Recording: North German Radio Chorus, conducted by Günter Jena [DG 449 646-2]

Published 1890.  Dedicated with reverence to His Magnificence the mayor of Hamburg, Dr. Carl Petersen.

Brahms composed much sacred choral music in his early years, but in his middle mature periods, only one set of unaccompanied sacred pieces was published, the two motets of Op. 74.  One of these was the great multi-section “Warum?” motet, but even its materials may have been derived from earlier efforts.  Otherwise, his a cappella music in those years consisted entirely of secular part songs.  That changed in 1889 when his native Hamburg awarded him the honorary freedom of the city.  Hamburg also hosted an industrial exhibition that year that included festival concerts.  In response, Brahms composed three “sacred patriotic” motets that were entirely unlike any of his previous choral music, both in their concision and in their lavish layout for eight-voice double choir.  His only previous foray into this texture was the Triumphlied for eight-voice chorus and orchestra from 1871.  That opulent work also has some connection to these short motets in its use of a biblical text to express political sentiments, namely the establishment of the German Reich under Otto von Bismarck, a figure Brahms came to revere as much as Beethoven.  The florid dedication to the Kaiser there is mirrored in the equally obsequious presentation here to the mayor of Hamburg.  The “year of three emperors” in 1888--a moment of crisis for the Reich--surely also played a role in his selection of hopeful biblical texts that conveyed God’s promises for house, nation, and people, but not without some hint of warning, especially the middle section of the second piece with its vivid portrayal of the metaphorical kingdom and house divided against itself.  The music itself is luxuriantly rich and sonorous, with block antiphonal effects between the two choirs and often very close imitation.  His study of Renaissance music and the early baroque work of Heinrich Schütz is in evidence, but ancient techniques are filtered through Romantic word painting and personal expression.  The harmony is mostly bright, pure, diatonic, and major.  The companion set of three motets, Op. 110, was perhaps a conscious reaction to this, as they by contrast are set to severe texts (only the first one biblical) and mostly in minor, more personal than collective.  They are also concise, the outer two composed with similar double choir techniques as in Op. 109.  The title of Op. 109 reflects its occasion, but it is cumbersome even in German, even more so in translation.  The set is rightly grouped with the other motets.  The biblical texts are diverse, the first from Psalms, the second the words of Jesus from Luke, and the third the words of Moses from Deuteronomy, but all can be interpreted in terms of the nation and the “Volk.”  All three begin in triple meters, moving to contrasting sections in duple or quadruple meter.  The first is the shortest and the most forthright, announcing its antiphonal construction with a stark unison descent to the words “our fathers,” calling attention to the sense of the past.  The second has extreme contrast between its joyous outer sections (the return is mostly literal) and its almost chaotic middle section.  The transition back to the opening music is incredibly complex.  The third and longest piece relies on elaborate techniques of overlap, with the choirs attempting to come together both within themselves and with each other, but in an utterly transparent harmonic framework.  The lower voices had brass support at the Hamburg premiere, an option not indicated in the score.

Note: The texts below are the German Luther Bible text used by Brahms.  The King James Version is used as a comparable Reformation-era English text.  Lines are matched as closely as possible.  Verses are numbered differently in Psalm 22.  Scriptural references are listed in both German and English.

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--Note that soprano, alto, and tenor clefs are used.)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)

1. Unsere Väter hofften auf dich (Our fathers trusted in thee).  Text from Psalm 22:4-5 [5-6] and Psalm 29:11.  Feierlich bewegt (With solemn motion).  Motet in two sections.  F MAJOR, 3/2 and 4/4 time.

German Text:
--Unsere Väter hofften auf dich;
und da sie hofften, halfst du ihnen aus.
--Zu dir schrien sie und wurden errettet;
sie hofften auf dich und wurden nicht zu Schanden.
                                --Psalm 22:5-6
--Der Herr wird seinem Volk Kraft geben;
Der Herr wird sein Volk segnen mit Frieden.
                                --Psalm 29:11
English Text:
--Our fathers trusted in thee;
they trusted and thou didst deliver them.
--They cried unto thee and were delivered;
they trusted in thee and were not confounded.
                                --Psalm 22:4-5
--The Lord will give strength unto his people;
the Lord will bless his people with peace.
