THIRTEEN CANONS FOR WOMEN’S VOICES, OP. 113
Recording: Women of the North German Radio Chorus, conducted by Günter Jena [DG 449 646-2]
Published 1891.

After Brahms announced his retirement with the String Quintet in G major (Op. 111), he published some “legacy” works.  Some of these, for understandable reasons, were released without opus number.  These included the 51 piano exercises and, somewhat later, the huge and masterful seven-book compendium of German folksong arrangements for voice and piano.  The six vocal quartets, Op. 112, formed a sort of “epilogue” to the Op. 103 “Zigeunerlieder” quartets.  These canons are the only other work published with opus number before the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld changed his mind about retirement.  They are also a “legacy” collection, with several of them dating to Brahms’s time directing the Hamburg women’s chorus in the 1860s.  Brahms had “practiced” strict canonic imitation in early works such as the Three Sacred Choruses for women’s choir, Op. 37, and the “Geistliches Lied” for mixed choir, Op. 30.  These canons are distinct from those exercises and unique in his published output, particularly their imaginative notation.  Nine out of the thirteen use unison imitation between the parts, and after the last voice enters (either the third or fourth), Brahms places a repeat sign at the beginning of the top voice and the end of the bottom voice, indicating that the bottom voice should return to the top and simply cycle through each line of the same repeated “system.”  I label this “circular repetition” as “type 1.”  “Type 2” is also unison imitation, but with the parts repeating back directly on the same line of the “system.”  This is only used for No. 4.  In “type 3,” the parts are divided into sopranos and altos with two separate canons.  This is used for No. 6 (where the altos invert the soprano parts, beginning a third lower) and No. 8 (where the altos move the same line down a fifth).  In each case, the order of entry is S1, A1, S2, A2.  The brief, but complex No. 9 uses “type 4,” which also has two separate canons, but with alto 1 imitating soprano 1 and alto 2 imitating soprano 2, both imitations a fifth below.  The entries are very close, in the order S1, S2, A1, A2.  The capstone is the astonishing No. 13, which was composed at the time of publication and is in fact Brahms’s latest composition for choir or vocal ensemble (coming after the Op. 104 secular part songs--curiously, Op. 113, No. 10 sets the same text as Op. 104, No. 1).  It evokes “Der Leiermann,” the iconic final song of Franz Schubert’s epic cycle Winterreise, using the song’s main melody, accompaniment figures, and (in the separate alto parts) the distinctive drone fifths.  It is in six parts (all the others are in four or three), with the four soprano parts behaving like a type 1 canon in circular repetition, but the two alto parts establishing the drone and using direct repetition after the last soprano voice enters.  The text by Rückert perfectly fits the aesthetic of Schubert’s song, speaking of love’s monotony and a single-toned song, a clear echo of the barrel organ player observed by Schubert’s winter wanderer.  This is not the only canon in which Brahms turned to pre-existing melodies.  Nos. 3-5 all use folk texts, and Brahms bases the canons on the original folk melodies (all of which he had arranged for voice and piano in the “children’s folk songs” (Volkskinderlieder), published without opus number as early as 1858.  There are also other canons that surely date from later than the 1860s, such as the sophisticated No. 9.  Each of the thirteen offers its own delights, such as the use of Phrygian mode in No. 1.  The texts show a conscious arrangement.  Two by Goethe are followed by the three folk texts.  Hoffmann von Fallersleben (in the “inversion” canon) bridges to two by Eichendorff.  The remaining five are all by Rückert, the poet set by Robert Schumann in his group of canonic pieces for men’s choir (Op. 65).  The way the repetition is notated, all the canons could theoretically continue at will until the director stops, but in recordings (including this one), the repetitions generally continue until each voice has sung each phrase.  If there are multiple verses, each line of text is sung at least once (not necessarily by every voice, so long as each voice has sung each musical phrase).

In the guides, the circular repetition and the complexity of canonic writing led me to a unique structure in which I describe each phrase before the actual “guide,” which indicates the timings and which voices sing which phrases.  The soprano/alto canons (Nos. 6, 8, and 9) have their own special treatment.  In No. 13, the alto drone is described in the timing section, while the soprano phrases are described before, as in the other guides.  The number of voices in the unison canons is indicated as “a 3” or “a 4.”  Measure numbers in parentheses indicate the total number of measures including the repetitions in the recording.  The main measure numbers are based on the score notation, where the same system is used for “circular repetition.”

Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily Ezust’s site at http://www.lieder.net.  For the most part, the translations are line-by-line, except where the difference between German and English syntax requires slight alterations to the contents of certain lines.  The German texts (included here) are also visible in the translation links.

IMSLP WORK PAGE
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP of Franz Schubert
’s Winterreise, whose final song“Der Leiermann” (pp. 120-121) provides the material for No. 13 (Edition Peters, edited by Max Friedländer)

1. “Göttlicher Morpheus” (“Divine Morpheus”).  Text by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  Andante espressivo.  Type 1 (unison with circular repetition), a 4.  E MINOR/MAJOR (Phrygian mode), 4/4 time.

German Text:
Göttlicher Morpheus, umsonst bewegst du die lieblichen Mohne;
Bleibt das Auge doch wach, wenn mir es Amor nicht schließt.

English Translation

Four-bar phrases
PHRASE 1: A simple “Phrygian” descent from B to E in long notes on “Göttlicher Morpheus.”  When the other voices enter, the “Phrygian” descent leads to an embellished “plagal” cadence in major.
PHRASE 2: Sets the remainder of the first line beginning on the upbeat.  The melodic line arches up in quarter notes, using the major-key inflection on G-sharp.  This leads to three syncopated notes, the first and third held over bar lines.  The second is on the “Phrygian” F.  “Lieblichen” is expanded on flowing eighth notes that dip and rise back up.  The phrase ends with a rising, major-inflected “plagal” gesture.
PHRASE 3: Sets “Bleibt das Auge doch wach” with a full repetition including an “extra” repetition of “das Auge.”  It begins off the downbeat and mixes major and minor, with bouncing eighth notes used on most syllables.  The “Phrygian” element is briefly undermined with the note F-sharp.  The repetition reaches higher, then stretches out the “extra” repetition of “das Auge” with an arching figure, still mixing major and minor.  The conclusion fills out the “plagal” cadence in major and embellishes it with a dip and rise.
PHRASE 4:  Sets the rest of the second line.  It begins with a three-note upbeat outlining the E-major chord in eighth notes.  The word “Amor” is stretched out to a full measure, with a dotted-half and quarter note on a high E.  “Amor” is repeated in a descending arpeggio on F major that emphasizes the “Phrygian” element.  The text is repeated, including the “extra” statement of “Amor.”  This repetition on faster notes turns toward major, leaping up on the second (fourth overall) statement of “Amor.”  This phrase fully embellishes the “plagal” cadence with “dominant” elements.  It is the highest voice at the end and includes the cadential leading tone D-sharp (the only appearance of this note).

