The American Brahms Society is seeking applications for
its Karl Geiringer Scholarship in Brahms Studies, from students in the final
stages of preparing a doctoral dissertation written in English. Work relating
to Brahms should form a significant component of the dissertation, but it
need not be the exclusive or even primary focus. The society gives equal
consideration to research in historical musicology, analysis, performance
practice, and cultural history, among others.
Completed applications will consist of a cover letter,
including the applicant’s address, phone number, email address, and
institutional affiliation; and a description of the project of no more than
500 words. Two confidential letters, including one from the dissertation
adviser, should be submitted separately. All materials should be submitted
electronically as pdf files to Richard Cohn, email@example.com.
The deadline for submission of materials is June 1, 2019.
Finalists will be invited to submit a sample chapter. Recipients will be
notified in November.
of the Geiringer Scholarship, 1990-2018
Heather Platt (Graduate Center, City University of New
in the Lieder of Johannes Brahms.
In the nineteenth-century Lied, more than in any other
genre, the relationship between text and music is paramount. Although Gustav
Jenner recalled that Brahms himself emphasized the importance of depicting
the text, it is only recently that analysts have begun to examine the
relationship between the texts and the tonal and motivic structures of his
songs. My study is the first to consider the extent to which the text
penetrates to the deeper structural levels. Through an analysis of tonal
structure and its coordination with motivic and rhythmic events, I show that
Brahms responded to both the structure and the meaning of his poems, often
creating a profoundly sympathetic interpretation of the text’s protagonist.
Ms. Platt, a native of Australia, took her master’s
degree at the University of Adelaide with a thesis on the orchestral suites
of Johann Friedrich Fasch. She currently teaches at
Ball State University in Indiana and is President of the American Brahms
Margaret Notley (Yale University)
Music—Summer of 1886: A Study of Opera 99, 100, 101, and 108."
welcomed the change in style they perceived in the Cello Sonata in F major,
the Piano Trio in C minor, and the Violin Sonatas in A major and D minor. And
since critics of the day tended to view art single mindedly as a reflection
of the artist’s personality, they linked this more accessible,
"popular" style to a newly won serenity in Brahms himself.
Ironically, the pieces were composed against a backdrop of general crisis in
Vienna in which all that Brahms held valuable—in music and otherwise—was
The most immediate context for the composition of the works was formed from
Brahms’s experiences in the summer of 1883, when he spent a considerable
amount of time playing sonatas for violin and piano with Rudolf von Beckerath. The repeated collaborations of the two friends
on this relatively humble part of the repertoire might well have stimulated
the new spare style that was to emerge a few years later, and which to
contemporaneous listeners sounded more natural, less contrived than Brahms’s
earlier styles. At all events, these works clearly show, to borrow Tovey’s
phrase, a renewed "reaction towards" the Classical style.
There were two broad aspects to Brahms’s creative activity in the productive
summer of 1886: the probable composition of three movements of the Cello
Sonata in F major around a pre-existing slow movement, and the
reinterpretation of discrete facets of Classical style in all but one of the
movements in the other three works. A number of
connections between different pairs of movements suggest that the four works
were conceived as a comprehensive compositional project.
Margaret Notley, who is an accomplished pianist and
former student in piano at the Mannes College of Music, holds the degrees of
A. B. in English from Barnard College and M. Phil. in music from Yale
University. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards including
National Endowment for the Humanities and Fulbright fellowships, as well as
the American Musicological Society’s Alfred Einstein Award. She currently
teaches at the University of North Texas.
Daniel Beller-McKenna (Harvard University)
of Biblical Texts between 1877 and 1896."