                                --Psalm 29:11

First Part--Psalm 22:4-5 [5-6], 3/2 time (ending with three measures of 4/4)
0:00 [m. 1]--First verse, line 1.  The mass block of Choir 2 descends in unison on the broken F-major chord, forcefully singing “Unsere Väter.  As they finish with an upward motion, Choir 1 repeats the words in full harmony, adding undulating motion in all four active voices, the sopranos sweeping down against varied motion from the others.  As they start, the tenors and basses of Choir 2 add harmony to the group’s last note.  The undulating Choir 1 response has mild syncopation in the altos.  Choir 2 overlaps with their conclusion, rising on “hofften auf dich” in unison.  Choir 1 overlaps its repetition in a similar harmonized manner with arching sopranos.  Chromatic notes in the inner voices suggest G minor in an extended close.
0:23 [m. 8]--First verse, line 2.  Choir 2, still in unison, rises on a G-minor chord with “und da sie hofften.”  The Choir 1 response, still in undulating harmony, suggests a motion to C major in the soaring lines before turning back to F on the descent.  Choir 2 is more active, but still in unison, on their more stepwise descent for “halfst du ihnen aus.”  Choir 1, in harmony, overlaps on a similar descent for those words.  Choir 2 enters again against this, now itself in harmony and echoing the descent.  Choir 1 continues with repetition, and all eight voices close the line together, adding syncopation to a full F-major cadence.  The tenors of both choirs lead with active motion in the harmonized responses.  The two upper Choir 1 voices only sing “aus” once.  The Choir 2 sopranos have a third “halfst du,” their tenors and basses a third “ihnen.”
0:44 [m. 15]--Second verse, line 1.  As Choir 1 holds its cadence note, Choir 2 sings “Zu dir schrien sie” in harmony with syncopation and a distinctive turn in the sopranos.  Choir 1 responds with the same basic line, raising it a step and extending it with further upward motion by adding an extra “schrien,” turning toward the “relative” D minor.  In that key, Choir 2 sings “und wurden errettet” with dramatically rising sopranos and altos.  Choir 1 echoes this almost exactly.  Choir 2 sings the line again, with descending tenors and basses, still in D minor.  Choir 1 overlaps, its sopranos tumbling on the word “errettet” with supporting harmony and moving to C major.  Choir 2 follows with a similar C-major descent on the word.
1:04 [m. 22]--Second verse, line 2.  The material from 0:44 [m. 15] is restated with some variation and the choirs reversed.  Choir 1 takes the lead on “sie hofften auf dich,” overlapping the last Choir 2 descent.  The soprano line is mostly the same as in Choir 2 before (its opening upbeat is a step lower), but now the other parts enter a beat later and trail on the text, with slightly more motion.  Choir 2 takes the response a step higher, and the sopranos repeat “auf dich” for the extension.  Again, the sopranos are followed by the other parts, who do not repeat “auf dich.”  The dramatically rising lines are heard exactly as before to the text “und wurden nicht zu Schanden,” but Choir 1 begins the sequence of three statements in D minor.
1:19 [m. 27]--Choir 2 begins the short tumbling pattern on “nicht zu Schanden” that had been heard before on “errettet,” but there is no motion to C major, and there is a sudden change of meter to 4/4 after the upbeat.  Choir 1 does not follow on the descent, but sharply sings “nicht” to cut off the Choir 2 descent.  All voices pause for a beat, and then Choir 1 and the top two voices of Choir 2 forcefully complete the phrase with “zu Schanden.”  With strong internal motion in the altos and tenors of Choir 1, this ends on a powerful F-major cadence that establishes the 4/4 pulse.  This cadence overlaps with the onset of the second part.
Second Part--Psalm 29:11, 4/4 time
1:26 [m. 30]--The tenor and bass parts of both choirs grandly emerge as a four-voice unit.  The tenors of Choir 2 start a beat earlier, overlapping with the cadence, and the other three parts join on the upbeat.  They sing the first clause of the verse in rich harmony, the Choir 2 tenors with the triumphant melody.  After a brief pause on “dominant” harmony in G minor, they begin with the second clause, the Choir 1 tenors now soaring above the others.  After the G-minor harmony, there is active chromatic half-step motion in the accompanying parts.  At the end of the verse, however, the Choir 1 tenors swoop down, leading to another full F-major cadence that again overlaps with the next phrase.
