Higher echoes of the past in the finale of Schumann's 1842 piano quartet

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Abstract

Critics have long emphasized the stylistic distanced between Robert Schumann's early piano music and the more traditional works of the early 1840s. This essay clarifies-precisely by questioning-this seeming divide, showing how the finale of the 1842 Piano Quartet in Eb Major, Op. 47, interacts with Schumann's compositional and personal histories in multifarious and previously unexplored ways: (1) by reworking the effect of a lyrical arabesque within a sonata-form movement to a more "redemptive" end (thus deflecting a formal strategy for the first movement of the 1836 Fantasie, Op. 17); (2) by readopting the "parallel forms" of his earlier piano sonatas; and (3) by alluding to the fifth piece of Schumann's 1838 Novelletten, Op. 21, an idea that introduces within both works a play between private and public moments that echoes aspects of Robert and Clara's life as it evolved from their early betrothal to married life in 1842. The article also demonstrates links to the works of two significant predecessors: Schubert's F-Minor Impromptu, Op. 142, and Bb-Major Piano Trio, Op. 99, and Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Sonata, Op. 106, works evoked by the finale in ways that gauge Schumann's affinity for, yet also distance from, his precursors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-564
Number of pages54
JournalJournal of the American Musicological Society
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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Finale
Quartet
Impromptu
History
1840s
Precursor
Questioning
Piano music
Arabesque
Affinity
Trio
Sonata Form
Robert Schumann
Ludwig Van Beethoven

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music

Cite this

Higher echoes of the past in the finale of Schumann's 1842 piano quartet. / Brown, Julie H.

In: Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 57, No. 3, 2005, p. 511-564.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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