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Brahms's Ascending Circle: Hölderlin, Schicksalslied and the Process of Recollection

  • Nicole Grimes (a1)
Abstract

The ending to Brahms's Schicksalslied confounds scholars for two reasons: his setting of Hölderlin's ostensibly despairing poem ends with an orchestral section that evokes comfort and reconciliation, and the postlude transposes the material of the introduction down to C major, ending in a key other than its opening. This represents ‘a rare instance of a composer not merely placing an arbitrary interpretation on words but explicitly contradicting a poet's statement’ (Petersen, 1983). Daverio (1993) and Reynolds (2012) hold similar views, seeing Hölderlin's poem as if divorced from the novel Hyperion.

Although the poem marks the chronological endpoint of the novella, it is intricately bound up with levels of time, and it serves a continuous engendering function. The recollection of music in an altered key in Brahms's postlude is apposite to Abrams's notion of ‘the ascending circle, or spiral’. Drawing on musical and hermeneutic analysis, on evidence from Brahms's personal library, and on newly discovered correspondence from Hermann Levi, I argue that Brahms's ‘eccentric path’ – like Hölderlin's – leads us away from the original unity of the work in order to restore it in a heightened manner. The postlude prompts reflection and realization on the part of Brahms's listener akin to that of Hölderlin's reader.

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The research for this article was funded by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. I gratefully acknowledge this support. A number of people have read and responded to earlier drafts of this paper. I wish to express my gratitude to them for their valuable feedback and advice. They include David Brodbeck, John Michael Cooper, Julian Horton, David Kasunic, Benjamin Korstvedt, Meredith Lee, Benedict Taylor and Harry White. All shortcomings in the article remain my own.

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1 ‘Größeres wolltest auch Du, aber die Liefe zwingt/ All’ uns nieder, das Leid beuget gewaltiger,/ Und es kehrt umsonst nicht/ Unser Bogen, woher er kommt’. Friedrich Hölderlin, ‘Lebenslauf’, as translated in Friedrich Hölderlin, Selected Poems and Fragments, trans. Michael Hamburger, ed. Jeremy Adler (London: Penguin, 1998): 59–60.

2 ‘Jetzt däucht mir kehren Sie, ausgebildet und reif, zu Ihrer Jugend zurück, und werden dir Frucht mit der Blüthe verbinden. Diese zweite Jugend ist die Jugend der Götter und unsterblich wie diese’. Letter from Schiller to Goethe, 17 January 1797. This translation is taken from Correspondence between Schiller and Goethe from 1794 to 1805, trans. George H. Calvert, 2 Vols (New York and London: Wiley and Putnam, 1845): Vol. 1, 220–21.

3 A very useful, and recent, source dealing with this aspect of German culture is found in Cosgrove Mary and Richards Anna, eds, Sadness and Melancholy in German-Language Literature and Culture, Edinburgh German Yearbook 6 (Rochester NY: Camden House, 2012).

4 In addition to the 1884 Wendt edition of Sophocles listed in the next note, Brahms also owned Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Stäger, Sophocles. Tragödien, in the original and translated by Stäger, 2 Vols (Halle: Verlag von Richard Mühlman, 1841); and a number of titles by Aeschylus and Homer. See Hofmann Kurt, Die Bibliothek von Johannes Brahms (Hamburg: Wagner, 1974).

5 Sophokles, Tragödien, trans. Gustav Wendt, 2 Vols (Stuttgart: Verlag der J. G. Cotta'schen Buchhandlung, 1884).

6 For a discussion of the relationship between Brahms's compositional output and early music, see, for instance, Kelly Elaine, ‘An Unexpected Champion of François Couperin: Johannes Brahms and the “Pieces de Clavecin” ’, Music and Letters 85/4 (2004): 576601; Kelly Elaine, ‘Evolution versus Authenticity: Johannes Brahms, Robert Franz, and Continuo Practice of the Late-Nineteenth Century’, Nineteenth-Century Music 30/2 (Fall 2006): 182204; Horne William, ‘Brahms's Düsseldorf Suite Study and His Intermezzo, Opus 116, No. 2’, Musical Quarterly 73/2 (1989): 249283; Horne William, ‘Through the Aperture: Brahms Gigues WoO4’, Musical Quarterly 86/3 (2002): 530581; and Hancock Virginia, Brahms's Choral Compositions and His Library of Early Music (Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1983).

7 Most of these books can now be found at the archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. For a catalogue of Brahms's library, see Kurt Hofmann, Die Bibliothek von Johannes Brahms.

