chapter  1
26 Pages

Introduction: Theoretical and Repertorial Contexts

Several of Brahms's later scherzo-type movements also exhibit this tendency towards wistful lyricism that diverges from the expressive realms of the minuet and the scherzo, and including Brahms himself refer to these movements as intermezzos as well. The intermezzo retains the ternary design associated with the scherzo; the middle section has a distinct tonal focus and tempo indication, and it is labeled in the score as a trio. Both the intermezzo and the trio forego the exact repetition characteristic of rounded binary forms, and both give a special role to the subdominant. The intermezzo's first thirty-four measures give the impression of the first reprise of a binary form and its repetition, but with the repetition reaching a different tonal goal. Like the start of the intermezzo, the accompaniment provides a tonal accent at the downbeat of the trio's first measure, but the onset of the melody's hemiola at the downbeat of the next measure contends for hypermetric priority.