1:43 [m. 37]--The sopranos and altos of Choir 2 overlap on “Der Herr” to lead into a new statement of the verse.  All voices now participate, with the melody in the Choir 1 sopranos and the Choir 1 tenors briefly pausing.  After “Der Herr wird seinem Volk” is sung, there is a new extension in which the Choir 1 tenors trail down on “wird seinem Volk,” accompanied by the tenors and basses of Choir 2 (the basses reiterating “seinem Volk”).  Most of the voices then continue with the original pattern on “Kraft geben” leading to the “dominant” harmony in G minor, but the Choir 2 altos and tenors trail, bridging over the previous pause.  The tenors and basses of both choirs then reiterate “Kraft geben” (the Choir 2 tenors sing “Kraft” twice on long notes and “geben” only once).  This extension ends with the same harmony before the delayed pause.
1:58 [m. 43]--The second clause is sung again on the same material as before, but again with extensions.  The soaring line is taken by the Choir 1 sopranos, who pause after “Volk” as the other seven voices extend the line.  The motion back to F-major harmony is stretched out, but with less half-step motion.  There is repetition of “der Herr” in Choir 2, of “sein Volk” in the Choir 1 altos, and of “wird sein Volk” and even a third “sein Volk” in the very active Choir 1 basses. 
2:07 [m. 46]--The phrase is completed on the words “segnen mit Frieden” with the expected melody, but this is also extended by a trailing line in the Choir 1 tenors, accompanied by all basses and a late syncopated entry of the Choir 2 altos.  While repetitions of “segnen” in the Choir 1 basses and “mit Frieden” both alto parts and the Choir 2 basses are not unexpected, the Choir 2 tenors reiterating the previous words “sein Volk” on an active line is surprising.  All parts except the pausing sopranos of both choirs create a bridge to the final F-major cadence on “mit Frieden.”  All sopranos enter, those of Choir 1 adding the word “segnen” on a rising line.  The warm and rich held final chord has the fifth, C, on top.
2:30--END OF MOTET [51 mm.]

2. Wenn ein starker Gewappneter (When a strong man armed).  Text from Luke 11:21 and Luke 11:17. Lebhaft und entschlossen (Lively and decisively).  Ternary form motet.  C MAJOR, 3/4 and 4/4 time.

German Text:
--Wenn ein starker Gewappneter
seinen Palast bewahret,
so bleibet das Seine mit Frieden.
                                 --Lukas 11:21
--Aber: […] ein jeglich Reich,
so es mit ihm selbst uneins wird,
das wird wüste;
und ein Haus fället über das andere.
                                 --Lukas 11:17 (auch Matthäus 12:25)
English Text:
--When a strong man armed
keepeth his palace,
his goods are in peace.
                                --Luke 11:21
--But: […] every kingdom
divided against itself
is brought to desolation;
and a house divided against a house falleth.
                                --Luke 11:17 (also Matthew 12:25)

Part 1 (A)--Luke 11:21, 3/4 time
0:00 [m. 1]--A powerful antiphonal exchange between the choirs begins the motet.  Choir 1 rings out “Wenn ein starker” in solid harmonies starting on the second beat of the bar, the melody reaching up and leaping down.  Choir 2 overlaps the last note and imitates exactly as Choir 1 briefly pauses.  Choir 1 then enters in overlap with the word “Gewappneter,” reaching higher and adding a long-short rhythm.  Choir 2 again overlaps and imitates this directly after their own pause.  The word is stated a second time by Choir 1 and extended.  Choir 2 imitates this at the same distance, but the longer line has more overlap.  The Choir 2 imitation is only exact in the sopranos.  The other voices facilitate a motion to the “dominant” harmony.
0:15 [m. 7]--The words “seinen Palast bewahret” in Choir 1 overlap Choir 2 on their last note.  The sopranos have a strong rising line.  Choir 2 imitates this as expected.  Again, the lower parts are different, but in both choirs, they omit the word “bewahret.”  A second imitative statement of the rising line in both choirs is a third higher, touching on the key area of E major/minor.  The lower voices are more active in both choirs, with altos and tenors stating all the words, and the basses splitting the words between the choirs.  In Choir 2, the altos harmonize the rising line.  Choir 2 stretches out “bewahret” as Choir 1 repeats the word with leaping notes in the sopranos and tenors.  The choirs end together on the “dominant.”