Focusing my attention on the motet "Warum?" Op. 74 No. 1, the three Fest- und Gedenksprüche, Op. 109, the motet "Ich aber bin elend," Op. 110
No. 1, and the Vier ernste
Gesänge, Op. 121, I will interpret these works
within the context of major historical events and cultural phenomena of the
later nineteenth century: the new German State, pan-Germanism in Austria, and
the rise of pessimistic philosophy and conservative politics. Given the
importance of the Lutheran Bible as a historical and cultural icon for German
Romantics, my study of each setting will treat a particular
aspect of the Bible’s role in Romanticism and post-Romanticism:
Individualism in Op. 74, Nationalism in Op. 109, Historicism in Op. 110, and Pessimism
in Op. 121.
Daniel Beller-McKenna holds a Bachelor’s
degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Music History, both from Temple
University, where he also studied classical guitar, and Ph.D. from Harvard
University. He currently teaches at the University of New Hampshire and
serves on the American Brahms Society Board of Directors.
Dillon Parmer (Eastman School of Music)
My work begins with a critical evaluation of the
aesthetic and ideological frameworks underpinning recent proposals that
Brahms’s music is rather less abstract than previously thought. Through a
careful reading of key texts from the era of neo-romanticism, I argue that
program music is a type of absolute music in which composers attempt to
control or direct understanding of a work by prescribing some extra-musical
object (such as a novel or painting) for the listener to take
into account during an audition of the composition in question. I
evaluate the extent to which such interpretive control can be inferred in
Brahms’s compositional output, focusing on four different classes of works:
those for which Brahms himself provided suggestive titles or poetic prefaces
(e.g., certain movements from the piano sonatas), those using symbolic motifs
(e.g., Schumann’s "Clara cipher"), those alluding to songs or other
vocal-based music (such as the "Regenlied"
Sonata, Op. 78), and those which, as Brahms allowed privately to friends, are
associated with some external text (such as the "Werther" Quartet,
Although the picture of "Brahms the Progressive" that emerges from
this examination derives from only a small portion of his œuvre,
the composer’s contribution to the history of the genre is much more
substantial than is generally believed. A study of this contribution within
the framework of newly proposed definitions of absolute and program music
yields an account of his music that could have repercussions in the wider
musical and philosophical contexts in which these categories continue to
Mr. Parmer holds the degrees of Bachelor of Music with
Gold Medal Honors in Music History and Master of Arts in Musicology from the
University of Western Ontario. At Eastman, he is completing his doctoral
degree with the support of a Sproul Fellowship and a Social Science and
Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship. He is currently Assistant
Professor of Musicology at the University of Ottawa.
Antonius Bittmann (Eastman School of Music)
and Competing Modernisms: Max Reger’s Tortuous
Mr. Bittmann's dissertation
shows that the current--and none-too-flattering-- Image of Reger derives from the battles waged by critics of the
late 19th and early 20th centuries, battles In which
Brahms's music played a crucial role. To quote from the first chapter of his
study: "the polar circle around which Reger
reception revolves Is Reger's dependence on Brahms."
Drawing on his research at the Max Reger Institute In Karlsruhe, Mr. Bittmann
paints a fascinating and nuanced portrait of the complex ways In which the
reception of Reger's music was Intertwined with
critical views of Brahms, especially between roughly 1920 and 1940. Mr. Bittmann convincingly shows that this pairing did not
always work to Reger's advantage, leading as It did
to current perceptions of a "poor man's Brahms." Just as much of
the most stimulating Brahms research of the recent past has demonstrated that
Brahms was not as "absolute" a composer as we once thought, so Mr. Bittmann argues that Reger was
considerably more than a vessel for a supposedly "absolute"
Instrumental style Inherited from Brahms. All In all
Mr. Bittmann's Work will be of considerable value
to students of Reger, Wagner--and of course,
Mr. Bittmann studied with Ralph
Locke and Jürgen Thyme at the Eastman School of Music, where he also earned a
DMA degree In Organ Performance and Literature. Before coming to the U.S. for
graduate study, he received a Master's degree from
the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik
In Freiburg with a thesis on Reger's chorale
fantasies for organ ("Max Regers Choralphantasien für Orgel In Ihrer Entwicklung"). He
currently teaches at Rutgers University.
