Late Idyll: The Second Symphony of Johannes Brahms

Late Idyll: The Second Symphony of Johannes Brahms

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Overview

Though central to our concert and recording repertory, and crucial to the history of the symphony, the four symphonies of Johannes Brahms have proved surprisingly resistant to critical analysis. In this brief, elegant book, a premier musicologist conducts us through the Second Symphony to show us what is unique and remarkable about this particular work and what it reveals about the composer and his time.

Reinhold Brinkmann guides us through the symphony movement by movement, examining musical ideas in all their compositional facets and placing them in the context of major trends in the intellectual history of late nineteenth-century Europe. He delineates connections between this symphony and the composer's other works and traces its relation to the music of Brahms's predecessors, particularly Beethoven. The product of a long and deep engagement with the music of Brahms, Late Idyll captures the spirit of the composer, probes the impulses behind his revisions of the original manuscript, and explores the meaning of the disparity between the first two movements of the symphony and the last. The result is a penetrating reading of a perplexing and important composition, clearly placed within its biographical, historical, and artistic context. It will engage and enlighten students and concertgoers alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674511767
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/15/1997
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Reinhold Brinkmann is Ditson Professor of Music at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Preface

Abbreviations

Genesis and Historical Place

Contemporaries

Documents

Commentaries

Analysis

Theme

First Movement

Melancholy

The Middle Movements

Second Movement

Third Movement

Fourth Movement

In Conclusion: Idyll, Melancholy, and Monumental Form

Idyll

Strategies

Brahms's Second Again

Bibliography

Index of Names and Musical Works

What People are Saying About This

Charles Rosen

Late Idyll is not only a superlative study of Brahms but an indispensable study of nineteenth-century genre.

Peter Gay

Reinhold Brinkmann's Late Idyll is that rare book by a musicologist that anyone seriously interested in Brahms--or for that matter in music--can read with a good deal of pleasure, to say nothing of profit. It combines a thoroughgoing analysis of Brahms's Second Symphony (which Brinkmann shows is by no means so cheerful as it is usually touted to be) with a searching exploration of cultural and psychological themes. A masterly work.

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