0:25 [m. 13]--Choir 2 now takes the lead with another forceful exchange in F major, this one on “so bleibet das Seine.”  Choir 1 imitates this, with the voices similar, but not exactly like those in Choir 2.  The word “Seine” is stretched out in both choirs, creating a longer overlap.  Choir 2 begins another statement in faster notes on harmony suggesting F major, but Choir 1’s sopranos hold out long syncopated notes, and the altos of that choir melodically imitate Choir 2 under this.  When the Choir 2 sopranos reach their held high note, it creates a close harmonic clash of a second with the Choir 1 sopranos.
0:33 [m. 17]--The Choir 1 sopranos move to the words “mit Frieden” on a descent (F-E-D-C) as the other Choir 1 voices complete their second statement of “so bleibet das Seine.”  The imitation breaks at this point.  The Choir 2 sopranos also stretch out their notes, creating a complex texture.  The lower Choir 2 voices begin the line again on the shorter notes.  Meanwhile, the Choir 1 sopranos reach their highest note yet, A, as they repeat and hold “das Seine.”  The other voices move in a staggered way to “mit Frieden” on active notes, the altos repeating “das Seine” again.  Choir 2 is also completing the line.  Its sopranos do not reach as high, but they have another clash with the Choir 1 sopranos as they broadly descend.  The Choir 2 tenors become active as they complete the line.  The closing harmony suggests the area of D minor/major.
0:42 [m. 22]--After the extremely full and enveloping texture just heard, Choir 1 breaks, and Choir 2 again states “das Seine mit Frieden”  The tenors and basses have repetition of “das Seine” to create more staggering of the voices.  The sopranos again descend F-E (held)-D-C, with the altos and tenor on active and syncopated lines in quasi-imitation.  Choir 1 enters two measures later, all its voices stating the words only once, the sopranos imitating the descent.  The Choir 2 sopranos and altos add an extra statement of “mit Frieden.”  As all eight voices come together, moving back to C major for a rich cadence, the Choir 2 tenors have the most interesting and active line, with a downward sweep and an octave leap to a high G.
0:59 [m. 29]--After a two beat pause, all eight voices together sing the word “Aber,” which transitions to the words of the verse used for Part 2 (B).  It is sung on a pure G-major harmony in half notes, on beats two and three of one measure and beats one and two of the next.  This mild metric disruption helps set up the change from 3/4 to 4/4 time.  The neutral “dominant” G chord assures a smooth transition to the minor key.
Part 2 (B)--Luke 11:17, C minor, 4/4 time
1:03 [m. 31]--Beginning on the second beat of the bar, the Choir 1 tenors powerfully descend on a broken C-minor chord on “Ein jeglich Reich.”  The sopranos and altos of that choir enter in syncopated overlap, harmonized in sixths, with an arching line on “so es mit ihm selbst.”  The tenors (after their descent) and basses respond with the syncopated line in thirds, also in overlap, and the sopranos and altos state the words again a step higher (the altos a third below now), tumbling.  All voices complete the line with “uneins wird.”  At this point, the Choir 2 sopranos (not tenors) enter with the “Ein jeglich Reich” descent.
1:09 [m. 34]--Choir 1 drops out after completing the line.  Choir 2 only has two entries of “so es mit ihm selbst” that approximately match the first two from Choir 1.  The altos and tenors are paired on the first one (in thirds), and the sopranos take the second one, all in overlap as Choir 1 had done.  Instead of pairing with the sopranos, the basses have a broken chord descent (the third overall) on “Ein jeglich Reich.”  Instead of making a third entry on “so es mit ihm selbst,” the altos and tenors hold a note, then finish the line on “uneins wird” along with the sopranos.  The rising line had been heard before, concealed by overlap, in the Choir 1 tenors.  Now it ends (on “wird”) with a striking held “augmented sixth” sonority.
1:13 [m. 36]--As Choir 2 holds the “augmented sixth,” Choir 1 enters, very hushed and almost inaudibly, on “das wird wüste,” the sopranos and tenors slightly offset from the altos and basses.  Choir 2 follows, more audibly, in block harmonies on the words with some internal motion in altos and tenors.  Choir 1 has a third statement of the words that echoes Choir 2.  The harmony tends strongly toward the “dominant” G.
1:24 [m. 41]--On the upbeat, as Choir 1 finishes, Choir 2 begins an amazing sequence in extremely close overlap on the words “und ein Haus fället über das andere,” the voices literally falling over each other.  The sopranos are followed by the tenors, basses, and altos, all one beat after each other.  The basses and altos enter a fourth lower than the sopranos and tenors (who are an octave apart).  The voices complete the line, only the sopranos finishing slightly before the others, with varying note lengths, strongly suggesting G minor throughout.  As they do, the Choir 1 altos sneak in with “und ein Haus.”
