skip to content

Faculty of Music


It is with great sadness that the Faculty has learned of the death of Honorary Professor Robert Pascall.   Robert studied music with John Caldwell, Egon Wellesz and Sir Jack Westrup at Oxford, where he was organ scholar of Keble College (1962-5). He took his DPhil with the thesis Formal Principles in the Music of Brahms (1973), and this composer formed the central focus of his research activities thereafter. 1968-98 he taught at the University of Nottingham, for the last ten of those years as Professor and Head of Music, taking up the same position at Bangor University in 1998 and retiring in 2005. He was Emeritus Professor at Nottingham and at Bangor. In 2005-7 he held a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship.

As analyst he contributed to the literature on genre, influence and perceptual pertinence, and published analyses of works by Beethoven, Brahms, Schoenberg and Franz Schmidt, among others. He was a member of the founding committee of the Journal Music Analysis and acted as Chair of its Editorial Board 1989-2002. He taught Schenkerian, Schoenbergian and semiotic analysis, the first of these in collaboration with Ian Bent at Nottingham.

In the 1980s his text-critical work on Brahms’s music emphasized the need for a new complete edition, founded in 1991 as the Johannes Brahms Gesamtausgabe, on which he worked as vice-chair and as editor. His editions of the symphonies, including Brahms’s own arrangements of them for one or two pianos, four hands, appeared in seven volumes between 1996 and 2013.

At the instigation of Sir Roger Norrington in 1989, he pioneered musicological research into historically-informed performance practice of the music of Brahms, since when he has published studies and advised conductors and soloists. In 1978 he founded the International Conference on 19th-century Music; in 1983 he was appointed Corresponding Director of the American Brahms Society; 1986-91 he served on the Council of the Royal Musical Association, of which he was made an Honorary Member in 2009. He believed in useful and joined-up musicology.