Page 3 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast
Results 31 to 45 of 94

Thread: Brahms and Bruckner - what's the difference?

  1. #31
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,533
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWaters View Post
    What was different composition techniques did they employ?

    I prefer Bruckner over Brahms, but that's not what this thread is intended to be about.
    In my view it's not primarily different techniques that are at issue or that differentiate their styles. First, and most obviously, Brahms mastered all instrumental genres, Bruckner was a narrow specialist. The implications of this for his understanding of instrumentation and orchestration are apparent in the superiority of Brahms's orchestration and his writing for solo instruments. Brahms's fluent harmonic language, especially his use of modal mixture and his extension of Schubert's language in that regard is more interesting to me than Bruckner's. Brahms was a great melodist. Bruckner … wasn't. Brahms was a master of variations. Bruckner … wasn't. Brahms had a thorough command of structure and his music always knows where it's going. Bruckner didn't and his music doesn't. Brahms doesn't tend to engage in long, sequential repetitions of trivial ideas. Bruckner … .

    So, for me, it's not so much about employing different techniques, it's about my appraisal of their relative mastery of every compositional technique I care about.

    In more general terms, making superficially impressive sounding music for large orchestra always struck me as relatively easy and cheap compared to writing good chamber music.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Jul-14-2021 at 18:07.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

  2. Likes Highwayman, haziz, fluteman liked this post
  3. #32
    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,909
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    In my view it's not primarily different techniques that are at issue or that differentiate their styles. First, and most obviously, Brahms mastered all instrumental genres, Bruckner was a narrow specialist. The implications of this for his understanding of instrumentation and orchestration are apparent in the superiority of Brahms's orchestration and his writing for solo instruments. Brahms's fluent harmonic language, especially his use of modal mixture and his extension of Schubert's language in that regard is more interesting to me than Bruckner's. Brahms was a great melodist. Bruckner … wasn't. Brahms was a master of variations. Bruckner … wasn't. Brahms had a thorough command of structure and his music always knows where it's going. Bruckner didn't and his music doesn't. Brahms doesn't tend to engage in long, sequential repetitions of trivial ideas. Bruckner … .

    So, for me, it's not so much about employing different techniques, it's about my appraisal of their relative mastery of every compositional technique I care about.

    In more general terms, making superficially impressive sounding music for large orchestra always struck me as relatively easy and cheap compared to writing good chamber music.
    But how do you *really* feel?
    Alan

  4. Likes haziz liked this post
  5. #33
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    348
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    [QUOTE=EdwardBast;2106134]In my view it's not primarily different techniques that are at issue or that differentiate their styles. First, and most obviously, Brahms mastered all instrumental genres, Bruckner was a narrow specialist. The implications of this for his understanding of instrumentation and orchestration are apparent in the superiority of Brahms's orchestration and his writing for solo instruments. Brahms's fluent harmonic language, especially his use of modal mixture and his extension of Schubert's language in that regard is more interesting to me than Bruckner's. Brahms was a great melodist. Bruckner … wasn't. Brahms was a master of variations. Bruckner … wasn't. Brahms had a thorough command of structure and his music always knows where it's going. Bruckner didn't and his music doesn't. Brahms doesn't tend to engage in long, sequential repetitions of trivial ideas. Bruckner … .

    So, for me, it's not so much about employing different techniques, it's about my appraisal of their relative mastery of every compositional technique I care about.

    In more general terms, making superficially impressive sounding music for large orchestra always struck me as relatively easy and cheap compared to writing good chamber music.[/QUOTE]

    Are you sure you're not Hanslick in disguise???

  6. Likes Resurrexit, amfortas liked this post
  7. #34
    Senior Member RogerWaters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    902
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    In my view it's not primarily different techniques that are at issue or that differentiate their styles. First, and most obviously, Brahms mastered all instrumental genres, Bruckner was a narrow specialist. The implications of this for his understanding of instrumentation and orchestration are apparent in the superiority of Brahms's orchestration and his writing for solo instruments. Brahms's fluent harmonic language, especially his use of modal mixture and his extension of Schubert's language in that regard is more interesting to me than Bruckner's. Brahms was a great melodist. Bruckner … wasn't. Brahms was a master of variations. Bruckner … wasn't. Brahms had a thorough command of structure and his music always knows where it's going. Bruckner didn't and his music doesn't. Brahms doesn't tend to engage in long, sequential repetitions of trivial ideas. Bruckner … .

