SIX PIANO PIECES (KLAVIERSTÜCKE), OP. 118
Recording: Martin Jones,
pianist [NI 1788]
As with Op. 116, this set, more generically
labeled “Klavierstücke,” displays a convincing coherent unity, and
works very well when performed as a whole. Nonetheless, the
individual pieces, especially the A-major Intermezzo, No. 2, have
become very popular in their own right and are effective individual
miniatures. As a whole, Op. 118 is perhaps the most popular of
the four late piano miniature sets. The key structure in Op. 118
is carefully organized. The overall key scheme represents a
descent in whole steps, A--G--F--E-flat. The set can be divided
into two groups of three. The first piece in each group (Nos. 1
and 4) has an introductory character and is rather short. Both in
minor keys, they are each followed by a slower, more lyrical piece
(Nos. 2 and 5) with the same key center, but in major. The third
member of each group (Nos. 3 and 6) are of a more heroic, epic, and
even tragic character, both in minor keys one step below the key center
of the first two pieces. There is also a one-step descent between
the two groups, from G to F. Except for No. 1, the pieces all
display a ternary (ABA) form. All except No. 3 and No. 5 (which
have the titles, unique in the late pieces, of “Ballade” and “Romance”)
FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut
SCORE FROM IMSLP (from Breitkopf &
Härtel Sämtliche Werke):
with original German heading
Individually, with English headings (lower scan quality):
1: Intermezzo in A minor
2: Intermezzo in A major
3: Ballade in G minor
4: Intermezzo in F minor
5: Romance in F major
6: Intermezzo in E-flat minor
1. INTERMEZZO. Allegro
non assai, ma molto appasionato (Rounded
binary form with coda). A MINOR, Cut time [2/2].
First binary section or A
0:00 [m. 1]--The main melody in
large descending octaves and chords is split between the hands, with
wide-ranging, sweeping arpeggios moving from the low bass to above the
melody. It is intensely passionate. There are two
statements, the second a third lower, of the descending four-note
melody (the last note of which is in the left hand), neither of which
clearly defines the key of A minor, instead suggesting F major.
0:08 [m. 5]--The arpeggios now
stay below the melody and chords, which remain in the right hand.
There are countermelodies embedded in both hands. The music
settles down somewhat, slowing to a cadence in C major (relative to A
0:16 [m. 1]--Repetition of
opening with the descending four-note melody.
0:22 [m. 5]--Continuation with
slowing to C-major cadence.
Second binary section,
consisting of two subsections, B
and A’. A’ is similar to A, but B is not as contrasting with A as one would expect in a standard
ternary or rounded binary form.
0:30 [m. 11]--Part B. The right hand melody now
moves upward instead of down. The two statements of the upward
striving melody (still four notes with rich supporting chords) are
followed by downward sweeping arpeggios, mirroring the generally
upward-moving ones in the left hand. The second statement is a
fifth lower. The key of A minor is more strongly suggested after
the first statement, but again undermined in the second. The
intensity of the arpeggios increases after the second statement,
leading to the return.
0:43 [m. 21]--Part A’. The opening returns after
a strong hint immediately preceding it. The second statement of
the descending melody with supporting chords is now higher and more
urgent, and is varied with faster decorating notes that resemble the
descending arpeggios in part B.
0:48 [m. 25]--The music settles
down, as in part A, finally
slowing to a cadence in A minor [1st ending, mm. 29-30].
0:56 [m. 11]--Part B repeated.
1:09 [m. 21]--Part A’ repeated.
1:14 [m. 25]--The repetition
continues as at 0:48, but the A-minor cadence is averted.
1:19 [m. 29, 2nd ending]--The
of the repetition does not resolve, but increases in tension.
A low E in the bass [m.31, the first “new” numbered bar] is followed by
a huge single-line ascending arpeggio (a “diminished seventh” chord),
which then reverses direction, changes harmony, and is joined by the
left hand in contrary motion. The descent shifts the phrasing off
the beat, creating strong syncopation.
1:30 [m. 37]--The final
statement of the descending four-note figure is heard as the music
slows and dies away over another wide-ranging left-hand arpeggio.
The left hand hits the lowest note of the piano as the right hand plays
the fourth note/chord (at 1:35 [m. 39]). The last sweep outlines
A major (not minor), followed
by a quiet A-major chord, in strong preparation for the beginning of
Intermezzo No. 2.
