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Brahms Among FriendsListening, Performance, and the Rhetoric of Allusion$
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Paul Berry

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982646

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982646.001.0001

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Old Melodies, New Identities

Old Melodies, New Identities

Chapter:
(p.40) (p.41) Chapter One Old Melodies, New Identities
Source:
Brahms Among Friends
Author(s):

Paul Berry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982646.003.0002

Brahms’s complex persona as giver of gifts is illuminated via two lullabies that he completed in commemoration of the birth of children named Johannes. First, in the Geistliches Wiegenlied, Op. 91 No. 2, unusual scoring and strategic redeployment of an ancient melody encouraged introspective adjustments to the demands of parenthood from the song’s two recipients, Amalie and Joseph Joachim—for her an acknowledgment of partial withdrawal from professional life, for him a realignment of old musical and religious identities in the service of new familial commitments. Second, in the Wiegenlied, Op. 49 No. 4, composed for Bertha and Arthur Faber, a borrowed love song facilitated vicarious immersion in two related imaginaries: a harmonious domestic present and the afterglow of a romantic past. Together, these two occasional lullabies initiated a private tradition that became increasingly well-known and prestigious among musicians in Brahms’s circles.

Keywords:   Amalie Joachim, Joseph Joachim, Bertha Faber, Arthur Faber, Geistliches Wiegenlied, Op. 91 No. 2, Wiegenlied, Op. 49 No. 4, Lullaby, Gift, Identity

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