8 Michael Hamburger provides a compassionate account of what he refers to as Hölderlin's ‘self-alienation’ in the ‘Preface’ to Friedrich Hölderlin, Friedrich Hölderlin, Poems and Fragments, fourth edition (London: Anvil Press Poetry, 2004). See in particular, page 14.

9 These include Berthold Litzmann (1896), Wilhelm Böhm (1905), Norbert von Hellingrath (1913–23) and Franz Zimmermann (1914–26). It was in Böhm's edition that many of Hölderlin's theoretical essays and fragments became available for the first time. On the reception history of Hölderlin's writings, see Henrich Dieter, The Course of Remembrance and Other Essays on Hölderlin (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997): 2. See also Savage Robert, Hölderlin after the Catastrophe: Heidegger—Adorno—Brecht (London: Camden House, 2008).

10 Laura Tunbridge reports that Schumann thought highly of Hölderlin's poetry and even, to some extent, identified with the poet on account of his psychological condition. He spoke of Hölderlin's mental illness ‘with fear and awe’. Although Schumann's original title for Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133, was An Diotima, he never set any of Hölderlin's poetry. See Tunbridge, Schumann's Late Style (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007): 137–8. The twentieth-century figures to whom I refer, as we shall see below, include Heinz Holliger, Luigi Nono, Wolfgang Rihm, György Ligeti, Hans Werner Henze and Hanns Eisler.

11 Brahms cites the last four lines of Hölderlin's ‘Sokrates und Alcibiades’. See The Brahms Notebooks: The Little Treasure Chest of the Young Kreisler, ed. Carl Krebs, trans. Agnes Eisenberger, annotated by Siegmund Levarie (New York: Pendragon, 2003): 204–5.

12 Hölderlin Friedrich, Sämmtliche Werke, ed. Christoph Theodor Schwab, 2 Vols (Stuttgart & Tübingen: J. G. Cotta'scher Verlag, 1846).

13 Gosetti-Ferencei Jennifer Anna, Heidegger, Hölderlin, and the Subject of Poetic Language: Toward a New Poetics of Dasein (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004): 113. Brahms includes references in the poetry of the first volume at the poems ‘Die Heimath’ and ‘Lebenslauf’ to a discussion of these poems in the second volume, in a section called ‘Hölderlin's Leben’ (presumably written by the editor, Christian Theodor Schwab), Hölderlin, Sämmtliche Werke, 265–333 (298).

14 ‘Motetten oder überhaupt Chormusik schreibe ich ganz gern (sonst schon überhaupt gar nichts mehr), aber versuchen Sie, ob Sie mir Texte schaffen können. Sie sich fabrizieren lassen, daran muß man sich in jungen Jahren gewöhnen, später ist man durch gute Lektüre zu sehr verwöhnt. In der Bibel ist es mir nicht heidnisch genug, jetzt habe ich mir den Koran gekauft, finde aber auch nichts.’ Johannes Brahms to Elisabet von Herzogenberg, 14 July 1880, in Max Kalbeck, ed. Johannes Brahms im Briefwechsel mit Heinrich und Elisabet von Herzogenberg, 2 vols (Berlin: Deutsche Brahms Gesellschaft, 1908), Vol. I, 123. English translation in Johannes Brahms: The Herzogenberg Correspondence, Max Kalbeck, ed., Hannah Byrant, trans. (London: Murray, 1909).

15 Brahms to Elisabet von Herzogenberg, 8 August 1882 in Johannes Brahms im Briefwechsel mit Heinrich und Elisabet von Herzogenberg, Vol. I, 199. This translation taken from Johannes Brahms: The Herzogenberg Correspondence, ed. Max Kalbeck, trans. Hannah Bryant (London: Murray, 1909): 174.

16 Brahms to Elisabet von Herzogenberg, 8 August 1882, Brahms im Briefwechsel mit Heinrich und Elisabet von Herzogenberg, note I, 200. This translation taken from Bryant (trans.), Johannes Brahms: The Herzogenberg Correspondence, 174.