Thomas Quigley (Joe Fortes Branch
Library, Vancouver, British Columbia)
Johannes Brahms: An
Departing from its usual guidelines for this scholarship the
Board of the American Brahms Society felt that special recognition was due to
Mr. Quigley for his important service to our field. This special award was
made on the occasion of the publication of the
second volume of his Brahms biography (Scarecrow Press, 1998). It Is the
Board's hope that these funds will assist Mr. Quigley with the research for
the next volume of his bibliographic series on Brahms.
Mr. Quigley, who holds degrees In
music history and library science from the University of British Columbia and
Is currently head of the Joe Fortes Branch Library in the public library
system of Vancouver, British Columbia, first came to Brahms studies as a
research assistant for Margit McCorkle’s Brahms Verzeichnis.
In 1990 he published he published Johannes Brahms: An Annotated Bibliography
of the Literature Through 1982 (Scarecrow Press), the first comprehensive
bibliographic tool for Brahms research.
Kevin C. Karnes (Brandeis University)
Analytical, Aesthetic, and Critical Writings of Heinrich Schenker. With
Special Consideration of His Understanding of Brahms, and of the Development
of His Work through Harmony."
Although there has recently been a significant rise of
interest in late nineteenth-century music criticism, the early essays of
Heinrich Schenker, one of the most prominent Viennese music journalists, have
previously received little scholarly attention. In this dissertation, Karnes
examines Schenker’s critical writings—100 essays and reviews published between
1891 and 1898 in five journals—for the insight they provide about both the
early stages of Schenker’s thinking and the critical culture of Vienna and
surrounding cities during this period. He argues that Schenker’s critical
writings are especially valuable for our understanding of late
nineteenth-century criticism in that they introduce us to several forms of
journalistic reporting, including the analytical review and the biographical
portrait, that have previously been overlooked in studies of the subject.
Such essays, he suggests, in turn encourage us to examine the ways in which
critics drew upon a wide array of ideas discussed and debated by figures
active in a number of other branches of the
intellectual discourse on music, including analysis, philosophical
aesthetics, and the study of music history. In order to illustrate this
point, he describes how Schenker makes use of analytical means to defend the
effectiveness of Brahms’s vocal music; how his discussions of both musical
coherence and the creative process draw upon the ideas of Eduard Hanslick, Friedrich von Hausegger,
and other important nineteenth-century writers on music aesthetics; and how
his biographical studies confront some of the same methodological problems
debated by Guido Adler and other pioneering music historians. He concludes by
arguing that Schenker’s early writings introduce us to the previously
unacknowledged intellectual richness of the critical discourse in this time
and place, and by suggesting that a detailed examination of the work of his
many neglected peers may likewise enhance our understanding of this field
Karnes Is currently Secretary of
the American Brahms Society and Assistant Professor of Music History at Emory
University in Atlanta.
Ryan Mark Minor (University of Chicago)
Public Music: Commemoration and Consecration in Nineteenth-Century Choral
My dissertation is an exploration of nineteenth-century
German choral works written for public festivity. In
particular I focus on the use of the chorus for commemorations and
consecrations--festivities whose respective organization around memory and
communal hope provided ample opportunity to employ the chorus's ties to both
the musical past and a utopian future. Drawing on close musical analysis,
standard musicological literature (source studies, biography, reception), and
recent work in cultural history and German studies, my dissertation aims to
provide an overdue account of ways the chorus was employed in nineteenth-century
German festivity as well as the place of this festive tradition within the
choral music itself. In addition to numerous works by unknown composers, I
focus on Mendelssohn's music for Dürer and
Gutenberg celebrations, Liszt's two "Beethoven" cantatas, Brahms's Triumphlied and Fest- und Gedenksprüche,
Ryan Minor received his Bachelor of Music at Rice
University in 1996, where he studied with Marcia Citron. A recipient of the Bundeskanzler Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt
Foundation in 2000-2001. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the
State University of New York, Stony Brook.