0:00 [m. 1]
--Voice 4 on Phrase 1.
0:11 [m. 5]--Voice 3 on Phrase 1; Voice 4 on Phrase 2.
0:22 [m. 9]--Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3.
0:34 [m. 13]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3; Voice 4 on Phrase 4.
0:46 [m. 13, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 4; Voice 4 on Phrase 1.
0:58 [m. 13, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 4; Voice 3 on Phrase 1; Voice 4 on Phrase 2.
1:11 [m. 13, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 4; Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3.  The conclusion is marked by the elimination of the upbeats to Phrases 2 and 4.
1:32--END OF CANON [16 (28) mm.]


2. “Grausam erweist sich Amor” (“Cruelly love reveals himself”).  Text by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  Andante con moto.  Type 1 (unison with circular repetition), a 3.  A MINOR, 3/4 time.

German Text (also set as an unpublished canon, WoO 24):
Grausam erweiset sich Amor an mir! O, spielet, ihr Musen,
Mit den Schmerzen, die er, spielend, im Busen erregt.

English Translation

Seven-bar phrases
PHRASE 1: Sets the first exclamatory sentence.  Two high three-note descents, the second a step lower, seem to suggest A major, but the turn to minor is explicit and emphasized in the next measure on the word “Amor,” which turns down and back up. The first statement ends with a descent to the leading tone suggesting “dominant” harmony (which does build when the other voices sing against it).  The last four words “sich Amor an mir” are repeated on a downward leap on a dissonant “tritone” and then another descent.  Finally, “an mir” is repeated a second time on a full minor-key descent to the low keynote.
PHRASE 2: Sets the rest of the first line and the second line through “spielend.”  The fragments “O spielet” and “ihr Musen” are set to halting sighs beginning off the beat.  Then “mit den Schmerzen” is set to an arching figure outlining a colorful “diminished” chord.  These words are repeated to another arching line in faster notes that supports the suggested “dominant” harmony.  This repetition overlaps the midpoint of the phrase, against the repetition of “sich Amor” in Phrase 1.  Finally, the words “die er” and spielend” are set to halting sighs like the first ones.  The second descends directly to the closing cadence.
PHRASE 3: Sets the last words “im Busen erregt.”  The first statement is set to two halting figures (on “im Busen” and “erregt”) that move in the opposite direction from the “sighs” in Phrase 2, leaping down and sliding up to their resolution.  There is then a full-measure rest, after which “im Busen” is repeated a second time to a flowing, undulating line that stretches out “Busen” and supports the “dominant” harmony.  The first two phrases already created a dissonant “tritone” here just past the midpoint.  Now this is expanded to a “diminished seventh.”  Finally, both “im Busen” and “erregt” are again set to halting figures, the first with a full downward octave leap, the second a sigh on the highest notes of the cadence.

0:00 [m. 1]
--Voice 3 on Phrase 1.
0:20 [m. 8]--Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2.
0:39 [m. 15]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3.
0:59 [m. 15, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 1.
1:19 [m. 15, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2.  For the closing, Phrase 2 (sung at this point by Voice 3) replaces the final word “spielend” with “erregt,” the closing word of Phrase 3.  Omitting the words “spielend im Busen” results in a coherent sentence.
1:46--END OF CANON [21 (35) mm.]


3. “Sitzt a schöns Vögerl aufm Dannabaum” (“A beautiful bird sat in a fir tree”).  Austrian folk song text.  Allegretto.  Type 1 (unison with circular repetition, 2 verses), a 4.  F MAJOR, 3/8 time.

German Text (also set in Volkskinderlieder, No. 2):
Sitzt a schöns Vögerl auf’m Dannabaum,
tut nix als singa und schrein;
was muß denn das für a Vögerl sein?
Das muß a Nachtigall sein!

Nein, mein Schatz, das ist kein Nachtigall,
nein, mein Schatz, das derfst nit glaub’n;
kein Nachtigall schlägt auf keinem Dannabaum,
schlägt in a Haselnußstaud’n!

English Translation

Three-bar phrases
PHRASE 1: The first phrase is the original folk song melody, a jaunty, detached three-bar tune in triple time.  The first bar is three repeated notes, the second a turn decorated by a grace note, and the third a simple descending broken chord.  Unlike the first two canons, Brahms indicates expression marks here, specifically that each voice should start quietly and gradually build.
PHRASE 2: The continuation is Brahms’s own harmonization.  It dips lower than the melody, including a distinctive downward leap to the canon’s lowest pitch, and holds the last note.
PHRASE 3: This phrase leaps high above the other two.  It begins with two simple descents from that high point, then gracefully turns in faster notes, dipping down and back up to the middle register.
PHRASE 4: The last phrase is mostly in decorative faster notes, perhaps giving a nod to the original folk song melody, whose last phrase adds a turning descent (the first three are practically identical).  It leaps up and back down in an arpeggio before a rapidly descending octave to the canon’s lowest pitch (previously heard in Phrase 2).  After that, there is a huge upward leap of a tenth, reaching high above the other parts and becoming the highest voice in the cadence.

0:00 [m. 1]
--Voice 4 on Phrase 1 (stanza 1, line 1).
0:04 [m. 4]--Voice 3 on Phrase 1; Voice 4 on Phrase 2 (stanza 1, line 2).
0:07 [m. 7]--Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3 (stanza 1, line 3).
0:10 [m. 10]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3; Voice 4 on Phrase 4 (stanza 1, line 4).
0:13 [m. 10, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 4; Voice 4 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2, line 1).
0:16 [m. 10, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 4; Voice 3 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2); Voice 4 on Phrase 2 (stanza 2, line 2).
0:19 [m. 10, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 4; Voice 2 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2); Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3 (stanza 2, line 3).
0:22 [m. 10, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2); Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3; Voice 4 on Phrase 4 (stanza 2, line 4).
0:33 (runoff after 0:27)--END OF CANON [12 (24) mm.]


4. “Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!”  (“Sleep, baby, sleep” [“Shepherd’s Cradle Song”]).  Folk song text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn.  Andante.  Type 2 (unison with direct repetition, 2 verses), a 3.  C MAJOR, 2/4 time.

