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Paul Buettner Berry
University of North Texas (Denton, TX 76203-5017)
The Rhetoric of Memory in Brahms's Songs and Small-Scale Chamber Music

An NEH Fellowship will support the completion of a monograph that situates songs and chamber music of Johannes Brahms within the intimate context of 19th-century music making. From a wide array of documents, many newly discovered, the project imaginatively reconstructs the interplay between Brahms’s compositional practice and the culture of private listening and performance characteristic of the initial audiences for his small-scale works. Its methods and findings contribute to multiple scholarly conversations regarding 19th-century musical and intellectual currents, and appeal to readers trained in disciplines ranging from musicology and music theory to ethnography and cultural history. Interdisciplinary issues addressed throughout the monograph include memory studies, connections between music and political ideology, the reception and influence of early music, the hermeneutic implications of the physical act of performance, and the rhetoric and historiography of musical borrowing.

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2011 – 6/30/2012