Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Brown, Julie Hedges. "Higher Echoes of the Past in the Finale of Schumann's 1842 Piano Quartet." Journal of the American Musicological Society 57 (Fall 2004): 511-64.

After 1840, the music of Robert Schumann shifted in focus from idiosyncratic piano music toward more traditional instrumental works, reflecting the influence of the composer's past. One movement in particular, the finale of his Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, draws upon more traditional sonata-form techniques and reworks them in unique ways, all while alluding to and subverting earlier works by Schubert, Beethoven, and Schumann himself. For instance, the self-contained arabesque that interrupts the recapitulation is similar to a technique used in Schumann's Piano Fantasy, Op. 17: they both show Schumann challenging (and perhaps usurping) earlier Beethovenian models of sonata form by inserting a discontinuous character piece. Additionally, this unique take on sonata form in the finale recalls the "parallel forms" present in some of Schumann's 1830s piano sonatas, as well as in some earlier models by Schubert including first movement of the Impromptu in F Minor and the finale of the Piano Trio in B-flat major. The subject of Schumann's fugato also seems to draw upon a similar fugal melody from Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata. Finally, there is a musical allusion to the fifth movement of Schumann's own Novelletten, which is particularly meaningful because both works are closely tied to Schumann's relationship with his wife Clara. These reflections of the past taken together are seen as Schumann's way, not of battling with his predecessors, but rather of working with them to create his own unique style.

Works: Robert Schumann: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47 (516-60), String Quartet in A Major, Op. 41 (534), Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44 (534).

Sources: Robert Schumann: Fantasie, Op. 17 (519-25, 533, 543-45), Piano Sonata in G Minor, Op. 22 (533-34), Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 14 (533-34), Piano Sonata in F-sharp Minor, Op. 11 (533-34), Novelletten, Op. 21 (545-60); Schubert: Impromptu in F Minor, D. 935 (534-43), Piano Trio in B-flat Major, D. 898 (534-43); Beethoven: Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 106 (Hammerklavier) (543).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Mark Chilla

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