1:53--END OF PIECE [41 mm.]
2. INTERMEZZO. Andante
teneramente (Ternary form). A MAJOR,
A Section--A major
0:00 [m. 1]--First statement of
the principal melody. It is a lyrical, beautiful, richly
harmonized tune in two phrases with a rocking accompaniment The
second phrase moves to the “dominant” key of E. A wide upward
leap (a seventh) is prominent. The end of each phrase features a
dotted (long-short) rhythm.
0:25 [m. 9]--A slightly varied
repetition of the principal melody that adds poignant internal
motion. Brahms indicates that it should be played softer than the
0:49 [m. 17]--A somewhat more
ominous transitional passage features up-down figures in the harmonized
melody (upper-neighbor motion) with rocking arpeggios in the left
hand. Beginning with an abrupt C-major chord, it moves back to A
major. The left hand has an internal countermelody at the end of
1:00 [m. 21]--A second phrase
of the transitional passage with neighbor-note motion makes a sharp
turn toward the minor key and slightly increases in agitation.
1:10 [m. 25]--Material from the
principal melody returns and strives upward by half-steps over
continuously arching arpeggios. The intensity dramatically
increases during the strong approach to the arrival point.
1:19 [m. 29]--“Arrival”
statement of the melody in a greatly varied form. The opening
figure is heard in the low bass after the climax on the wide upward
leap. The continuation, which includes left-hand syncopation,
quiets down considerably, then again turns to the minor key as it dies
1:37 [m. 35]--This very tender
melody is actually an exact inversion of the principal tune, turning it
upside down. It is richly harmonized, with a yearning internal
motion and a strong A-major cadence.
1:51 [m. 39]--The transitional
material from 0:49 [m. 17] with rocking left- hand arpeggios, set at a
higher level and in pure A major, is now soothing, taking on a closing
nature but still becoming animated.
2:01 [m. 43]--The second phrase
of the transitional material is actually quite similar to 1:00 [m. 21],
but without the motion to minor and with a milder increase in tension
before settling to a full cadence.
2:11 [m. 47]--Two statements of
the opening figure round out the A
section. They are marked “più lento.” The left hand
arpeggios reach down to a low E. There is complete closure with a
B Section--F-sharp minor.
2:22 [m. 49]--F-sharp minor is
relative to the home key of A major. The B section is largely
based on two-against-three rhythm and strict imitation (canon).
The opening passage features a yearning melody in the right hand
(beginning with an upbeat held into the first main bar) against triplet
arpeggios in the left. The top notes of the left hand subtly
imitate the first few notes of the right-hand melody at a slower
speed. The second phrase is similar, but reaches higher at first,
then dips lower as it slows to a half-cadence.
2:39 [m. 49]--Complete
repetition of two-phrase passage from 2:22.
2:56 [m. 57]--This is the
emotional center of the entire piece. The soft pedal is
depressed. It is a very intimate variation of the yearning B section theme, now in F-sharp
major. The imitation, left-hand following the right, is closer
and more exact. There is interlocking of fingers between the
hands in the very close harmonies. A slowing to a half-cadence
leads to a highly anticipatory pause.
3:19 [m. 65]--Final variation
of the B section
melody. The original right hand tune is now moved to the center
of the texture, between left-hand arpeggios and a slower, imitative
upper melody (which is the same as the top notes of the left hand at
2:22 [m. 49]). Brahms has basically just re-arranged the vertical
placement of the lines. The variation grows rapidly in volume.
3:27 [m. 69]--The second phrase
of the final variation is intensified, returning to the original
vertical alignment and becoming more active. The harmony is
varied, with more major-key inflections. The ending is also more
active, and is extended by a bar to reach the only full cadence in
3:36 [m. 74]--Upward arpeggios
lead back to A major and the return of the A section. The first
arpeggio is played by the right hand, followed by a downward “sighing”
gesture. The left hand takes the second arpeggio, and the last
one is split between hands. The music diminishes and slows to an
achingly expectant pause on a dissonant chord.
A Section Reprise--A major
3:46 [m. 77]--The principal
theme is now stated only once, but each phrase is varied and
intensified from its original presentation at the beginning (basically
a continuation of the process between 0:00 [m. 1] and 0:25 [m.