17 This translation taken from Hölderlin, Friedrich Hölderlin: Poems and Fragments, trans. Hamburger, 71.

18 This translation by Michael Hamburger in Friedrich Hölderlin: Poems and Fragments, 121.

19 ‘Was sollen die Menschen, die bis jetzt gesungen haben, hier noch weiter thun. Sie haben geklagt, gefragt und gehofft. Die Antwort aber kommt in anderen Tönen, kommt von oben, himmlische Mächte tragen ihnen im schönen Gesang (es ist der Einleitungssatz des Werkes; jetzt in C dur) das Bild, auf dem das Leben der Seligen geschrieben steht, entgegen. Der Chor sang: “unten ists dunkel”, von oben mahnt es tröstend zum Ausharren, mit der seligen Verheissung: “Oben ist Licht” ’. Hermann Kretzschmar, ‘Neue Werke von J. Brahms’, Musikalisches Wochenblatt 7 (1874): 95–97; 9 (1874): 107–111 (here at 110).

20 Horstmann , Untersuchungen zur Brahms-Rezeption, 197.

21 ‘In dieser Trostlosigkeit schließt der Dichter—nicht so der Componist. Es ist eine überaus schöne poetische Wendung, welche uns die ganze verklärende Macht der Tonkunst offenbart, daß Brahms nach den letzten Worten des Chors zu der feierlich langsamen Bewegung des Anfanges zurückkehrt und in einem längeren Orchesternachspiel das wirre Mühsal des Menschenlebens in seligen Frieden auflöst. In ergreifender, allen verständlicher Weise vollzieht Brahms diesen Gedankengang durch reine Instrumental-Musik, ohne Hinzufügung eines einzigen Wortes. Die Instrumental-Musik tritt also hier ergänzend und vollendend hinzu und spricht aus, was sich in Worte nicht mehr fassen läßt’. Hanslick, ‘Brahms Triumphlied und Schicksalslied’, in Concerte, Componisten und Virtuosen der letzten fünfzehn Jahre, 1870-1885: Kritiken (Berlin: Allgemeiner Verein für Deutsche Literatur, 1886): 51–54 (53). The translation is my own.

22 Anon., Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, 46 (1871): 730. Hermann Levi suspected this anonymous critic to have been Frau Hofrath Henriette Feuerbach, the stepmother of Ludwig Feuerbach, to whom Brahms's Nänie, Op. 81, was dedicated. See the letter from Levi to Brahms, 30 November 1871 in Johannes Brahms im Briefwechsel mit Hermann Levi, Friedrich Gernsheim, sowie den Familien Hecht und Fellinger (Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1974).

23 See Musgrave Michael, The Music of Brahms (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985): 88.

24 See MacDonald Malcolm, Brahms (London: Dent, 1990): 203.

25 Webster James, ‘The Alto Rhapsody: Psychology, Intertextuality, and Brahms's Artistic Development’, in Brahms Studies, ed. David Brodbeck (Lincoln NA: University of Nebraska Press, 2001): 19–46 (26).

26 Reynolds Christopher, ‘Brahms Rhapsodizing: The Alto Rhapsody and its Expressive Double’, Journal of Musicology 29/2 (Spring 2012): 191238 (223).

27 ‘In Brahms’ Hölderlin-Vertonung begegnet uns der seltene Fall, daß ein Komponist einen vorgegebenen Text durch die Musik nicht nur eigenwillig interpretiert, sondern erklärtermaßen in Opposition zur Aussage des Dichters tritt’. Peter Petersen, ‘Werke für Chor und Orchester’, in Johannes Brahms: Leben und Werke, ed. Christiane Jacobsen (Wiesbaden, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1983). This translation by Mary Whittall in sleeve notes for the Deutsche Grammophon CD, ‘Johannes Brahms: Werke für Chor und Orchester’, Cat. No. 449 651 2, 22–28 (25). Michael Steinberg's commentary on this work is one of few to avoid a reductive reading of the poem. See Steinberg , Choral Masterworks: A Listener's Guide (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005): 7681.

28 Margaret Notley considers similar difficulties with the reception of Gesang der Parzen, particularly issues that arise from underestimating the sophistication of Brahms's knowledge of poetic texts. See Notley, ‘Ancient Tragedy and Anachronism: Form as Expression in Brahms's Gesang der Parzen’, in Expressive Intersections in Brahms: Essays in Analysis and Meaning, ed. Platt Heather and Smith Peter H. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012): 111–143.

29 Schiller Friedrich, On the Aesthetic Education of Man: In a Series of Letters, ed., trans., and with an introduction by Elizabeth M. Wilkinson and L.A. Willoughby (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967). The Sixth Letter discusses the fragmentation of unity, 31–43 (here at 35). M.H. Abrams discusses Schiller's ‘diagnosis of the modern malaise’. See Abrams M.H., Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (New York and London: Norton, 1971): 198217.

