Brahms's Song Collections

Brahms's Song Collections

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Inge van Rij
Cambridge University Press, 11/2/2006
EAN 9780521835589, ISBN10: 0521835585

Hardcover, 284 pages, 25.5 x 18.3 x 2.4 cm
Language: English

Brahms once complained that singers never performed his songs in the groups in which he had published them, which he likened to 'song bouquets'. Over a century later, many singers and musicologists continue to ignore Brahms's wishes and focus on the individual songs rather than the bouquet groups. This is a detailed study of the implications of Brahms's comments. Following an examination of contemporary aesthetic and generic frameworks, the book traces Brahms's Lieder from their conception, to the arrangement into bouquets, to performance and reception, and examines the sometimes contradictory roles played by poet, composer, performer and recipient in creating coherence in song collections. An investigation of the graphic cycles of Max Klinger reveals a startling visual analogue of Brahms's conception of the song bouquet, and a final examination of the evidence of Brahms's aesthetic outlook reveals that his intentions may have been cyclic in more than one sense.

Part I
Lyric cycles
Self-reflexivity, fragments, and Hoffmann's Kater Murr
Textual coherence in the song-cycle canon
Key sequence
Key characteristics and other alternative approaches to tonal sequence
Part II
Conception to publication
Before composing
texts and notebooks
From conception to arrangement
'Heine cycles'
Ordering for publication
Titles and title pages
Flower imagery
Part III
Plot archetypes
sorrow to comfort
Op. 32 as narrative
Op. 57 as narrative
Narrative elements in other bouquets
Alternatives to narrative
juxtaposition and resonance
Tempo, closure, and cyclic patterning
'Wie Melodien'
Part IV
Performance contexts
Criteria in assembling a recital programme
Gender and dramatic characterisation
Identification between singer and narrator
Tessitura, range, and performance by several singers
Performance and coherence in the Ophelia-Lieder
Part V
Responses of Brahms's acquaintances
Identification of composer with narrator
Dedicatory cycles and the composer's voice
The graphic cycles of Max Klinger
Part VI
Cyclic Intent.