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Contents

Music in the Nineteenth Century

STRUGGLE (WITH WHOM?)

Chapter:
CHAPTER 13 The Return of the Symphony
Source:
MUSIC IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

In C minor. To anyone conversant with the tradition into which Brahms was trying, against the odds, to break, the words were enough to make the blood run cold. It meant that Brahms was taking on the model of models: Beethoven's Fifth. Vying with this symphony meant incurring a host of obligations that ranged far beyond the one with which we have already seen Brahms coping, namely the obligation to achieve a tight motivic construction. There was also the obligation to reenact (yet without merely repeating) Beethoven's archetypal “plot” or moral trajectory, embodied in the rhetoric of Kampf und Sieg, “Struggle and Victory”—a rhetoric that Beethoven himself had relinquished in the pessimistic post-Napoleon years, but that Brahms would now have to revive in a new historical and cultural context. Finally, though Brahms would put off reckoning with it for a while, there was the obligation to match Beethoven's signal achievement in the Fifth: the binding of the whole symphony together in a single thematic package through strategic recalls and returns.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 13 The Return of the Symphony." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 22 Jul. 2018. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-013005.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 13 The Return of the Symphony. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Nineteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 22 Jul. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-013005.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 13 The Return of the Symphony." In Music in the Nineteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 22 Jul. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-013005.xml
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