German Text (also set in Volkskinderlieder, No. 11):
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!
Der Vater hüt’t die Schaf’,
Die Mutter schüttelt’s Bäumelein,
Da fällt herab ein Träumelein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!
Am Himmel ziehn die Schaf’,
Die Sternlein sind die Lämmelein,
Der Mond der ist das Schäferlein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

[Brahms only used these first two verses in the canon.  He set three more in the Volkskinderlieder]

English Translation (Four verses included here; the first two reasonably match the original German text set in this canon, not included in link)

Two-bar phrases
PHRASE 1: This is the familiar opening of the folk lullaby melody, with the decorative downward turn on “Kindlein.”  It is used for the first line of each stanza.  Brahms marks all voices piano and dolce.
PHRASE 2: This simply harmonizes the melody a sixth below.  It is used for the second line, which is a simple repetition of the first in the original melody.
PHRASE 3: A rising arpeggio leading to a downward leap on a dotted (long-short) rhythm, then another upward turn.  Used for the third line.  Brahms could not reproduce the original melodic line in the canon, but he does use the original rhythm.
PHRASE 4: Reaching back up to the high opening notes, it gracefully falls on short notes, then leaps up to the canon’s highest pitch on a dotted (long-short) rhythm.  Used for the fourth line.  Again, Brahms cannot reproduce the original melody, but he retains the distinctive dotted rhythm in the same contour as Phrase 3.
PHRASE 5:  The reiteration of the opening line as the closing line is given on static long notes, G and E.
PHRASE 6:  After a rest at the end of Phrase 5 and on the first beat of this unit, Brahms adds a repetition of the final “Schlaf, Kindlein” on an arpeggio rising again to the highest pitch, then dropping an octave.  This merges directly into the repetition of the opening line, with its first “Schlaf” doubling as the completion of the repeated final line, an artful elision.

0:00 [m. 1]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1.
0:05 [m. 3]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 1.
0:10 [m. 5]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 1.
0:14 [m. 7]--Voice 1 on Phrase 4; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 2.
0:19 [m. 9]--Voice 1 on Phrase 5; Voice 2 on Phrase 4; Voice 3 on Phrase 3.
0:23 [m. 11]--Voice 1 on Phrase 6; Voice 2 on Phrase 5; Voice 3 on Phrase 4.
0:29 [m. 13]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2).; Voice 2 on Phrase 6; Voice 3 on Phrase 5.
0:33 [m. 15]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2); Voice 3 on Phrase 6.
0:37 [m. 5, direct repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2).
0:41 [m. 7]--Voice 1 on Phrase 4; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 2.
0:45 [m. 9]--Voice 1 on Phrase 5; Voice 2 on Phrase 4; Voice 3 on Phrase 3.
0:50 [m. 11]--Voice 1 on Phrase 6; Voice 2 on Phrase 5; Voice 3 on Phrase 4.
0:54 [m. 13]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 6; Voice 3 on Phrase 5.
0:59 [m. 15]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2 (stanza 1 text); Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 6.  All voices end on the downbeat of m. 16.  Voice 1 ends on “Schaf’,” voice 2 on “schlaf,” and voice 3 on “Kind” (an acceptable word without completing the full word “Kindlein”).  Voice 3 ends before the reach to the high note and the octave drop, which are designed for the elision and continuation.
1:08--END OF CANON [16 (28) mm.]


5. “Wille, wille, will, der Mann ist kommen” (“Willie, Willie, will, the man has come”).  Westphalian folk song text.  Allegretto.  Type 1 (unison with circular repetition, 3 verses), a 4.  F MAJOR, 2/4 time.

German Text (also set in Volkskinderlieder, No. 5):
Wille wille will, der Mann ist kommen,
wille wille will, was bracht er dann?
Wille wille will, viel Zuckerwaffeln,
wille wille will, dies Kindelein soll han!

[Brahms omits a verse here that he did include in the Volkskinderlieder.]

Wille wille will, was solls noch geben?
wille wille will, ein Rütelein!
Wille wille will, er hörte schreien,
wille wille will, ein schlimmes Bübelein!   

Wille wille will, mein Kind ist artig,
wille wille will, mein Kind ist still!
Wille wille will, das Rütlein geben,
wille wille will, dem der es eben will!

English Translation (includes the second verse omitted here by Brahms)

Two-bar phrases
PHRASE 1: Brahms matches the melody of the original folk song as closely as he can with the canonic imitation.  As in No. 3, he indicates a quiet opening followed by a crescendo for each voice.  The first phrase matches the opening of the jaunty tune.  All four lines start with the same rhythm for “Wille wille will.”  It is a quick downward turn followed by a detached arching line for “der Mann ist kommen.”
PHRASE 2:  The opening rhythm is placed a third lower, and the continuation dips low.  It is one syllable shorter than the first phrase, holding on the last note as Phrase 1 concludes.
PHRASE 3: In a nod to the original folk song melody, Brahms moves to the high keynote to begin this phrase, but instead of the trill-like motion in the original, he uses leaps of a fourth on the opening rhythm to better fit the harmony of the canon.  The line then continues with a downward scale run before inverting the detached arching line from Phrase 1.
PHRASE 4: This final line uses bouncing thirds on the opening rhythm, moving in the opposite direction from the high fourths in Phrase 3.  The upward leap of this phrase and the downward leap of Phrase 3 land on the same note, C.  For the conclusion, which has more syllables than the other lines, Brahms uses the fast rhythm of the folksong melody, which contrasts rhythmically with the detached melody of the other phrases at this point.  The fast rhythm is on the high trill from line 3 of the original folk melody (which he could not use in Phrase 3 itself) instead of the scale descent of the tune’s last line.

0:00 [m. 1]--Voice 4 on Phrase 1 (stanza 1, line 1).
0:04 [m. 3]--Voice 3 on Phrase 1; Voice 4 on Phrase 2 (stanza 1, line 2).
0:07 [m. 5]--Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3 (stanza 1, line 3).
0:10 [m. 7]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3; Voice 4 on Phrase 4 (stanza 1, line 4).
0:13 [m. 7, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 4; Voice 4 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2, line 1).
0:16 [m. 7, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 4; Voice 3 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2); Voice 4 on Phrase 2 (stanza 2, line 2).
0:18 [m. 7, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 4; Voice 2 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2); Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3 (stanza 2, line 3).
0:21 [m. 7, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1 (stanza 2); Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3; Voice 4 on Phrase 4 (stanza 2, line 4).
0:24 [m. 7, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 4; Voice 4 on Phrase 1 (stanza 3, line 1).
0:27 [m. 7, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 4; Voice 3 on Phrase 1 (stanza 3).; Voice 4 on Phrase 2 (stanza 3, line 2).
0:29 [m. 7, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 4; Voice 2 on Phrase 1 (stanza 3); Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3 (stanza 3, line 3).
0:32 [m. 7, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1 (stanza 3); Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3; Voice 4 on Phrase 4 (stanza 3, line 4).
0:41 (runoff after 0:36)--END OF CANON [8 (24) mm.]


