Recording: Amadeus Quartet (Norbert Brainin, 1st Violin; Siegmund Nissel, 2nd violin; Peter Schidlof, viola; Martin Lovett, cello) with Karl Leister, clarinet [DG 419 875-2]
Published 1892.

This supreme masterpiece, at once the pinnacle and valediction of Brahms’s immortal chamber music oeuvre, owes its existence to a single musician.  Richard Mühlfeld might have been one of the finest clarinetists of his day, but his greatest contribution to music history was inspiring Brahms to come out of self-imposed retirement and compose four works featuring his instrument.  The first two were written simultaneously in the summer of 1891.  The trio, whose precedent was an early work by Beethoven, was given the earlier opus number (114).  It is a superb but concise work, and Brahms valued it as highly as the quintet, but it is the latter that proved more popular both at the time and over the years that followed.  Its historical model was Mozart’s late and inspired A-major quintet (K. 581), which was also composed for a great clarinetist, Anton Stadler.  Brahms’s quintet is both intimate and warmly effusive, both profoundly sad and sweetly beautiful.  The rich and full string writing is carried over from the G-major string quintet (Op. 111).  It might be expected that the clarinet would assume a soloistic role, and in certain cases, most notably the extraordinary middle section of the second movement, that is the case, but more often, it is simply a “first among equals,” frequently sparring with or partnering with the first violin.  Because it is in a sharp key, the quintet (like the trio) is written for the clarinet pitched in A, sounding a minor third below what is written.  The word “autumnal” is frequently applied to the work’s character, but this ignores the more aggressively dark elements in the score, which are present in every movement.  Indeed, the coda of the closing variations emphasizes this by adding a sudden and piercing forte to the quiet chords that had previously ended the first movement.  The soothing nostalgia and utter beauty of many passages do not banish that ever-present background of not just melancholy, but repressed despair.  The first movement opens with the two violins playing in thirds, introducing the first of many motives that will pervade the work.  The clarinet almost sneaks in, never insisting on a dominant role, but taking it if offered.  It is an unassuming opening to a complex movement whose passionate outbursts stand in sharp relief and whose themes are plastic enough to fit a variety of moods.  The second movement is one of the most astonishing things Brahms ever composed.  Outwardly a simple ternary design, its otherworldly mood is at once established by the muted strings, which allow the clarinet to become more prominent.  The minor-key central section is gloriously long, the last and most overtly extreme evocation of Brahms’s “Hungarian” or “gypsy” style.  Here, the clarinet’s rapid figuration against ever-present string tremolo is a most striking and original sound.  The third movement is an odd design, seeming to resemble the intermezzo type often favored by Brahms in lieu of a scherzo, but then the apparent “trio” section is itself a sonata-form scherzo and indeed the main part of the movement, rendering the opening intermezzo (to which it is obviously melodically related) the role of a glorified introduction.  It magically, but briefly returns at the end.  The closest predecessor to the variation finale is the closing movement of the Third String Quartet in B-flat.  There are only five variations, but the theme is longer than that of Op. 67.  The structural patterns (and largely the tonal ones) are consistent.  The second variation brings back the agitated mood from the central section of the second movement, the fourth in major refers to the third movement, and the final waltz variation leads into the inevitable reprise of first movement material.  Thematic interactions can be traced between all four movements.  The home key of B minor plays a dominant role in all four, but the “relative” D major asserts itself early in the first.  The second is in B major, but its all-important central section is in minor.  The third movement’s intermezzo is in D major, but the main “scherzo” portion is in B minor (the brief reminiscence at the end is enough to ensure that it ends in D).  The more remote G major plays a prominent secondary role in the closing variations.  Brahms allowed for substitution of a second, soloistic viola part in lieu of the clarinet, but this is virtually never played today.

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

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

1st Movement: Allegro (Sonata-Allegro form). B MINOR, 6/8 time.

0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1.  The first four measures, while part of the theme, have introductory character as well, and they are not included in the exposition repeat.  The two violins, playing in thirds, present an extremely passionate figure consisting of a long half-measure note followed by six faster turning notes.  This figure will pervade the structure.  They repeat the figure with the turning notes, inverting it down to a sixth, then swing downward in long-short rhythm as the viola, then the cello, enter with syncopated repeated notes.  While these introductory measures establish the home key of B minor, the clarinet entry will undermine it. 
0:11 [m. 5]--The volume recedes, and the clarinet enters with a rising arpeggio, the main theme proper, that immediately pivots to the “relative” key of D major.  The cello responds with a rising arpeggio while the upper strings hold long notes.  After its own long-held melodic note, the clarinet continues with the theme, utilizing the six-note turn figure.  These figures alternate with rising cello arpeggios, and the second violin has sliding inner motion.  After two statements of the turn figure, the clarinet swells upward, and the violins respond, the cello sliding downward.  Turning back toward B minor, the clarinet plunges down, receding in an arpeggio.  The strings drop out, and the clarinet reaches its lowest register, where it states the turn figure.
0:33 [m. 14]--The cello and viola enter strongly with a broad new idea derived from the swinging long-short rhythm from the introductory measures.  The cello is placed a sixth above the viola, resulting in a warm sound.  Against them, the clarinet reiterates the “dominant” note F-sharp in its low “chalumeau” register.  The cello and viola emerge into figures derived from the six-note turn but reduced to three notes.  They appear to be moving toward a full B-minor cadence, supported by the now-moving low clarinet, but this is diverted by the entry of the violins and viola and a new statement of this material.
0:43 [m. 18]--The violins, more quietly and in octaves, take the material just presented in harmony by viola and cello.  The clarinet and viola play arching arpeggios against it, holding notes in the middle of measures, while the cello provides a solid bass in long notes.  The clarinet/viola arpeggios begin in thirds, with the viola below the clarinet.  As the violins turn to the three-note figures, the clarinet and viola work down and spread their harmonies to sixths while the volume rapidly builds.  The same anticipated cadence appears to arrive, but now it is extended, not diverted.
0:53 [m. 22]--As the volume level reaches forte, the second violin, then the first, becomes integrated into the clarinet/viola texture, then all instruments come together on the “swinging” rhythm, with long-short and short-long juxtaposed.  The cadence is then stretched out in an implied 3/4 measure, a so-called “hemiola.”  When the cadence arrives, it will merge with the forceful opening of the transition theme.
1:01 [m. 25]--Transition.  All five instruments arrive on a powerful harmonized statement of an exaggerated long-short rhythm (akin to “double dotted,” but with a rest to make it detached).  After this initial statement of the rhythm, there is a brief pause, and the clarinet breaks while the strings provide the continuation.  This is a vigorous series of chords whose top line is derived from the “turn” figures of the main theme.  After they march for a measure and a half, they reach a syncopated pause, whereupon the cello plays a rapid arpeggio in fast triplet rhythm, which is dovetailed by the newly entering clarinet.
1:10 [m. 29]--A series of exchanges follows using both the fast triplet rhythm and the exaggerated long-short rhythm, played against each other.  The triplet rhythm is now used for a run that briefly turns one direction than shoots in another.  The order of statements for the triplet rhythm run is viola (ascending), first violin (descending), second violin (descending), clarinet, joined by second violin (ascending), and first violin (ascending).  The long-short rhythm is passed from clarinet to cello to first violin to viola, and then its last statement is played by all except first violin.  The clarinet and viola complete the first violin’s last ascent, which reaches a brief pause on the “dominant” harmony.
1:18 [m. 32]--The viola and cello begin to play the vigorous marching continuation, and are followed by the clarinet and violins.  A harmonic shift leads to a loud syncopated chord on F major, not a closely related harmony, and the viola, then the clarinet, play an arpeggio on this chord.  The harmony then shifts again as the cello leads the marching figures.  With another viola arpeggio, it moves to A major, and then with another clarinet arpeggio, briefly to D minor before the instruments again come together on A major.  This harmony now functions as the preparatory “dominant” for the Theme 2 in D major.
1:27 [m. 36]--Theme 2 (D major).  In a bridge, the cello, then the viola and first violin, begin a syncopated murmur, establishing the new key, which already played a strong role in Theme 1.  The clarinet and second violin then begin the theme itself in unison.  It is smooth and gentle, but also derived from the ever prevalent “turn” figures.  The first violin briefly takes up the theme, harmonized by viola and cello, but then the clarinet and second violin take it again, the other instruments harmonizing.
1:41 [m. 42]--The clarinet continues the thematic presentation.  The first violin and viola emerge in figures more directly reminiscent of the “turn” figures from Theme 1.  The second violin again briefly joins the clarinet before the melody rapturously flowers upward, joined by a soaring first violin.  The continuation relies more on the “turn” figures in short-short-long rhythm.  The second violin and viola move up and down with faster, partly syncopated notes.  After the clarinet and first violin reach a strong arrival on the “dominant” harmony, they quickly become quiet and turn toward G major and C major.  The clarinet then drops out, leaving the harmonized strings to trail off in C major.
