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Brahms Among FriendsListening, Performance, and the Rhetoric of Allusion$
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Paul Berry

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982646

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982646.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 June 2021

Grief and Transformation

Grief and Transformation

Chapter:
(p.229) Chapter Seven Grief and Transformation
Source:
Brahms Among Friends
Author(s):

Paul Berry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982646.003.0008

The finale of Brahms’s Violin Sonata, Op. 78, famously incorporates material from his own Regenlied and Nachklang, Op. 59 Nos. 3 and 4. These songs, however, also carried private connotations for Clara Schumann, who first played them during a depressive turn and persistently associated them with melancholy and insomnia. Moreover, months before completing the sonata, Brahms sent her the first 24 measures of its slow movement, along with a letter presenting the excerpt as a self-standing response to news of Felix Schumann’s terminal illness. Chapter 7 reconstructs the shifting contours of Clara’s interrupted encounter—first, with Brahms’s offering of musical reassurance; next, after Felix’s death, with the sunny first movement of an apparently unrelated sonata; then, with a slow movement that reanimated Brahms’s original musical offering; and, finally, with a finale in which that offering returned once more to temper and transform the allusions to songs she had once feared.

Keywords:   Clara Schumann, Felix Schumann, Violin Sonata, Op. 78, Regenlied, Op. 59 No. 3, Nachklang, Op. 19 No. 4, Illness, Melancholy

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