9]). The first phrase adds more descending motion and activity to
the dotted rhythms at the end. The second phrase does the same
after stretching the upward leap by a step to a full octave.
After this initial statement, the reprise is an exact repetition of the
first A section.
4:10 [m. 85]--Ominous
transitional passage, as 0:49 [m. 17].
4:20 [m. 89]--Second phrase of
transitional passage, as at 1:00 [m. 21].
4:29 [m. 93]--Upward half-steps
intensifying to an arrival point, as at 1:10 [m. 25].
4:38 [m. 97]--“Arrival”
statement of varied melody, as at 1:19 [m. 29].
4:57 [m. 103]--Tender inversion
of principal melody, as at 1:37 [m. 35].
5:11 [m. 107]--“Closing”
transitional material, as at 1:51 [m. 39].
5:21 [m. 111]--Second phrase of
transitional material, as at 2:01 [m. 43].
5:32 [m. 115]--Slow statements
of opening figure and cadence with rolled chord, as at 2:11 [m. 47].
5:52--END OF PIECE [116 mm.]
3. BALLADE. Allegro
energico (Ternary form). G MINOR, Cut
A Section (Displays its own
“aba” form within a form)--G minor
0:00 [m. 1]--First part (a). A tragic/heroic type of
melody on top of large, moving chords. There are two irregular
parallel phrases in a question/answer (antecedent/consequent)
relationship. The first ends on the “dominant” chord, creating
anticipation, and the second ends with a brief turn to G major.
Both phrases begin the same way, with an upbeat, and each has five
bars. The low bass octaves lend weight to the theme.
0:19 [m. 11]--Second part (b). The melody continues above
moving chords and low bass octaves, as before, but there is now a sense
of building and anticipation from a suddenly quiet and more ominous
beginning. Again, there are two parallel phrases or waves.
The first of these begins and ends in E-flat major and remains rather
calm. The phrase is extended to six bars.
0:30 [m. 17]--The second phrase
of b is concerned with
buildup, transition, and return. It is also six bars long.
The approach to the return of a
includes strong syncopation in both the melody and the supporting
chords. The motion back to G minor from E-flat major is extremely
dramatic, with a powerful crescendo.
0:39 [m. 23]--Third part (a’). The main theme returns at
the climax of b, and the
two-chord upbeat continues the syncopation at the end of that
passage. The second phrase is greatly intensified by the addition
of new notes and harmonies, particularly a new upper voice at the top
of the texture when the phrase reaches its high point. The
phrases have the same harmonic goal and the same five-bar length.
0:56 [m. 33]--Transition to
large B section. The
moving chords continue as the music subsides. The cadence, which
leads to a G major chord, is reiterated twice using biting “diminished
1:05 [m. 38]--Transition
continued. The chords cease, and the smooth texture of the B section is anticipated.
While the note B is reiterated in the bass in preparation for the new
section centered there, it remains part of a chord based on G and there
is no real modulation to the rather remote key of B major.
B Section--B Major
1:10 [m. 41]--First part.
There is a smooth duet texture in the right hand over rolling arpeggios
in the left. The mood is very subdued, gentle, and quiet, with
soft pedal indicated. There are, however, some biting
dissonances, including one instance (m. 45) of notes a half-step apart
crushed together before resolving. The lower voice of the duet
texture in the right hand has strong syncopation in the second four-bar
phrase, and twice has notes held over bar lines. The left hand
arpeggios also change to ascending groups of four.
1:24 [m. 49]--A second
statement of the melody begins. It is, however, suddenly
interrupted by a striking motion to D-sharp minor in the accompanying
1:30 [m. 53]--The B section material is invaded by
the main theme of the A
section in D-sharp minor (but still in the hushed character of B).
1:38 [m. 57]--Second
part. The A section
material has cadenced and shifted back to B major with a gentle melodic
figure. The first two phrases are exactly the same as at 1:10 [m.
1:52 [m. 65]--The second
statement of the melody begins, as at 1:24 [m. 49], but this time it
avoids the interruption and digression. There are some dissonant
chromatic notes and wide spacing between the two voices of the right
hand. The left-hand arpeggios also take on a more “melodic”
character than they have thus far displayed. The statement is
expanded to a full eight bars and reaches a pause on a
half-cadence. The music has slowed and quieted even more, greatly
increasing the anticipation at the pause.
