©2005-2013 by Kelly Dean Hansen

(9/26/12):  I'm still here!  A big move and some other life changes have happened in the last three months, but I was working on the Triumphlied the entire time.  In many ways, this is Brahms's most complex work (eight-voice double choir and large orchestra with a lot of intricate counterpoint).  So it took some time.  Next on the docket are the Op. 120 sonatas.  I've been going back and forth on how to handle the different versions.  Obviously, the primary analysis is going to be based on the clarinet versions.  But the viola versions are played almost as frequently.  The problem is that Brahms didn't have as much to do with the arrangement of the viola part as has been previously believed.  The little-known violin versions, however, are entirely his own, including alterations to the piano part.  Since the violin versions are rarely played, but the viola versions are staples of that instrument's repertoire, I have decided to include recordings with viola, but not violin.  Each sonata (Op. 120, No. 1 and Op. 120, No. 2) will have its own guide.  The original clarinet version will be presented and below it, an outline based on a recording with viola indicating divergences of the viola part from the clarinet part (shifts of register, double stops, etc.) will be given.  Also, I have updated the score links through Op. 24 (except Op. 3, which is going to be revised soon).  The format I am using should stay consistent if the URLs at IMSLP migrate again--so no more dead links.  Please be patient--this job is huge, and will eventually be complete.  The good news is that IMSLP now has most of the Breitkopf & Härtel Complete Edition (Sämtliche Werke) in excellent scans by "piupianissimo."

(6/23/12): SO NOW I REALLY AM BACK!!: If I still have any regular viewers left after such a long time (and PLEASE email me to let me know you're still here), here's the story.  The dissertation is complete, and I am now a Ph.D.  As late as 2009, the dissertation was going to be on Brahms vocal quartets and duets.  But I found that the only thing I really wanted to do with Brahms was work on this site.  In 2009, as you can read in my first column for the Daily Camera (it's called "The Ph.D. Process" and is available online at, the project wasn't going anywhere, and I switched to a translation of Paul Bekker's Gustav Mahler's Sinfonien with commentary (Mahler being the other composer I dearly love).  It ended up being an enormous project.  While I still worked on the Brahms site for much of 2010 and briefly came back in 2011, I eventually had to dedicate myself full-time to completing the translation project and finishing my degree.  I hated to abandon the site for all that time, but I really had no choice.  As soon as I finished, however, I eagerly wanted to come back.  And so, I'm back, and hopefully will not have another huge absence.  The guide for the Op. 44 partsongs for women's chorus marks my return.  In the meantime, much has happened regarding the site.  First of all, you'll notice that there is no longer any disclaimer at the top about ads and no longer any mirror site.  The latter has been gone since 2011, when CU-Boulder discontinued its webfiles service.  The former is a happier development and makes the need for a mirror site moot. (where I host the site and the domain) very recently stopped providing free hosting with domain purchases.  But since I had purchased the domain with that option, I was grandfathered into free hosting.  But the best part is that GoDaddy has now removed the banner ads.  This is simply awesome!  The site will now be hosted only here, and ad-free, at
    In a more negative development, it appears that most of the score links from IMSLP have died.  The URLs for the IMSLP pdf files are unstable, and frequently change.  But I believe that I have found a solution that will make the links permanent.  IMSLP provides shortcut links to all their scores with identification numbers.  It will take some time, and it will be a gradual process, but I will replace all the IMSLP score links with this shortcut, which should remove this issue in the future.  I will also add the permanent link to the "work page" on the IMSLP wiki to each guide, just in case the score links themselves die again.  I may also purge the links somewhat.  The excellent user "piupianissimo" at IMSLP, with whom I've worked a bit on adding low-voice versions of the songs, has scanned most of the volumes in the Breitkopf & Härtel Complete Edition (Sämtliche Werke).  I hope that he will eventually have them all.  Any links to that edition will be replaced with links to his much higher-quality scans.  The links to the first editions from Lübeck will remain for their historical interest.  I will also link to all transpositions of the songs in the Peters Edition as they become available.  As for the links to the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki), I'm going to purge out most of those.  Many of them use Sämtliche Werke as their source anyway, and all the choral works without orchestra are now available from that edition.  The one exception will be the fantastic scores by Robert Urmann, which will remain.  The project of updating the score links will take some time, so please be patient on that, as I want to work on new guides while doing it.
    I want to once again acknowledge the wonderful Emily Ezust, whose site remains the source for English translations linked from the guides.  Emily is a true "Mensch" in every sense of the word.  Please consider giving her a donation (via the PayPal link visible on every text and translation on her site).  There are not too many holes left for translations of Brahms texts, and I am working to fill them (I believe my credentials as a German translator are well established at this point), and am grateful to Emily for her help with that as well.  You'll notice that many of the translations for Op. 44 are mine.
    So once again, PLEASE contact me to let me know you're still here, and while guides may not appear as rapidly as they once did, I will make every effort to avoid another huge break.  Hey, over half of the opus numbered works are here already--they will be finished eventually.  Only a few guides still remain to be revised.  This will happen shortly as well, starting with the long-suffering guide to the Op. 3 songs, which has been begging for revision for a long time. 

