In 2006, I wrote an analysis of the early orchestral works of Brahms. I revised it in 2011.
Johannes Brahms stands as one of the central-most figures of late 19th century German art music. Brahms was the first true successor to Beethoven in the symphonic tradition… many volumes have been devoted to cataloguing the significant melodic, harmonic, and formal features of his four symphonies. Fewer have been devoted either to the early orchestral works or to the rhythmic and metric techniques employed.
Widely acknowledged as one of the most pivotal symphonic compositions in allof western music, the third symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven is, in substance, rarelyagreed upon. Beethoven’s semi-programmatic title, “Eroica,” the extreme size, uniqueformal organization, and developmental history of the work collectively open up toomany variables to allow a singular analytical approach to this work that is mutuallyagreed upon by the musical community plausible, as evidenced by over 200 years of serious efforts to do exactly that. This discourse seeks to give one possible analysis, thefocus being primarily upon the organization of thematic elements that give the work acyclical or “symphonic” quality.