George Papadopoulos (University of Washington)
and Nineteenth-Century Comic Ideology"
This dissertation is the first comprehensive study of the
comic categories—humor, wit, irony, parody—in the music of Brahms, providing
also a thorough examination of his personal relationship to the Romantic
comic. Central to my study is the notion that humor in nineteenth-century
music is different from eighteenth-century models, in that it gradually
shifts from the amiable expression of generic gestural incongruities to an
individualized manifestation of the composer’s inner world. The artist’s
immersion in the terrors of nature and absurdities of life is reflected in
music through a dialectical opposition of the tragic norm and its humorous
release. As a result, humor assumes the qualities of comic relief in great
tragedy and affords the listener a unique psychological perspective.
The two opening chapters survey the literature and present the philosophical
and aesthetic backgrounds. Chapter three offers a psychograph of Brahms’s
comic temperament and illuminates the social, personal, and artistic contexts
for the manifestation of his biting wit. The fourth chapter examines Brahms’s
comic literary sympathies by studying the relevant books from his library.
Chapter five provides a typology of comic musical devices in his music, and suggests—through detailed analyses of several
humor-related pieces by Brahms—a number of affective topoi that seem to
attract his comic treatment. Each of the final two chapters contains a
large-scale study of an orchestral work—the Academic Festival Overture and
the Scherzo from the Fourth Symphony—in which close readings of the music’s
humorous potential alternate with discussion of the wider cultural milieu
surrounding composition, performance, and reception.
Born in Thessaloniki, Greece, Mr. Papadopoulos earned
degrees in piano, pedagogy, harpsichord, and conducting from the Royal
Academy of Music and King’s College in London He has given solo and chamber
music recitals in many European countries and in the US,
and has performed as a soloist with orchestras. Mr. Papadopoulos has
received several other scholarships, prizes, and awards for his studies and
performances, and he completed his Ph.D. in Historical Musicology in Autumn
Brent Auerbach (Eastman School of Music)
"The Analytical Grundgestalt: A New Model and Methodology Based on the
Music of Johannes Brahms"
The monumental influence of Brahms on the development
of Arnold Schoenberg as theorist and composer is well known. As such,
analysts in the past have gained much insight into Brahms’s works by
redirecting Schoenberg’s theories – notable among them the principle of
developing variation – back upon them. My dissertation falls in line with
such work, focusing on the structural role of Schoenberg’s Grundgestalt, a multivalent structure that encodes a
work’s total motivic, thematic, harmonic, rhythmic, and textural content.
The dissertation advances a new model of the Grundgestalt as well as a new methodology for analysis,
one wherein rules are fashioned in response to previous analytical
conventions and are based exclusively on Brahms’s music. The main advances
over earlier views of the Grundgestalt include
requiring the structure to occur as a polyphonic complex and allowing it to
occur at any point within a piece (instead of only at the beginning). The
first of these new conventions enhances the Grundgestalt’s
ability to reveal a work’s organicism. The second, entailing a reconception of the Grundgestalt
as the head of a hierarchy radiating down to local Gestalten and smaller
musical segments, allows for multiple narrative analyses of a single piece.
Detailed analyses of a number of works by Brahms in
contrasting genres – a Capriccio and Intermezzo (op. 76, nos. 5-6), the song
“Mädchenlied” (op. 107, no. 5), and the Adagio
movement of the Second Symphony – confirm the validity of this approach.
Auerbach is currently Assistant Professor of Music at
the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Paul E. Berry (Yale University)
Inspiration, and Compositional Process in the Solo Songs of Johannes
Throughout his career, Brahms composed works in the
intimate genre of the solo song and shared those works with close friends.
This dissertation interprets selected songs as products of inextricably
linked musical decision making and personal deliberation, recreating
plausible paths for Brahms's compositional thought and its connections to his
personal relationships based on the music and documents he left behind.
Scholars have long suggested connections between compositional activity and
biography in Brahms's music, but it has proven difficult to relate particular musical choices to specific aspects of his
social existence. A possible solution involves new emphasis on the link
between Brahms's memory and his conscious compositional decision making.