    So, for me, it's not so much about employing different techniques, it's about my appraisal of their relative mastery of every compositional technique I care about.

    In more general terms, making superficially impressive sounding music for large orchestra always struck me as relatively easy and cheap compared to writing good chamber music.
    Brahms was a great melodist? Are you kidding? His tunes are often vapid and/or saccharine when they aren’t being twisted left right and centre as though it was a gymnastics class as opposed to music.

    Bruckner engages in long sequential repetitions of trivial ideas and his music is ‘easy’? Well then why aren’t there tons of bruckners like there Brahms wannabes (Reger, faure to some degree, schoenberg…)? Because Brahms is all about formal technique as opposed to profundity, which cannot be imitated.

    See how easy it is to wax subjective?
    Last edited by RogerWaters; Jul-15-2021 at 00:03.

  8. #35
    Senior Member RogerWaters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    902
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kreisler jr View Post
    Of those, Mozart is the composer with the most material. There are expositions with half a dozen distinguishable "themes" or more (esp. in some piano concerti), and often only one or two of them are really "developed", the others are just there, e.g. for melodic contrast, for "transition sections" or so where other composers would not use new material.

    Brahms certainly does in a sense expand the development of motives over the whole movement (there are already similar things in Beethoven (and Haydn and Mozart) but Brahms overall pushed it to another level, I'd say, this is supposedly one of the points Schoenberg wanted to make with his "Brahms the progressive" essay). But this also means that it is often not really something "new" that is introduced. Therefore it seems wrong that he introduces new material at the earliest opportunity. (The most obvious case for introducing highly contrasting material (beyond some non-jarring "call-response" contrasts like the beginning of Mozart's K 271 or 551) within seconds is the beginning of Beethoven's quartet op.95. I don't think Brahms has such lightning changes anywhere, whereas they are frequent in Beethoven.)
    That said, I rarely had a problem with "graspable" themes or melodies in most large scale Brahms pieces and compared to Haydn or some Beethoven the scale and the speed of "unfolding" is not too fast either. There are differences, of course, the 1st mvmt of Brahms 2nd symphony is maybe the most expansive and relaxed and even in the tempestous 3rd the 2nd theme gets

    The reason of the contrast seems more that Bruckner is really extreme in his broadness and expansiveness; with a few exceptions by Schubert I think this is unprecedented and overall quite rare in music between baroque and early modernity, even in comparably large scale pieces like late Beethoven or Mahler or Strauss or other late romantics.
    Thanks for this. I get the difference between extended development of an idea vs introduction of a new idea, and that Brahms went nuts with the former as opposed to the latter. Perhaps this constant development gives his themes an instability I (subjectively) find pensive and tiring - however i love this kind of thing in haydn and Beethoven so the issue remains opaque to me.
    Last edited by RogerWaters; Jul-15-2021 at 00:04.

  9. #36
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Istanbul/Turkey
    Posts
    14,575
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I`m hearing the word "religious" when describing to Bruckner`s music more and more recently and I kinda agree. I think he was somehow trying to find/reach God through his music and I believe he might have thought he has succeeded at it. But when I hear his music I imagine someone scrupulously examining an empty wall with astonishment. I would never say that the onlooker is not genuinely interested in the wall but I might suspect that they might be subconsciously projecting some ideas over it. In other words, if you really want to hear God, you will hear God.

    The difference with Brahms is, the only god you might hear in Brahms` music is Brahms himself.

  10. #37
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Western Massachusetts, US
    Posts
    3,070
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWaters View Post
    Brahms was a great melodist? Are you kidding? His tunes are often vapid and/or saccharine when they aren’t being twisted left right and centre as though it was a gymnastics class as opposed to music.