6. “So lange Schönheit wird bestehn” (“As long as beauty exists”).  Text by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben.  Con moto.  Type 3 (double canon, SSAA division with SS and AA unison imitation).  G MAJOR, 4/4 time.

German Text:
So lange Schönheit wird bestehn,
so lang’ auf Erden Augen sehn,
wirst du der Liebe nicht entgehn.

English Translation

Two-bar phrases, all inverted by altos
PHRASE 1: It begins on an upbeat, rising on half notes to the first syllable of “Schönheit.”  It then makes a distinctive downward leap of a seventh before rising on eighth notes to the “dominant” note D on the downbeat of the third measure.  The alto inversion starts on the upbeat, two beats before the soprano statement finishes.  It begins a third lower, descends to the low “dominant” note on the first syllable of “Schönheit,” then leaps a seventh and descends on eighth notes to the downbeat, toward the “subdominant” C-major harmony.  Both versions add sliding chromatic half-steps between the initial half notes (which become quarter notes) in subsequent statements.
PHRASE 2: Beginning on the second beat of the measure, it leaps to the highest pitch (the high keynote G), then descends.  It ends on the downbeat of the third measure, beginning a faster continuation of the descent.  The alto imitation leaps down to the lowest pitch (other than the last note of the added closing passage in Alto 2), then climbs, also ending on the downbeat and beginning a faster continuation of the ascent.
PHRASE 3: Beginning on the second beat of the measure, it continues the descent, including a chromatic half-step motion on F-sharp and F-natural.  It then makes two jagged zigzagging upward leaps on “Liebe” before rising to a close on the “dominant” note and the downbeat.  The alto imitation continues the ascent, with chromatic half-step motion on C and C-sharp.  The jagged zigzagging leaps are downward.  Like the alto imitation of Phrase 1 (against which it is sung), it moves toward “subdominant” C-major harmony.  All voices rest for a statement after singing either version of Phrase 3 (six beats--after ending on the downbeat of one measure, they begin Phrase 1 on the upbeat of the next).

Phrase 1 and its inversion always begin two beats before the other voices/phrases conclude. 
0:00 [m. 1]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 1.
0:06 [m. 3]--Alto 1 on Phrase 1 inversion; Soprano 1 on Phrase 2.
0:11 [m. 5]--Soprano 2 on Phrase 1; Alto 1 on Phrase 2 inversion; Soprano 1 on Phrase 3.
0:17 [m. 7]--Alto 2 on Phrase 1 inversion; Soprano 2 on Phrase 2; Alto 1 on Phrase 3 inversion; Soprano 1 rests. 
0:22 [m. 9]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 1 (now with chromatic half-steps); Alto 2 on Phrase 2 inversion; Soprano 2 on Phrase 3; Alto 1 rests.
0:27 [m. 11]--Alto 1 on Phrase 1 inversion (now with chromatic half-steps); Soprano 1 on Phrase 2; Alto 2 on Phrase 3 inversion; Soprano 2 rests.
0:33 [m. 13]--Soprano 2 on Phrase 1 (with chromatic half-steps); Alto 1 on Phrase 2 inversion; Soprano 1 on Phrase 3; Alto 2 rests.
0:38 [m. 15]--Alto 2 on Phrase 1 inversion (with chromatic half-steps); Soprano 2 on Phrase 2; Alto 1 on Phrase 3 inversion; Soprano 1 rests.
0:43 [m. 9, direct repetition]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 1; Alto 2 on Phrase 2 inversion; Soprano 2 on Phrase 3; Alto 1 rests.
0:49 [m. 11]--Alto 1 on Phrase 1 inversion; Soprano 1 on Phrase 2; Alto 2 on Phrase 3 inversion; Soprano 2 rests.
0:54 [m. 13]--Soprano 2 on Phrase 1; Alto 1 on Phrase 2 inversion; Soprano 1 on Phrase 3; Alto 2 rests.
0:59 [m. 15]--Alto 2 on Phrase 1 inversion; Soprano 2 on Phrase 2; Alto 1 on Phrase 3 inversion; Soprano 1 rests.
1:04 [m. 17]--Conclusion.  Soprano 1 on Phrase 1 with the text of Phrase 3, adding words to the chromatic half-steps and cutting off the rising eighth notes to end on the keynote G; Alto 2 on Phrase 2 inversion, holding the concluding note of Phrase 1 an extra beat, then repeating the text “Schönheit wird bestehn” on the notes of Phrase 2, changing the last note to a low G, approached by downward leap and cutting off the faster ascent; Soprano 2 on Phrase 3, repeating the text “auf Erden Augen sehn” from Phrase 2 and ending with the jagged zigzagging leaps, omitting the rise to the “dominant”;  Alto 1 rests.
1:17--END OF CANON [18 (26) mm.]


7. “Wenn die Klänge nahn und fliehen” (“When sounds approach and flee”).  Text by Joseph Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff.  Andante con moto.  Type 1 (unison with circular repetition), a 3.  G MINOR, 3/8 time.

German Text:
Wenn die Klänge nahn und fliehen
In den Wogen süßer Lust,
Ach! nach tiefern Melodien
Sehnt sich einsam oft die Brust.

