Twelve years before the Clarinet Trio, he found another occasion to invoke the Aeolian mode in the Intermezzo in A minor op. Here, the opening theme of the piano miniature moves by ascending fourth, from E to A, before continuing scale-like, through the lowered seventh degree, to state the descending form of the mode in the opening eight bars Ex. If we consider just the soprano theme, it would seem to impress almost as a Vorstudie for the opening bars of the Clarinet Trio; without the ascending A-minor arpeggiation of the trio.
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But there is a critical difference between the two examples. In op. True enough, the authentic V—i cadence is magically distorted by the passing C octave in the bass, but several tonal prompts, all but minimized in the opening of the Clarinet Trio, are periodically activated in the Intermezzo. The ternary-form ABA thus encapsulates the tonally developed central section — the principal portion of the piece — within two short, epigram-like references to an ancient modality.
Here the Aeolian mode rests in an uneasy alliance with B minor: the major form of the dominant does appear with its raised A , challenging the potency of A , the lowered seventh degree of the Aeolian; what is more, ultimately the song moves and concludes in the luminous key of B major with an authentic cadence. But why did he resort to it? Most likely, several motivations stimulated his modal imagination.
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Brahms was an avid collector of folksongs, and his interest in folk music, whether, say, of German or Scandinavian origin, of course would have exposed him to modal settings. Musicians such as Jenny Lind, who routinely offered Swedish folksongs as encores, and Ole Bull, whose specialty was playing the Hardanger folk fiddle it later influenced the modal Norwegian nationalist idioms of Edvard Grieg , were well received in the Hanseatic port city.
Was Gade invoking folk music, a Nordic tone, or what the late John Daverio and I have separately described in the music of Schumann and Mendelssohn as an Ossianic manner? Indeed, in he composed his own, lament-like Ossianic setting, the Gesang aus Fingal , published the following year as op.
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One was his association of modes with sixteenth-century sacred choral music, a not surprising linkage that was likely promoted by the later nineteenth-century Palestrina revival. In this case, Brahms made the texture denser by accommodating a sixth voice. He modernized the archaic metre of the original to Common time, but kept intact the Mixolydian references, as if to ally his music with an idealized vision of Palestrinian polyphony, and to recapture its scrupulous control of dissonance treatment Ex.
Thus, in the first movement, the brief appearances of fauxbourdon-like passages work in partnership with the austere treatments of the Aeolian mode. That is to say, the evocation of a distant musical past, as signalled by the prominence of the Aeolian mode, is supported by the emergence of periodic, fauxbourdon-like harmonies that seem to belong to the fifteenth rather than nineteenth century. Thus, the third Violin Sonata op. But the question remains: do these modal markers operate primarily on the surface of the music, or do they penetrate in some way into structural substrata?
At first glance, the key signature of the Adagio suggests a movement in D minor that ultimately, by raising the minor third a semitone to F , ends in D major. But a purely tonal reading is problematic, for the putative tonic is challenged from the outset, first by the use of half cadences that fail to assert the tonic convincingly Ex.
In the first two bars, we do not know whether we are hearing a movement in D minor, or a movement in A major that dips into the minor form of its subdominant. Does the opening suggest i—V, with D minor as the tonic, or iv—I, with A major as the tonic? Then, in bar 3, Brahms further clouds our sense of tonal clarity by moving unexpectedly to C major, a gambit that seems to tip the music into a modal domain.
C impresses as the lowered seventh degree of D, and that, in turn, supports a modal perception of the opening as suggesting, perhaps, D-transposed Aeolian. If we take into account the preceding bass motion from D to A of bars 1—2, and the half cadence on a shimmering dominant tremolo in bar 8, there begins to emerge from a deeper layer of the voice leading an incomplete modal tetrachord, which we may sketch in the reduction of Ex.
The descending fourth, D—A, which thus plays out over the course of several measures, suggests a prototypical tetrachord of an as yet undetermined mode, and, further, assumes a recurring role throughout the movement, in tension with a tonal analytical reading.
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Once again the essential bass motion traces a descent from D to the lowered seventh C, before reaching another half cadence on the dominant A. Be that as it may, there are two more iterations of the opening period to consider. And finally, in the concluding coda of bars 67—80, Brahms comes full circle and returns to the opening measures, now retouched to set up the unexpected ending in D major. Set against a rising tetrachord in the second viola, D—E—F —G, we end, in effect, with a hybrid major-minor scale, with tetrachords suggesting Mixolydian and Phrygian hues Ex. This condensed sketch of the Adagio for a summary of the essential bass line of the entire movement see Ex.
Still, our sketch does suggest that in the end modality, or rather a synthesis of modality and tonality, came to represent for the aging Brahms a viable alternative to an attenuated tonal system. And so it was that Webern, who produced a doctoral dissertation on the early sixteenth-century Choralis Constantinus of Heinrich Isaac, 43 composed in a historicist work par excellence , his Sinfonie op.
Employing four twelve-tone rows, in the first movement Webern unfolded a consummate double mirror canon vaguely but eerily reminiscent of Franco-Flemish polyphony, and yet simultaneously set within a compact binary sonata form recalling early classical models of the mid-eighteenth century, all the while exploring with unabashed modernist rigour a crystalline, pointillistic style of dodecaphony.
Hildesheim: G. Olms, , vol. George S. Sandberger and Wiesenfeldt, — Quinten u. Kahnt , For a consideration of the debate, see in particular Laudon , Robert T.
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Mendelssohn was to have served as one of the judges, but withdrew, owing to his workload. He subsequently met Gade in , and the Dane became one of his deputy conductors at the Gewandhaus. Finson and R. In Schubert had set a different German translation of the same text in his solo Lied, D. Heather Platt and Peter H. Smith Bloomington: Indiana University Press, , , Andreas Moser Berlin, ; Tutzing, H. Schneider, , V, Roy E.
Carter Berkeley : University of California Press , , Willi Reich, trans. Leo Black London: Universal Edition, Loading article Login Alert. Log in.
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