Musical evidence of his recollections remains in allusive gestures and other
forms of deliberate musical borrowing. Correspondence, diaries, published
recollections, autograph manuscripts, and surviving materials from the
composer's library preserve further clues as to the connotations of
remembered music among members of Brahms's circle, for whom his latest songs
were often available in manuscript before publication. Identifying borrowings
from previous works and exploring what those works meant to the composer and
his closest friends permits investigation of what might have motivated their
reappearance in a new musical and interpersonal context.
Three introductory chapters lay necessary groundwork by
describing how the experience of vocal chamber music maintained and deepened
interpersonal relationships within Brahms's circle. Case studies then address
five clusters of solo songs, tracing connections between Brahms's
compositional process and the private significance of borrowed music, and examining the role of performance in his
friends' apprehension of his works. Taken together, the case studies map a
series of independent but fundamentally similar moments when combined
recollections of old music and past personal experience became a source of
new inspiration, yielding a set of plausible scenarios that describe Brahms
in the act of composing. These scenarios bring us nearer to one of the
central goals of Brahms studies by facilitating a deepened understanding of
how his music was made and how it was meant to function for its initial
'Loss,' and 'Reminiscence': Brahms's Early Finales in the Contexts of Form,
Narrative, and Historicism"
This dissertation is the first systematic exploration of the
rhetorical character and function of the finale in the music of Brahms.
Conceived as groundwork for a broader chronological view of Brahms’s approach
to final movements, my study examines the surviving multi-movement
instrumental works completed through 1860: the piano sonatas, opp. 1, 2, and
5; the B-major trio, op. 8; the serenades, opp. 11 and 16; the d-minor piano
concerto, op. 15; and the B-flat major sextet, op. 18. The dissertation aims
to answer three interrelated questions: 1) in each work, what are the
finale’s distinctive musical features and dramatic qualities?; 2) how does
the finale function, musically and dramatically, within the broader context
of the work?; and 3) in evaluating each finale’s contents and rhetorical
function, what, if any, is the possible significance of the work’s place in
Brahms’s life and oeuvre and of the young composer’s developing view of his
own historical position?
Close analysis suggests that the early finales reflect a
preoccupation not only with the concept of “transcendence,” but also,
frequently, with “loss” and “distorted reminiscence,” expressed primarily
through Brahms’s handling of large-scale thematic and harmonic structures.
Although scholars have consistently emphasized Brahms’s acute historical
consciousness and have identified apparent thematic allusions to earlier
composers in most of his works, historical references are generally treated
as if their relevance is limited to particular passages
or individual movements. At least in several of the early works, however,
allusions seem to resonate musically and dramatically with material in other
movements in ways that have not been realized, suggesting significant
relationships between form, inter-movement narrative, and historical
reference that have yet to be sufficiently appreciated.
Daniel Stevens (University of Michigan)
Collections: Rethinking a Genre"
By theorizing the role of genre in Brahms’s song
collections, this dissertation explores what the composer’s alluring
description of these collections as “Liedersträuße”
(“song-bouquets”) might imply for their analysis and interpretation as
music-textual wholes. Opp. 57, 85, and 70 form the basis of three analytical
chapters that demonstrate the variety of unifying textual and musical aspects
found in these collections. In each case, apparent unities are resisted by
other elements of music and text, thereby suggesting an ironic conception of
the song-bouquet while calling into question the generic identity of these
collections as larger wholes.
Brahms’s singular approach to the nineteenth-century song
collection thus invites a renewed interest in the problem of musical genre.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, this dissertation
advances common notions of musical genre in order to
articulate the new modes of relating text and music found in Brahms’s
collections, not just within a song but between them. Considering genre as a
historically constructed social category, I argue that these collections
project a historical consciousness typical of late Romantic thought. In doing
so, Brahms’s song-bouquets may be productively interpreted as a critique both
of earlier genres such as the song cycle and of the Romantic ideologies that
have structured the creation and reception of those genres.