English Translation

Ten-bar phrases
PHRASE 1:  It sets the first two lines of text.  The first line arches down and back up in continuous flowing notes, adding a second sequence on the upward motion.  The conclusion of the line is marked by a longer note on “fliehen” in the fourth bar.  After a colorful downward leap, the second line begins with a full-measure note held into the next measure before continuing upward.  There are three such figures, totaling six measures.  The second includes a leap of a fourth on “Wogen” and the third is a slight variant of the first, beginning a step higher and moving to the downbeat of the rising line instead of holding the note.  The phrase accurately concludes with the 11th measure on “Lust,” but this happens as the next voice begins.
PHRASE 2:  The first two lines of text are repeated on this phrase.  It begins with a full-measure rest after the arrival measure of the last phrase.  The entry begins on the third bar with the same notes as Phrase 1, but deviates in the next measure, changing the order of notes on “Klänge to add an upward skip and downward resolution, leaping up on “nahn,” descending, then leaping again on “fliehen.”  The second line is now four bars.  It begins on a chromatic note (G-flat) with a direct descent to the lower register, leaping up to another short descent on “süßer,” then repeating that word in an upward motion to the arrival point on the downbeat of the 11th measure, coinciding with the entry of the next voice.
PHRASE 3: This finally sets the last two lines.  A syncopated leap from the last arrival point on “Lust” to the word “Ach” is held over the bar line.  The note D is repeated on long-short rhythm for “nach tiefern.”  The line then rises a step to E-flat for “Melodien,” part of a colorful “diminished seventh.” The last two syllables are held for a full measure, descending back to D on the last one.  The line is six measures.  The last line begins under brief motion to E-flat minor with the G-flat in Phrase 2.  It rises high from the longer notes, leaps down a sixth on “einsam,” rises again, then leaps down a fifth to the final word “Brust” under “dominant” harmony.  The voice on this phrase continues to Phrase 1 on the 11th measure “downbeat.”

0:00 [m. 1]--Voice 3 on Phrase 1.  All voices are marked dolce.
0:15 [m. 11]--Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2 after completing Phrase 1.
0:23 [m. 21]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 2 after completing Phrase 1.  Voice 3 on Phrase 3 after completing Phrase 2.
0:46 [m. 21, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2 after completing Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 3 after completing Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 1.
1:02 [m. 21, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3 after completing Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2 after completing Phrase 1.  A concluding measure is added for voices 2 and 3 on Phrases 1 and 2 for the 11th measure “downbeat” on the final G.  Voice 1 on Phrase 3 simply rests instead of continuing to Phrase 1, which it would if another repetition were to be taken.
1:26--END OF CANON [31 (51) mm.]



8. “Ein Gems auf dem Stein” (“A mountain goat upon the rock”).  Text by Joseph Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff.  Risoluto.  Type 3 (double canon, SSAA division with SS and AA unison imitation).  B-FLAT MAJOR, 3/4 time.

German Text:
Ein’ Gems auf dem Stein,
Ein Vogel im Flug,
Ein Mädel, das klug,
Kein Bursch holt die ein.

English Translation

Four-bar phrases, altos a fifth lower throughout
PHRASE 1: All parts are marked forte. The first two lines are set to the same descending figure, the second one a step lower.  After the initial skip down from an upbeat, there is a stepwise descent over three notes, then an upward leap of a fifth.  The first figure suggests the “relative” G minor, but the second lands strongly on B-flat major.  In the alto imitation a fifth lower, the first figure suggests the “dominant” key of F major and the second the “subdominant” E-flat major.
PHRASE 2: The third line is the most interesting.  It skips down, turns back around on a “leading tone” suggesting G minor (against the first figure of Phrase 1) then makes a striking leap up an octave.  A dotted (long-short) rhythm descends into the fourth line, which skips back up and concludes with an exuberant cadence figure back home in B-flat major.  The alto imitation a fifth lower again supports harmony on the “dominant” and then the “subdominant.”

0:00 [m. 1]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 1, beginning on an upbeat; Three beats later, Alto 1 begins the Phrase 1 imitation a fifth lower.
0:05 [m. 5]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 2; Soprano 2 on Phrase 1, overlapping the conclusion in Alto 1 by two beats; Alto 1 on Phrase 2 a fifth lower, beginning three beats after Soprano 1; Alto 2 on Phrase 1 a fifth lower, beginning three beats after Soprano 2.
0:09 [m. 9]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 1; Soprano 2 on Phrase 2, both soprano parts overlapping the alto conclusion by two beats; Alto 1 on Phrase 1 a fifth lower, beginning three beats later; Alto 2 on Phrase 2 a fifth lower, beginning three beats later.
0:13 [m. 13]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 2; Soprano 2 on Phrase 1, both soprano parts overlapping the alto conclusion by two beats; Alto 1 on Phrase 2 a fifth lower, beginning three beats later; Alto 2 on Phrase 1 a fifth lower, beginning three beats later.  After m. 14, there is a direct repetition leading back to m. 7 in all parts (mm. 7-8 are identical to the potential mm. 15-16 if everything were written out).
0:17 [m. 9]--As at 0:09.  Soprano 1 on Phrase 1; Soprano 2 on Phrase 2, both soprano parts overlapping the alto conclusion by two beats; Alto 1 on Phrase 1 a fifth lower, beginning three beats later; Alto 2 on Phrase 2 a fifth lower, beginning three beats later.
0:21 [m. 13]--As at 0:13.  Soprano 1 on Phrase 2; Soprano 2 on Phrase 1, both soprano parts overlapping the alto conclusion by two beats; Alto 1 on Phrase 2 a fifth lower, beginning three beats later; Alto 2 on Phrase 1 a fifth lower, beginning three beats later.  There is a second ending for a conclusion (mm. 15-16).  The sopranos finish their lines, but the altos do not, ending on the downbeat of their third measure, together with the soprano conclusion.  Alto 1 replaces “kein Bursch” with a repetition of “das klug.”  Alto 2 replaces “ein Vogel” with a repetition of “dem Stein” (omitting the note used for the second syllable of “Vogel”).
0:30 (runoff after 0:26--END OF CANON [16 (24) mm.]


9. “An’s Auge des Liebsten” (“To the eyes of the beloved”).  Text by Friedrich Rückert.  Andante.  Type 4 (double canon, SSAA division with S1A1 and S2A2 imitation at the fifth).  B-FLAT MAJOR, Cut time [2/2].

German Text:
An’s Auge des Liebsten
fest mit Blicken dich ansauge.