(5/7/12): IN HONOR OF BRAHMS'S BIRTHDAY: For the sake of those of you who think that I have totally lost interest in completing the guides, let me assure you that I have not.  Since late 2010, I have been heavily engaged in finishing my translation/dissertation of Paul Bekker's "Gustav Mahlers Sinfonien."  I am receiving my Ph.D. this week, and finishing up this massive project.  Because this has consumed so much of my time, I have simply not had any time at all to continue the Brahms site.  This summer, after the dissertation is submitted, I have every intention of returning to the guides and completing them.  Look forward to new guides in late May or June.  At the same time, I will update many of the score links.  IMSLP has added scores for most of the Complete Works Edition (the "Gesellschaft Edition") from 1927.  The score links have not been touched since mid-2010, and many of the works do not have links to the best available scores on IMSLP.  Again, look for my highly engaged return later this month!

(3/27/11): I'M BACK!  Yes, I've snuck back into the site with a revision to the Op. 20 duets and a new guide (shocking, I know) for the great Op. 75 duets.  I had started working on these back in the summer of last year, but an extremely busy fall and other very urgent events in my life required a break from the Brahms guides that was much longer than I had planned or anticipated.  I apologize for this.  With the site becoming more well-known and visited, I should have at least communicated that I would be absent for a while.  But I'm back for now.

(7/1/10): IMSLP has been undergoing a server upgrade and other upheavals in recent days, and yesterday I discovered that some of the score links that I have posted here were not working.  This is easy to fix, as the score files are still available on the IMSLP directories, but it seems that some URLs have slightly changed.  I will work on fixing the score links in the next few days, and will monitor more closely in the future whether all the links are working or not.  For now, all score links through Op. 19 should work, and I will continue to go through the list and repair broken links.  Incidentally, some new scores have been posted on certain guides, such as alternate-key (usually low-key) editions of certain solo songs.  As a rule, I'll always post links to the first editions, to the Breitkopf and Härtel Gesamtausgabe, if available, and to the Peters edition of solo songs (in high, low, and in some cases middle keys), as they become available.  If you find a broken link, please let me know and I will fix it immediately.

(6/30/10): Two straight new additions on the last day of a month...anyway, I wanted to get the Op. 9 Variations on a Theme of Robert Schumann up before June was over in honor of Robert Schumann's 200th birthday on June 8 (I started the guide for Op. 9 that day).  Since I had a vacation and a move in the meantime, it took until today to get it done.  But it's still up before Robert's birth month expires!

(5/31/10): There is something highly appropriate about posting the guide for the Four Serious Songs on Memorial Day.  Happy coincidence.

(3/26/10): In a milestone for the site, the very first two guides I ever did have been redone and reposted.  The Op. 1 Sonata never actually left, and now a revised version can finally head the list.  These guides represented the conception and origin of the project, but they also came to represent an earlier, less detailed standard that was made with beginners in mind.  My new standard is meant to be accessible and useful to all, and started to evolve around the time I did the Op. 33 "Magelone" song cycle.  I actually removed the guide for the First Symphony when I decided that it just didn't fit with the rest of the site, but that spontaneous 2004 exercise was the germ and cell of the project's evolution.  Now a new and improved (and long-awaited) guide to the First Symphony can be enjoyed.  The Op. 1 Sonata was the last large work to need extensive revision.  Three song sets, one set of duets, and one set of male choruses will undergo revision in the next updates.  Thanks again for feedback and encouragement!  We have now reached the halfway point of 61 out of 122 opus numbers!

