Recording: Edith Mathis, soprano; Brigitte Fassbaender, alto; Peter Schreier, tenor; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, bass; Karl Engel, piano [DG 449 641-2]

Published 1864.

Brahms’s earliest set of vocal quartets consists of three miniature masterpieces that stand favorably alongside contemporary vocal works such as the Op. 29 motets, the Op. 32 songs, and even the Op. 33 “Magelone” cycle.  They are a definite advance upon the two earlier sets of vocal duets, Opp. 20 and 28. Brahms approaches the medium with confidence, availing himself of every dramatic opportunity presented him by the four voices.  The piano accompaniments also have their distinct character in each quartet.  Each quartet relates to the other two in distinct ways.  Nos. 1 and 2 both set pairs of voices against each other, two male/female pairs in No. 1 and men vs. women in No. 2.  In each, the pairs come together at the end.  No text could be more perfectly suited for vocal quartet setting than the Goethe poem of No. 1.  The ending of No. 2 contains one of the most elaborate and breathtaking passages of vocal counterpoint in Brahms’s entire output as the two pairs come together.  Nos. 2 and 3 are related by their settings of translations from Czech folk poetry.  Nos. 1 and 3 are related by their use of triple-meter dance rhythms, minuet in No. 1 and waltz in No. 3.  No. 3 abandons vocal counterpoint in favor of sonorous harmony.  It is also somewhat unique in Brahms’s output in terms of the reuse of its material in other works.  While he commonly rearranged the same text and music for different settings, and often used the same texts multiple times with different musical material, this quartet is probably the only example of a piece whose text was used (with different music) elsewhere and whose music is also found in an instrumental piece.

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

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)
No. 2: Neckereien
No. 3: Der Gang zum Liebchen (The second ending is numbered consecutively after the first ending [not my standard numbering practice]--to match this guide, change m. 31 in this score to m. 29 and subract two bars from that point.)

1. Wechsellied zum Tanze (Dialogue at the Dance).  Text by  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  Tempo di Menuetto, con moto.  Minuet and Trio, with full repetition of Trio and Coda (ABAB-Coda).  C MINOR/A-FLAT MAJOR, 3/4 time.

German Text:
Die Gleichgültigen:
Komm mit, o Schöne, komm mit mir zum Tanze;
Tanzen gehöret zum festlichen Tag.
Bist du mein Schatz nicht, so kannst du es werden,
Wirst du es nimmer, so tanzen wir doch.
Komm mit, o Schöne, komm mit mir zum Tanze;
Tanzen gehöret zum festlichen Tag.

Die Zärtlichen:
Ohne dich, Liebste, was wären die Feste?
Ohne dich, Süße, was wäre der Tanz?
Wärst du mein Schatz nicht, so möcht ich nicht tanzen,
Bleibst du es immer, ist Leben ein Fest.
Ohne dich, Liebste, was wären die Feste?
Ohne dich, Süße, was wäre der Tanz?

Die Gleichgültigen:
Laß sie nur lieben, und laß du uns tanzen!
Schmachtende Liebe vermeidet den Tanz.
Schlingen wir fröhlich den drehenden Reihen,
Schleichen die andern zum dämmernden Wald.
Laß sie nur lieben, und laß du uns tanzen!
Schmachtende Liebe Vermeidet den Tanz.

Die Zärtlichen:
Laß sie sich drehen, und laß du uns wandeln!
Wandeln der Liebe ist himmlischer Tanz.
Amor, der nahe, der höret sie spotten,
Rächet sich einmal, und rächet sich bald.
Laß sie sich drehen, und laß du uns wandeln!
Wandeln der Liebe ist himmlischer Tanz.