English Translation (“whose gaze attracts you” is perhaps better than “whose gaze is fixed on you”)

Phrase 1--2.5 bars, Phrase 2--3.5 bars in all parts
There is wordplay with the beginning and ending of the text, as “An’s Auge” and “ansauge” are identical in pronunciation.  Brahms does not elide the words, and he repeats the identical sound when the text is repeated, but there is an audible cluster of that sound as the voices transition to that repetition.
PHRASE 1 (S1 and A1): Sets the shorter first line.  Two long repeated high half notes descend a third to two faster quarter notes.  This is followed by a descent with “dotted” rhythm on “Liebsten.”  Soprano 1 begins on a half-measure upbeat, while Alto 1 begins a fifth lower on a downbeat.
PHRASE 1 (S2 and A2):  It is a half-beat (a quarter note) shorter than the S1/A1 phrase.  An upward leap of a sixth, beginning on an upbeat (or the second half of the downbeat in Alto 2) is followed by a descending broken G-minor chord (C minor in Alto 2).  There is then a descending line in “straight” rhythm on “Liebsten,” occurring at the same time as that word in the S1/A1 phrase.  The arrival point is on “dominant” harmony when placed vertically with the other voices.
PHRASE 2 (S1 and A1): Sets the longer second line.  It begins with an upward turn on a quarter-note triplet.  This happens again in the next measure, a step lower.  There is then an upward leap to a high F (mid-range B-flat in Alto 1), which is held for five quarter-note lengths over a bar line.  The next note, a step lower, is also syncopated, but shorter (two quarter-note lengths, and only held over the bar line in Soprano 1).  A short downward sighing motion concludes the phrase, and this is immediately followed by an upward leap to the first note of Phrase 1.
PHRASE 2 (S2 and A2).  It begins together with the corresponding S1 or A1 phrase.  It is much more static at the beginning, holding half-notes, then gradually moving down from B-flat (E-flat in Alto 2).  There is one upward leap of a fourth on “ansauge,” then a downward leap of a fifth to the last syllable of that word.  This trails the conclusion of the S1/A1 phrase, which is shorter by a quarter note.  The opening upbeat of Phrase 1 follows immediately, with its upward leap of a sixth.  All the voices combine here to form a smooth motion from the “dominant” harmony to the B-flat harmony at the beginning of Phrase 1.

0:00 [m. 1]--The parts enter in descending order, S1, S2, A1, A2, one quarter note apart.  Soprano 1 begins on a half-measure upbeat to m. 1.  The alto parts imitate their corresponding soprano parts a fifth below.  All voices sing their version of phrase 1.  Because the S2/A2 phrase is a quarter note shorter, the soprano parts end together, as do the alto parts two quarter notes later.   
0:07 [m. 3]--The sopranos start their respective versions of Phrase 2 together at the moment the altos are finishing Phrase 1.  The altos then imitate their corresponding soprano parts a fifth below, starting a half-measure (two quarter notes) later.  The close double imitation continues through the longer phrase.
0:17 [m. 7a]--Soprano 1 again begins Phrase 1 on a half-measure upbeat.  Because the S2/A2 version of Phrase 2 is longer by one quarter note, all voices conclude Phrase 2 in a staggered order, S1, S2, A1, A2, just as they began Phrase 1.  The long Soprano 1 upbeat to the repetition overlaps the conclusions of Soprano 2 and Alto 1, with Alto 2 finishing on the downbeat.  This staggered conclusion facilitates the staggered opening on the repetition.  Measure 7a corresponds to measure 1 (differing only with the conclusion of Alto 2’s line on the downbeat).  There is direct repetition in all voices to measure 2.
0:23 [m. 3]--Statement of Phrase 2 in all four parts, the altos two quarter notes behind, as at 0:07.  For a conclusion, there is a second ending (measure 7b) in which the sopranos, but not the altos, begin Phrase 1, but stop after “An’s Auge” on B-flat harmony.  Interestingly, Alto 2 overlaps this with its downbeat conclusion of the identical sounding “ansauge.”
0:40--END OF CANON [7 (13) mm.]


10. “Leise Töne der Brust” (“Gentle sounds of the soul”).  Text by Friedrich Rückert.  Andante espressivo.  Type 1 (unison with circular repetition), a 4.  A MINOR, 4/4 time.

German Text (also set as the choral song Nachtwache I (Night Vigil I), Op. 104, No. 1):
Leise Töne der Brust, geweckt vom Odem der Liebe,
  Hauchet zitternd hinaus, ob sich euch öffen ein Ohr,
Öffn’ ein liebendes Herz, und wenn sich keines euch öffnet,
  Trag’ ein Nachtwind euch seufzend in meines zurück.

English Translation (includes the entire five-stanza German poem with translations for this first stanza and also the last, which was used for Op. 104, No. 2)

Three-bar phrases
Each line of this text can be split after the comma (before “seufzend” in line 4).  It can thus be arranged as two four-line strophes (the second beginning with line 3), and this is how Brahms set it in Op. 104, No. 1.
PHRASE 1: Sets the first line.  A descending four-note scale line (stopping just short of the keynote A) is stated twice in the first measure, then turns up toward a “leaning” chromatic half-step in the second measure on “Brust.”  This seems to turn toward the key of D, which will be confirmed when the other voices are added.  There is an upward leap on “geweckt,” and the melody then rises two more steps before a full descent from the sixth note of the scale (F) to the keynote A in the third measure.
PHRASE 2: Sets the second line.  A descending figure that leaps down a fifth is stated twice in the first measure, followed by another downward leap in the second.  This leap supports the presumed motion to D together with the “leaning” upward half-step in Phrase 1.  Trailing Phrase 1 after a short rest, the second half begins on a bouncing three-note upbeat that leads into a brief turn to F major (against the beginning of the long final descent in Phrase 1).  The slightly altered bouncing figure also begins the last measure.  The phrase ends with a strong “leading tone” motion that confirms the conclusion in A minor.
PHRASE 3: Sets the third line.  It begins with an arching figure that is stated twice in the first measure.  A sighing descent at the beginning of the second measure on “Herz” confirms that the motion to D is to D major.  The phrase ends with a full descending C-major scale on the second half of the line.  It mixes quarter and eighth notes and even includes syncopation at the end.  The scale is interrupted by one skip that turns immediately back up to the skipped note before the scale continues down.  The scale supports the brief turn to F major and the turn back to A minor via the so-called “Neapolitan” chord on B-flat.
PHRASE 4: Sets the last line.  A rising three-note scale line is stated twice in the first measure.  A sighing descent on “seufzend” like the one in Phrase 3 (which happens at the same time in the second measure) confirms the motion to D major even more strongly.  There is a significant rest before the line concludes with “in meines zurück.”  These words are set with an upward leap to F and back (strongly supporting the brief turn to F major), then a rising scale line that includes a turning syncopation against the syncopation in the Phrase 3 scale.  It supports the final turn to A minor via B-flat.

0:00 [m. 1]--Voice 4 on Phrase 1.
0:16 [m. 4]--Voice 3 on Phrase 1; Voice 4 on Phrase 2.
0:30 [m. 7]--Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3.
0:46 [m. 10]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3; Voice 4 on Phrase 4.
0:59 [m. 10, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 4; Voice 4 on Phrase 1.
1:14 [m. 10, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 4; Voice 3 on Phrase 1; Voice 4 on Phrase 2.
1:28 [m. 10, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 4; Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3.
1:48--END OF CANON [12 (21) mm.]