(1/29/10): It seems like I was absent for the past couple of months, but I really wasn't.  I decided to tackle the Second Symphony at a time when a lot was going on (holidays, preparing to teach a class, etc.).  The guide to the first movement of the Second ended up being truly epic.  I was worried about this--it was much longer than the one for the first movement of the Violin Concerto, which is of similar tempo, length, meter, and even key.  But then the other movements were not nearly as long, and I simply came to the conclusion that it wasn't so much as me getting out of control with detail in a guide--it was the fact that the first movement of the Second Symphony is simply extraordinarily rich in content and complexities.  At the same time, I finally revised a very early Piano Sonata guide (Op. 2 in F-sharp minor, originally posted with the site's first version in December 2005).  Op. 1 was going to be my last revision, but I'm increasingly embarrassed by that very early, very rudimentary guide up there at the top of the list, so I'm going to revise it, and it will be among the next updates along with...wait for it...the trimuphant return of the First Symphony!!  I've finally got a good recording with the exposition repeat.  The song set Op. 43 was also in dire need of a revision.  Since this set contains my favorite Brahms song, I am glad that I finally brought it up to standards (although one thing I did do was remove the embarrassing "personal note" in the heading--I think it's rather obvious from the guide itself what my opinion of "Von ewiger Liebe" is!).  Other revisions to be done include the song sets Op. 84 and Op. 106, the duets Op. 20, and the male choruses Op. 41 (if I can ever get my hands on the original parts to clarify the text underlay in #5).  Finally, the last revision will be the song set Op. 3.  For Op. 84, I think I'm going to include two timings in every heading--I'd like to include a duet recording as well as a solo one, but the description would be the same for both (since the musical material is the same).  Op. 106 will also remove an embarrassing personal note about a song I like.

I have now moved the long list of previous updates to an archive page, linked below.  This front page was getting too cluttered.  If you're new to the site, you might want to check out the archive.  The front page will only include the latest update.

(9/29/09): The update to the Op. 18 sextet has been done, and the recording used is now one that takes the first movement exposition repeat.  The guide now reflects that repeat.

(9/15/09): The guide to the "Magelone" cycle, Op. 33, represented a turning point in the style and development of the project.  I consider it the first one to use the new standard (that might also explain the long hiatus after I posted it).  It did not require a great deal of intervention, but there were some important details I missed and some cleaning up to do.  It is by far the largest guide (and probably will remain so).  I hope that now it is better than ever.  In the near future, revisions will be done of the song sets Opp. 43, 63, 84, and 106 as well as the duets Op. 20.  I also intend to redo Piano Sonata #2 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 2.  That will only leave Op. 1 and Op. 3 for extensive revision, but I'm saving those for a future time.  I would like to revise the male choruses, Op. 41.  I am currently engaged in a quixotic quest to get my hands on the original vocal parts so that I can clarify the text underlay of the bass parts in No. 5 (this has been a sore spot for a while).  I'm trying to exhaust my resources there.  There will also be a slight revision to the Op. 18 sextet, which will be noted when it is done.  I have obtained a recording that takes the exposition repeat in the first movement, and would like to change the guide to use that recording and be more "complete."  My beloved Amadeus Quartet recording of all the quintets and sextets sadly left out the repeats of both this piece and the Op. 111 quintet.  To my great joy, a recording was recently made of those two very pieces (strange coupling) by the Verdi Quartet that includes the repeats!  The Op. 111 quintet will be one of the next guides to be added.  I think I have found a way to make sure that no exposition repeats are omitted in any recordings I will use for the guides (this is also one reason why the return of Symphony #1 is kind of delayed).  Finally, I am NEARLY finished adding score links and bolding the time headings (really, only the guides to be extensively revised still need attention there).  Op. 65 still needs score links, and then that will be pretty much it.  I also think it's time to archive all of these updates and move them to a separate page so that this main page can mainly be devoted to the list of guides and to the very latest update.  That will probably happen soon.  Thanks for all the wonderful feedback on the site!