2:09 [m. 73]--Transition back
to the A section. The
texture with moving chords returns and very gradually builds as the
music modulates back to the home key of G minor. The approach to
the return expands the opening upbeat of the main theme to three beats,
two for the first note and one for the second. At the beginning
of the piece, both notes were the top of short chords in one beat.
A Section Reprise--G minor
2:17 [m. 77]--Point of
arrival. From here, the A
section is exactly reprised. First part (a).
2:33 [m. 87]--Second part (b), first phrase, as at 0:19 [m. 11].
2:43 [m. 93]--Second part (b), second phrase, as at 0:30 [m.
2:53 [m. 99]--Third part (a’), as at 0:39 [m. 23]. The
only difference is at the very end, where the cadence remains in the
minor key instead of moving to a G-major chord.
3:09 [m. 109]--A small Coda replaces the former
transition. A few more moving chords, which remain strong, are
followed by soft hints of the left-hand arpeggios from the B section. The last of these
expands upward. The music becomes quiet, and the beginning of the
B melody, complete with the
duet texture, is now transformed into a minor-key version that sounds
pathetic rather than soothing. A quiet four-note descent in the
bass concludes the piece in a tragic mood.
3:35--END OF PIECE [117 mm.]
Allegretto un poco agitato (Ternary
form). F MINOR, 2/4 time.
The piece is built almost entirely on the principle of canon, or strict
imitation between parts.
A Section--F minor. The
entire section is subdued, agitated, and often very delicate.
0:00 [m. 1]--The top notes in
each hand strictly imitate each other, left following right an octave
below at a distance of one beat. They ring out over supporting
notes in each hand that are a near-canon in contrary motion: groups of
three notes move in opposite directions in each hand (down-up in the
right, up-down in the left). There are seven imitative statements
involving long notes at the top, all beginning on an upbeat.
0:09 [m. 8]--The imitative
voices at the top of each hand become more active, and the supporting
harmonies are no longer in near-canon. Straight duple and triplet
rhythms are closely juxtaposed. This is the only appearance of
duple rhythm in the A
section. The intensity briefly swells, but quickly becomes
subdued again. There is a brief motion to C minor.
0:15 [m. 13]--The first four
canonic statements of the opening are repeated.
0:19 [m. 17]--A new passage of
near-canon in contrary motion begins. It has no supporting
harmonies. There are three similar phrases at different pitch
levels (the last two are analogous), moving toward the distant E
major. These phrases employ broken octaves in the triplet rhythm
established at the opening, as well as other leaps both smaller and
larger than an octave. The passage is light and delicate
0:30 [m. 34]--This passage is a
true contrary-motion canon (at the fifth) and involves some harmonies
(mostly thirds). The left hand rises and the right hand
falls. Like the previous passage, it is completely in
triplets. Beginning on a motion to E major, it never quite
arrives there, and starts to move back home. There is a slight
intensification and retreat.
0:37 [m. 42]--A transition in
triplets rises to a repeat of the opening, whose first note enters
before the downbeat as a syncopation and is held through the bar.
The imitative note is also held exactly the same length, entering with
the upbeat instead of after it. The seventh “statement” is moved
lower and leads to a resolving eighth statement that arrives on C
major. This is followed by two (still imitative) octave C's that
transition into the B section.
B Section--A-flat Major (at
the beginning--the key is “relative” to F minor)
0:54 [m. 58]--Unlike the A section, the B section is completely canonic at
the octave, including all the harmonies. Each canonic “statement”
consists of a chord, its imitation, then a single note (lower than the
second chord) and its imitation. There are five phrases, each
consisting of four “statements” of this pattern. Hand-crossing is
used throughout the B
section. From the second phrase, the initial chord obtains a
second “resolving” note. The section is as subdued as A, but not as agitated.
Pedaling is carefully indicated to make the canons sound clearly.
As in the A section, phrases
begin on upbeats.
1:02 [m. 66]--Second
phrase. It includes a few chromatic notes.
1:10 [m. 74]--Third
phrase. It makes a colorful shift to E major.