30 Schiller, On Naïve and Sentimental in Poetry, trans. and with an introduction by H.B. Nisbet in German Aesthetic and Literary Criticism: Winckelmann, Lessing, Hamann, Herder, Schiller, Goethe, ed. H.B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985): 211.

31 Abrams M.H., ‘Rationality and Imagination in Cultural History: A Reply to Wayne Booth’, Critical Inquiry 2/3 (Spring 1976): 447464 (453).

32 Schiller , On Naïve and Sentimental in Poetry, 224.

33 Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man, trans. Wilkonson and Willoughby, 33.

34 L.A. Willoughby, ‘Schiller on Man's Education to Freedom through Knowledge’, in Elizabeth M. Wilkinson and L.A. Willoughby, Models of Wholeness: Some Attitudes to Language, Art and Life in the Age of Goethe, ed. Jeremy Adler, Martin Swales, and Ann Weaver (Oxford and Bern: Peter Lang, 2002): 53–67 (61).

35 Wilkinson and Willoughby, introduction to Schiller's On the Aesthetic Education of Man, xxvi.

36 Letter No. 268 from Schiller to Goethe, 17 January 1797, in Brahms's copy of the Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Goethe in den Jahren 1794 bis 1805, 2 Vols (Stuttgart and Augsburg: J. G. Cotta'scher Verlag, 1856): I: 267, here translated by Calvert in Correspondence between Schiller and Goethe, Volume 1, 220–21. Brahms marked the second paragraph in this excerpt, as cited as the second epigraph at the outset of this article.

37 Behler Constantin, Nostalgic Teleology: Friedrich Schiller and the Schemata of Aesthetic Humanism (Bern and New York: Peter Lang, 1995): 2.

38 Jeremy Adler and Charlie Louth, introduction to Hölderlin, Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, ed., trans., and with an introduction by Jeremy Adler and Charlie Louth (London: Penguin, 2009): xxxi. On Hölderlin's translations of Sophocles, and his theoretical writings on tragedy, see in particular the following essays in the Adler and Louth edition (page numbers for each of which are provided in parentheses): ‘Being Judgement Possibility’ (231–2), ‘Hermocrates to Cephalus’ (233), ‘On Different Modes of Poetic Composition’ (254–7), ‘When the poet is once in command of the spirit…’ (277–94), ‘Notes on the Oedipus’ (317–24), and ‘Notes on the Antigone’ (325–32).

39 For a detailed discussion of the ‘aorgic’ and the ‘organic’ see Hölderlin's essay ‘Ground of the Empedocles’, in Friedrich Hölderlin, Essays and Letters, 261–70, particularly 261–4. This is the only piece of Hölderlin's theoretical writings in the 1846 edition of the complete works that Brahms owned, where it is found on pages 253–62.

40 Miller Elaine P., The Vegetative Soul: From Philosophy of Nature to Subjectivity in the Feminine (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002): 92.

41 ‘Aorgic’ is probably a word of Hölderlin's own devising; see Adler and Louth, commentary on Hölderlin's essay ‘Ground of the Empedocles’, in Friedrich Hölderlin, Essays and Letters, 381, note 46.

42 See Krell David Farrell, The Tragic Absolute: German Idealism and the Languishing of God (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005): 274275, note 16.

43 Miller , The Vegetative Soul, 92.

44 Hölderlin, ‘The Ground of Empedocles’, 261264.

45 ‘Die Auflösung der Dissonanzen in einem gewissen Karakter’. Hölderlin Friedrich, Hyperion or The Hermit in Greece, trans. Willard R. Trask (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1965): 171.

46 The spirit of the French Revolution was celebrated in the ‘Liberty Tree’ that the three planted in the market square in Tübingen on 14 July 1793.

47 This essay is translated by Adler and Louth in Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, 341–2.

48 Michael Vater, ‘Introduction’ to Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, System of Transcendental Idealism, trans. Peter Heath with an introduction by Michael Vater (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978): xiv.

49 F. W. J. von Schelling, Sämmtliche Werke, ed. K. F. A. Schelling (Stuttgart and Augsburg: J. G. Cotta'scher Verlag, 1856–64): X: 97, here translated by Peter Heath in Michael Vater's introduction to Schelling, System of Transcendental Idealism, xiv.

50 Following the halcyon days at the ‘Stift’ and the later fragmenting of their friendship, Schelling would contend that credit for the discovery of ‘the dialectic’ is popularly misplaced. Vater, introduction to Schelling, System of Transcendental Idealism, xiii.

