The Violin Concerto and the Second Symphony by Johannes Brahms: Musical Resemblance as a Result of the Proximity in their Dates of Composition
Committee ChairRush, Mark
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThere are many similarities between the Violin Concerto and Brahms's Second Symphony. Michael Musgrave notes this affinity in his book The Music of Brahms: "[N]o two works stand as close in time and character as the Second Symphony and the Violin Concerto, produced within a year in 1877 and 1878 respectively."The similarity of mood between the two works can be perceived at first listening, but because of the masterly way in which Brahms treats the musical material, I thought it necessary to examine both pieces in depth to uncover some specific musical features that make this so. The results of my own observations are contained in the present document.I explore Brahms's state of mind at the time he wrote the Second Symphony and the Violin Concerto explaining how this affects some of the musical choices in the two pieces. The third movements in both works shift from 3/4 to 2/4 and vice versa. The 2/4 sections have a folk-like quality in the style hongrois that contrast with the lyrical quality of the sections in 3/4. This common characteristic is examined. Finally, I study a rhythmic motive and linked it to a harmonic feature common in the two works. A brief history about the genesis of the Violin Concerto is included.