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within all its progressive atmosphere, the piece still contains Baroque canonic techniques (Fig.

11). Again we are reminded of Brahms’s Janus-like character, looking back to early techniques,

and using them in the context of a motivically and harmonically forward-looking piece. Brahms

avoids establishing a tonality at the opening, until the A-sharp in the fourth bar implies dominant

harmony and hence B minor. This dichotomy between A-sharp and A-natural persists throughout

the piece, being resolved in favour of the former in the penultimate bar before the falling 3rds

come to rest as a B minor triad. Another long-term resolution is that of the F-sharp which begins

each phrase; this occurs at the end of the piece, when the bass motive of the A section appears as

a melodic motive in the right hand (bars 57-8, Fig. 12) and begins a descent (marked with a rit.

by Brahms) from F-sharp to C-sharp, reaching a B with the last appearance of the falling 3rd

motive (bars 62-6).

The return to the opening material is handled quite differently (bars 43-6, Fig. 12), where

two bars of overlapping metre (3/8 and 6/16), using the falling 3rds but outlining rising 4ths,

appear unexpectedly, followed by a false return of two bars. The return is varied, with triplet

rhythms and new chromatic passing notes, forming diminished 4ths, actually falling enharmonic

major 3rds. They become perfect 4ths the second time (bar 55-56) and it is notable that the A-

sharp appears from the first bar, tipping the balance towards B minor. Musgrave (1985: 263)

compares the handling of the falling third pattern here to that in the Serious Song No.3,

commenting that both create harmonic astringency. He also draws a parallel with the second

Intermezzo of Op. 117, as both contain descending quaver figuration and a contrasting second

theme in the relative major, with a more direct rhythmic character. Op. 119/1 however,

undergoes further distillation of material, giving it a clearer outer plan and formal restraint.

The second Intermezzo is an experiment in combining ternary form with successive

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