51 Hölderlin, Hyperion or the Hermit in Greece, trans. Trask, 93.

52 Hölderlin, Hyperion or the Hermit in Greece, trans. Trask, 93.

53 Adler and Louth, introduction to Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, xvii. For a detailed and considered study of the relationship between Hölderlin, Nietzsche and Heidegger, see Babich Babette, Words in Blood, Like Flowers: Philosophy and Poetry, Music and Eros, in Hölderlin, Nietzsche, and Heidegger (Albany: State University of New York, 2006).

54 See Hölderlin, ‘Notes on the Oedipus’ and ‘Notes on the Antigone’, in Hölderlin, Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, 317–332.

55 Hölderlin, ‘Notes on the Oedipus’, in Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, 318. The emphasis is in the original.

56 Dove Patrick, The Catastrophe of Modernity: Tragedy and the Nation in Latin American Literature (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2004): 32.

57 Lewis Charles, ‘Hölderlin and the Möbius Strip: The One-Sided Surface and the “Wechsel der Töne” ’, Oxford German Studies 38/1 (2009): 4560 (57).

58 Adler and Louth, introduction to Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, xli.

59 Hölderlin, ‘Fragment von Hyperion’ (Thalia Fragment), in Hölderlin, Sämmtliche Werke, ed. Friedrich Beißner (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1943–85). Vol. III (1957): 181. This fragment is not published in all recent editions of Hyperion. However, it is in the 1846 edition of Hölderlin's writings in the Brahms Bibliothek, which is undoubtedly the source that Brahms used.

60 Hölderlin's use of the first person, as Lawrence Ryan notes, represents a significant advance in the treatment of the subject in the novel from Goethe's epistolary novel Die Leiden des jungen Werther. See Ryan Lawrence, ‘Einleitung: von terra incognita im Reiche der Poësie’, in Hölderlins ‘Hyperion’: Exzentrische Bahn und Dichterberuf (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1965), 17 (particularly 3–5).

61 Minden Michael, The German Bildungsroman: Incest and Inheritance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997): 105.

62 Minden , The German Bildungsroman, 117.

63 Minden , The German Bildungsroman, 104.

64 Abrams , Natural Supernaturalism, 185.

65 Abrams , Natural Supernaturalism, 188.

66 Hegel , Phänomenologie des Geistes, ed. Johannes Hoffmeister (Hamburg: Meiner Felix Verlag, 1987): 549, as translated and cited in Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism, 192.

67 Abrams , Natural Supernaturalism, 230.

68 Hölderlin, ‘Vorrede’ to the ‘Vorletzte Fassung’, Sämtliche Werke, ed. Beißner, III: 236. Here translated and cited in Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism, 237. Terry Pinkard reports that Hölderlin entered the Greek phrase ‘Hen kai pan’ (the ‘one and all’) in Hegel's yearbook in 1791 ‘to indicate their emerging view of a kind of synthesis of Kantianism, Spinozism, and an (idealized) Greek view of the world’. Pinkard Terry, ‘Hegel: A Life’, in The Cambridge Companion to Hegel and Nineteenth-Century Philosophy, ed. Frederick C. Beiser (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008): 1551 (21–22). (The disparity in spelling lies in ‘hen’ being attributed to ancient Greek, and ‘en’ being attributed to modern Greek.)

69 Miller , The Vegetative Soul, 85.

70 Abrams , Natural Supernaturalism, 243; see also Ryan , Hölderlins ‘Hyperion’, 223.

71 Ryan , Hölderlins ‘Hyperion’, 207208. The translation is my own. Both this book and Ryan Lawrence, Hölderlins Lehre vom Wechsel der Töne (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1960), are seminal texts, and they remain at the forefront of scholarship on Hyperion and its relationship to Hölderlin's intellectual thinking.

72 See both Abrams , Natural Supernaturalism, 243, and Minden, The German Bildungsroman, 118. John Daverio and Christopher Reynolds are amongst those who have read such biographical meanings into Brahms's Schicksalslied. See Daverio , ‘The “Wechsel der Töne” in Brahms's “Schicksalslied” ’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 46/1 (Spring 1993): 84113 (93); and Reynolds, ‘Brahms Rhapsodizing’, particularly 217–21.

73 Minden , The German Bildungsroman, 118.

74 Hölderlin, Hyperion or The Hermit in Greece, trans. Trask, 153–4.

75 As Walter Silz astutely notes in Hölderlin's Hyperion: A Critical Reading (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1969): 114.