(9/1/09): The addition of Violin Sonata # 1, Op. 78, and the revisions of Violin Sonata # 2, Op. 100, and Violin Sonata # 3, Op. 108, mark the first completed chamber music genre on the site.  The major revisions to Op. 108 were in the last movement.  I remember doing that hurriedly back in 2007.  In late 2006, before the long break with no updates, I had completed the first three movements of the piece.  In 2007, a very busy year for me, I needed to finish it for use in a class, and did the last movement quickly and superficially.  You'll notice that it was the only guide added that year and the last one before I resumed the site in earnest in late 2008.
--Because of Robert Urmann's excellent recent work on Brahms at Choral Wiki, his editions will now be given precedence in my links to that site, and any editions he completes will replace any current links to Choral Wiki.  Urmann's editions also lack the measure numbering issues that are present in other editions on the Choral Wiki site.

(8/19/09): The revision of the Op. 42 partsongs taught me...well, why revisions of the earlier guides are necessary.  I had thought I wouldn't need to do much with it since I was more detailed with vocal works than with instrumental works back then, but in addition to grammatical format, I also discovered several blatant analytical errors.  Hey, I'm human.  Let me know if you ever find what you perceive to be outright mistakes.  Also, note that complete scores for Op. 93a (with CORRECT measure numbers) are now available from Choral Wiki and linked!

(8/3/09): Six Piano Pieces (Klavierstücke), Op. 118, which was already one of the better earlier guides, has been somewhat revised.  Many attractive elements of the old guide that I no longer regularly use, such as internal event timings within segments, have been retained.  This revision comes in tandem with the posting of the companion set, Op. 119.

(7/21/09): In case anyone is wondering, I really despise "vocal scores" (piano reductions) of choral/orchestral works and orchestral reductions (two-piano arrangements) of concertos, and will NOT include any links to such scores (except in one case, where the first edition full score of Piano Concerto #1, Op. 15 is not available from Lübeck).  Those types of scores are for performance preparation, not analytical study.

(7/11/09): I have finally done a revision to an earlier guide.  Violin Sonata #2 in A Major, Op. 100, has been thoroughly redone to help it conform to the standards of later guides.  It's not as easy a task as I imagined!  This will now be done with older guides on a regular basis.  For now, only guides posted BEFORE August 2008 will undergo extensive revision, although even later guides could be revised in the future.  If anybody liked the brevity and "digest" form of the earlier guides, I do apologize, but I have to try to get them all to the same standard, and the "digest" form started to fail me around the time I did the "Magelone" Romances (Op. 33).

(6/26/09): In one final "tweak" to the score links, I've decided to go ahead and include the link to the Lübeck first editions for all works, since these are of great historical interest, even when they are not the only available scores.  I will also include links to other online scores when they are available.  All scores will be linked through either IMSLP or CPDL (Choral Wiki).  Note that in some CPDL scores that begin with upbeats, the upbeats are counted as measures, so one number should be subtracted from all measure numbers that appear in such scores.  Again, this ONLY applies to certain CPDL scores that begin with incomplete measures (such as Op. 93a, No. 3 or Op. 92, No. 4).

(6/17/09): I have rethought my approach to including score links.  The Lübeck site, while valuable, is quite limited because of the restriction to first printed editions.  I have therefore decided to link to the scores via the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)/Petrucci Library.  There are several advantages to this.  First, the site's basic language is English, not German.  Second, the scores are always uploaded as printable .pdf files, not the rather confusing page navigation system from the Lübeck site.  Third, and most importantly, it allows me some flexibility in which scores I link.  In many cases, the Lübeck score is the only one available (their entire collection is mirrored by IMSLP).  But at IMSLP, even these scores are full .pdf files.  For many scores, the Breitkopf & Härtel complete edition from 1927 is used (which is the best available public domain source).  I will include what I believe to be the best available scores.  Songs present a special challenge.  IMSLP has links to the complete Lübeck scores (which are always in the original keys, and I always use original keys for my guides).  It also has links to some individual song scores, currently available for all song groups through Op. 58.  These come from the Peters Edition, and are easier to read.  The problem is that these are always in the high key, which in most cases (but not all) is also the original key.  I have decided to include links to both the Lübeck scores and the Peters scores (when they are available), always indicating whether they are in the original key.  I should mention that most of the recordings that I use for the site are in fact in the low key (which is usually NOT the original key), since Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a baritone.  This is only a problem for those with perfect pitch.  I felt it best, however, to use the original keys for analysis.  So it is in fact uncommon that my analysis, the recorded performance, and an available online score will all be in the same key for solo songs.  Confused yet?

Also, for choral works without orchestra, I may turn to the Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL or ChoralWiki), whose .pdf scores are generally of even higher quality than what IMSLP currently has to offer.  Their offerings are, however, far from complete.  All score links will be directed through CPDL or IMSLP.  Lübeck scores will be linked through IMSLP rather than through their own site.  That will be the practice.

IN OTHER NEWS: A symphony is finally available!  OK, now that I've said that, I want to say that it is painfully obvious that the earlier guides (essentially anything added before August 2008) are of lesser quality than the later ones.  Rest assured that these earlier guides WILL be revised eventually.  Right now I'm concentrating on getting up as much content as possible, but the revisions will happen.  All guides, even the later ones, are subject to constant revision.  I really want to create a uniform standard so that the guides can be useful to both musicians AND lay music lovers with a reasonable knowledge of music theory.  Even those with limited musical knowledge can simply ignore what they do not understand.  I'm honestly trying to be all-inclusive (which was not the case when I started this).  FINALLY, don't forget that I have the recordings available for anybody who individually requests them.  Simply email me to obtain them.

(6/10/09): In yet another effort to improve the guides, I am beginning, with the just-added guide to the Op. 47 songs, to add links to the online scores from the Brahms-Institut Lübeck.  This collection is a wonderful resource.  Each link will be to the first page of the score.  Navigation buttons (in German) are at the top.  These scores are usually first editions and lack measure numbers.  Score links will gradually be added to existing guides, again moving in reverse order by date.  The boldface time and measure number indices will continue to be added to existing guides, also in reverse order by date as before.

(12/26/08): In an effort to make the guides somewhat easier to read, the main time and measure number indices will now be in boldface with all new guides.  This will be changed in existing guides in gradual updates, moving in reverse order to that in which they were added.  For example, the first "update" to an existing guide was to the Op. 76 piano pieces.  I have also decided to remove the link to the Symphony #1 guide (Op. 68).  It is simply not up to my current standards, and will be reposted upon revision.  While other earlier guides may be revised in the future, none except this one will be removed.

(11/13/08): Beginning with the String Sextet #1, Op. 18, movement headings in instrumental works will be underscored.  This will be updated in existing guides, but not noted on the main page.

(9/26/08):  I went ahead and removed the green "measure numbers added" tags.  The Symphony No. 1 guide is the only one that does not have them, and since I know that it will undergo a substantial revision at some point, I will add them then.

(8/28/08):  All guides except for Symphony #1 (Op. 68) now have measure numbers and recording catalog numbers.  When Symphony #1 is added, the green tags will be removed.  Also, I have added a "home" link to the bottom of each guide.  I should have done that long ago.  This should help if somebody runs across a single guide through a search engine.

(8/18/08):  These guides are my personal labor of love.  Posting them on the internet is a way to share them with others.  Unfortunately, I have had little opportunity to add more of them in the last couple of years due to real academic and personal life getting in the way (including my Brahms dissertation, which must take first priority--and the birth of my third child in February 2007).  But I love this project so much that I can't let it die, and I hope to begin to work steadily, if not quickly, on adding more.  I have not yet brought them to the attention of entities such as the American Brahms Society (whose officers I know), as I want them to be more complete before doing that.  You can see that Op. 108 was added in 2007, and Op. 41 a few months ago.  I have now added Op. 85, and my goal is to add two or three works (or opus numbers) per month if time and other demands allow that.