1:57 [m. 48]--The cello establishes a reiterated bass on G.  The other strings play hushed, halting, off-beat notes, still in C major but with the top notes rising by half-step.  An echo of the last descent leads to more upward chromatic motion, whereupon the clarinet re-enters, joining the off-beat notes and shifting back up to re-establish D major, the primary key of Theme 2.  The cello reiterations move up to A.  Now marked dolce, the off-beat figures include descending two-note slurs in the first violin.  The clarinet’s upward chromatic motion briefly swells in volume, anticipating the next arrival point.
2:17 [m. 55]--The upper strings emerge in swaying two-note slurs creating an implied 3/4 meter.  The upward-sliding cello also supports this.  The clarinet, however, preserves the 6/8 flow on its off-beat entry, providing a sweetly descending final phrase to the theme, harmonized shortly by the second violin.  The strings resume the regular 6/8 motion, and the first violin anticipates the upward-leading end of the phrase, which is taken up by the clarinet.  The instruments reach a suspended pause on “dominant” harmony.
2:27 [m. 59]--Closing material.  With an abrupt and powerful entry on the last partial beat (the sixth “beat”) of the measure, a series of three-note units begins, each of which starts with a strong accent on a weak part of the beat, creating a sense of displaced meter.  The three-note units alternate between high and low accents, and the first violin doubles the clarinet on the melody with tremolo pulses in triplet rhythm.  The cello follows the same pattern, basically reversing the high and low accents of the clarinet and first violin.  The second violin and viola play pulsing syncopation.  After four of these three-note units, a fifth seems to begin, but then the sense of meter is restored as the clarinet and first violin trail down over two measures.
2:36 [m. 63]--The clarinet unexpectedly drops out, and the strings continue to spin out the flowing lines that have emerged from the temporary metric displacement.  The phrases still emphasize the upbeats, but there is now no strong accent disrupting the sense of where the pulse should lie.  The second violin takes the lead here, with the first violin providing a decorative line in rapid triplet-rhythm figuration.  Syncopated notes in viola and cello also emphasize the upbeats, but the viola soon harmonizes the second violin.  At that point, the first violin’s fast triplets, which have been based on neighbor-note motion, settle onto a more static measured trill on two notes.
2:46 [m. 67]--The clarinet re-enters, taking over the melody from the second violin and closing the phrase with slight minor-key inflection.  The violins join in syncopated pulsations while the viola and cello play widely leaping tremolo figuration in the fast triplet rhythm.  After the clarinet seems to bring the melody to a close, the second violin and viola seamlessly and organically emerge into the six-note turn figure from the opening, harmonized in thirds as expected.  The cello takes over the syncopated pulsation.  A second statement of the six-note turn, after the expected long note, is in first violin and viola, now in sixths.
2:57 [m. 5]--Theme 1.  Because the key of D major matches the “proper” beginning of the theme in the fifth measure, the four “introductory” measures in B minor can be omitted in the repeat.  Indeed, the six-note turn figures at the end of the exposition take their place, and the syncopated cello pulsations also aid in a remarkably natural transition, considering it comes from an entirely different harmonic environment than the opening.  This masterful stroke is lost if the exposition repeat is omitted.  Clarinet and cello arpeggios and development of the theme with six-note turn figure, then turn to B minor with clarinet plunging to its low register, as at 0:11.
3:19 [m. 14]--Broad swinging long-short idea from cello and viola, as at 0:33.
3:29 [m. 18]--Violin statement of long-short idea with clarinet/viola arpeggios, as at 0:43.
3:39 [m. 22]--Buildup and extended cadence with “hemiola,” as at 0:53.
3:47 [m. 25]--Transition.  Exaggerated long-short rhythm and powerful chords, as at 1:01.
3:56 [m. 29]--Exchanges with fast triplets and long-short rhythm, as at 1:10.
4:04 [m. 32]--Marching continuation with harmonic shifts, as at 1:18.
4:13 [m. 36]--Theme 2 in D major.  Bridge and initial presentation, as at 1:27.
4:28 [m. 42]--Continuation with short turn figures, moving to C major and trailing off, as at 1:41.
4:43 [m. 48]--Reiterated bass with quiet off-beat notes and chromatic motion, as at 1:57.
5:03 [m. 55]--Sweetly descending final phrase led by clarinet, as at 2:17.
5:13 [m. 59]--Closing material.  Powerful three-note units on weak beats with tremolo, as at 2:27.
5:22 [m. 63]--String continuation without clarinet, including decorative triplet figuration, as at 2:36.
5:32 [m. 67]--Clarinet entry, closing phrase, and emergence of six-note turn, as at 2:46, now leading into the development section as it had into the exposition repeat.  There are not first or second endings.
5:43 [m. 71]--The clarinet arpeggio is played as in the exposition and the repeat, but the string instruments immediately make a harmonic diversion.  The viola plays an arpeggio suggesting E major.  The clarinet settles on a held low D-sharp, and an ominous version of the six-note turn figure in the cello confirms a motion not to E major, but to its “relative” key of C-sharp minor.  The music settles there.  The first violin now takes up the six-note turn figure as the low clarinet and other strings add slow-moving harmonies.  The instruments join in harmony on a slow cadence motion in C-sharp minor.
6:10 [m. 81]--A steady buildup now begins.  The clarinet, still in its lowest register, plays surging, wave-like figures with long notes connected by very short ones, moving up out of the lowest region.  The cello, meanwhile, once again ruminates on the six-note turn figure.  The other strings gradually enter, with the viola, then the violins joining the clarinet on its wave-like figures.  The cello passes the six-note figure to the first violin as it joins the harmonization of the wave-like motion.  Finally, the first violin alone joins the clarinet in unison, the latter having moved to its high register as the remaining strings take up the six-note figure.  The clarinet and first violin move even higher, and the volume has reached forte.
6:25 [m. 87]--Still in C-sharp minor, the instruments cut off except for the first violin, which plays a downward-arching arpeggio.  The instruments pass three-note descending fragments to each other, then turn them around before emerging into the familiar turn figure.  Another arching arpeggio, now in the second violin, leads to another sequence of the same patterns.
6:33 [m. 91]--The three-note descending fragments are now interchanged with arching four-note figures.  The clarinet prominently enters as these elements are further combined in a variant of the familiar six-note turn.  As the first violin reaches high, the three-note fragments are turned upward, passed to the clarinet, and then joined by both violins.  Meanwhile, the variants of the six-note turn continue in the lower strings.  With building tension, the ever more active instruments move toward another apparent big arrival on C-sharp minor. 
6:42 [m. 95]--The first violin and cello play downward-arching figures against short punctuations from the other instruments, then all strings shoot up in an arpeggio as the clarinet drops out.  The first violin also drops out after reaching high with its arpeggio.  The remaining three instruments settle on reiterations of G-sharp (the “dominant” note in C-sharp minor) apparently in preparation for the anticipated arrival point.  But a sudden diminishing in volume indicates a change of direction, and indeed, the arrival will be quiet, with a turn to major.
6:51 [m. 98]--Brahms adds the very prominent marking “Quasi sostenuto” above the score.  While the long-running key center of C-sharp/D-flat is retained, it is now major (notated as D-flat major in the strings).  Here is a remarkable transformation of the formerly vigorous transition theme originally heard at 1:01 and 3:47 [m. 25].  The first violin presents the initial exaggerated long-short gesture, which is supported by low repeated notes in the clarinet.  The remaining strings establish a continuous harmonic background using the long-short rhythm, inserting rests between the long and short notes to give it a halting character.  The first violin proceeds with the turn-derived thematic continuation, which the clarinet echoes.
7:03 [m. 102]--The clarinet and first violin continue to spin out the transition theme’s turn-derived figures above the continued halting long-short chords in the other strings.  The theme has a soothing character, in strong contrast to its initial presentation.  The melody twice emerges into a longing upward reach, and the key remains centered on D-flat major.
7:15 [m. 106]--With an abrupt harmonic shift, the transition theme is again presented with its initial gesture, now in the key of A major, down a major third.  After the initial gesture from the clarinet, echoed by the first violin, fragments of the turn-based continuation are passed between those instruments.  The pulsing, halting long-short background continues.  The first violin extends a fragment, building somewhat and touching on F-sharp minor.  Then the first violin and clarinet both soar higher and build stronger.  The pulsing background is now sped up, with added syncopation.  An arrival on A major is anticipated.
7:37 [m. 114]--Now forte, the anticipated arrival on A is diverted, down another major third to F.  The pulsing background returns to its original patterns in second violin and viola.  The clarinet plays the main long-short rhythm and soars up, while the first violin plays a plunging arpeggio before joining the upward leap.  The cello, meanwhile, plays the original thematic downward leap.  The instruments suddenly become quiet again, and the leap is echoed in clarinet and first violin as the cello takes the turning continuation, briefly shifting the key to C minor.  The first violin, then the clarinet, emerge into dissonant descending lines, the former continuing with the soaring leap.  The key changes again, initially to D major.
7:47 [m. 118]--The cello’s turning continuation, along with the pulsing inner strings, changes D major to D minor as the first violin makes another upward leap.  The clarinet echoes the cello against a descending arpeggio in the first violin.  The inner strings shift the key yet again, to B-flat major, confirmed by the turning cello, echoed by the first violin, which changes it to minor as the clarinet plays the descending arpeggio.  The frequent harmonic shifts contrast with the static C-sharp minor in the first part of the development section.
