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further, the piece may even reflect the two personalities of the composer: the passionate Kreisler,

and the melancholic Brahms. These two opposing characters come together in the Ballade at two

points: once in the B section (the first theme appearing in D-sharp minor with the character of the

second) and once at the end, where the song-like central theme comes back in the original key of

G minor after one last dialogue between the two characters (G minor and E-flat major), and “just

enough is heard to leave an emptiness” (Parakilas: 184). The overall key scheme is again 3rd-

related, moving from G minor/major to B major and D-sharp minor in the middle section, the

latter being enharmonically the minor-mode version of E-flat major which marks the second

character of Theme A. Although transitions between the sections are gradual in terms of volume

and character, the key changes are sudden. This contradiction draws attention to the abruptness

of the changes in tonality and makes them all the more dramatic, adding to the narrative effect.

The more stable and consistent character of the middle section is reflected in its regular phrase

structure, whereas the temperamental outer sections have 5 and 6-bar phrases, in opposition with

the 4 and 8-bar transitions.

The following two pieces were grouped together in Brahms’s manuscripts (Cai, 1986: 9),

explaining the paired keys: the Intermezzo in F minor ends in F major, the key of the succeeding

Romanze. They are different in character, with the repeated triplet figure in No. 4 giving it a

capricious and Schumannesque feeling, consistent with its tempo marking Allegretto un poco

agitato, whereas No. 5 has the song-like naivety and lullaby-like quality of the Op. 117

Intermezzi, especially No. 1. What the two have in common is the use of Baroque techniques:

canon in the former, chaconne in the latter, counterpoint in both. Op. 118 No.4 is in fact a strict

canon at the interval of a crotchet, which is only temporarily arrested at transitions and free

passages, which are nonetheless imitative. The coda alternates between strict canon and ‘free’ 4-

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