1:19 [m. 82]--Fourth
phrase. It makes another shift, this time to C major.
1:27 [m. 90]--Fifth
phrase. Similar to the second phrase, and still in C major.
There is some slight intensification.
1:36 [m. 98]--Transition back
to greatly varied A’
section. It is based on the last phrase of B, but abandons the total
canon. There continues to be a very strict two-voice canon, but
instead of always being at the top of the left hand, the imitating
voice is buried in the middle of the thick texture, still at the
distance of one beat (which continues through much of the A’ section). The music moves
back to F minor. At this point, it becomes suddenly and violently
passionate, and will remain so until the very end. Duple rhythms
appear again (including the rapid arpeggios at the end), and are again
juxtaposed with the more prevalent triplets.
A’ Section--F minor
1:44 [m. 106]--Return to the
seven opening “statements”, but with three major differences: (1) the
accompanying three-note groups now move in the same direction in each
hand (down-up); (2) the harmony is more filled out; and (3) the second
and fourth “statements” move lower than the first and third (similar to
the single low notes following the chords in the B section). This pattern is
broken with statements six and seven. The music is agitated, as
at the beginning, but now loud and powerful rather than quiet and
1:51 [m. 113]--Similar at 0:09
[m. 8], but with much thicker texture surrounding the canon. The
last three of the previous seven “statements” varied the harmony from
the opening music, allowing this analogous passage to begin higher and
remain in the home key of F minor rather than moving to C minor.
Duple rhythm is again introduced both against and juxtaposed with the
1:56 [m. 118]--Four
“statements” similar to 0:15 [m. 13], but not a repetition of 1:44 [m.
106]. They are quite feverish, and briefly hint at B-flat minor
(analogous to the C minor--F minor motion at this point in the A section). The surrounding
harmonies are thick, and played with both hands throughout.
2:00 [m. 122]--New material
introducing a sort of “coda.” The strict canon continues with the
imitative voice in the middle. Probably the most difficult
passage in the piece, it greatly exploits two-against-three cross
rhythms. This could be seen as the climax of the piece.
2:04 [m. 126]--Four more
“statements” as at 1:56 [m. 118], but an octave lower.
2:08 [m. 130]--Material from
2:00 [m. 122], with the canon still continuing. The passage at
2:12 [m. 133] is very complex and difficult to execute properly.
It has heavy syncopation and close canonic entries steadily moving
down. The right hand plays both the leading and the following
voice, with three overlapping entries before the left hand finally
takes the fourth.
2:15 [m. 135]--The music
suddenly subdues itself for four final chords, which resolve the canon,
move to F major and die
away. It is a wonderful preparation for the beginning of
the Romance, No. 5.
2:33--END OF PIECE [139 mm.]
Andante - Allegretto grazioso - Tempo I
(Ternary form). F MAJOR, 6/4 and Cut [2/2] time.
A Section--F Major, 6/4
time. The A section,
while sounding like a simple lullaby, is built on a principle of invertible counterpoint. Two
melodic lines are always combined together, and either one can be on
top. One line is simply a descending scale followed by a jump and
a downward sweep. The other is a more songlike melody, often
varied and always doubled in two voices, ending with three repeated
notes. There is usually more harmony than just the two (three if
the doubling is counted) lines.
0:00 [m. 1]--First
phrase. The descending scale line is in the top voice. The
songlike melody is doubled in the alto- and tenor-range voices.
0:21 [m. 5]--Second
phrase. The songlike melody remains in the middle, but is varied
by adding more notes and motion. The descending scale remains in
the top voice. The harmony changes from the first phrase at the
end (suggesting the “relative” key of D minor), with the downward sweep
at the end of the scale line now sweeping slowly upward.
0:41 [m. 9]--Third
phrase. The “songlike melody” emerges at the top of the texture
in its original unembellished form. The descending scale line is
now in the middle of the doubled voices of the “songlike melody” and
completely subordinate to them. This line reemerges on top only
with the "downward sweep" at the end. The accompanying harmony is
now much more active.