7:55 [m. 121]--Re-transition.  The pulsing stops in the second violin and viola with another abrupt shift, this time to F-sharp major, which is the preparatory “dominant” in the home key of B minor.  The cello still plays the turning figure, alternating with the clarinet and the other strings, whose figures have minor-key inflections.  Soon, the clarinet and first violin come together in unison.  The cello and the other instruments hold long notes over strong beats in alternation.  Soon another preparatory harmony, the “subdominant” E minor, is emphasized.  Everything is extremely hushed, and the syncopation becomes even stronger.
8:12 [m. 127]--Suddenly, the clarinet emerges into the swinging long-short rhythm from Theme 1, dolce, and although the “dominant” note F-sharp is held in the cello, the key has moved fully to B, at this point B major.  The cello then takes the long-short idea against fragments in the violins, and the clarinet soon joins.  The cello devolves into the three-note abbreviation of the turn figure, supported by sighing figures in the clarinet.  The violins and viola settle on a long-held F-sharp as the clarinet and cello, harmonized in sonorous sixths, sinuously wind down in eight-note groups that cross the 6/8 meter, stretching their highly chromatic descent over three full measures, turning to minor at the end, very quietly leading into the return.
8:35 [m. 136]--Theme 1.  The arrival of the clarinet and cello merges into the presentation from the violins of the first two measures of the “introduction.”  But then, instead of the remaining two, the clarinet enters to present the swinging long-short motion as originally heard from the cello and viola at 0:33 and 3:19 [m. 14].  Since this begins the same way as the third measure of the “introduction,” this merger is extremely artful.  Thus, Brahms completely skips not only the last two measures of the “introduction,” but also the Theme 1 material from 0:11 and 2:57 [m. 5] in a seamless way.  The clarinet continues the presentation with accompaniment from the three upper strings, following the original pattern of the cello.
8:52 [m. 142]--Violin statement of long-short idea with clarinet/viola arpeggios and buildup, as at 0:43 and 3:29 [m. 18].  The clarinet must make a minor adjustment from its arrival point into the arpeggios.  Unlike the clarinet statement of the previous cello/viola phrase, the scoring exactly matches the exposition.
9:02 [m. 146]--Buildup and extended cadence with “hemiola,” as at 0:53 and 3:39 [m. 22].
9:09 [m. 149]--Transition.  The first two measures are as at 1:01 and 3:47 [m. 25], with the forceful long-short rhythm and the half-measure of vigorous chords.  In the third measure, however, the chords deviate and the clarinet re-enters.  The chords are cut off halfway through that measure and diverted toward E minor with a cascading run of rapidly arching triplets from the viola, joined by the second violin.  The chord sequence begins again, a fourth higher and displaced by a half-measure, with altered harmony suggesting D major and then A minor with the viola/second violin triplets.  A third sequence follows with the original metric orientation, moving to G major with piping clarinet and extended, uninterrupted chords.
9:23 [m. 155]--Since G major will eventually be the new key for Theme 2, the music seems to have arrived, but Brahms adds another diversion to extend the transition, similar to 1:18 and 4:04 [m. 32].  A loud syncopated chord on B-flat coincides with rapidly rising triplets in viola, then second violin, and another syncopated B-flat chord moves inward.  This full sequence happens again, but the syncopated chords are on D major and G minor.  These merge directly into the first measure of Theme 2.  The transition has been abbreviated by three bars, but uses the same material.
9:28 [m. 157]--Theme 2 (G major), analogous to 1:27 and 4:13 [m. 36].  The bridge is more richly scored than before.  The viola reinforces the cello, and the second violin takes its former role.  The clarinet supports the first violin.  The theme itself begins with unison clarinet and second violin, as before.  After the first two measures, however, the roles of the first and second violins are reversed from the exposition, and the first violin rises to double the clarinet in a higher octave.
9:42 [m. 163]--Analogous to 1:41 and 4:28 [m. 42].  There is significant rescoring from the exposition.  The two violin parts remain reversed, with the “turn” figures in second violin and viola.  The clarinet does not take part in the “soaring, rapturous” passage, the viola instead doubling the first violin there.  The clarinet drops out earlier, at the strong arrival on the “dominant” and the harmonic turn, now toward C and F.  It rejoins, taking over for the first violin, as the music trails off in F major.
9:57 [m. 169]--Analogous to 1:57 and 4:43 [m. 48].  The pattern is closely followed, with the cello reiterating C, then D as the music moves from F major back to G major.  The major difference is that the clarinet and first violin are now reversed.  The clarinet takes part in the initial off-beat notes, and the first violin is absent.  The first violin joins later, playing the upward chromatic motion while the clarinet takes the two-note slurs.
10:16 [m. 176]--Analogous to 2:17 and 5:03 [m. 55].  The re-scoring here is particularly interesting, as the first violin takes the lead role previously played by the clarinet in the “sweetly descending final phrase.”  For its part, the clarinet takes lines previously played by the first violin (the two-note slurs implying 3/4 and later the rising line leading into the phrase ending) and the second violin (the harmonization of the main melodic line).
10:26 [m. 180]--Closing material, analogous to 2:27 and 5:13 [m. 59].  Here the distribution goes back to the way it was in the exposition, with the first violin playing tremolo on the three-note figures beginning on weak beats.  The clarinet, however, adds octave register shifts to its doubling of the first violin, and it drops out a measure early as the first violin trails down.
10:35 [m. 184]--String continuation, analogous to 2:36 and 5:22 [m. 63], with rapid triplet figuration in the first violin eventually settling on a measured trill.  The second violin takes the lead, as before, and the viola moves to harmonize it.  The final phrase of the exposition from 2:46 and 5:32 [m. 67], where the clarinet re-entered with the closing melody and the violins emerged into the six-note turn, is omitted, and the sudden beginning of the coda is surprising.
10:44 [m. 188]--The clarinet re-enters here, and with the first violin, it plays suddenly ominous sounding four-note oscillations, still emphasizing the upbeats.  The other strings settle into tremolo-like repeated-note harmonies, still retaining the fast triplet rhythm.  These harmonies, along with the figures in the clarinet and first violin, wrench the music back toward B minor in dissonant harmonies.  The first violin reaches up an octave on the second four-note gesture.  There is a strong buildup.  The clarinet and first violin then emerge into an extremely passionate arching line in two waves, with the first violin playing tremolo (faster than the continuing triplet rhythm in the other strings).  A full arrival on B minor is still avoided.
10:54 [m. 192]--The other strings join the wave motion, the cello a half-measure later than the others, and all five instruments play in unison, with the strings repeating all notes in a fast tremolo.  They all descend until the cello enters, whereupon they turn around.  Before the ascent, they all suddenly diminish to a piano volume level and then build up again.  In the ascent, the “melodic” form of the minor scale finally confirms B minor.  In the last measure, the clarinet and first violin stop rising and reiterate the high “dominant” note F-sharp in powerful syncopation.  The other three instruments continue the exhilarating ascent.
11:00 [m. 195]--In an inevitable and thrilling climax, the clarinet and first violin loudly proclaim the opening figure with the long note and six-note turn in unison as the other strings again move to harmonies with fast tremolo repetitions in triplet rhythm.  The first violin continues the climactic presentation of the formerly “introductory” phrase, moving to the familiar swaying long-short rhythm.  The clarinet, however, suddenly erupts into a series of four rapid descending arpeggios in triplet rhythm landing on a longer note, reaching back up before each one.  The other strings continue their persistent tremolo harmonies.
11:10 [m. 199]--The tremolo motion ceases, and the clarinet leaps down to its low “chalumeau” register.  The first violin erupts into a powerful descent with zigzagging down-up motion (the upper note remaining static while the lower one descends).  The other strings join in this march-like motion, and the clarinet supports it with its low notes.  This then merges into another presentation of the ubiquitous long-short swaying motion in the two violins.  The clarinet’s low notes become static, while the viola and cello move to oscillations, again in the fast triplet rhythm.  The cello continues these, briefly expanding to octaves, while the viola changes to the syncopated repeated notes heard back in the first “introduction.”
11:19 [m. 203]--The zigzag descent moves to the cello, and the upper strings settle down to a more solid, conclusive descent as the clarinet plays short interjections.  This is repeated in a second measure, and then abbreviated by half in a third one.  At this point, the intensity and volume rapidly diminish.  Everything cuts off, and the cello begins a continuous upward arpeggio.  This is passed to the viola, which dips down again before rising, and then to the first violin, which does the same.  The arpeggio is marked piano.
11:30 [m. 207]--For the first time since the beginning of the movement, even including the exposition repeat (where it was omitted) and the recapitulation (where it was abbreviated and merged into the later part of Theme 1), the four-measure “introduction” is heard in full from the strings.  It is not as passionate at the quiet level, sounding more resigned, and the two lower strings change their formerly agitated syncopation to gentler pulses under the swaying motion.