In the interim, the University of Colorado has dropped the server, where I was hosting my personal pages.  I needed to move everything to, which is free, but doesn't work well with search engines.  Because of that, I decided to acquire, a domain I've wanted to have for a while anyway.  For now, it will display ads for on top, which kind of messes with the margins of the pages and also creates issues with printing.  I'd like to do more with that domain in the future, including starting a blog, but for now, the Brahms guides will be on the index page there.  The page already shows up in Google under the "Brahms Listening Guides" search (usually in second position), and I'm hoping it will show up in Yahoo as well (the old page did show up there).  There were at least a couple of pages that linked the old URL, so the change was kind of frustrating.  But ultimately, this is better.  To keep an ad free version available that is probably also more printer-friendly, I will continue to mirror everything at, linked at the top of

As far as the guides themselves go, I'm struggling with the decision whether or not to revise some of the earlier guides.  My style has evolved since 2005 more toward complete sentences and greater detail.  That is not necessarily "better," but styles do evolve.  I have not made that decision yet, but at least one guide, that for the First Symphony, Op. 68, will probably demand it.  That was the exercise I did back in 2004 on a whim to share with a couple of friends and it inspired the entire project.  I have great affection for that guide as it stands, but it has an air of informality (as does the one for Op. 1, but that is less extreme) and brevity that will surely contrast with the other three symphonies when I get around to them.  So at least that one will probably be revised whenever the next symphony goes up.  When I conceived the idea (based on the First Symphony guide), I initially decided to go in chronological opus number, but after the first three, I went with a random list for more variety.  That has worked well and I am sticking with that.  Because songs and vocal works have more opus numbers (out of 122 total), there may seem to be a bias toward songs at some times.  Also, only a few posted guides still lack measure numbers (Opp. 68, 100, 106, and 118).  Those will be completed and added in the near future.  See the link below for information on measure numbers.

FINALLY, a reminder about the recordings used in the guide.  I can provide any of these to anybody who asks, but you must contact me privately at hansenkd [at] colorado [dot] edu to request them.  I can provide them in mp3 or CD format (the latter would require a snailmail address, of course).  For very obvious reasons, I can't post any recordings publicly.

(6/26/06):  I'm back!  I went for a while without updates (busy with my class and other things), and am anxious to get back into constructing guides, so I'll be placing new works up more regularly now.  I do hope that eventually the site will become known in the Brahms world and will be visited.  There are a couple of changes I am instituting in the guides.  First, I am now including measure numbers along with time indices.  This will make the guides less "recording specific" and might be helpful for those who may want to use them with just scores or scores in conjunction with recordings.  "Old" guides will be gradually updated with measure numbers, and any "new" guides will include them.  Until all posted guides are updated, those that have been given measure numbers will be indicated.  For some additional information about how measures are numbered, click here.  Also, each guide will now include a brief indication of the catalog number of the recording used.  A link with more details about these recordings will be added shortly.  Because of copyright, no MP3's or other audio of the recordings will be posted on the site.  Contact me privately for help in obtaining digital or CD versions of the recordings from me (many are out of print).

UPDATE (12/29/05): A WORD ON TRANSLATIONS OF WORKS WITH TEXTS: I have communicated with Emily Ezust, the webmaster of The Lied and Art Song Texts Page (  She is happy to allow me to use her translations for the site, but she would prefer for me to link directly to the respective pages on her site for translations rather than copying the texts here.  She has good reasons for this request.  Translations by their nature will inevitably involve copyright issues, and Ms. Ezust's site is, for many reasons, the best option for providing translations in my guides.  The guide for Op. 3 has been changed accordingly, and this format will be used for ALL texted works, with a few exceptions.  The original German texts will of course remain in the guides themselves.  A convenience of linking directly to Ms. Ezust's translations on her own site is that the original German is often printed side by side with the translation.  She currently has all of the Lieder (solo songs) as well as vocal duets and quartets translated.  She is gradually working on part songs and other choral works, and has promised me that those "holes" in the Brahms choral output will be filled.  For this reason, I will not post guides for certain poetic choral works until she has the translation on her site.  The exception to this will be works with biblical texts.  In these cases, I will include the corresponding passage of the King James Version along with the Luther Bible text set by Brahms.  King James is obviously not a translation of Luther, so the correspondence will not be exact.  In cases where Ms. Ezust has provided a close English translation of the Luther Bible text, links will be provided for those translations.

I am grateful to Emily Ezust for allowing me to link to her translations and for her positive feedback on the guides themselves.