JOACHIM, BRAHMS, AND SCHUMANN: THE FLOURSHING OF NINETEENTHCENTURY VIOLIN REPERTOIRE
Zirkle, Scarlett Whitney Lant
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The cultivation of violin repertoire and its ultimate dominance of the late Nineteenth-Century orchestral library are best examined through the analysis and study of the works of Joseph Joachim (1831-1907), Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), and Robert Schumann (1810-1856). Each of these men, in their own right, made significant contributions to the development of violin repertoire during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. Yet their achievements were also the result of a collaborative effort and shared influence, the absence of which would have yielded a diminutive musical landscape, especially in the concerti of Brahms and Joachim. This dissertation explores Joachim’s technical dexterity and its influence on Brahms and Schumann, and further studies the vital role Brahms and Schumann played in forming Joachim as both composer and editor. The pieces examined in this dissertation evidence the significant influence each of these composers shared. Three chamber compositions stand as guideposts in the analysis and establish a stylistic foundation to collaborative efforts among Joachim, Brahms, and Schumann. The preliminary recital focuses on these chamber pieces which illustrate the individual style of each composer, featuring Joachim’s Romance, Op. 2, written between 1848 and 1852, Schumann’s Second Sonata, Op. 121, written in 1851, and Brahms’ Second Sonata, Op. 100, written in 1886. A second performance includes the enigmatic F-A-E Sonata of Brahms, Schumann, and Albert Deitrich, Schumann’s pupil, as well as Joachim’s Second Concerto. A collaborative effort, the F-A-E Sonata represents Brahms’ and Schumann’s efforts to write with Joachim’s unbridled style and technique in mind. An even greater musical offering, Joachim’s Second Concerto, a gift to Brahms in 1860, has been called the “Holy Grail” of concertos, and is considered the preeminent display of Joachim’s creative genius by incorporating demanding technical challenges and Hungarian-like overtones. The third and final program features Brahms’ Concerto in D Major. A fitting response to Joachim’s gift 17 years later, Brahms’ Concerto was written for Joachim at the height of his career, bearing the performer’s stylistic elements throughout. The recital also includes various Hungarian Dances by Brahms. While the Dances were not original to Brahms, they further illustrate the underlying idiom of Hungarian folk music in both Brahms’ and Joachim’s art.