    ....

    He wasn't the greatest melodist of all time, but he certainly was competent. Take a listen to his Hungarian Dances; yes a lot of it is a reworking of folk dances and songs, but his working of them is certainly masterful. His symphonies are also certainly not lacking melodically.

  11. #38
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    5,275
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by amfortas View Post
    But how do you *really* feel?
    You *RLY* don't know how Eddie *RLY* feels, even when you hear his lamentations?:
    "Bruckner ... "
    "Bruckner ..."
    "Bruckner ... "
    "Bruckner ... "
    "Bruckner ... "


    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Low View Post
    Are you sure you're not Hanslick in disguise???

  12. Likes Fabulin, RogerWaters, Ned Low and 1 others liked this post
  13. #39
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    5,275
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWaters View Post
    Brahms was a great melodist?
    BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist

  14. Likes Highwayman liked this post
  15. #40
    Senior Member Botschaft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    812
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWaters View Post
    Brahms was a great melodist? Are you kidding? His tunes are often vapid and/or saccharine when they aren’t being twisted left right and centre as though it was a gymnastics class as opposed to music.
    Could you give an example or two of what you’re referring to? How vapid and saccharine does Brahms get?

  16. Likes Highwayman liked this post
  17. #41
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    2,657
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    "Brahms is so dependable." (Overheard by Virgil Thomson leaving Carnegie Hall behind two matrons.)

    "I don't know if a definitive Bruckner performance can exist, or if anyone would recognize it if it did ..." (Boston Herald critic Harry Neville after a BSO performance, 1969.)

  18. #42
    Senior Member RogerWaters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    902
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Botschaft View Post
    Could you give an example or two of what you’re referring to? How vapid and saccharine does Brahms get?
    That was just me excogitating subjective remarks as an illustration of its pointlessness.

    In this thread I was more interested in objective, formal, comparisons between Bruckner and Brahms. The end result is to better understand my own preference for Bruckner, but that is orthogonal.

  19. Likes Botschaft liked this post
  20. #43
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    5,275
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Brahms's fluent harmonic language, especially his use of modal mixture and his extension of Schubert's language in that regard is more interesting to me than Bruckner's.
    But surely, the use of the common tone diminished 7th chord ( I -> CTº7 -> I ) in the opening of Op.90 does sound like Brahms' homage to Schubert.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lst1Aex2vcQ&t=6s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ-vroCJvzo&t=12s

  21. #44
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Posts
    1,448
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWaters View Post
    Thanks for this. I get the difference between extended development of an idea vs introduction of a new idea, and that Brahms went nuts with the former as opposed to the latter. Perhaps this constant development gives his themes an instability I (subjectively) find pensive and tiring - however i love this kind of thing in haydn and Beethoven so the issue remains opaque to me.
    I don't think you need to apologize for preferring Haydn or Beethoven; they have a kind of clarity and drive Brahms is probably not even striving for, he is a late romantic after all. However, he wrote many pieces I find either rather "haydnesque" or at least not overly pensive. Obviously the two early serenades, the Haydn variations, the last two movements of the 2nd symphony, the B major Trio op.8, the 2nd violin sonata op.100 etc. But except for a few pieces when I was a total newbie and had skewed expectations (because esp. the 1st Brahms symphony was supposed to be "very similar" to Beethoven) I never had the impression that Brahms was dreary or pensive.
    Bruckner was considerably less accessible for me and even 30 years later I am still in two minds about some of his music (I also cannot really be bothered to deal with the many different revisions).

  22. #45
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    5,275
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kreisler jr View Post
    he wrote many pieces I find either rather "haydnesque" or at least not overly pensive. Obviously the two early serenades, the Haydn variations, the last two movements of the 2nd symphony, the B major Trio op.8, the 2nd violin sonata op.100 etc.
    I don't know what's particularly "Haydnesque" about those. The theme of the Haydn variations is believed to be not written by Haydn at all.
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Jul-16-2021 at 01:25.

Page 3 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •