Did Brahms copy Beethoven?
September 28, 2007 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Classical music filter: Did Brahms copy Beethoven in his third symphony?

About four minutes into the fourth movement of Brahms' third symphony there is about a thirty second span of music that sounds like something straight out of a Beethoven symphony. More specifically, a near ripoff of parts of the third movement of Beethoven's 5th...
posted by Autarky to Society & Culture (6 answers total)
"Brahms was a master of allusion and he generally intended his references to be heard ("Any ass can see that", he is supposed to have said when anyone of them was recognized)"....

You might want to take a look at this article (where that excerpt is from) where the habit of "quotation" by 19th century composers and the references and borrowing of Beethoven by Brahms are discussed and several examples are offered - but not the one you mention, alas.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 12:55 PM on September 28, 2007

I'd say there's a strong influence and maybe even an homage, but it's not quite a ripoff.

If memory serves, it's well-known that part of Brahms's First Symphony is a rip-off of (or homage to) the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth, so it wouldn't be surprising if another Brahms symphony ripped off another Beethoven symphony.

But this is just my intuition, and I don't think it particularly matters how we choose to label it. It's not as if there's an question that Beethoven had a profound influence on Brahms, and there are plenty of rip-offs in classical music (e.g. much of Handel's works were supposedly plagiarized).
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:57 PM on September 28, 2007

*any question
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2007

Response by poster: Fascinating article, thanks for the answers.
posted by Autarky at 1:19 PM on September 28, 2007

Actually, the Beethoven arguably borrows from Mozart.
posted by futility closet at 3:37 PM on September 28, 2007

Jaltcoh -- funny you should mention that; I just got back from an orchestra rehearsal for Brahms 1 and the director was mentioning the same thing.
posted by rossination at 7:01 PM on September 28, 2007

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