1:30 [m. 44]--Choir 2 drops out, and after the preparatory overlapping anticipation from its altos, Choir 1 has its own sequence on the closely imitated “falling” phrase at a higher level than Choir 2 was.  The order of voices is the same, sopranos, tenors, basses, altos, tending back toward C minor.
1:35 [m. 46]--As Choir 1 completes its sequence, Choir 2 enters with an even more amazing sequence of close imitation, now isolating “fället über das andere” without “und ein Haus.”  The entries are top down, separated by one beat, and follow the circle of fifths as they tumble.  The basses repeat “fället” and do not finish until well into the overlapping Choir 1 sequence, with also follows the circle of fifths.  The Choir 1 basses are not in the sequence, though, and simply provide an accompanying bass, somewhat shadowing the Choir 2 basses.  D-flat-major harmony is prolonged.  The Choir 1 sopranos and altos and the Choir 2 sopranos drop out, and the other five voices trail in staggered lines on “über das andere,” the Choir 2 tenors adding another “fället.”  These are active, but not imitative, tending strongly toward the “dominant” G.
1:47 [m. 51]--The altos of Choir 1 unobtrusively enter on an upbeat with “Wenn ein starker.”  The key signature changes back to C major.  The choir 1 sopranos enter on the downbeat, and both voices complete the words from the opening, “Wenn ein starker Gewappneter,” with detached leaps and a clipped long-short rhythm on “Gewappneter.”  The Choir 2 sopranos and altos follow closely behind.  As the four upper voices finish, the tenors and basses of both choirs take over, the Choir 1 tenors anticipating the other three, who enter together.  The entries are highly similar in all voices.  The upper voices enter again, the Choir 2 sopranos taking the lead.  The harmony moves strongly toward D minor.
1:55 [m. 54]--The Choir 2 tenors enter on the upbeat in overlap, and they are followed in quick succession by Choir 2 basses, Choir 1 basses, and Choir 1 tenors.  The tenor lines include a new smooth turning gesture.  The Choir 2 basses add an extra “wenn ein starker.”  The altos of both choirs also enter here, those of Choir 2 first, leaving the sopranos of both choirs out of this sequence, which moves back to C major.
2:01 [m. 56]--The transition is not quite over, but the 3/4 meter returns here, as does the sound of the first section.  The Choir 2 sopranos enter at the onset of 3/4 as the Choir 2 altos are finishing the turning gesture.  Before this, the Choir 2 tenors have entered on the previous upbeat, reaching a high A, and continuing the previous pattern, despite the new meter.  The Choir 2 altos continue as well, reiterating “ein Gewappneter” (a construction that the Choir 2 basses had just used).  The upper three Choir 1 voices enter, the sopranos leading on the upbeat with “wenn ein starker,” and the others following on “ein Gewappneter.”  At this point, the full return of the A section begins on the second beat of the bar.
Reprise of Part 1 (A)
2:04 [m. 58]--Overlapping with the end of the transition, Choir 2 has the first real return of the opening music on “wenn ein starker.”  The only difference with the beginning is the lingering clipped long-short rhythm in the lower voices, but the sopranos clearly enunciate the original pattern.  Choir 1 imitates this in the antiphonal exchange.  Of course, the choirs are reversed from the beginning.  Brahms ingeniously reorients them by having Choir 2 overlap on the short original “Gewappneter,” but Choir 1 following with the expanded version, thus omitting the first shorter “Gewappneter” and shortening the passage by a measure.  With Choir 1 leading the expanded version and Choir 2 following, the original pattern is “reset.”
2:14 [m. 63]--Statements of “seinen Palast bewahret” with rising lines, as at 0:15 [m. 7].
2:25 [m. 69]--Statements of “so bleibet das Seine” leading to a harmonic clash, as at 0:25 [m. 13].
2:33 [m. 73]--Entry of the words “mit Frieden” and complex texture moving toward D, as at 0:33 [m. 17].