11:41 [m. 211]--The strings hold their chord, and the clarinet enters after a six-measure absence.  It echoes the long-short motion of the “introduction” music.  All five instruments then cut off for a half-measure pause.  The clarinet continues its echo of the long-short motion, with the strings entering against it on a single chord.  Another pause leads to the extended final cadence, with the clarinet following two string chords in after-beat syncopation.  The clarinet is then left alone for the clinching descent of the cadence.  It dips below the first violin as the strings enter for the two long, hushed closing chords.
12:16--END OF MOVEMENT [218 mm.]

2nd Movement:
Adagio – Più lento (Large ternary form [ABA]). B MAJOR, 3/4 and 4/4 time.
A Section (Adagio, B major, 3/4 time)
0:00 [m. 1]--The clarinet presents the serene main theme, dolce, against a hazy string background, all four instruments playing with mutes.  With the clarinet’s descending lines, the second violin, viola, and cello play patterns that alternate gently downward-turning triplets with “straight” motion, including syncopation across strong beats and bar lines.  The first violin is more blatantly syncopated, shadowing the clarinet line.  The melody is major, but the strings add a minor-key tint with the note G-natural.  The clarinet makes a more direct turn to minor with the note D-natural in the fourth measure during a brief buildup.
0:19 [m. 5]--The turn to minor is emphasized with a strong accent, which immediately recedes.  The clarinet turns up and back down to close its phrase in minor against triplets in the viola and then second violin.  The first violin briefly drops out.  The clarinet’s closing gesture is echoed a fourth higher by the second violin, against the downward-turning triplets in viola and cello.  Neither the clarinet nor the second violin comes to a full cadence, and the harmonies are very colorful.
0:36 [m. 9]--Back in major, the clarinet and first violin switch roles, with the first violin playing the melody and the clarinet shadowing it in syncopation.  The “color” note G-natural is still present.  As for the other strings, they are all now in triplet rhythm, using strong syncopation, and the downward-turning figures now have a long-short aspect.  The second violin clings stubbornly to a repeated B.  In the fourth measure, where the melody turns to minor, the triplets in the second violin and viola become more active, and the cello slides down, switching to “straight” rhythm as it had at this point in the clarinet statement.  The mute adds an otherworldly quality to the first violin’s melodic presentation during the whole statement.
0:54 [m. 13]--As in the clarinet statement, this one led by first violin has a strong accent confirming the turn to minor.  For the first two measures, the other string instruments match the patterns at 0:19 [m. 5].  At the “echo” a fourth higher, now taken by the clarinet (which had briefly dropped out), the viola and cello no longer play the downward-turning triplets, and the viola settles on repeated-note triplets with syncopation.  The cello reaches up to harmonize the clarinet echo.  The second violin also adds slower syncopated notes.  The clarinet adds a chromatic slide at the very end.
1:11 [m. 17]--A contrasting phrase is led by the violins in octaves, decorated by the clarinet.  The violin line uses broad swaying motion, reaching up and down, then reaching high and descending.  The clarinet counterpoint is more active, adding shorter notes at the end of each bar, then soaring high as the violins reach their first arrival point.  The viola constantly repeats the “dominant” note F-sharp in syncopated triplet rhythm, and the cello plays wide leaps up and down that somewhat go against the triple meter.
1:26 [m. 21]--The second half of the phrase begins almost like the first, but the clarinet counterpoint is an octave higher, the viola reiterations add an upper octave, and the cello has a smoother line.  Halfway through, there is deviation, with the viola syncopations moving off the same stubborn F-sharp.  The violin melody now moves strongly toward an arrival on the “dominant” harmony, F-sharp, with the clarinet again soaring high, then plunging low against it.  After the arrival on F-sharp, which extends the phrase by a measure, the clarinet is left alone for another extending measure as it plays a rising arpeggio connecting to the next phrase.  The extended six-bar unit breaks the prevalent four-bar pattern.
1:49 [m. 27]--The main clarinet melody appears to begin again, but now fully in the B-minor key.  This is deceptive, however, as the strings, led by a cello arpeggio, shift to D major, then briefly toward C-sharp.  Very quietly, the clarinet melody shifts down another level over C-major harmony (led by cello and viola arpeggios).  Another downward shift finally seems to arrive at B (minor), but there is a strong pull toward G major as well.  The clarinet’s four-note descents mildly disrupt the triple meter.  The last one is extended (adding an extra measure), then it leaps up for the full return of the thematic opening in B major.
2:11 [m. 32]--The theme begins again, this time doubled in clarinet and first violin.  The first violin is an octave above the clarinet.  The second violin plays leaping octaves, one ascending followed by two descending in each bar.  The cello and viola play a wide oscillation in triplet rhythm.  In the fourth measure, the melody deviates from the initial presentation and avoids the motion to B minor.  The cello moves from the oscillation to a more syncopated arching bass line.
2:29 [m. 36]--The clarinet does not play its original upward-arching closing gesture.  Instead, the first violin plays it at the higher level originally taken by the second violin in its repetition.  Essentially, the melody has been abbreviated by two measures.  The clarinet drops out.  The other strings do as well, but they quickly re-enter as the first violin completes its gesture.  The first violin then begins the gesture an octave lower, removing the minor-key inflections.  It extends the descent, supported by the other strings.  The clarinet is still absent as the strings slow to held chords and finally make the definitive turn to minor.
Transition to “B” Section
2:54 [m. 42]--The key signature changes to B minor.  The clarinet surreptitiously enters at an extremely hushed level.  The two lower strings make a timid entry against it, but quickly give the clarinet space.  Now alone, the clarinet emerges into a turning figure vaguely reminiscent of the opening gesture from the first movement.  It then shoots up in a five-note group before settling and swelling on a longer note.  The viola and cello make another brief and timid entry.  The clarinet then makes an even more dramatic gesture while building strongly.  First it turns, then descends in a five-note group, and finally ascends rapidly in a nine-note group on the last beat.  This virtually unmeasured high-reaching ascent is surprisingly loud and shrill.
3:05 [m. 46]--Having landed on the loud high B, the clarinet holds it as the strings enter strongly with a harmonized three-note descent.  The clarinet then descends on a scale to the B an octave lower.  The strings once again enter with the three-note harmonized descent, suggesting a motion to the “dominant” F-sharp.  The clarinet descends another octave, now in triplets and on the notes of a scale in F-sharp minor.  Receding greatly, it finally leaps down to that “dominant” note F-sharp, seemingly suspending it.  Finally, the strings enter again with their three-note descent, with the first violin alone on the first note.  They quietly re-establish B minor, holding in anticipation of the main B section material.
B Section (Più lento, B minor, 4/4 time)
3:26 [m. 52]--In slow 4/4 meter, the clarinet begins its digression in the so-called “gypsy” style so often favored by Brahms.  This is his latest and most daring evocation of that style.  With chordal string support, the theme is presented with highly decorative roulades.  At first, these are in six-note groups with the first note tied to a previous longer one.  After two such gestures in the forceful presentation, the melody dips down before sliding up a scale in a rapid nine-note group, then slowing in a detached long-short rhythm.  The second measure is similar, but begins a third higher, and the fast group is a downward-arching arpeggio of eleven notes diminishing in volume.  Brahms carefully indicates the metric location of the decorations.
3:43 [m. 54]--The clarinet arrives at a long note, under which the strings swell on a harmonized long-short rhythm.  The clarinet then takes up that rhythm in a mournful wail, momentarily abandoning its decorative figures.  Here the first violin and viola, in another evocation of the style, emerge into fast tremolo motion on an oscillating third.  As the clarinet brings the melody to a cadence on the “dominant” minor (F-sharp minor), the violin, then the viola both move off the tremolo to join the other strings in harmonic support.
3:57 [m. 56]--After the cadence, the clarinet pauses, and the first violin adds an extremely poignant and much quieter epilogue using measured 32nd notes.  This epilogue is a distant cousin of the opening gesture from the first movement.  The accompaniment from the other strings is mildly syncopated.  A full cadence in F-sharp shifts to major at the very end.  The clarinet re-enters, leading into the next phrase with another rapid rising scale that slows to a triplet at the end, moving from the F-sharp “dominant” back to B minor.
4:17 [m. 58]--The clarinet returns to the patterns of the first two measures from 3:26 [m. 52].  The much quieter string accompaniment now utilizes the oscillating tremolo figures, twice passed from second violin to viola and finally cello.  These figures are on various intervals, first thirds and sixths, then a fourth and a fifth.  At the end of the second measure, under the eleven-note arching arpeggio, the cello passes the tremolo back to the viola.  The strings not playing the tremolo simply hold long sustained notes. 
4:34 [m. 60]--The presentation here is extremely similar to that at 3:43 [m. 54].  The wailing melodic line in the clarinet and the bass support in the cello are in fact identical, as is the second violin line.  The first violin, which leads the surging motion in the first measure, also does not deviate there.  The main difference is in the viola, which continues its fast tremolo third.  The first violin moves to the tremolo as expected in the second measure, but now both that instrument and the viola intensify that tremolo, adding shakes on double stops in place of the oscillations, increasing the intensity ahead of the cadence.