76 Adler and Louth, introduction to Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, xxxvii. Ian Balfour draws attention to the use of this technique in Hölderlin's poem ‘Wie wenn am Feiertage’, wherein ‘the poem insistently points to something beyond itself, yet it is in principle productive of whatever is beyond it, because it is itself the privileged site of mediation between the gods and the mortals’. Ian Balfour, The Rhetoric of Romantic Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002): 180. On this topic, see also Alice A. Kuzniar, Delayed Endings: Nonclosure in Novalis and Hölderlin (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008).

77 Adler and Louth, ‘Introduction’, in Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, xxxvii.

78 Hölderlin, ‘Über die Verfahrungsweise des poetischen Geistes’, translated as ‘When the poet is at once in command of the spirit…’, by Adler and Louth in Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, 277–94 (285).

79 Hölderlin, Hyperion or The Hermit in Greece, trans. Trask, 163.

80 Hölderlin, Hyperion or The Hermit in Greece, trans. Trask, 167

81 Jackson Timothy, ‘The Tragic Reversed Recapitulation in the German Classical Tradition’, Journal of Music Theory 40/1 (Spring 1996): 61111 (78).

82 In their extensive study of sonata theory and sonata deformation, Hepokoski and Darcy reject the concept of the reversed recapitulation. If considered as part of the sonata paradigm, Schicksalslied is even more highly deformed than the model they reject on account of the tonal anomalies and lack of resolution. See Hepokoski James and Darcy Warren, Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006): 383.

83 The first of Daverio's sonata forms fits into Hepokoski and Darcy's category of a Type 1 Sonata, that is, a sonata ‘lacking a development’ which is a ‘double-rotational structure—an expositional rotation followed by a recapitulatory rotation’. Hepokoski and Darcy, Elements of Sonata Theory, 407.

84 Daverio refers to a ‘gap that separates verbal utterance from musical elaboration’. See his ‘The “Wechsel der Töne” ’, 91–2.

85 Adler and Louth, ‘Introduction’ to Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters, xxx.

86 Daverio, ‘The “Wechsel der Töne” ’, 96.

87 See Rosen Charles, Sonata Forms (New York and London: Norton, 1988): Chapter VIII, ‘Motif and Function’, and Hepokoski and Darcy, Elements of Sonata Theory, 243.

88 Evidence for this is found not only in Brahms's sensitive musical setting of Hölderlin's Hyperion and his appropriation of Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werther (in the Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, op. 60), but also in many of the annotations he made to the Goethe–Schiller correspondence, as noted throughout this article.

89 On single-movement cyclic frames, see Hepokoski James, Sibelius, Symphony No. 5 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993): 68.

90 Taylor Benedict, Mendelssohn, Time and Memory: The Romantic Conception of Cyclic Form (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

91 Taylor's examples, including the overtures to Mendelssohn's Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde and St Paul, and that to Wagner's Tannhäuser, likewise show tonal unity. Taylor, Mendelssohn, Time and Memory, 10.

92 A possible model for the tonal trajectory of Brahms's Schicksalslied is Schumann's Requiem für Mignon, op. 98(b). The relationship between this work and Brahms's Schicksalslied exceeds the scope of this article, and is a topic that I will pursue elsewhere. For a cogent exploration of the unique tonal design of Schumann's Requiem, see Julian Horton, ‘Schumann's Requiem für Mignon and the Concept of Music as Literature’, in Goethe: Musical Poet, Musical Catalyst, ed. Lorraine Byrne (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2004): 242–71. Regarding the issue of directional tonality, see also Kevin Korsyn, ‘Directional Tonality and Intertextuality: Brahms's Quintet Op. 88 and Chopin's Ballade Op. 38’, and Krebs Harald, ‘Alternatives to Monotonality in Early Nineteenth-Century Music’, Journal of Music Theory 25/1 (Spring 1981): 116.

93 Tusa Michael C., ‘Beethoven's “C-Minor Mood”: Some Thoughts on the Structural Implications of Key Choice’, in Beethoven Forum, 2 (1993): 127.

94 Schumann's original composition was first published in 1939 (with the theme having been brought out by Brahms in 1893 as the final entry in the Collected Edition of Schumann's works). Brahms's library, however, contained ‘an old copy of Schumann's Piano Variations in E-flat major, the famous ‘last work,’ on which the composer had been working shortly before his suicide attempt in February 1854’. See Geiringer Karl, On Brahms and His Circle, rev. and enlarged by George Bozarth (Michigan: Sterling Heights Press, 2006): 16.