2:43 [m. 78]--Choir 2 leads Choir 1 on further statements of “das Seine mit Frieden” that point toward the rich final cadence, as at 0:42 [m. 22].  There is a deviation from the original A section around the fourth measure in all voices to facilitate a two-measure extension of that cadence, making it more emphatic.  This allows the Choir 1 sopranos to add a closing upward leap and downward resolution to the poignant third (E), and the Choir 2 sopranos to reach higher.  The text setting has slight changes.  Previously, only the Choir 2 sopranos and altos had a repetition of “mit Frieden.”  Here the tenors and basses of Choir 1 and the basses of Choir 2 also repeat the words, and the Choir 2 altos even add a second repetition.  The last notated measure is one beat, representing the missing downbeat of the motet’s first measure.
3:07--END OF MOTET [86 mm.]

3. Wo ist ein so herrlich Volk (For what nation is there so great).  Text from Deuteronomy 4: 7, 9. Froh bewegt (With joyous motion).  Motet in three sections with partial return.  F MAJOR, 3/4 and 4/4 time.

German Text:
--Wo ist ein so herrlich Volk
zu dem Götter also nahe sich tun
als der Herr, unser Gott,
so oft wir ihn anrufen?
                                --V. Mose 4:7
--Hüte dich nur
und bewahre deine Seele wohl,
daß du nicht vergessest der Geschichte,
die deine Augen gesehen haben,
und daß sie nicht aus deinem Herzen komme
alle dein Lebelang.
Und sollt deinen Kindern und Kindeskindern kund tun.
                                --V. Mose 4:9
English Text:
--For what nation is there so great,
who hath God so nigh unto them,
as the Lord our God is
in all things that we call upon him for?
                                --Deuteronomy 4:7
--Only take heed to thyself,
and keep thy soul diligently,
lest thou forget the things
which thine eyes have seen,
and lest they depart from thy heart
all the days of thy life:
but teach them thy sons, and they sons’ sons.
                                --Deuteronomy 4:9

First Part--Deuteronomy 4:7, 3/4 time
0:00 [m. 1]--The main gesture is a rising F-major arpeggio in “first inversion.”  The men of both choirs begin in full harmony on “Wo ist,” the Choir 1 tenors taking the arpeggio, and the women of both choirs immediately follow with the Choir 1 sopranos on the gesture.  All of Choir 2 briefly drops out, and Choir 1 completes the line with “ein so herrlich Volk,” the tenors again singing the rising arpeggio.  As the sopranos finish the line with a gentle descent (a half note and two eighth notes) that will also be a main motive, Choir 2 overlaps with another entry led by its men, immediately followed by its women.  The Choir 1 women state “Wo ist” one more time before Choir 1 drops out.  Choir 2 completes the line with the descent.
0:18 [m. 9]--As Choir 2 finishes its line, there is a harmonic diversion toward G minor.  Choir 1 enters with an abbreviated phrase on “ein so herrlich Volk,” also moving toward G minor.  Choir 2 overlaps on the repetition of these words a measure later, its sopranos reaching the highest pitch yet.  Choir 2 completes the full twelve-measure phrase with a slightly modified version of the descending motive, the altos trailing after a dissonant suspension, and moves back strongly to F major.
0:27 [m. 13]--The men of Choir 2 hold their last notes, and the women of both choirs move to the next line, “zu dem Götter also nahe sich tun.”  The sopranos are briefly unified on the same notes in a rising line.  The Choir 1 tenors make a late entry against them with longer notes on “zu dem Götter.”  The basses of both choirs enter in unison.  Meanwhile, the women have syncopated exchanges on “Götter,” with those of Choir 1 leading Choir 2.  The tenors have similar exchanges on “zu dem Götter,” those of Choir 2 leading.  The women also move to a full statement of “zu dem Götter” in exchange.  In this complex texture, there are hints of C major, A minor, and D minor.
0:42 [m. 21]--The basses finish their statement and separate at the end.  The exchanges gradually end.  The women of Choir 1 and the Choir 2 tenors are now together, with the Choir 1 sopranos staying on “zu dem Götter” and the others moving to “also nahe.”  The Choir 2 women follow with “also nahe,” trailed by the Choir 1 women.  The Choir 1 sopranos move to “also nahe” and the altos continue with “sich tun.”  The sopranos have the rising line heard at the first statement of this text.  All four women’s voices complete the line, and in overlap, an octave apart, the basses of both choirs begin the next line with a leaping gesture on “als der Herr.”  The key has moved to C major.