4:48 [m. 62]--As at 3:57 [m. 56], the first violin plays its poignant epilogue.  This time, however, the second violin plays tremolo oscillations against it, and the viola harmonizes its syncopations.  The turn to F-sharp major at the end occurs as expected.  The clarinet entry is varied, adding more notes (a five-note group and a nine-note group where there had been three and eight) and rising a full fifth higher than before on the closing triplet.
5:07 [m. 64]--This is a variation of 3:26 [m. 52] and 4:17 [m. 58] with a new harmonic context and at a quiet level.  The first six-note groups, with string support, move the harmony down from B minor to A major.  The second violin and viola alternate tremolo oscillations here.  The clarinet’s dip and rise are more arch-like, using straight 64th and 32nd notes in groups of eight and four.  The second measure has a similar pattern, moving the harmony down yet another level to G major.  This time, the clarinet has a faster downward-arching ten-note group before its long-short upward leap.  Again, the second violin and viola alternate on the tremolo oscillation.
5:25 [m. 66]--This is almost an exact transposition of 4:34 [m. 60], itself a close variation of 3:43 [m. 54].  The new harmonic level establishes a motion back to a cadence in the home key of B minor instead of to the “dominant” minor on F-sharp.  A further subtle intensification is created by the second violin now participating in the tremolo figures during the second measure along with the first violin and viola.  There are shakes at the end of the first measure, but all the tremolo moves to oscillation in the second.
5:38 [m. 68]--Instead of quieting down after the cadence for the epilogue, the music suddenly intensifies.  The clarinet erupts into a syncopated line, imitated a fifth higher by the first violin.  The second violin and viola play very fast tremolo now, including both oscillations and shakes, and the cello has upward and downward storming figures coming after longer notes.  A second imitation between clarinet and first violin begins a step lower (on C), the violin spilling into the next measure.  Here, the cello moves to wide tremolo oscillations while the second violin and viola have vigorous shakes.  A third, non-syncopated imitation is narrowed to a fourth.  The harmony on C is wrenched toward E minor with a plunging violin.
5:50 [m. 70]--With the only fortissimo marking in the movement, the clarinet wails in its high register with passionate long-short rhythm, descending, leaping up, and moving down again.  The two violins, after a trill, emerge into very fast syncopation on repeated two-note harmonies while the cello plays slower syncopated repeated notes.  The viola now has the wide tremolo oscillations.  The wailing clarinet moves from E minor back home to B minor, where there is a forceful cadence.
6:03 [m. 72]--Almost as if the previous passionate extension had not happened, the music quiets down suddenly after the cadence, and the first violin plays its familiar melancholy epilogue, as it might have been expected to do at 5:38 [m. 68].  This is the first time the epilogue has been played in the home key of B minor instead of F-sharp minor.  The clarinet drops out as expected.  The violins play slow syncopated lines, and the cello has two isolated octave oscillations.  This time, there is no major-key inflection at the end.  The cello adds a mournful, transitional pendant, winding up, then descending in two six-note groups.
Re-Transition (3/4 and 4/4 time)
6:25 [m. 74]--With the return of 3/4 meter, the first violin plays a rising line reminiscent of the clarinet counterpoint at 1:11 [m. 17].  It is supported by the second violin and viola in fast tremolo shakes and the cello’s solid continuation from its mournful transition.  Suddenly the clarinet interrupts, seemingly unwilling to let go of the material.  Its line rises, then falls to a decorated cadence-like gesture, moving back toward E minor.  The first violin makes another attempt a third higher, more forcefully and harmonized by the second violin, but the clarinet interrupts again, now with a longer plunge before the cadence-like gesture, moving to the more distant G minor.
6:42 [m. 78]--The violins surge upward with long notes and short groups, supported by the other strings and building strongly.  They arrive in the remote key of B-flat minor, a half-step below the home key, complete with a key signature change.  There, the clarinet enters with a high wailing descent against syncopated strings.  The cello responds with the now-familiar six-note group.  The clarinet then drops precipitously to its lowest register, where it reverses its high wailing motion.  The cello responds with the six-note figure again, and then the first violin, with syncopated support, reaches up in long-short motion.
6:57 [m. 82]--The strings arrive on the “dominant” in B-flat minor and immediately move to a fast “shaking” tremolo.  Against this, the clarinet enters, beginning with a high rising gesture that immediately drops low, a highly unsettling effect.  At the same time, the key shifts to E-flat minor.  The clarinet makes another extreme high-low motion, then leaps back up to lead into the next passage, back in 4/4 meter.
7:08 [m. 85]--The meter changes back to 4/4, and the clarinet is given one last display of rapid figuration.  Here, it arches steadily lower, reaching to the depths, all against the continuing fast string tremolo in E-flat minor.  At the end of the first sequence, the first violin rounds it off with a fast upward arpeggio.  The clarinet sequence is then given beginning a third higher but ending in the same place.  The violin response reaches higher.  A third measure of 4/4 is transitional and rapidly quiets down as the clarinet figures cease.  The key signature of B major returns, and the first violin plays the melodic opening of the A section.  With E-flat minor now spelled D-sharp minor, arpeggios from cello, viola, and clarinet move back home to B.
A Section Reprise
7:25 [m. 88]--The clarinet arpeggio leads directly into the return of the opening material and the definitive restoration of 3/4.  The reprise of the entire A section is literal except here at the beginning, where one measure, either the first or second, is removed.  The initial clarinet presentation against the hazy string background with triplets and syncopation is presented as at the opening, except for the missing measure (perhaps compensated by the first violin anticipation in the last 4/4 bar of the re-transition).
7:38 [m. 91]--Turn to minor and second violin echo, as at 0:19 [m. 5].
7:55 [m. 95]--First violin presentation of melody, as at 0:36 [m. 9].
8:13 [m. 99]--Turn to minor and clarinet echo, as at 0:54 [m. 13].
8:30 [m. 103]--Contrasting phrase in violins with clarinet counterpoint, as at 1:11 [m. 17].
8:45 [m. 107]--Higher clarinet counterpoint, motion toward F-sharp, and extension to six measures with clarinet arpeggio, as at 1:26 [m. 21].
9:07 [m. 113]--Downward-shifting harmonies and four-note clarinet descents, as at 1:49 [m. 27].
9:29 [m. 118]--Theme doubled in clarinet and first violin without motion to minor, as at 2:11 [m. 32].
9:46 [m. 122]--String completion with closing gestures, as at 2:29 [m. 36].  The last chord does not make the motion to B minor, but instead to the “relative” harmony of G-sharp minor in preparation for the coda.
10:11 [m. 128]--The brief coda makes clear reference to the B section.  The clarinet re-enters, playing a note tied into a six-note group in the same shape as the middle section’s opening decorative lines.  These six-note groups, however, are in slower measured triplet rhythm.  There are three of these figures.  The first has a yearning upward reach.  The second is a third lower and with narrower range, and the last is a step lower than the second.  These figures are clearly in B major, but the background string chords suggest a colorful motion toward E minor (the “subdominant” minor) with the notes A-natural and G-natural.
10:25 [m. 131]--As the last clarinet group arrives, the first two six-note groups are played by the first violin, the clarinet dropping out.  Again, the harmony suggests a pull toward E minor.  The third group appears to begin, but the triplet is moved to the first beat, and it stalls on the fourth note.  The harmony shifts to major, but still with a pull toward E.  The viola now echoes the first violin’s triplet on the upbeat.  The first violin holds its note over the bar line and completes the six-note group with long quarter notes, adding a full measure.  The viola moves up to harmonize it.  The note G-natural maintains the E-minor tinge, but the second violin, with the leading note A-sharp, wills the harmony to match the B-major melody.
10:42 [m. 135]--As the first violin and viola are completing their descent, the clarinet enters on the upbeat, on the “rogue” note G-natural that has undermined the B-major key center even here at the end.  But this is the last hint of that, as the clarinet moves down to the “dominant” note F-sharp on the downbeat, and the strings finally settle on the B-major harmony.  The clarinet dips down before rising in a B-major arpeggio using triplet rhythm.  After reaching a high point, it leaps back down and plays the arpeggio again, beginning with its second note and reaching even higher. 
10:53 [m. 137]--The clarinet holds its high note (F-sharp) against the string chord, then closes with a sighing motion reminiscent of the first two notes of the main theme.  The viola and cello leap up an octave, and the first violin leaps down a sixth for this final chord, which quickly cuts off.  The closing melodic note in the clarinet is the third of the chord, D-sharp, lending a somewhat questioning character to the quiet ending of this most remarkable movement.
11:04--END OF MOVEMENT [138 mm.]

3rd Movement: Andantino – Presto non assai, ma con sentimento (Intermezzo and Scherzo [Sonata form with introduction]).  D MAJOR, 4/4 and 2/4 time.

INTERMEZZO [Introduction] (Andantino, D major, 4/4 time)
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.  The strings remove their mutes from the second movement.  The principal melody is presented by the clarinet, a gentle semplice tune beginning with a long-short-short rhythm and then spinning itself out, continually winding its way down and back up.  The first presentation is accompanied only by viola and cello, who provide unobtrusive, mildly syncopated counterpoint, the cello beginning with rising lines.  The first half of the phrase is clearly in D major, but the second half moves quickly to B minor.  The second half is a measure shorter than expected, resulting in a disorienting seven-measure phrase.