95 Kalbeck was the first to put forward this interpretation of Op. 40 as being associated with the death of Brahms's mother, and being associated with memories of the composer's youth. Peter Jost takes issue with Kalbeck's reading, which, Jost asserts, relies too heavily on biographical issues and not enough on musical analysis. See Peter Jost, ‘Klang, Harmonik, und Form, in Brahms’ Horntrio, Op. 40’, in Intentionaler Brahms-Kongress Gmunden 1997: Kongreßbericht, ed. Ingrid Fuchs (Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 2001): 59–71.

96 See Struck Michael, ‘Revisionsbedürftig: Zur gedruckten Korrespondenz von Johannes Brahms und Clara Schumann: Auswirkungen irrtümlicher oder lückenhafter Überlieferung auf werkgenetische Bestimmungen (mit einem unausgewerteten Brahms-Brief zur Violinsonate Op. 78’, Die Musikforschung 41/3 (1988): 235241, translated in part by Kohn Ben and Bozarth George in ‘New Evidence of the Genesis of Brahms's G major Violin Sonata, Op. 78’, American Brahms Society Newsletter IX/1 (Spring 1991): 56. On the relationship between music and poetry in Brahms's op. 78, see Parmer Dillon R., ‘Brahms. Song Quotation, and Secret Programs’, Nineteenth-Century Music 19/2 (1995–96): 161190. For a consideration of the intricate relationship between Schumann's late Violin Concerto in D minor (1853), Brahms's Variations in E-Flat on a Theme by Schumann, and Brahms's op. 78, see Brodbeck David, ‘Medium and Meaning: New Aspects of the Chamber Music’, Cambridge Companion to Brahms, ed. Michael Musgrave (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999): 98132 (especially 117–18).

97 Of course, there are a variety of keys that are associated with bereavement and loss in Brahms's output. I do not suggest that E-flat major is the sole key associated with this realm. Rather, I am highlighting an aesthetic quality that these E-flat major works have in common.

98 This aspect of Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem is discussed in James Webster, ‘The Alto Rhapsody’, and Christopher Reynolds, ‘Brahms Rhapsodizing’, 96–7.

99 For a more in-depth discussion of this theme and its various manifestations in Brahms's op. 78, see Grimes Nicole, ‘The Sense of an Ending: Adorno, Brahms, and Music's Return to the Land of Childhood’, Irish Musical Analysis, Irish Musical Studies, 11, ed. Gareth Cox and Julian Horton (Dublin: Four Court's Press, 2014): 104124.

100 Adolf Schubring, ‘Die Schumann'sche Schule: Schumann und Brahms: Brahms's vierhändige Variationen’, Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung 3 (February 1868): 41–2 and 49–51.

101 Webster , ‘The Alto Rhapsody’, 23.

102 The use of this C minor to C major topic in Brahms has been explored in detail by James Webster and Peter Smith amongst others. Webster traces its influence, particularly to Act I of Tristan and Isolde, which also has a psychological progression from C minor to C major. See James Webster, ‘The Alto Rhapsody’, 19–46. See also Smith Peter H., Expressive Forms in Brahms's Instrumental Music: Structure and Meaning in His Werther Quartet (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005). Later instances of this same tonal trajectory include the Piano Trio in C minor, op. 101, and the Lied ‘Auf dem Kirchhofe’, op. 105 no. 4.

103 Savage Robert, Hölderlin after the Catastrophe, 14.

104 Ryan , Holderlins Lehre vom Wechsel der Töne, 22.

105 Reynolds , ‘Brahms Rhapsodizing’, 222.

106 Hegel , Phenomenology of Spirit, as cited in Abrams, 235.

107 Brahms to Karl Reinthaler, 24 October 1871, in Johannes Brahms im Briefwechsel mit Karl Reinthaler, Max Bruch, Hermann Deiters, Friedr. Heimsoeth, Karl Reinecke, Ernst Rudorff, Bernhard und Luise Scholz, ed. Wilhelm Altmann (Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1974): 42.

108 Hegel hyphenates the first occurrence of this word in the Phenomenology of Spirit in order to draw attention to its double-meaning of ‘remembering’ and ‘internalizing’, as noted by Abrams in Natural Supernaturalism, 235.

109 Jackson , ‘The Tragic Reversed Recapitulation’, 78.

110 Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, as cited in Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism, 197.

111 ‘Ich fürchte aber daß diese Herren Idealisten ihrer Ideen wegen allzuwenig Notiz von der Erfahrung nehmen, und in der Erfahrung fängt auch der Dichter nur mit dem Bewußtlosen an, ja er hat sich glücklich zu schätzen, wenn er durch das klarste Bewußtsein seiner Operationen nur so weit kommt, um die erste dunkle Totalidee seines Werks in der vollendeten Arbeit ungeschwächt wieder zu finden’. Letter No. 809 from Schiller to Goethe, 27 March 1801, on pages 338–40 of Brahms's copy. This translation is my own.

