After declaring his career as a composer over, Brahms composed the Opus 118 Piano Pieces. This Opus 118 consists of six separate pieces that are played separately or collectively as an entire opus, which suggests the question: Is this a unified cycle or simply a collection of independent pieces published together under one opus number? These works are rarely, if ever, thought of as a cycle; however, in my presentation/performance I will make a case for the cyclical aspects of the Opus 118 Piano Pieces. I have examined the work and discovered several unifying structural relationships and motives. I will share specific examples and explain how Brahms used a simple motive to unify the entire Opus. My presentation will conclude with a performance of my favorite piece from Opus 118, the No. 2 Intermezzo in A major.
Owen Dockham, ’05 Grass Valley, CA
Sponsor: James Martin