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.
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.
materials should be submitted electronically as pdf files to Scott Murphy
deadline for submission of materials is June 1, 2021. Finalists will
be invited to submit a sample chapter. Recipients will be notified in
of the Geiringer Scholarship, 1990-2014
Center, City University of New York)
Relationships in the Lieder of Johannes Brahms.
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
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 Society.
Chamber 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 under attack.
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.
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.
Settings of Biblical Texts between 1877 and 1896."
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.
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.
(Eastman School of Music)
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 circulate.
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.
(Eastman School of Music)
Wagner, and Competing Modernisms: Max Reger’s
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, Brahms.
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
(Joe Fortes Branch Library, Vancouver, British Columbia)
Brahms: An Annotated Bibliography
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.
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.
Early 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."
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
Is currently Secretary of the American Brahms Society and Assistant
Professor of Music History at Emory University in Atlanta.
(University of Chicago)
Memory, Public Music: Commemoration and Consecration in Nineteenth-Century
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,
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.
(University of Washington)
Brahms and Nineteenth-Century Comic Ideology"
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
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.
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 2003.
(Eastman School of Music)
Analytical Grundgestalt: A New Model and
Methodology Based on the Music of Johannes Brahms"
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.
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.
is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Massachusetts
Inspiration, and Compositional Process in the Solo Songs of Johannes
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
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 audiences.
Scholes (Brandeis University
'Loss,' and 'Reminiscence': Brahms's Early Finales in the Contexts of
Form, Narrative, and Historicism"
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?
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.
Stevens (University of Michigan)
Song Collections: Rethinking a Genre"
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.
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.
McManus (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Rhetoric of Sexuality in the Age of Brahms and Wagner"
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.
Uhde (Duke University)
Joachim, Psychologische Musik,
and the Search for a New Music Aesthetic"
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 intriguing.
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 v melodramatic
elements, Joachim’s compositional aesthetic conflicted with his “absolute”
aesthetic as a violinist in the later 19th century.
Joachim’s relatively strict use of form, his idiosyncratic use of
“motivic transformation,” and his expressive studies of literary/historical
characters in his overtures separated him from Liszt. Furthermore,
while Joachim navigated harmony in ways criticized by Louis Spohr
and contemporary critics as “ear-tearing harshness” (1852), the composer
maintained an almost consistently symmetrical (“four-square”) syntax.
Joachim’s “psychological” aesthetic was typified by idiosyncratic,
individual stylistic features like “trapped motives,” captured by
(sometimes obsessive) repetition, and he applied ciphers much more
conspicuously than did Schumann. In the end, Joachim’s “psychological
music” displays three overarching features: first, extramusical programs
from autobiographical and/or literary contexts; second, the implicit
or explicit dedication of the works to Gisela von Arnim; and third,
supporting correspondence marking the work as an “outlet” for Joachim’s
self-perceived, psychological inner turmoil.
Wilson (University of Sydney)
and Interpretation in the Nineteenth-Century German Violin School with
Particular Reference to the Three Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin
by Johannes Brahms"
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.
Liu (Indiana University)
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
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
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.
Kim (Cornell University)
“Innere Stimmen and Hidden Duets in the Piano Music
of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms”ll )
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
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.
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
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
Romanzen, 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 Romanticism.
Willis (McGill University)
“When Materials Collide: Formal Interplay in Ternary Piano Works of
the Late Nineteenth Century”
dissertation accounts for how musical materials (motivic, harmonic,
and rhythmic) of the various sections of a ternary late Romantic piano
work may be heard to influence one another. To explore these patterns,
he first explains the current theorizing around late nineteenth-century
short piano works, with particular emphasis on the research of Ryan
McClelland, Ann Besser Scott, Allen Cadwallader, and Edward T. Cone
in regard to Johannes Brahms. To describe how various musical materials
may relate to one another across a work, he explores two musical techniques,
transfer and compensation. Transfer comes about when we hear materials
associated with one section reappear in a contrasting section. Compensation
accounts for relationships between sections not expressed through
transfer. Usually, compensation takes the form of a musical “problem”
being proposed early in a work, which the final section somehow “solves.”
Willis develops a set of paradigms for the interpretation of trans-sectional
effects in short piano works and explains his paradigms through analytical
examples drawn from the piano compositions of Brahms, Reger, Fauré,
Scriabin, Respighi, and Gian Francesco Malipiero spanning the years
Robert Anderson (University
of North Texas)
Hausmusik’: Brahms’s Vocal Quartets (opp. 31, 52, 64, 65,
92, 103) and the Politics of Domestic Music ca. 1848-1900.”
dissertation contextualizes Brahms’s vocal quartets within a
largely forgotten discourse about Hausmusik that flourished in the
second half of the nineteenth century. Advocates of Hausmusik understood
it as an aesthetically and politically conservative expression of
German identity and connected its accessible style to an ideal of
social cohesion in the pre-industrial age. Similar issues of national
identity and musical style arise in the reception of Brahms’s
quartets, which I argue, was informed by the works’ generic
status as Hausmusik. Critics either praised Brahms’s works for
their simple, folk-like style or disparaged their complexity, artifice,
and foreignness. Ultimately, I argue, Brahms sought to elevate Hausmusik
in his vocal quartets by integrating its aesthetic and cultural values
with a more sophisticated musical style. The works’ resulting
stylistic and generic ambiguity and the disparity in critics’
responses reveal competing aesthetic, political, and cultural world
views immediately before and after German unification.