The Brahms Sound - Thomas Owen Mastroianni

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The Brahms Sound
Thomas Mastroianni
Brahms and Clara Schumann
Sound
Her playing was
characterized by
technical mastery,
thoughtful interpretation,
poetic spirit, depth of
feeling, a singing tone,
and strict observance of
the composer's
markings.
Masselos Sound
• Carl Friedberg –
disciple of Clara
Schumann
• William Masselos –
pupil of Carl
Friedberg
Retropulsion
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Reactive force of key depression
Leverage
Alignment
Mobility
Onset of Relaxation
Power enhancement
Reduces Key Noise
51 Exercises “no rules!”
(Tone oriented technique)
• # 1a – contrary motion fingering; 4 against 3;
thumb on black notes
• #5 – broken 8ve scales with 8ve displacement;
thumb over or under 5 and on black notes;
opening and closing hand
• #3 – Double thirds 5 and thumb play 3
consecutive notes
• #9a – legato and staccato with hand extension
Legato
• Legato is aural connectivity not just finger
overlap.
• Legato is a sound
Posture
• Relaxed hand
• Open elbow
• Back muscle support
and readiness
• Head up
• Natural position of
foot in pedal release
position aids shallow
pedal use
Other factors of the Brahms Sound
•
•
•
•
Clinging Touch-Key contact reduces noise
Richness of Counterpoint, layered sound
Texture and Balance
Pedal
Sonata Op. 5
• I 1st theme: Range, Leaps, Contrasts,
Orchestral
•
2nd theme: Voicing (alto), wide weave
accompaniment
• II m.1: fingering, flat finger sound (accomp.)
4/16 section: pedal, articulation, lightness
• III m.1: long line counterpoint, leaps
m.42: range, register levels
Trio: Chorale –vocal texture
• IV Tympani effects
• V 1st theme: orchestral, broken sixths sound
2nd theme: AAB_ harp-like melody, wide accomp.
–
Coda: counterpoint
Piano Concerto Op. 15
Waltz Op39 #15
• Solo: Layered Texture – static bass under
the rich throbbing sounds of 3rs and 6ths
• P. 12: wide-weave accompaniment sounds
• 2nd Theme: chorale sound
Waltz in Ab
• Melody in 6ths
• Harp-like accompaniment
Rhapsody in g Opus 79 #2 p40
• 1st theme: AAB_ phrases, register leaps,
avoid tonic harmony
• 2nd theme: ethereal sound (twilight mood)
left hand slurs, flat finger arm sweep,
very little articulation
Intermezzo Op. 116 #2
p53
• Counterpoint within right hand – voicing,
2 against 3
• B section (m19): unearthly sound via
8ve displacement, rhythmic displacement
Intermezzo Op. 116 #4
• AAB_ melodies , fragmented harmonic line,
most important thematic material as a
counterpoint at the first repetition of the
opening.
• 2nd theme (m 37): Twilight mood (Geiringer)
Intermezzo Op. 116 #6
p. 66
• 1st theme: Chorale sound,
voicing alternately alto and soprano
• 2nd theme: A_BB structure (reverse of AAB_)
Descending scale with integrated triplet
accompaniment
Three Intermezzi Op. 117 p.72
• #1: simple sound of a folk melody (lullaby)
rocking chair rhythm in the accomp.
2nd theme: twilight mood (stillness)
• #2: Twilight – quiet sweeping
accompaniment with melody blended
into the stillness
• # 3: Stark descent into the subconscious,
5 m phrases, constantly shifting
harmony
Intermezzi Op. 118 # 2, Op 119
p.86
• 118 # 2: legato sound, counterpoint,
sostenuto, dolce, chorale sound
• 119 #1: clinging touch, balance, sostenuto
• 119 #2: layers (lh + ped / rh slur)
• 119 #3: 3 layers (2 rh touches)
m 66: scherzando chords
• 119 #4 (Rhapsody): Power vs. noise,
m94: 3 layers (2 rh touches)
Clarinet Sonata Op. 120 #1
Violin Sonata, Op. 108
• Op. 120: Legato 8ves with no pedal
M 68: legato melody layered with
contrary motion arpeggiations
• Op. 108: Sotto voce sound
M 16: throbbing repeated note chords
in 2 against 3 rhythm
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