0:49 [m. 25]--The upper three voices of both choirs enter in harmony with a forceful statement of als der Herr,” alternating with the basses, who are still in octaves and continue with “unser Gott” on an arpeggio.  The upper six voices also follow with these words.  The basses again enter in overlap, now continuing after “unser Gott” with “so oft wir ihn anrufen.”  The other voices follow, also completing the line, with Choir 1 on more active notes.  The key has shifted dramatically to A-flat major.  The Choir 1 sopranos reach a new high point (A-flat), and a syncopated hemiola follows in all six upper voices, with three two-beat units within two measures.  Choir 1 finishes first before the slower Choir 2, and the basses separate at the end.
1:05 [m. 34]--Choir 1 forcefully returns to F in a syncopated hemiola to repeat the previous line, holding notes over bar lines in block harmony on “als der Herr” and “unser Gott.”  Choir 2 follows each utterance two beats later with faster notes and a break between them.  The choirs finally come together completely in rich block harmony on “so oft wir ihn anrufen,” incorporating the hemiola of the last statement.  Only the basses, who again sing in octaves, demarcate the 3/4 meter of the two measures.  Various voices become active, notably the altos of both choirs, who have rising lines at the end of the hemiola.  The word “anrufen” is repeated in all voices except the basses (who separate) in a satisfying cadence before a pause.
Second Part--Deuteronomy 4:9 (except last line), 4/4 time
1:28 [m. 43]--Except for 1:13 [m. 36] in No. 2, the whole Op. 109 set has been at a forte level to this point, so the sudden quiet piano is a moment of extreme contrast.  All three pieces have also moved from 3/2 or 3/4 to 4/4 meter.  Here, all voices of Choir 1 and the basses of Choir 2 are in a sort of imitative canon on “Hüte dich nur” while the upper three voices of Choir 2 function as a block.  The Choir 1 sopranos lead with a long-short-short figure, followed by the harmonized block of the Choir 2 upper voices on all long notes.  The Choir 1 tenors, then the Choir 2 basses, follow on the long-short-short rhythm.  In a circle of fifths motion, the key has moved from F to C to G.  The Choir 1 sopranos continue with “und bewahre.”
1:40 [m. 46]--The Choir 1 tenors follow the Choir 1 sopranos on “und bewahre.”  Meanwhile, Choir 1’s altos state “Hüte dich nur” on the long-short-short rhythm as the Choir 2 block voices also move to the “und bewahre” text, the altos lagging.  The Choir 1 basses are the last to enter on the long-short-short figure.  The sopranos and tenors of Choir 1 have moved to “deine Seele wohl,” completing the line.  The upper three voices of Choir 2 begin to move there as well, but the altos are now offset behind the sopranos and tenors.  The Choir 1 altos and all basses lag, the Choir 1 basses being the latest.  The Choir 1 voices have syncopation on “bewahre.”  The key has moved up another level on the circle of fifths to D major.
1:52 [m. 49]--All voices complete the line, the Choir 1 sopranos repeating “bewahre deine Seele wohl” and the Choir 1 tenors repeating “deine Seele wohl.”  The key moves up one more level, to A major, where there is a full cadence.  Both tenor parts have interesting roles.  Those of Choir 2 complete their statement well before the other voices after a prominent high note on “Seele.”  Those of Choir 1 are the last to finish, resolving a “suspension” to the A-major cadence.  All voices now have a general pause of a half measure.
2:10 [m. 53]--From this point, the individual choirs are unified and sing antiphonal exchanges.  There is a direct motion back home to F major as Choir 2 sings, with a mildly syncopated entry, the words “daß du nicht vergessest” (Choir 1 supports the first syncopated word “daß”).  Choir 1 overlaps slightly with its statement of the words, whose melody reaches a step higher and whose voices are more staggered on the text, all remaining clearly in F major.  The shorter text fragment “der Geschichte” is then exchanged, again with Choir 2 leading, the harmony moving to C major.  The volume builds here.
2:28 [m. 59]--With forte again achieved, there is now a very close quasi-imitation on “die deine Augen gesehen haben.”  Choir 2 begins as Choir 1 finishes its statement of “der Geschichte.”  Choir 1 imitates closely two beats later, with no break after “der Geschichte.”  The melodic line itself is a descending C-major triad, and the imitation, only in the sopranos, breaks quickly.  Choir 2 cuts off after “gesehen,” with Choir 1 continuing through the word “haben,” adding some faster motion in eighth notes and shifting the harmony again to A, this time A minor.
