoring Roger Kamien, musician, theorist, and teacher. The scope of the collection—Bach to Brahms—reflects the main focus of Roger’s research, as does the fact that the essays are all analytical in nature, most concerned at some level with Schenkerian theory. The selection of composers whose works are studied parallels those championed by Schenker: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Brahms. There is a strong emphasis in this collection on works by Beethoven and Brahms.

    The subtitle indicates a distinction between structure and elements of...

  4. Part One: Structure and Design I

    • Chapter One Strolling through a Haydn Divertimento with Two Heinrichs
      (pp. 9-22)
      L. Poundie Burstein

      Joseph Haydn is frequently touted as a pioneer in the development of sonata form. Ironically, his sonata-form layouts also are widely regarded to be somewhat idiosyncratic; this is particularly so of movements he composed in the earlier part of his career, before 1770. The unusual formal strategies in these early sonata-form movements result in part from Haydn’s boundless creativity and inventiveness. Another reason for their seeming peculiarities, however, is that these works often are compared to norms established in the later eighteenth century, especially such as are found in pieces by Mozart or Beethoven. When placed alongside more contemporaneous works,...

    • Chapter Two Ritornelli or Soli: Which Did Mozart Write First in the Opening Movement of His Violin Concerto K. 207?
      (pp. 23-44)
      Naphtali Wagner

      In his 1793 textbook, Heinrich Christoph Koch offers guidance to student composers about writing a concerto movement for soloist and orchestra. Among other things, he writes that the first solo should be written before the ritornello: “The first main period of the solo part is worked out before the ritornello is arranged as the introduction to the solo part.”¹ This statement fits in with his belief that the ritornello sections are secondary to the solos: “The first allegro of the concerto contains three main periods performed by the soloist, which are enclosed by four subsidiary periods performed by the orchestra...

    • Chapter Three Outer Form, Inner Form, and Other Musical Narratives in Beethoven’s Opus 14, No. 2
      (pp. 45-56)
      Joel Lester

      No matter which approach one prefers when conceptualizing Classical-era sonata forms, the opening movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in G, op. 14, no. 2, seems at first a rather straightforward (even, one might say, unadventurous) piece, in which most, if not all, the formal elements neatly agree with one another.¹ Consider the exposition. Each new thematic element appears at the beginning of a new section or important sectional subdivision, and the placement of the important notes of the underlying voice leading closely matches the beginnings and ends of those phrases and formal groupings. As example 3.1 shows, the first thematic...

    • Chapter Four Temporal Poise and Oblique Dynamic in the First Movement of Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio
      (pp. 57-68)
      Frank Samarotto

      The first movement of Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio has a public face, and a private one. Publicly, it is grandiose, elevated, and most of all, poised. Indeed it would seem the epitome of nobility and elegance, ensuring the longevity of its nickname. Privately, however, it is not so self-assured. Behind the facade roils a more dramatic undercurrent, one that tilts the balance away from lyricism toward a more intense narrative. In particular, its temporal poise is undermined by rhythmic disturbances, creating an imbalance, a leaning forward—an oblique dynamic, if you will. This oblique dynamic permeates the movement in all its...

  5. Part Two: Focus on Motive

    • Chapter Five Chopin as an Interpreter of Mozart: The Variations Opus 2 and Don Giovanni
      (pp. 71-96)
      Eytan Agmon

      Ludwig Rellstab’s review, dated November 5, 1830, of Chopin’s then recently published variations for piano and orchestra on “Là ci darem la mano,” is derogatory, derisive, and downright racist; nevertheless, it voices a seemingly reasonable complaint: “Why does he add to the theme an upbeat, which Mozart did not write? This small figure discloses the extremely poor feeling of the composer for melodic construction, for beauty in rhythm. The superfluous upbeat adheres to the lovely, regularly constructed theme as clumsily as a fifth wheel, a fifth foot, or a hump on the chest.”¹

      As may be seen in example 5.1,...

    • Chapter Six The First Movement of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony Revisited: A Study of the Fanfare and the “Cloud of Mystery”
      (pp. 97-114)
      Yosef Goldenberg

      The first movement of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony is famous for its thematic economy,¹ yet, it also includes striking diversity, especially noticeable in materials that do not coincide with a normative “second theme.” This study focuses on two such interrelated ideas: the fanfare (first instance, mm. 53–57) and what Donald Francis Tovey calls a “cloud of mystery” (first instance, mm. 107–10).²

      Measures 53–57 introduce new thematic material with clear topical content—a fanfare, perhaps with hunt or military associations (see ex. 6.1). Hugo Riemann stated the obvious when he wrote that the new material “contrasts strongly with the...

    • Chapter Seven “Capricious Play”: Veiled Cyclic Relations in Brahms’s Ballades Op. 10 and Fantasies Op. 116
      (pp. 115-131)
      William Kinderman

      Already in early phases of his career, Johannes Brahms displayed a keen interest in creating subtle connections between the successive pieces that make up collections such as the four Ballades for piano, op. 10, from 1854.¹ At the time he composed the Ballades—and their predecessor, the first part of the “Blätter aus dem Tagebuch eines Musikers”—Brahms was strongly attracted to the aesthetics of E. T. A. Hoffmann. What Hoffmann described ironically in his novelKater Murras “das launische Spiel des Zufalls” (the capricious play of coincidences)—events that on closer inspection often reveal themselves to be anything...