0:17 [m. 8]--The violins enter for the richer second presentation of the melody.  The first violin doubles the clarinet for this.  The second violin initially doubles the viola but becomes independent after two bars.  The viola and cello lines themselves are not identical to the first presentation.  The clarinet adds a small ornament in the third measure.  The “missing” measure is now restored, and it turns out to be the sixth.  For the last two measures, the violins drop out, leaving the clarinet to the original melody in the seventh and eighth measures (previously the sixth and seventh) along with the viola and cello.
0:35 [m. 16]--Part 2.  The violins re-enter, and the clarinet and first violin begin a variant of the melody.  The cello adds rapid sixteenth-note arpeggios right at the outset, and these are taken briefly by second violin and viola before the cello breaks into leaping arpeggios on these fast notes.  At the same time, the clarinet breaks away from the first violin in a chromatic line, the latter joining an octave above the second violin in a syncopated descent.  The volume builds up to forte by the fourth measure.  This time there is no motion to B minor, and D major remains in force.
0:44 [m. 20]--Beginning with a three-note upbeat, the violins, in harmony, present a new idea that zigzags down with chromatic notes.  This element is extremely significant in providing a link between the movement’s two main sections.  The clarinet, which has briefly dropped out, joins the strings in a second presentation of the new idea.  As this reaches closure, a jaunty idea in leaping sixteenth-note arpeggios emerges in the viola, then the first violin, and this idea will shortly take over.
0:54 [m. 24]--As the viola and second violin continue the figuration of the zigzag idea in two-note phrases, and as the cello reiterates a low bass D, the jaunty leaping idea is passed from the clarinet to the first violin and then back to the clarinet, moving down with each presentation.  At that point, it is abbreviated to a simple ascent, becoming static, and there are three of these shorter exchanges between the first violin and clarinet.  Suddenly, both instruments stop, along with the second violin and cello.  Against held notes from the other instruments, the viola takes the jaunty figure, stretching it out and reaching up as the volume recedes.  This longer version is then finally passed back to the first violin.
1:05 [m. 29]--At a quiet level, the clarinet appears to begin the opening melody again, but reaches lower, again accompanied by viola and cello counterpoint.  But at the same time, the first violin is holding longer notes before adding the downward melodic turn, then holding again, creating mild syncopation.  The second violin joins it an octave lower.  The clarinet drops into lower harmonies, allowing the violins to take over.  They speed up their syncopated melodic turns and reiterate them.  Finally, they add an upward turn, which they reiterate before all instruments hold a D-major chord, the first violin on a high octave F-sharp.
SCHERZO [Sonata form] (Presto non assai, ma con sentimento, B minor [ending D major], 2/4 time)
1:23 [m. 34]--Theme 1.  The first violin leads, mezza voce, in the skittish theme, whose melodic notes are clearly derived from the main intermezzo theme, but with a minor-key harmonic background.  The long-short rhythms after the opening gesture are characteristic.  At first, the second violin and viola add tremolo accompanying harmonies, the cello shortly joining after two measures (with the second violin dropping out).  The accompanying figures are derived from the downward zigzag heard at 0:44 [m. 20].  The first two measures are repeated melodically, adding an upward leap at the end, but the harmonies are lower.
1:28 [m. 38]--The first violin moves its main melodic figure up a step and is now directly harmonized by the second violin, the viola and cello adding short interjections.  The violins then wind downward with the opening four-note rhythm before switching to the long-short rhythm, still moving steadily down as the viola and cello again enter with their interjections.  In the last measure of the six-bar phrase, the clarinet makes its first entry of this “scherzo” section with a rapid downward arpeggio in 32nd notes.
1:35 [m. 44]--The viola takes the first two measures of the thematic presentation while the clarinet and second violin play the downward zigzag.  The first violin adds the rapid downward arpeggio.  The first violin takes the melody back for the continuation, the cello joining the clarinet on the ever-descending zigzag, and the rapid arpeggio is given to the viola.
1:39 [m. 48]--Transition.  The first violin descends by half-step, harmonized by the second violin and cello.  The rapid arpeggios, now ascending, are passed between the clarinet and viola.  After this, the first violin inverts the main melodic gesture, turning it upside down, harmonized by the viola.  As this inverted version steadily moves down, the clarinet, second violin, and cello interject with the opening four-note gesture in its original form, passing it twice between the three instruments.  Over the course of this passage, the music has moved from B minor to the minor key on the “dominant” note, F-sharp.
1:46 [m. 54]--Theme 2 (F-sharp minor).  The clarinet takes the lead, playing a highly syncopated melody with notes coming on half-beats and held over beats and bar lines.  It alternates between upward and downward reaches.  The clarinet line is accompanied by the two violins, who now play plucked notes (pizzicato) on the beats.  The clarinet line eventually emerges in a downward-reaching cadence gesture that moves off the syncopation.  The viola joins the pizzicato support.  The clarinet repeats the cadence gesture an octave lower as the cello joins the pizzicato for the first time.
1:58 [m. 64]--The first violin takes up the bow again and plays a variant of the syncopated theme using triplet rhythm.  The second violin and viola accompany this with more active pizzicato in straight rhythm.  The clarinet reiterates a low F-sharp, then moves down and back up as the cadence gesture approaches.  It briefly drops out for the cadence gesture, which is only played once.  The cello enters here with the bow.
2:07 [m. 72]--The clarinet enters with a plaintive descending line.  The notes of the cadence gesture are passed between the two violins (the second taking the bow at this point), against the clarinet line.  Another full cadence in F-sharp minor is reached, but as it is, the viola intrudes with the opening four-note figure from Theme 1.
2:12 [m. 76]--Close of exposition.  The clarinet drops out, and the violins, in harmony, return to the music of Theme 1, but now in the “relative” key of D major (the main key of the movement as a whole).  It is a brief, ephemeral major-key appearance, but it is given character by an upward reach that was not present in other statements.  The accompaniment from viola and cello includes upward arpeggios and rapid detached repeated notes.
2:16 [m. 80]--Back in B minor, the viola begins a presentation of Theme 1 with the zigzagging accompaniment in clarinet and second violin, and then in clarinet and cello.  The violins take over after four measures, and appear to continue with the original theme, moving a step higher as expected.  The viola and cello have their short interjections and the clarinet adds new ones.  The expected pattern breaks after two more measures, however, and the violins move down with the main Theme 1 material.  The continued four-note rhythm in violins and cello leads to the key of G major.  This is confirmed by a downward-turning triplet figure that begins in the clarinet and is passed to the top three strings, reaching the “dominant” in G.
2:30 [m. 92]--With sudden force, the ubiquitous descending “zigzag” figure now takes center stage.  The violins present it in G major, then continue with wide arching motions, the viola joining.  At the same time, the cello plays a wide arching arpeggio and the clarinet another fast rising one.  The wide arching motions and fast clarinet arpeggio are given a second time a step higher.  The strings then move back to the zigzag figure, moving down as the clarinet holds a note, and a rapid descending arpeggio is passed from the second violin to the viola.  The key center is still on G.  The instruments then all come together in full harmony, the cello with wide leaps.  An arrival point is averted by the resumption of the main theme.
2:41 [m. 102]--The first violin leads an extensive development of the initial four-note gesture, reaching down and leaping back up, while the second violin and viola, joined by clarinet, accompany with the long-short rhythm.  The cello joins this in a rising line as the first violin continues to leap down and up.  The key center has now moved to D major, and the volume, until now mostly quiet, continues to swell.
2:46 [m. 106]--The viola takes over the four-note figure, and the clarinet and first violin arch down and up on the long-short rhythm, supported by second violin and cello.  They add chromatic color notes, and D major changes to minor.  Finally, the four-note rhythm is passed from the viola to the cello as the two violins play the arching patterns in the long-short rhythm.  The clarinet and viola now have a supporting role.  The harmonic direction is toward F-sharp, the preparatory “dominant” in the scherzo’s B-minor key.
2:55 [m. 114]--The four-note figure moves back to the first violin and is now static and suddenly quieter, no longer leaping up and down.  The other instruments converge in an arpeggio in slower long-short rhythm, the clarinet and second violin moving down against the viola and cello moving up.  This converging arpeggio continues to suggest F-sharp without fully arriving there, while the insistent first violin is intent on returning to B minor.  The second violin drops out.  The clarinet and lower strings settle on long-held notes as the first violin changes to a triplet rhythm, converting the four-note gesture into an oscillation.  It is finally left alone, diminishing to an energetic long-short motion that leads directly back to the main theme.
3:04 [m. 122]--Theme 1, initial presentation as at 1:23 [m. 34]. 
3:09 [m. 126]--Continuation, six-bar phrase with clarinet arpeggio, as at 1:28 [m. 38].
3:16 [m. 132]--Transition.  It begins like the viola presentation at 1:35 [m. 44], but it diverges.  The cello is present on the zigzag figure from the outset, and instead of passing the melody back to the first violin, the viola continues downward with it.  The first rapid descending arpeggio is in the first violin, as before, but the second one is in the second violin, as the viola is continuing with the main melody.