112 Foucault Michel, ‘The Father's “No” ’, in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, ed. and with an introduction by Donald F. Bouchard, trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1977): 6886 (79).

113 The reference is to T.S. Eliot, ‘Little Gidding’, from The Four Quartets.

114 ‘Ich sage ja eben etwas, was der Dichter nicht sagt, und freilich wäre es besser, wenn ihm das Fehlende die Hauptsache gewesen ware.’ Johannes Brahms to Karl Reinthaler, 24 October 1871, in Johannes Brahms im Briefwechsel mit Karl Reinthaler, 42. This translation slightly amended from Michael Steinberg, Choral Masterworks, 80.

115 I borrow the phrase from Daverio, ‘The “Wechsel der Töne” ’, 96.

116 Balfour , The Rhetoric of Romantic Prophecy, 242.

117 Nielinger-Vakil Carola, ‘Quiet Revolutions: Hölderlin Fragments by Luigi Nono and Wolfgang Rihm’, Music and Letters 81/2 (2000): 245274 (247).

118 Kalbeck Max, Johannes Brahms, 4 Vols (Berlin: Deutsche Brahms-Gesellschaft, 1909): 2: 365.

119 I discovered this letter on the reverse of Levi's piano reduction at the Brahms Institut, Lübeck in December 2012.

120 In the published correspondence of 1871, only two letters mention Schicksalslied prior to its premier on 18 October. In the first, without a specific date in September 1871, Brahms writes: ‘should Simrock need the orchestral parts (for Schicksalslied) I have referred him to you.’ In the second letter of 27 September 1871, Brahms refers to Levi's ‘puzzling correspondence’ (‘räthselhafte Zuschrift’). There is no way to ascertain whether Brahms was referring to this newly discovered letter.

121 The autograph score of Schicksalslied housed at the Library of Congress, Washington DC, has the shelf mark Music 1178, item 4.

122 Johannes Brahms to Karl Reinthaler, 25 December 1871, in Johannes Brahms im Briefwechsel mit Karl Reinthaler, 44.

123 Heidegger Martin, Erläuterungen zu Hölderlin's Dichtung (Frankfurt am Main: V. Klostermann, 1951): p. 7f, as quoted in Adorno Theodor, ‘Parataxis: On Hölderlin's Late Poetry’, in Notes to Literature, ed. Rolf Tiedemann, trans. Shierry Weber Nicholsen, Vol. 2 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992): 109149 (114).

124 Minden , The German Bildungsroman, 119. Lawrence Ryan is widely considered to have been the first critic to unlock Hölderlin's Hyperion, in his 1965 text on that work. See Ryan, Hölderlins ‘Hyperion’.

125 Savage Robert, Hölderlin after the Catastrophe, 6.

126 On this subject, see Savage, Hölderlin after the Catastrophe. On Heidegger's reception of Hölderlin, see in particular Chapter 1, ‘Conversation: Heidegger, Das abendländische Gespräch’.

127 Particularly influential in this regard was Theodor Adorno's essay ‘Parataxis: Zur späten Lyriks Hölderlins’, Neue Rundschau lxxv (1964), included in the second volume of Adorno's Noten zur Literatur (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1974): 447–91, and translated in Notes to Literature, 109–49.

128 I refer to Hanns Eisler, Ernste Gesänge (1962), Heinz Holliger, Scarandelli-Zyklus (1978–91), Wolfgang Rihm, Hölderlin-Fragmente (1977), Luigi Nono, Fragmente-Stille, An Diotima (1979–80), György Ligeti, Hölderlin Phantasien (1982), and Hans Werner Henze, Seventh Symphony (1983–84).

129 I borrow the phrase from Minden, The German Bildungsroman, 125.

130 Minden , The German Bildungsroman, 125.

The research for this article was funded by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. I gratefully acknowledge this support. A number of people have read and responded to earlier drafts of this paper. I wish to express my gratitude to them for their valuable feedback and advice. They include David Brodbeck, John Michael Cooper, Julian Horton, David Kasunic, Benjamin Korstvedt, Meredith Lee, Benedict Taylor and Harry White. All shortcomings in the article remain my own.

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Nineteenth-Century Music Review
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  • EISSN: 2044-8414
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