    • Chapter Eight Chopin’s Study in Syncopation
      (pp. 132-142)
      John Rink

      This essay focuses on one of Chopin’s most enigmatic pieces—the Etude in E Major, op. 10, no. 3—and it describes my efforts to come to terms with the compositional problems that I once perceived in it. To be precise: when I first analyzed the score, I discovered a structure that appeared to lack coherence, and this reinforced my sense that many performances of the work fail to hang together. My doubts about the music’s coherence seemed hard to justify, not least because the Etude is generally regarded as one of Chopin’s masterpieces. I therefore began to seek alternative...

    • Chapter Nine A Sharp Practice, A Natural Alternative: The Transition into the Recapitulation in the First Movement of Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata
      (pp. 143-156)
      Eric Wen

      Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in B-flat, op. 106, was written in 1817–18, during a difficult time in the composer’s life. This single sonata was the only major work that Beethoven wrote during the two-year period when he was preoccupied with a legal battle against his sister-in-law over the custody of his nephew. Its nick-name “Hammerklavier” results from a spell of German nationalism that inspired Beethoven to substitute German expression markings for the usual Italian in all his works. Although the word “Hammerklavier,” the German for pianoforte, was also used for the Piano Sonata in A, op. 101, composed previously, it...

    • Chapter Ten Ernst Oster’s Vision of Hidden Repetitions and Motivic Enlargements in J. S. Bach’s Short Keyboard Works
      (pp. 157-170)
      Channan Willner

      I vividly recall the morning when, early during my student days at the Mannes College of Music (now Mannes College the New School for Music), I ran into Ernst Oster as he crossed Central Park on the way to school. As we were chatting, I asked him (with a good deal of the young student’s naïveté) what it was like to study with Oswald Jonas. After a few moments’ hesitation—would a fledgling understand his response?—Oster replied, “He showed me the meaning of artistic interpretation.”¹

      As my analytical studies progressed (I was enrolled in Oster’s classes and also sat...

  6. Part Three: Structure and Design II

    • Chapter Eleven The “Pseudo-Einsatz” in Two Handel Fugues: Heinrich Schenker’s Analytical Work with Reinhard Oppel
      (pp. 173-203)
      Timothy L. Jackson

      Heinrich Schenker corresponded regularly with Reinhard Oppel (1878–1941), professor of music theory at the Leipzig Conservatory, about the music of Handel. They corresponded intensively in 1929/30 regarding the realization of Handel’s Italian cantatas,¹ and in 1932 about the genesis of Handel’s keyboard fugues in pieces by Corelli and earlier works of Handel himself. During his summer holiday from August 7–13, 1931, Oppel traveled to Vienna to consult Schenker about various analytical and compositional problems. Figuring large in the discussion was Handel’s keyboard music, especially Suite no. 2 in F Major (HWV 427) and Suite no. 8 in F...

    • Chapter Twelve Formal Fusion and Its Effect on Voice-Leading Structure: The First Movement of Beethoven’s Opus 132 Revisited
      (pp. 204-224)
      Boyd Pomeroy

      The first movement of Beethoven’s A-minor string quartet is surely a strong contender for the title of his most unconventional sonata-based movement. Much critical and analytical ink has been spilled on its formal unorthodoxy and heightened expressive character (topical and subjective). These qualities have in turn prompted larger questions into the extent to which this music, with its pronounced tendency to surface discontinuity, still exemplifies the language of Classicism, together with the implications of all of this for traditional notions of unity and coherence.¹ This study will take another look at the movement, exploring its idiosyncratic formal process from the...

    • Chapter Thirteen Indistinct Formal Functions and Conflicting Temporal Processes in the Second Movement of Brahms’s Third Symphony
      (pp. 225-238)
      Lauri Suurpää

      In Brahms’s sonata-form movements we often encounter situations where different musical parameters do not articulate the movements’ temporal unfolding in a similar way. Rather, there are moments when one parameter draws a boundary, while others may still be in the middle of an ongoing process. Peter H. Smith has recently discussed this aspect of Brahms’s music in great detail, using the term “dimensional counterpoint” when referring to the interaction and occasional disparity among various musical parameters.¹ Smith makes distinctions between three primary parameters: thematic design, key scheme, and tonal structure, the first two being associated with traditional views on musical...

    • Chapter Fourteen The Interaction of Structure and Design in the Opening Movements of Schubert’s Piano Trios in B-flat Major (D. 898) and E-flat Major (D. 929)
      (pp. 239-258)
      David Beach

      The focus of this study is the interaction—more specifically the disjunction—of structure and design in the first movements of Schubert’s Piano Trios in B-flat Major (D. 898) and E-flat Major (D. 929). The term “structure” is used here to mean voice leading at multiple levels as defined by Heinrich Schenker inFree Composition, and “design” refers to formal organization, the division of a musical work into larger and smaller units. Associated with formal design are key and key succession. While it is extremely important that we distinguish clearly between the two aspects of a composition’s organization (its formal/tonal...

    • Chapter Fifteen The Suspenseful Structure of Brahms’s C-Major Capriccio, Op. 76, No. 8: A Schenkerian Hearing
      (pp. 259-278)
      Charles Burkhart

      As is well known, Johannes Brahms employed in certain of his works a way of writing that contradicts a time-honored norm of tonal practice: instead of beginning these works on the customary tonic harmony, he would obscure it in some way or entirely suppress it until late in the composition, thus bypassing an attribute the well-formed musical artwork had traditionally been assumed to require. Earlier nineteenth-century composers, beginning with Beethoven, had written such pieces, but Brahms found new and ingenious ways of doing it. I believe he consciously thought about this atypical procedure and felt it offered avenues for expression...

  7. List of Contributors
    (pp. 279-282)
  8. Index
    (pp. 283-286)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 287-287)