2:40 [m. 63]--Choir 2 enters in F major as Choir 1 completes the line, restating “deine Augen gesehen,” repeating “gesehen,” and finally concluding with “haben.”  Choir 1 closely imitates, with only one statement of “gesehen,” delayed by altos and tenors and drawn out by sopranos and basses.  The imitation on an ascending F-major triad is again quickly abandoned.  Both choirs arrive at “haben” at about the same time.  Faster notes and mild syncopation are again introduced, and the harmony shifts yet again, now to the “relative” D minor, which is quickly changed to D major as Choir 1 stretches its arrival on “haben.”
2:54 [m. 67]--Choir 2, slightly overlapping the Choir 1 conclusion of “haben,’ now moves to the next line of text, “und daß sie nicht aus deinem Herzen komme.”  The sopranos enter two beats later and follow the other voices on the text.  The line is expressive, with a swelling and receding volume indicated.  It is also chromatic, with the key now moving from D major toward G minor.  The conclusion of the long line overlaps only slightly with the next Choir 1 entry.
3:11 [m. 72]--The Choir 1 statement of the line closely resembles the preceding Choir 2 statement, with the soprano and tenor parts reversed and with deviation at the end, although it also concludes in G minor.
3:30 [m. 78]--Choir 2 enters with “alle,” extending the first syllable to four beats with motion, and then Choir 1 follows with a shorter statement of the word, with the first syllable on two beats.  The eight voices are then fully unified for the conclusion of the line with “dein Lebelang.”  These words are set to long notes marked piano and dolce.  The harmony moves from G major back home to F major, in preparation for the partial return of the earlier 3/4 material.
Third Part--Deuteronomy 4:9, last line plus “Amen,” 3/4 time
3:47 [m. 82]--As all voices except the Choir 1 tenors and basses complete the cadence, the opening music is heard in Choir 1, with the tenors and basses leading the sopranos and altos on “Und sollt deinen Kindern.”  The sopranos briefly imitate the tenors.  The tenors and basses repeat “deinen Kindern.”  Under this, the Choir 2 basses provide a foundation on F with long notes on “Und sollt.”  Choir 2 dovetails the conclusion with its own entry, which is similar, but makes a turn to D minor with faster notes in the altos and tenors.  The tenors repeat “deinen Kindern,” the basses here only “Kindern.”  The Choir 1 basses here provide a foundation, repeating “deinen Kindern” again.
4:05 [m. 90]--Choir 1 completes the line with “und Kindeskindern kundtun.”  The sopranos have an upward-reaching line against a striking harmonic turn toward E-flat.  At that point, Choir 2 enters with the words, lagging slightly behind Choir 1.  Both choirs quickly move back to F major and reach separate cadences there.  The Choir 2 altos and tenors have a gentle syncopation.  The cadence of Choir 2 overlaps with the following “Amen,” which begins in the Choir 1 basses.
4:17 [m. 96]--The “Amen” is an amazing canon with entries moving through the “circle of fifths,” seven statements of the main gesture through every level.  The canon is strict, and all entries follow the same pattern.  All voices of Choir 1 and the Choir 2 sopranos participate.  The lower voices of Choir 2 provide harmonic support, including syncopation.  The Choir 2 basses begin a “pedal point” on F under the first entry, then Choir 2 tenors and altos follow the canonic voices.  The first entry from Choir 1 basses outlines a first inversion F-major chord, continuing with a syncopated note, a descent, and a long-short leap.  The next entries are altos (B-flat chord), tenors (E-diminished chord), and basses again (A-minor chord).
4:27 [m. 100]--The entries continue a measure apart, having built steadily in volume and intensity.  All canonic voices repeat “Amen” on the long-short leap.  The Choir 2 sopranos now have their entry on a first inversion D-minor chord, followed by the Choir 1 sopranos with the climactic entry on a G-minor chord.  The last one comes from the altos on C major.  The Choir 1 basses extend their line with another descending “Amen” under this.  These last two entries are shortened, the sopranos losing the long-short leap and the altos including only the rising chord. 
4:36 [m. 103]--The canon breaks with a final plagal “Amen” cadence from all eight voices with some syncopation and active Choir 2 altos and tenors.  The Choir 2 voices have stated “Amen” three times, its tenors four.  The held final chord is a satisfying conclusion to this unique set of sacred celebratory pieces.
4:55--END OF MOTET [105 mm.]