0:58 [m. 13]--Fourth
phrase. It is basically a repetition of the second phrase, but
with the harmony altered to facilitate a motion to D Major for the B section. There is a moment
of suspended tension.
grazioso, D Major, Cut time [2/2]. The B section is based on the principle
of variation by diminution. The basic four-measure phrase is
stated and varied six times (three pairs of two), usually by decoration
and decreased note values. This occurs over a persistent
left-hand pattern (ostinato),
which only varies in a few measures (usually the first or last of a
phrase). Each phrase ends with a trill (the first and third with
a scale run). The whole section is quiet, light, and delicate, if
rather quick in speed.
1:21 [m. 17]--First
phrase. A second right-hand voice becomes clearly audible in the
1:28 [m. 21]--Second
phrase. Consequent “answering” phrase to first. It begins
identically, changing slightly at the end with lower motion and a later
trill without the scale.
1:35 [m. 25]--Third
phrase. Basically analogous to first phrase, but the diminution
has now begun. The melody is now in triplets (groups of three),
creating six notes to a beat instead of four.
1:42 [m. 29]--Fourth
phrase. Analogous to the second phrase, but continuing the
triplet motion of the third.
1:49 [m. 33]--Fifth
phrase. The diminution continues. The melody is now highly
decorated in notes twice as fast as those of first phrase (now eight
notes to a beat).
1:57 [m. 37]--Sixth
phrase. It is analogous to second and fourth phrases, but does
not continue the motion of the fifth phrase, instead presenting the
tune in a stripped-down version with quick arpeggios that are much more
difficult to play than they sound. This phrase liquidates itself
in repeated trills that begin the transition to the A’ section.
2:08 [m. 43]--At the “climax”
of the trill motion, two rapid, highly decorative descending passages
lead back to 6/4 time at 2:12 [m. 45]. The trills move to the
bass and combine with recognizable “sighing” figures from the “scale”
line of the A section to
complete the transition. At the end, the right hand trills.
A’ Section --Tempo I, F major,
6/4 time. It is reduced to two phrases instead of four.
2:23 [m. 48]--It is virtually
identical to the first phrase , but with slightly thicker harmony.
2:43 [m. 52]--This is the
phrase that solves the puzzle of the piece--which of the two lines is
more important? The descending scale is on top more often, but
the “songlike” phrase is more melodic and appears in doubled
voices. This final phrase is very similar to those at 0:21 [m. 5]
and 0:58 [m. 13], but the “songlike” line is now doubled in THREE
voices in its more moving, “embellished” form, basically confirming its
dominance over the descending scale (which, however, is now also
doubled in the bass). The phrase is varied and extended by one
measure before the final concluding chord, and the distinction between
the two lines is blurred at the end. It is the only one of the
six “invertible” phrases from the A
and A’ sections that reaches
closure and resolution. The increased doubling of the phrase
creates a full, warm, and rich, yet quiet and subdued conclusion.
3:28--END OF PIECE [57 mm.]
Andante, largo e mesto (AABA’ or expanded
ternary form). E-FLAT MINOR, 3/8 time.
A Section--E-flat minor
0:00 [m. 1]--The “motto” of
this dark and brooding, yet heroic piece is immediately stated in a
bare single line. It is clearly based on the Gregorian “Dies
Irae” familiar from the Requiem mass. As the “motto” finishes,
the left hand enters with quick, quiet, sweeping arpeggios. The A section is quiet and mysterious
0:15 [m. 5]--The “motto” is
repeated an octave lower. The arpeggios appear much sooner in the
left hand and eventually become undulating waves.
0:25 [m. 9]--A new phrase based
on the motto enters one beat “too early” as the waves in the left hand
are concluding. This new phrase is stated in thirds. It is
imitated at a distance of an tenth lower before it finishes (0:31 [m.
11]). The left hand arpeggios are less rapid. The harmony
moves toward B-flat minor.
0:39 [m. 13]--A fragment of the
new phrase enters. It is imitated first above, then below again,
always before the last “statement” finishes. The final
“statement” reaches “closure” in the full form introduced at 0:25 [m.
9]. There is much hand-crossing here, and the accompaniment
figures become more bare and sparse.
0:51 [m. 17]--Full statement of
the “motto” doubled in octaves and harmonized by chords on down beats,
now in the key of B-flat minor. There is a “hemiola” at the end
(three groups of two beats superimposed on two 3/8 bars).