3:20 [m. 136]--The key has unexpectedly shifted to C major, where the first violin begins the theme, then stalls on the long-short rhythm while the viola takes the main four-note figure, becoming static and adding syncopation.  F-sharps in the viola clash with the prevalent C-major harmony in the second violin and cello.  Finally, the clarinet enters on the theme, and with the cello and second violin, it shifts down to B minor, where the continuing viola figures no longer clash.  This new transition has been designed to arrive right where it was to begin with, in B minor, where Theme 2 will now be presented.
3:25 [m. 140]--Theme 2 in B minor, analogous to 1:46 [m. 54].  The first violin now doubles the clarinet on the syncopated melody, and the pizzicato accompaniment is in second violin and viola.  The first cadence gesture is played by the first violin as the cello joins the plucked accompaniment, and the second one is played by the clarinet.  Previously, the clarinet played both cadence gestures.
3:37 [m. 150]--Variant of syncopated theme in triplet rhythm, analogous to 1:58 [m. 64].  Other than the change of key, the scoring with pizzicato and low clarinet notes closely matches the previous presentation.  Extra off-beat plucks are added in the viola approaching the cadence.
3:46 [m. 158]--Plaintive descending line in clarinet against cadence gesture passed between violins, analogous to 2:07 [m. 72].  The violin parts are reversed from before.  This time the cadence is not completed before the viola enters with the four-note figure, which it does earlier, on the first instead of the second half of the measure.  After the viola entry, there is another new element, a rapid upward arpeggio on the upbeat in both violins using fast triplet rhythm.  The volume builds, which it did not do before.
3:51 [m. 162]--Closing passage, analogous to 2:12 [m. 176].  By analogy, it is in G major instead of D major.  The latter key will end the movement, but the “main” key of the “scherzo” section, B minor, will not appear again.  Quiet before, it is now forte.  A new element here is a piping high repeated note in the clarinet that enters after the opening four-note gesture.  The first violin has a new upward reach at the end.
3:55 [m. 166]--The ubiquitous downward zigzag follows, now forcefully and without the Theme 1 melody played against it.  The clarinet, first violin, and viola have the zigzag against triple-stop chords in the second violin and cello.  With the zigzag, the key moves to D major, and in fact, the passage resembles the first appearance of the zigzag idea in the perhaps-forgotten opening intermezzo at 0:44 [m. 20].  More specifically, it corresponds to the second presentation there, and as if on cue, the jaunty leaping sixteenth-note arpeggios appear in the viola, then the clarinet (instead of the first violin).  The 2/4 measures are half the length as the 4/4, but it is revealed that the tempo change from Andantino to Presto was an illusion.
4:01 [m. 171]--With the miraculous revelation that the tempo never really changed, and the smooth transition into the intermezzo material, it seems to continue as at 0:54 [m. 24], with the jaunty leaps in the first violin instead of the clarinet (continuing the reversal).  But the next exchanges and abbreviations do not follow, and the downward zigzag begins anew in the strings, with rapid descending arpeggios added in the second violin and viola, the clarinet holding long notes.  Unwilling to be banished, the opening four-note gesture from the “scherzo” intrudes in the second violin, and is repeated four times, moving downward, alternating with arpeggios in the viola against a syncopated background.
4:09 [m. 178]--Suddenly, an upbeat arpeggio is heard in the clarinet, and from that point, the intermezzo material from 0:54 [m. 24] resumes, and the seamless emergence is again wondrous.  The clarinet’s upbeat arpeggio matches the second of the abbreviated figures passed between clarinet and first violin, and those figures continue now, with only the opening figure from the first violin omitted.  Measures 178-183 closely match measures 26-28 from the intermezzo (again, the measures are half the length here).  The only difference is the syncopated cello under the abbreviated exchanges.  The longer, quieter statements of the jaunty arpeggios in the viola and first violin are played against the held chord, as they were back then.
4:17 [m. 184]--The movement ends with an exact restatement of the closing measures from the intermezzo at 1:05 [m. 29].  This is the first time the main melody of the intermezzo has been heard since then.  The mildly syncopated turns are followed by the closing D-major chord.  That final held chord is notated as a quarter note with a fermata instead of a dotted half-note (removing the necessity of adding another measure with tied notes).  Therefore, there are nine measures instead of ten to match the original five longer ones.
4:35--END OF MOVEMENT [192 mm.]

4th Movement: Con moto (Theme and Variations with coda). B MINOR, 2/4, 3/8, and 6/8 time.

0:00 [m. 1]--THEME. Part 1.  The strings have the main presentation.  The first measure, at least, is rhythmically like the opening of the third movement’s intermezzo theme.  The melody opens with an expressive descent in rich string harmony.  In the third and fourth measures, as the first violin holds a melodic note over a bar line, the clarinet enters with a short descent to punctuate the halfway mark in the phrase.  The string continuation is a straightforward descent to the “dominant” harmony, which is again punctuated by a short clarinet descent leading into the repetition.
0:10 [m. 9]--Part 1, varied repeat.  The repetition of Part 1 throughout the variations is often close, but never exact, sometimes at a quieter level and with a significant change at the end, so it is never marked with repeat signs.  Here in the theme itself, both the opening and the first clarinet descent are slightly varied by beginning with shorter notes off the beat.  At the end of the phrase, the first violin melody is unchanged, but the harmony in the other string instruments veers to the “relative” key of D major instead of the “dominant.”  The clarinet descent shifts things yet again, to G major, where Part 2 begins.  
0:19 [m. 17]--Part 2.  It is the same length as the whole of Part 1 with its slightly varied repeat.  The first eight measures are played by the strings in warm G major, using the same rhythmic and melodic elements.  Halfway through the G-major passage, the volume and activity increase, moving back to B minor, the first violin using the same notes as the clarinet descent leading to the repeat of Part 1.  The clarinet itself then enters for the second half of Part 2, taking on the lead in what is another varied statement of the Part 1 material.  The harmony in the strings is especially full and rich, and the first violin again plays the punctuating descent.  The active clarinet line leads to a full close in B minor with the first violin descent.
0:37 [m. 17]--Part 2 repeated.  Without the clarinet lead-in to G major, the repeat signs indicate the omission of its last note, which was on the downbeat.
0:57 [m. 33]--VARIATION 1.  Part 1.  The cello takes the lead here, playing alone in wide upward-arching arpeggios.  Halfway through, the other four instruments enter with a punctuation, the clarinet in an upward arch and the string instruments rising.  The cello continues with rising lines, then leaps way down for its last upward arch.  The other four instruments again enter (this time with descending strings) to punctuate the arrival on the “dominant” and lead into the repetition.
1:06 [m. 41]--Part 1, varied repeat.  This time, the cello’s broadly arching melody is accompanied by brief upbeat-downbeat interjections from the other string instruments.  These had been hinted by the viola in the previous “punctuations.”  The first “punctuation” itself is changed, with a lower clarinet and descending strings.  The string interjections persist in the continuation.  At the end, at the motion to D major, the strings rise against the arching clarinet (reversed from the initial statement).  Despite the more active accompaniment, the varied repeat is at a quieter level.
1:16 [m. 49]--Part 2.  The D-major arrival is on the downbeat here, but there is an immediate turn to G.  For the G-major passage, the cello continues with its upward-arching lines, but the accompaniment from the others is more active, also incorporating arches.  The clarinet is less so, restricting itself to the upbeat-downbeat interjections.  The volume builds at the motion back to B, which happens as the cello plunges downward and the first violin rises.  The return of the material from Part 1 is more heavily scored, but with familiar material like the upbeat-downbeat interjections in the first violin.  The internal “punctuation” has descending strings, but no arching clarinet.  The final cadence in B minor is also marked with a descent.
1:36 [m. 49]--Part 2 repeated with a cello lead-in.  The arrival notes in all instruments except the cello that previously led in from Part 1 are removed from the initial downbeat.
1:58 [m. 65]--VARIATION 2.  Part 1.  This variation is extremely agitated.  It begins with a melodic fragment in the first violin against surging repeated-note syncopation in second violin and viola.  After one measure, the clarinet enters with a thrilling, dissonant downward arpeggio.  The melodic fragment begins again against the syncopation, reaches higher, and is again interrupted by the arpeggio, but it is now in the ascending cello instead of the descending clarinet.  In the second half, the clarinet is completely absent.  The first violin descends in long-short rhythm against continuing and more active syncopation in the second violin and viola, and the cello strongly marches up to the arrival on the “dominant” harmony.
2:08 [m. 73]--Part 1, varied repeat.  Here, the viola plays the first melodic fragment against syncopation in the two violins.  The first arpeggio rises in the cello (like the second one in the first statement).  The second melodic fragment is back in the first violin, but it reaches higher than before.  The arpeggio comes from the clarinet, and it is also rising (so there is no descending arpeggio in this statement).  For the second half, the clarinet now plays the long-short rhythm, doubled an octave below by the viola.  The syncopation, higher than before, is in the two violins.  The clarinet breaks early, and the upper three strings lead to the arrival on D, trailing off in the syncopated rhythm, the first violin plunging down with the marching cello.
