The Songs of Johannes Brahms Eric Sams

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
04 May 2000
ISBN:
9780300079623
Dimensions:
376 pages: 234 x 156 x 34mm
Illustrations:
music

In this highly anticipated book, Eric Sams examines each of Johannes Brahms's 213 songs, translates the texts into English, and provides original commentary on points of musicology and literary detail. Sams here reveals for the first time the full extent of the poetry, fantasy, and humour of the composer's work. After an introduction to Brahms as a song-writer and to his use of motifs, the book offers a complete song-by-song analysis and will serve as an invaluable companion for students, performers, and listeners alike. Sams demonstrates how Brahms built a verbal expressiveness from his unsurpassed devotion to musicianship and musicology. Songs were among Brahms's first and last works, and much of his music is associated with words, whether overt texts or covert allusions. Essential to the composer's method of song-writing was a harmony between musical form and poetic text. Sams underscores the use of motifs at the core of Brahms's song-music. He argues that it is not so much with words that Brahms sings to us, but with the very music itself. Brahms became the innovator of an all-pervasive new language in which musical form became a medium for poetic dialogue.

Eric Sams is a world authority on lieder and the author of numerous works of musicology, including The Songs of Robert Schumann and The Songs of Hugo Wolf. He is also the author of The Real Shakespeare and editor of Shakespeare's Edward III, published by Yale University Press.

"Sams's book is the fruit of a lifetime's immersion in the topic. No one else alive is better qualified to write it. There is no doubt in my mind that this will be the standard work on the Brahms lieder for years to come." Graham Johnson