A comparative and contextual study of Schumann's piano trio in D minor, Op. 63 and Brahms' piano trio in B major, Op. 8 (1854 version): from musical aesthetics to modern performances

Yim, Annie (2016). A comparative and contextual study of Schumann's piano trio in D minor, Op. 63 and Brahms' piano trio in B major, Op. 8 (1854 version): from musical aesthetics to modern performances. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)

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Abstract

This thesis explores Robert Schumann's influence on the two very different versions of Johannes Brahms' Piano Trio in B major, Op. 8 – the first version of 1854 and the revised version of 1889 (or Op. 8a and Op. 8b, respectively) – by establishing a biographical and compositional relationship with Schumann's Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 63 (1847), with particular reference to his writings. This comparative study firstly examines Schumann's important contribution to the piano trio genre and the musical aesthetics inherent in his work. His impact on the genesis of Brahms' Op. 8a beyond the biographical is considered in depth here for the first time in a scholarly study. By identifying Schumann's compositional methods from his middle-late period and his musical aesthetics as manifested in relevant compositions, my hypothesis argues that the young Brahms modeled his Op. 8a on Schumann's Op. 63; it also suggests a parallel performing tradition between the two works.

In contrast to the continuing musicological enquiries concerning the two versions of Op. 8, performers have paid little attention to Op. 8a owing to a number of misconceptions. The reconstruction of a performing tradition of the first version did not get under way until the 1980s, when the first recording appeared. Although it would seem reasonable to seek clues as to its interpretation from the performing tradition of Brahms' Op. 8b, the more widely known version, my hypothesis instead seeks to align Brahms' Op. 8a with Schumann's seminal work in the same genre, while also reframing Op. 8b in this context.

The notion of the 'Schumannesque' with respect to the composer's middle-late period will be examined, alongside a set of musical aesthetics based on Schumann's early Davidsbündler ideology. The ways in which these issues relate to Brahms' Op. 8a are reflected in my proposed
performance guidelines for the work, which are substantiated through methods of practice-based
research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: School of Arts > Department of Creative Practice & Enterprise - Centre for Music Studies
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/15123

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