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This article investigates questions of form in the Finale of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony, paying special attention to the reversed recapitulation as a problematic category in contemporary Formenlehre. Counterpointing Timothy Jackson's reading of the movement as a ‘tragic’ reversed sonata against James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy's critique of the concept of reversal, it seeks ways of accounting for the movement's novel form‐functional characteristics, which integrate concepts of thematic syntax with a model of chromatic tonality, drawing simultaneously on Schenkerian and neo‐Riemannian theories and the notion of the double‐tonic complex first proposed by Robert Bailey. The argument is contextualised in relation to critical debates about Bruckner's forms that originated during the composer's lifetime, especially claims of material discontinuity and harmonic illogicality, which were common in the symphonies’ pro‐Brahmsian reception and which linger in the discourse up to the present. The article's central claim is that a substantial understanding of both the Finale's form and its critical reception is attendant upon a theory of formal function, which takes seriously the difficulties of harmonic analysis that Bruckner's post‐Wagnerian idiom engenders.
Music Analysis – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 2018
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