Laurie McManus (The
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
"The Rhetoric of
Sexuality in the Age of Brahms and Wagner"
As an enduring theme in nineteenth-century music history,
the Brahms-Wagner debate often takes the problem of form as its main thesis:
it has long been cast as the struggle of “absolute” versus “program” music.
Recent musicology has focused on its intersections with nationalism and
politics, historicism, and the nascent fields of music history and theory.
Broadening the scope of critical discourse we study,
I have examined the debate through the lens of certain sexual rhetoric
employed in music criticism, such as Wagnerian attacks on the “chaste”
Brahms, or the accusations of “wanton lust” in Wagner. By incorporating
documents that relate music explicitly to sexuality, gender roles, and
notions of the body, I argue that we reassess the debate as a fundamental
struggle between sensuality (Sinnlichkeit) and purity
(Reinheit) in music. This global approach extends
the debate beyond traditional generic boundaries and modes of scholarly
inquiry, and contextualizes it against cultural ideas of sexuality, purity,
and the women’s emancipation movement.
Katharina Uhde (Duke University)
"Joseph Joachim, Psychologische Musik, and the
Search for a New Music Aesthetic”
Exploring two main lines of inquiry, this dissertation
investigates the style and aesthetic of the music of Joseph Joachim
(1831-1907) and its references to composers such as Brahms, Liszt, Schumann,
and Beethoven. First, rather than simply accepting the image of Joachim as
the great nineteenth-century violinist and collaborator of Johannes Brahms
who advocated the "canonization of the music of Bach, Beethoven, and
Brahms," I ask who Joachim was in light of his
own compositions and literary circle. Especially significant was his
"soul mate" Gisela von Arnim (daughter of Bettine
von Arnim), from the second generation of two major literary
"institutions" - the Grimm brothers and Arnim/Brentano, the Des Knaben Wunderhorn-collectors.
Joachim and Gisela's literary role-play throws light on her function as his
inspiration and muse. Second, each chapter investigates Joachim's works as
"psychological music," the term he himself applied. Given that
psychology was not yet an established academic discipline in the 1850s,
Joachim's use of "psychological" is all the more
Sources including archival letters, manuscripts, and
Joachim's published correspondence, as well as his compositions from (or
begun) in the 1850s, reveal that "psychological music" was both a
compositional approach and an aesthetic. Extensively using ciphers, anagrams,
song quotations, literary titles and allusions, and occasionally melodramatic
elements, Joachim's compositional aesthetic conflicted with his
"absolute" aesthetic as a violinist in the later 19th century.
Robin Wilson (University
and Interpretation in the Nineteenth-Century German Violin School with
Particular Reference to the Three Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin by
From the mid nineteenth to early
twentieth centuries the performance of Brahms’s music was intricately bound
with the performance style of artists within his circle. In violin playing
Joseph Joachim (1831‐1907) was the foremost exponent of
the German violin school. The stylistic characteristics of this school, which
included selective use of a pre‐modern style of vibrato, prominent
application of portamento, predominantly legato approach to bow strokes and
the frequent and noticeable modification of tempo and rhythm, were considered
indispensable expressive devices by Joachim, Brahms and others associated
with this circle. While the use of such devices in the nineteenth century has
been well documented in published research over the past 15 years or so,
there is currently much contention about the extent to which such devices
were employed. Importantly, in addition to written documentation and solo
recordings, this thesis examines recordings of chamber ensembles—whose
members had a connection to the German violin school and/or Brahms—that as yet have been little consulted as primary source
evidence. Spectrogram analyses of many of these recordings provide definitive
evidence of vibrato that was narrow in width, fast, and applied selectively.
Other new evidence in my thesis strongly supports the hypothesis that
portamento, tempo modification and rhythmic alteration were used to a much
greater extent than today, and this significantly enhanced the rhetorical
features in Brahms’s music. A detailed Performance Edition with Critical
Notes about Brahms’s three Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin Opp. 78, 100 and
108, applies the evidence elucidated throughout the thesis.