11. “Ich weiß nicht” (“I don’t know why”).  Text by Friedrich Rückert.  Andante con moto.  Type 1 (unison with circular repetition), a 4.  A MAJOR, 4/4 time.

German Text:
Ich weiß nicht, was im Hain die Taube girret,
Ob sie betrübt wie meine Seele harret
des Freundes, der von ihr sich hat verirret?

English Translation

Four-bar phrases
PHRASE 1: Sets line 1.  The initial “Ich weiß nicht” begins on an upbeat, gently arches up a step to a half note on the downbeat, then moves back down.  The remainder of the line, after a short rest, rises gracefully to a high E, then gently falls back down, placing two notes on each syllable of “Taube.”  It ends with a downward neighbor motion creating a full, satisfying cadence-type arrival on the keynote A.
PHRASE 2: Sets line 2.  This is the only line that does not begin on an upbeat.  It starts on the second beat of the first full measure.  It skips up and back down, then turns to the “chromatic” note G-natural for two longer half-notes.  This note facilitates a brief motion to the “subdominant” D major in the next measure on “meine Seele,” against the gentle fall of “Taube” in Phrase 1.  The musical line moves down, then slides back up through chromatic half-steps before falling to the cadence with a long-short rhythm on “harret.”
PHRASE 3: Sets line 3.  After the upbeat, there is a downward leap of a fourth on “Freundes, then a broad rising A-major arpeggio.  Combined with the G-naturals in Phrase 2, this harmony becomes the “dominant” of D major, which arrives in the next measure.  Like Phrase 2, the line here moves down, but then gently skips up and leaps back down for the rising final cadence motion, also on a long-short rhythm.  The short note of that long-short rhythm is a mildly dissonant borrowed note from the minor key (F-natural).
PHRASE 4: Sets a repetition of line 3.  After the upbeat, “Freundes” is set to a short rising “chromatic” half-step, contrasting with the longer downward leap in Phrase 3.  Much shorter eighth notes are then introduced, which occur in none of the other phrases.  A quick rising “dominant” arpeggio on “der von ihr” trails down in a six-note scale line, beginning with a long-short rhythm and continuing with faster notes.  A long A on “hat” supports the D-major harmony.  An arching line in eighth notes is followed by a three-note descent to the cadence as the highest voice.  Like Phrase 1, this one ends on the keynote A.

0:00 [m. 1]--Voice 4 on Phrase 1.  All lines are marked piano.
0:10 [m. 5]--Voice 3 on Phrase 1; Voice 4 on Phrase 2.
0:19 [m. 9]--Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3.
0:28 [m. 13]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3; Voice 4 on Phrase 4.
0:37 [m. 13, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 4; Voice 4 on Phrase 1.
0:47 [m. 13, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 4; Voice 3 on Phrase 1; Voice 4 on Phrase 2.
0:56 [m. 13, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 4; Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2; Voice 4 on Phrase 3.
1:12--END OF CANON [16 (28) mm.]


12. “Wenn Kummer hätte zu töten Macht” (“If sorrow had the power to kill”).  Text by Friedrich Rückert.  Andante espressivo.  Type 1 (unison with circular repetition), a 3.  F-SHARP MINOR, 2/4 time.

German Text:
Wenn Kummer hätte zu töten Macht,
Er müßte tötlich dies Herz durchbohren;
Und ließ’ ein Glück sich zurückbeschwören,
Mein Seufzen hätt’ es zurück beschworen.

English Translation

Eight-bar phrases
PHRASE 1: Sets the first line and half of the second (through “tötlich”).  It begins with a full-measure half note, then rises to a long-short rhythm before flowering into an undulating triplet rhythm.  All of this in in F-sharp major, not the nominal minor of the key signature.  After a measure of triplets, the melody reaches a high point on “töten” and moves back to straight rhythm.  A repetition of “zu töten” reaches one step higher than that, and at that point it finally turns to minor.  A tumbling arpeggio even moves toward the “Phrygian” mode with the note G-natural.  “Macht” descends from a long keynote to a leading tone, and then “er müßte tötlich” bounces up and down, back toward major with a sighing motion on “tötlich.”
PHRASE 2: Sets the remainder of the second line and the entire third line.  Continuing from the sighing motion after a downbeat rest, the rest of line 2 is decorated with turning grace notes on “Herz” before a leap down to the keynote from the “dominant” note C-sharp (against the triplets in Phrase 1).  The third line leaps back up to the note B (around which the end of Phrase 1 and the beginning of this phrase had circled).  This note on “ließ’” is held over a bar line.  A descent on “Glück sich” turns strongly to minor.  The last word rises to the “dominant” note again, then leaps down to the keynote, as it had done to end the second line at the beginning of the phrase.
PHRASE 3: Sets the fourth line in mostly longer notes.  “Mein Seufzen hätt’ es” descends chromatically (by half-steps) over four half notes from a high F, making up half of the phrase.  There is an octave leap to that high F from the end of the last phrase.  Another half-step leads to triplet rhythm in an arching arpeggio that uses the “Phrygian” G-natural heard in Phrase 1 at this point.  The last word “beschworen” holds the “dominant” C-sharp over a bar line before leaping down to the leading tone (E-sharp) and rising to a cadence on the keynote.  There is word play in the last two lines between “zurückbeschwören” (“summon back,” present tense) and “zurück beschworen” (“summoned back,” past tense).

0:00 [m. 1]--Voice 3 on Phrase 1.
0:18 [m. 9]--Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2.
0:34 [m. 17]--Voice 1 on Phrase 1; Voice 2 on Phrase 2; Voice 3 on Phrase 3.
0:51 [m. 17, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 2; Voice 2 on Phrase 3; Voice 3 on Phrase 1.
1:07 [m. 17, circular repetition]--Voice 1 on Phrase 3; Voice 2 on Phrase 1; Voice 3 on Phrase 2.  The “Picardy third” at the end of Phrase 1 creates a last second turn to major in a minor environment.  This smoothly led back to the major-key opening in repetitions, but now colors a sweetly gentle close.
1:28--END OF CANON [24 (40) mm.]



