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Wagner, Schumann, and the Lessons of Beethoven's Ninth$
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Christopher Alan Reynolds

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285569

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285569.001.0001

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Brahms’s Triple Response to the Ninth

Brahms’s Triple Response to the Ninth

(p.135) Chapter 6 Brahms’s Triple Response to the Ninth
Wagner, Schumann, and the Lessons of Beethoven's Ninth

Christopher Alan Reynolds

University of California Press

Chapter 6 examines the application of contrary motion and thematic dispersion in the music of Johannes Brahms. His Symphony no. 1 demonstrates his awareness both of Beethoven’s techniques and of Wagner’s and Schumann’s responses to them. Not surprisingly, Brahms’s contrary motion is generally more rigorous than that of Beethoven, Schumann, and Wagner. Though his symphony was dubbed “Beethoven’s Tenth,” largely because of its finale, the title is also warranted by the formal and contrapuntal debts of his first movement to Beethoven’s. And Brahms’s sustained use of counterpoint in contrary motion exists as well in his Piano Concerto no. 1, which indicates that by the mid-1850s he was already aware of the insights that Schumann and Wagner had discovered in 1845–1846.

Keywords:   Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’s Symphony no. 1, Richard Wagner, Schumann’s Symphony no. 2, counterpoint

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