Lucy Liu (Indiana University)
“Musical Prose and Modular Discourse in Select Works by Brahms”
dissertation studies a specific type of Brahmsian
“musical prose.” Schoenberg defines musical prose as “the direct and
straightforward presentation of ideas, without any patchwork ... and empty
repetitions.” Current scholarship holds that developing variation is the
primary way of generating musical prose. Yet a number of
“prose”-like pieces by Brahms exhibit almost no developing variation.
Instead, they employ what I call modular discourse,
which does not rely on traditional motivic/thematic working-out to generate
new content. Modular discourse presents incises that are not related by a
common denominator, and a great number of them very quickly. To demonstrate
modular procedures at local and higher formal levels, I analyze the slow
movements of Symphonies nos. 1 and 2, the scherzo of Symphony no. 4, the
C-major intermezzo of Op. 119, and the allegretto
of Op. 135 by Beethoven. All the symphony and quartet movements are made up
of multiple rotations. My goal is twofold: within a phrase, to pin down the
logic of succession from one module to the next. This is necessary because,
on the surface, there is no thread governing the modules’ progression, since
each idea seems self-contained and does not call for particular
continuations. On a larger scale, I trace the formal-functional
recontextualization of modules in later rotations to explain a perceived
paradox: given the lack of development of these modules—they often return
verbatim or simply transposed—what factors are responsible for the changes in
expressive meaning of later rotations? Even though the order by which modules
appear is preserved from rotation to rotation, the causal logic usually
guaranteed by rotational treatment is missing, leading to a defamiliarization
of upcoming material at every turn.
Ji-Young Kim (Cornell University)
The music of Robert
Schumann has long prompted discussions about the physical and the ideal,
embodiment and disembodiment, utterance and imagination. Relatedly, scholars
have analyzed how, in Brahms’s piano works, allusion and counterpoint take on
affective meaning in acts of performance. My dissertation, “Innere Stimmen
and Hidden Duets in the Piano Music of Schumann and Brahms,” explores these
domains through the lens of “four-handedness”—the evocation of four-hand
playing in solo keyboard works.
between two-hand and four-hand repertoire provide a historical anchor and
open hermeneutic horizons. The dissertation then culminates with two
extensive case studies—on Schumann’s Impromptus sur une romance de Clara Wieck,
Op. 5, and Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann,
Op. 9—where circumstantial evidence hints at four-handedness as a rich
channel for experiencing and communicating musical knowledge and intimacy.
Interactive modes of engagement in Schumann’s Op. 5 set the stage for
Brahms’s Op. 9 two decades later. Drawing on music analysis and primary
sources, I elucidate how counterpoint, choreography, and allusion come
together to release their emotional power at a particular
moment in the year 1854.
Reuben Phillips (Princeton University)
“Brahms as Reader”
This dissertation contextualizes Brahms’s creativity in the
1850s and ‘60s through a consideration of the composer’s engagement with
German literature. Drawing on archival research conducted in Vienna, chapters
one and two are devoted to an investigation of Brahms’s early notebooks of
literary quotations known – since their abridged publication in 1909 – as Des jungen Kreislers Schatzkästlein.
In addition to teasing out the aesthetic ideas articulated by the entries in
Brahms’s collection, my investigation reveals the extent to which, in
gathering entries, Brahms was following in Robert Schumann’s footsteps and actually repurposed many of his mentor’s
previously-assembled literary treasures. An appendix provides a full
transcription of the surviving Schatzkästlein source materials. The later chapters of the
dissertation enlist Brahms’s beloved works of German Romantic literature in
the examination of two compositions from the 1860s: the
Trio for Piano, Violin, and Waldhorn, Op. 40, and the Magelone
Op. 33. Following the lead of early critics, I explore these singular
offerings in the fields of chamber music and song as innovative musical
responses to themes and motifs central to the literature of German