13. “Einförmig ist der Liebe Gram” (“The grief of love is monotonous”).  Text by Friedrich Rückert after the Persian by Hafis.  Etwas langsam (Somewhat slowly).  Four-part sopranos in circular repetition (Type 1) against drone-like two-part altos with direct repetition of the last phrase.  A MINOR, 3/4 time.

German Text:
Einförmig ist der Liebe Gram,
Ein Lied eintöniger Weise,
Und immer noch, wo ich’s vernahm,
Mitsummen mußt’ ich’s leise.

English Translation

Nine-bar phrases
SOPRANO PHRASE 1: Sets the first two lines.  This phrase is the crux of the canon, and the opening melody is derived from “Der Leiermann,” the final song from Schubert’s cycle Winterreise.  The first line matches the angular opening of the Schubert melody, marked forte.  Its last note is held over a bar line, creating a three-bar unit.  The second line continues the Schubert tune, including its distinctive upward leap and closing arch with a long-short rhythm.  It also holds its last note over a bar line.  The final three-bar unit, marked piano, repeats “eintöniger Weise” using a jagged, faster figure from the piano accompaniment of the song (the higher versions in Phrases 2 and 3 are also in Schubert), then stretching out “eintöniger” with slow long-short rhythms.  “Weise” leaps up before closing on the downbeat of the next phrase.
SOPRANO PHRASE 2:  Sets the third line.  After resting for the last two beats of the first measure and the first two of the second, a simple descent beginning on the upbeat is used for the words “und immer noch.”  After four more beats of rest, “wo ich’s vernahm” is set to another descent approached from below with an upbeat and including a long-short rhythm.  The words “wo ich’s vernahm” are then repeated, placed to echo at a higher level the jagged “accompaniment” figure that has just been heard in Phrase 1.  After the figure, the words are stretched out using two wide leaps.  Like Phrase 1, it closes on the downbeat of the next phrase.  Together, the phrases complete a final A-minor chord with the alto drone below.
SOPRANO PHRASE 3:  Sets the fourth line.  As in Phrase 2, it begins with four beats of rest.  It then begins the first figure on an upbeat with Phrase 2 on the words “mitsummen mußt’.”  It contrasts with the Phrase 2 figure by including a long-short rhythm and introducing the “leading tone” to complete the “dominant” harmony.”  After another set of four rests, the last words, “ich leise,” are set to a “straight” descent (contrasting with the long-short rhythm in Phrase 2) which rises higher than Phrase 2.  There are now more rests before a repetition of “leise,” which uses the jagged accompaniment figure, now following the one in Phrase 2, completing a chain of three statements rising ever higher.  The top high A of this is the highest pitch of the canon.  It then descends on an arpeggio and does not reach to the following downbeat.
SOPRANO PHRASE 4:  It repeats the last line and begins on the downbeat with “mitsummen mußt’.”  It is marked forte after the piano level has continued through Phrases 2 and 3.  A descending half-step is followed by a downward leap of a fourth.  A measure of rest (during which a descending line is heard in Phrases 2 and 3) is followed by a rising line heard during the rests in those phrases.  The rising line uses the “melodic minor” inflection to arrive on the keynote.  Another descending fourth is followed by the completion of the line.  The word “leise” is stretched out on a slow, flowing line that includes two more “keynote-dominant” descending fourths and one long-short rhythm.  This flowing line on “leise” is heard against the chain of rising jagged figures and diminishes to piano.  It ends on the downbeat of the last bar.

0:00 [m. 1]--Soprano 4 on Phrase 1.  The separate canon between the two alto parts is meant to evoke the drone fifth that pervades the bass of the Schubert song.  Here, it sets the first line.  Alto 1 begins on the third measure against the soprano note held over a bar line, imitated a measure later by Alto 2.  A downward leap from the “dominant” E to the keynote A in long notes is followed by the same leap on a long-short rhythm.  A distinctive leap up to the note F on “der Liebe” then descends through E and D before again leaping down to A.  Another large leap up to F is followed by a final E-A descent on “Gram.”  The alto 2 imitation stretches into the next phrase, ending on the downbeat of its second bar.
0:34 [m. 10]--Soprano 3 on Phrase 1;  Soprano 4 on Phrase 2.  The alto drone canon on the second line is like the one used for the first, with subtle alterations to accommodate the new harmonies.  It begins a measure earlier, adding another full-measure E before the downward leap.  The first leap up to F (on “eintöniger”) is also a measure earlier (the second E-A leap is omitted) and is now followed by the E-A leap (the motion through D is omitted).  The second leap to F is also a measure earlier.  It now leaps up further to a new note, the A an octave higher, before descending to the low A through E on “Weise.”  Alto 1 now ends in the last bar, and alto 2 only extends into the first bar of the next phrase.
1:06 [m. 19]--Soprano 2 on Phrase 1; Soprano 3 on Phrase 2; Soprano 4 on Phrase 3.  The alto drone canon, setting the last two lines, is now much simpler, only alternating the notes E and A for the third line, with two downward leaps.  Brahms also indicates that the drone is supposed to be a bit louder.  Alto 1 begins on the second measure, and the downward leap is a measure earlier than it has been before.  The setting of the last line, against the chain of rising jagged figures, simply remains on A, reflecting the “humming” (“mitsummen”) described in the words.  Alto 2 extends into the first bar of the next phrase.
1:37 [m. 28]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 1; Soprano 2 on Phrase 2; Soprano 3 on Phrase 3; Soprano 4 on Phrase 4.  The alto drone canon again sets the last two lines, and the only change from the previous phrase is that the leaps for line 3 are reversed.  They begin on A and leap up to E.  The setting of the last line remains on A in both parts, as in the previous phrase.  This version of the alto drone is used for the remainder of the canon, with direct repetition of both parts against the circular soprano repetition.
2:08 [m. 28, circular and direct repetition]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 2; Soprano 2 on Phrase 3; Soprano 3 on Phrase 4; Soprano 4 on Phrase 1.  Alto drone as at 1:37.
2:39 [m. 28, circular and direct repetition]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 3; Soprano 2 on Phrase 4; Soprano 3 on Phrase 1; Soprano 4 on Phrase 2.  Alto drone as at 1:37.
3:11 [m. 28, circular and direct repetition]--Soprano 1 on Phrase 4; Soprano 2 on Phrase 1; Soprano 3 on Phrase 2; Soprano 4 on Phrase 3.  Alto drone as at 1:37. Sopranos 2 and 3 (on Phrases 1 and 2) and alto 2 must extend into an extra measure [m. 37, only heard here] to complete their final statements.
3:54--END OF CANON [37 (64) mm.]
END OF SET



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