A Section (slightly varied,
not enough to be called A’--similar
second A section of
Intermezzo No. 2 above)
1:04 [m. 21]--Sudden shift back
to E-flat minor. Opening motto as at the beginning, but the
sweeping arpeggios are replaced by a slower, sinuous descending left
hand line, which is often chromatic, with many half-steps.
1:16 [m. 25]--The motto is
stated an octave lower, as at 0:15 [m. 5]. The sinuous line
continues, now ascending and soaring above, then arching back below the
motto theme in an especially elegant hand crossing. This line
merges into the former wave-like arpeggios, and from this point, the
section is identical to the first A.
1:25 [m. 29]--New phrase with
imitation, as at 0:25 [m. 9]
1:38 [m. 33]--Fragment of the
new phrase with imitations, as at 0:39 [m. 13]
1:51 [m. 37]--Full statement of
the “motto” doubled in octaves with hemiola, as at 0:51 [m. 17]
B Section--B-flat minor
2:03 [m. 41]--The music
suddenly obtains a heroic character. The right hand becomes
march-like (but still retaining the 3/8 triple meter). The left
hand figures are very low and ominous, but do not disturb the “heroic”
style. The dynamic level is still soft. Just before 2:19
[m. 48], the volume suddenly and dramatically increases. The
section begins by hinting at G-flat major, but is quickly confirmed as
the B-flat minor in which both previous A sections ended.
2:22 [m. 49]--The first climax
of the B section. The
first martial figures are repeated, now at full volume and striving
2:29 [m. 51]--A cascading
arpeggio interrupts. It is doubled (tripled) in three separate
octaves until the left hand takes over and the third voice drops
out. The right hand anticipates the following “motto.”
2:33 [m. 53]--Sudden entrance
of the “motto” theme from the A
section, much transformed and at full volume, with rich harmony.
The home key of E-flat minor returns earlier than expected here.
2:38 [m. 55]--Return of the
martial figures, now even more intense, and in the home key.
Amazingly, this is the first appearance of the note C-flat (which
actually belongs to the home key of E-flat minor).
2:44 [m. 57]--Cascading
arpeggio, as at 2:29 [m. 51], but with stronger right hand chords at
the end instead of the anticipation of the “motto.”
2:49 [m. 59]--An even more
dramatic statement of the “motto” theme. There is then a very
sudden decrease in volume over descending syncopated chords.
3:00 [m. 63]--Return of the
bare “motto” theme in the LOWER octave as at 0:15 [m. 5] and 1:16 [m.
25]. Fragmented left-hand arpeggios lead to the “waves.”
3:10 [m. 67]--Similar to 0:25
[m. 9] and 1:25 [m. 29], but the music suddenly makes a warmer
turn. This is accomplished by the entrance of the note C-flat at
the lowest point in the bass (at 3:12 [m. 67]). This note has
been treated carefully (first appearance around 2:38 [m. 55]), and now
moves the A’ section in an
entirely new direction. It moves briefly to a soothing C-flat (!)
major before turning back to minor at the imitation (3:19 [m. 69],
similar to 0:31 [m. 11]). The phrases begin in sixths instead of
thirds (wider spacing), but move to thirds before finishing.
3:25 [m. 71]--Instead of the
fragments and imitations from 0:39 [m. 13] and 1:38 [m. 33], the music
now intensifies to the final aborted climax (and remains in the “home”
key). The left-hand arpeggios are slower, but obtain a very wide
3:35 [m. 75]--The climax is
aborted, leading to a phrase similar to the final “statements” of the
passages from 0:39 [m. 13] and 1:38 [m. 33].
3:41 [m. 77]--As at 0:51 [m.
17] and 1:51 [m. 37], but now in the home key of E-flat minor and
adding a third (lower) octave doubling for a very dark and sinister
sound. The “hemiola” is also intensified with richer harmonies.
3:56 [m. 81]--Final statement
of the motto. The upper voice is on the original pitch. It
begins doubled, but adds another “middle” octave as it
intensifies. There is a rich texture with full harmony,
increasing in volume until the chord at 4:06 [m. 83]. Two more
chords of E-flat minor take the volume back down to a low level.
4:16 [m. 85]--A bare, desolate
arpeggio of the E-flat minor chord beginning in the low bass, each note
held to create a chord that fades away (the last note is struck at 4:23
4:49--END OF PIECE [86 mm.]
END OF SET