2:19 [m. 81]--Part 2.  The G major passage is quiet, but still agitated.  The clarinet takes the melodic lead in arching lines against the continuing syncopation in the upper three strings.  The cello pauses for these first four measures.  It re-enters for the motion back to B minor, doubling the clarinet’s arching lines, and the volume builds strongly.  With the return of the Part 1 material, the clarinet, first violin, and cello take the initial melodic fragment, and the descending arpeggio is in the first violin, the syncopation continuing in second violin and viola.  The clarinet is absent on the second melodic fragment, and the arpeggio rises in the cello.  Descending lines in clarinet and first violin, against active accompaniment, lead to the close.
2:42 [m. 81]--Part 2 repeated.  No notes are removed, but the syncopation starts fresh, without notes being held over as they were from Part 1.  Brahms indicates a slight pause before the next variation.
3:06 [m. 97]--VARIATION 3.  Part 1.  The second violin, viola, and cello establish a halting dolce accompaniment with rests on the third eighth of each measure.  Against this, the first violin begins a gently winding, sinuous line in continuous sixteenth-note motion.  This quickly develops into two-note slurs with repeated notes between them.  The clarinet briefly enters, imitating the first violin’s opening melody a third higher before the internal arrival point.  In the second half, the two-note slurs continue, building in volume and leading to wide leaps, but the opening melodic figure returns, imitated by the clarinet at a lower level as the “dominant” arrives.  The violin harmonizes the lead-in as the accompaniment pattern briefly breaks.
3:19 [m. 105]--Part 1, varied repeat.  It begins like the first statement, but halfway through after the first clarinet entry, the first violin’s two-note slurs are changed in width and direction.  At first, they are narrower, but then they widen as the volume builds.  These changes are not for the sake of harmony, but simply for variety.  The return of the opening melodic figure in the first violin is the same as before over slightly different accompaniment, but the clarinet imitation (with violin harmonization at the end) is a step lower as the harmony moves to D leading into the G-major passage beginning Part 2.
3:31 [m. 113]--Part 2.  The clarinet takes on a soloistic role in the G-major passage, with wide arpeggios winding down and back up in detached notes, dolce.  The accompaniment patterns in second violin, viola, and cello are now plucked throughout Part 2, and soon add rests on the downbeats.  The first violin is initially silent.  The clarinet pattern restarts, and the volume builds at the motion back to B minor.  The first violin enters with rising arpeggios against the clarinet figures.  The lead-in to the Part 1 material is like the end of Part 1 itself, doubled in clarinet and first violin, who harmonize in the return.  Soon, melodic figures in the clarinet alternate with rising gestures in the first violin.  Settling to the close, the patterns reverse.
3:53 [m. 113]--Part 2 repeated.  There is a first ending, cutting off a complete close from the harmonizing clarinet and first violin with an arpeggio leading into the repeat.  After the repeat, the second ending does reach a complete close, and the accompanying instruments who have been plucked take up their bows for the cadence.  There is another pause before the next variation.
4:21 [m. 129]--VARIATION 4.  B MAJOR.  Part 1.  In the obligatory major-key variation, dolce melodic figures alternate between clarinet and first violin.  These fragments are directly related to the “zigzag” idea from the third movement.  The second violin and viola also play in alternation, passing an undulating accompaniment with faster downward-turning figures between each other.  The cello provides a foundational bass, largely in slow long-short rhythm.  Toward the end of the phrase, the clarinet/first violin melodic figures also slow down to this rhythm, and all instruments come together at the arrival on the “dominant.”  The second violin and viola add mild syncopation to their lines at this point.
4:34 [m. 137]--Part 1, varied repeat.  Here, the clarinet and first violin switch positions, the first violin now beginning the alternation.  Because the variation is in major, the goal for Part 2 in other variations (D major leading into G major) will not work with the “relative” relationship.  Instead, the opposite “relative” relationship is used, and the harmonic arrival point (prepared in the accompanying instruments) is the seemingly remote key of D-sharp minor, but this is “relative” key to the “dominant” F-sharp.
4:47 [m. 145]--Part 2.  The first eight measures begin in D-sharp minor.  The first violin takes the lead in a smooth long-short rhythm, and the clarinet provides a gentle counterpoint with notes held over bar lines.  The accompaniment in second violin and viola is heavily syncopated, with repeated notes passed between them, beginning with the viola.  The cello harmonizes the smooth long-short rhythm.  The violin melody seems to want to move to F-sharp, but then veers back to minor.  Halfway through the passage, the clarinet and first violin reverse roles, and the music moves smoothly back to B major.  The first violin leads in the return to Part 1.  The instruments come together two measures earlier before the arrival and cadence.
5:12 [m. 145]--Part 2 repeated.  A first ending smoothly leads back to D-sharp minor for the repeat.  The second ending reaches a more complete close.
5:42 [m. 161]--VARIATION 5.  B MINOR, 3/8 time.  Part 1.  Although this last variation transforms the theme into a lilting, melancholy waltz in 3/8, it is melodically closer to the original than other variations.  The viola is given the first melodic presentation, accompanied by wide pizzicato arpeggios in the cello, which is plucked throughout the variation.  Marking the midpoint and the end of the phrase, the clarinet enters with a decorative line (as it had in the original theme).  The first of these arches, then falls, each in six notes, and the second has two rising, then two falling gestures in three notes.
5:51 [m. 169]--Part 1, varied repeat.  The second violin joins the melodic presentation an octave above the viola, and the first violin joins the clarinet decorations, also an octave above.  The second half of the melody is changed to facilitate the motion to D and G, with the second decoration in clarinet and first violin now reaching straight up in six notes before its two three-note descents
6:00 [m. 177]--Part 2.  With the turn to G major, the viola has the melody again, but now the clarinet has a mildly syncopated counterpoint.  Halfway through this passage, the melody is passed to the clarinet, now doubled above by first violin, and the counterpoint to the viola, doubled above by second violin.  After an arching decoration, the second violin breaks from the viola to harmonize the melody.  With the return of the Part 1 material, the second violin and viola again have the melody with the clarinet and first violin on the decorative lines.  But the latter instruments take over with new leaping gestures approaching the gently arching cadence, the second violin and viola again diverge, and the plucked cello arpeggios speed up.
6:18 [m. 177]--Part 2 repeated.  The first ending leads from the cadence back to the G-major material, but the second ending extends the cadence.  The clarinet and first violin continue with their downward figuration, the second violin and viola emerge into a trill, and the plucked cello notes, after speeding up, are suddenly arrested.  This is in preparation for the smooth transition into the coda.
CODA--6/8 time
6:37 [m. 193]--With the extended cadence, the first violin, with remarkable smoothness, emerges into the opening turn gesture from the first movement in longer 6/8 bars.  But the B-minor arrival is transformed into a “dominant,” and the first-movement gesture is in E minor (a key closely related to both B minor and G major, the principal key areas of the variation movement).  The cello, now bowed, provides a syncopated short-long bass.  The viola enters in harmony for the second downward turn.  The swinging long-short motion follows as would be expected, becoming quieter and mysterious.  It trails off and pauses.
6:49 [m. 197]--Very quietly, the three instruments currently playing restate the long-short motion, now in unison, beginning halfway through the measure after the pause.  The second violin joins at the very end, and the last two notes are extended.  Then, most unexpectedly, the first violin plays the opening of the waltz melody from Variation 5, and its appearance is utterly natural.  The short harmonies in the other strings lead back to B minor for this brief fragment of the waltz, which only lasts one measure. 
7:01 [m. 201]--The clarinet interrupts the waltz fragment with its first appearance in the coda, having broken off its line leading into it.  The second violin and viola trail down, leading back to E minor.  In that key, the clarinet now plays the first movement’s opening figure, joined at the second turn by the first violin in harmony.  The second violin and viola continue to trail down, with the cello now playing solid long notes.  The swinging long-short motion is now full and rich, with syncopated cello.  The second violin joins in the melodic harmonization, and the viola plays decorative rising figures.  The melody stalls, and the harmony diverts toward C major before a longer pause.
7:16 [m. 206]--In a slow rising low bass half-step, the unison viola and cello lead back home to B.  The clarinet now has its turn at the waltz figure from Variation 5, again in B minor.  The strings respond forcefully, with the first violin trailing down and the others actively rising.  This time, the waltz fragment is given a second statement an octave lower, still in the clarinet.  The strings again respond, but before they finish, the clarinet suddenly rises, then works its way up in successive three-note descents, each higher than the last, as the strings fade out and leave it alone.  Finally, the clarinet reaches a high point, then practically wails in a long-short descent that becomes chromatic and slowly diminishes.
7:42 [m. 214]--The second violin and viola enter prematurely against the clarinet descent.  Then something miraculous happens.  The clarinet leads a closing passage whose melody is identical to the end of the first movement from 11:41 [m. 211].  The opening notes are extended before the long-short motion, and the strings, especially the cello, have more active motion against it, but the melody is the same.  The cadence is more extended.  The clarinet stretches its responses to the two string chords to a full measure each (they had been after-beat syncopations over a single measure).  The clarinet is again left alone on the last descent, but now the first of the two closing chords cries out in despair with string triple-stops before fading away.
8:22--END OF MOVEMENT [222 mm.]