Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Konold, Wulf. “Mendelssohn und Brahms: Beispiele schöpferischer Rezeption im Licht der Klaviermusik.” In Brahms-Analysen: Referate der Keiler Tagung 1983, ed. Friedhelm Krummacher and Wolfram Steinbeck, 81-90. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1984.

Although there is ample evidence of influence from Bach, Handel, Beethoven, and others in Brahms’s music, the connections between Brahms and Mendelssohn’s works have been largely unexplored. Considering their similar social networks in the 1840s and Brahms’s familiarity with Mendelssohn’s music in his youth, it is worth undertaking a preliminary study of “Mendelssohn reminiscences” in Brahms’s oeuvre. Several of Brahms’s works throughout his career demonstrate affinities with Mendelssohn’s compositions, but the most obvious parallels can be found in Brahms’s piano music. A particularly striking example of Mendelssohn’s influence appears in Brahms’s Intermezzo in B-flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4, which features compelling formal, phrasal, and rhythmic similarities to Mendelssohn’s Song without Words, Op. 67, No. 3. Nevertheless, Brahms’s intermezzo represents a kind of subversion of the model rather than a mere copy. While both pieces are in ternary form and prominently feature syncopated accompaniments and unique phrase structures, Brahms introduces greater harmonic subtleties and elisions between larger sections and individual phrases. The resulting intermezzo is both an engagement with Mendelssohn’s work and a statement of Brahms’s own musical individuality.

Works: Brahms: Rinaldo, Op. 50 (82), Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98 (82), Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73 (82), Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15 (82), Horn Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 40 (82), Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 60 (82), Clarinet Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 120, No. 2 (82), Intermezzo in B-flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4 (83, 86-90).

Sources: Mendelssohn: Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op. 60 (82), Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90 (“Italian”) (82), Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56 (“Scottish”) (82), String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 12 (82), Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66 (82), Frage, Op. 9, No. 1 (82), Song without Words, Op. 67, No. 3 (83-90).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew G. Leone

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