Brahms Among Friends: Listening, Performance, and the Rhetoric of Allusion

ISBN : 9780199982646

Paul Berry
400 ページ
163 x 238 mm
AMS Studies in Music

Brahms Among Friends identifies patterns of listening, performance, and composition among close friends of Johannes Brahms and explores how those patterns informed the creation and reception of his music in the intimate genres of song, sonata, trio, and piano miniature. Among the tangled threads of counterpoint and circumstance that bound Brahms to his acquaintances was the technique of allusive musical borrowing, whereby a brief passage from a familiar work was drawn into the fabric of a new composition. For the specific listeners whose habits of mind and musicianship he knew best, allusive borrowings could become rhetorically charged gestures, persuasively revising the meanings his music conveyed and the interpretive strategies it invited. Primary documents, original manuscripts, music-analytic comparison, and kinesthetic parameters experienced in the act of performance all work in tandem to support ten case studies in the interplay between Brahms's small-scale works and the women and men who encountered them before publication. Central characters include violinist Joseph Joachim, singers Amalie Joachim, Julius Stockhausen, and Agathe von Siebold, composers Heinrich and Elisabeth von Herzogenberg, and pianists Emma Engelmann and Clara Schumann. For these musicians and for the composer himself, Brahms's allusive music served a broad variety of emotional needs and interpersonal ends. Yet across diverse repertoire and interdisciplinary correlates ranging from ethnography to psychoanalysis, each case study furthers a single, underlying aim: Yet across diverse repertoire and interdisciplinary correlates ranging from ethnography to psychoanalysis, each case study furthers a single, underlying aim: to reconstruct the mutually dependent perspectives of historically situated agents and restore forgotten features of their communicative landscapes as bases for both musical and historical scrutiny.


Introduction: Historiographies of Allusion
Part I: Occasional Lullabies
Chapter 1: Old Melodies, New Identities
Chapter 2: Lessons in Politics and Innuendo
Part II: Themes and Variations
Chapter 3: Emulation as Empathy
Chapter 4: Consequences of Criticism
Part III: Clara at the Keyboard
Chapter 5: Family Resemblances
Chapter 6: Shared Nostalgia
Chapter 7: Grief and Transformation
Part IV: Rhetorics of Closure
Chapter 8: Forests of the Heart
Chapter 9: Counterpoint and Catharsis
Chapter 10: Concealment as Self-Restraint


Paul Berry is Assistant Professor (Adjunct) of Music History at the Yale School of Music. A historian of chamber music and song in 19th-century Germany and Austria, he received his BA and Ph.D. from Yale University and has served on the faculty of the University of North Texas College of Music. He is also active as a tenor, specializing in early music, German Lieder, and new music.