English Translation

MINUET--C minor (Stanza 1)
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1, presented as a piano introduction.  The rhythm of the minuet accompaniment, with a dotted (long-short) figure at the beginning of each bar is established.  The harmonized thirds are passed between upper and lower voices in the right hand  The left hand establishes a pattern of a long, low fifth or octave on the first two beats, and a shorter, higher fifth on the last beat of each bar.  The right hand reaches higher, and the introduction ends with a suggested motion to G minor.  The basic volume is quiet.
0:14 [m. 9]--Part 1 varied.  The “indifferent ones,” played by the alto and bass, enter.  The piano accompaniment is exactly the same as the introduction, and the entry of the voices constitutes the variation.  They sing, alto leading bass, in a very inexact imitation with wide leaps and broken chords.  The bass finishes a beat late, as the transition to Part 2 is beginning.  They sing the first two lines.  The alto changes the feminine “Schöne” to the masculine “Schöner” (“handsome one” instead of “beauty”).
0:26 [m. 17]--Transition to Part 2.  A piano interlude brings a more extended motion from the implied G minor back to C minor in place of the previous abrupt repetition at 0:14 [m. 9].  Two waves of descending sixths and thirds in the right hand are played while the main minuet rhythm with the dotted figure moves to the low bass.
0:32 [m. 21]--Part 2.  The inexact imitation continues in the same vein, alto leading the bass, on the third and fourth lines.  The voices and piano are nearly the same as in Part 1, but they are altered at the end to avoid the implied motion to G minor and remain in C.  Again, the bass finishes “late,” spilling into the repetition.
0:44 [m. 17]--Repetition of the transition to Part 2.
0:50 [m. 21]--Repetition of Part 2, now using the last two lines of the stanza (which are the same as the first two in Brahms’s setting.  Goethe’s original replaces “gehöret zum” [“belongs to”] with “verherrlicht den” [“glorifies the”]).  The bass line is altered slightly at the very end to lead into the new transition to the Trio.
1:01 [m. 29]--Transition to Trio.  The minuet rhythm continues in the bass, but the right hand plays descending arpeggios in groups of four that obscure the meter for two bars before moving to lower arpeggios in groups of three that obscure the meter in a different way.  The key change to A-flat major happens during the groups of three.
TRIO--A-flat major (Stanza 2)
1:08 [m. 33]--Part 1.  Lines 1 and 2.  The “tender ones,” played by the soprano and tenor, sing this music.  They provide contrast by singing together in harmony, presenting smooth, flowing lines instead of the angular leaps and broken chords.  The major key provides respite.  The voices swell at “ohne dich.” The piano left hand plays wide-ranging arpeggios instead of the “oom-pah” minuet rhythm.  The right hand largely doubles the melody.  The soprano changes the feminine “Liebste” and “Süße” (“dear one” and “sweet one”) to the masculine “Liebster” and “Süßer.”  Brahms provides the tenor the option of singing longer notes on “ohne dich” and omitting “Süße,” an option that Schreier takes in this recording.
1:20 [m. 33]--Part 1 repeated, with the same text.
1:31 [m. 41]--Part 2.  The tenor sings the continuing melody alone for the third and fourth lines.  There is a swell to a climax and high note on the fourth line.  The piano becomes slightly more active and independent.
1:44 [m. 49]--The soprano joins again for the last two lines, which are the same text as the first two.  The music is similar to that of Part 1, but it is extended and intensified, with an added chromatic note (G-flat) at the climax.  Two lengthened repetitions of the word “wäre” are added as the music diminishes before the full close (different from the half-close at the end of Part 1).
2:00 [m. 41]--Part 2 repeated.  Music and text as at 1:31, but the third line is taken by the soprano.  The tenor joins in harmony for the fourth line as the music swells.
2:12 [m. 49]--Repetition of the last two lines, as at 1:44.
REPRISE OF MINUET--C minor (Stanza 3)
2:27 [m. 59]--Part 1.  With no transition, the music moves abruptly back to C minor and the “indifferent ones” sing again.  They sing the first two lines of the stanza to the same music as at 0:14 [m. 9].  Because the piano introduction is not reprised, Part 1 of the minuet is only stated once here.
2:39 [m. 67]--Transition to Part 2, as at 0:26 [m. 17].
2:45 [m. 71]--Part 2.  As at 0:32 [m. 21].  The third and fourth lines are sung.
2:56 [m. 67]--Repetition of the transition to Part 2.
3:02 [m. 71]--Repetition of Part 2, using the last two lines, which are the same as the first two.
3:14 [m. 79]--Transition to Trio, as at 1:01 [m. 29].
REPRISE OF TRIO--A-flat major (Stanza 4)
3:20 [m. 83]--Part 1.  The “tender ones” return.  Lines 1 and 2, sung to the same music as at 1:08 [m. 33].  Because of the different text, the tenor’s long notes at the high point are not an option here.
3:32 [m. 83]--Part 1 repeated, with the same text.
3:44 [m. 91]--Part 2, as at 1:31 [m. 41], with the tenor alone taking the third and fourth lines.
3:56 [m. 99]--The soprano joins for the last two lines (same as the first two) to the same music as at 1:44 [m. 49].  In place of the two insertions of “wäre,” the three-syllable word “himmlischer” is inserted once, with the first syllable stretched over two notes.
4:12 [m. 91]--Part 2 repeated.  Music and text as at 3:44, but the third line is taken by the soprano.  The tenor joins in harmony for the fourth line as the music swells.
4:24 [m. 99]--Repetition of the last two lines, as at 3:56.
CODA--A-flat minor/major (First two lines of stanzas 3 and 4)
4:39 [m. 109]--The “indifferent ones” enter again.  They begin an exchange with the “tender ones,” breaking up  the first lines of the third and fourth stanzas.  The minuet rhythm, representing the “indifferent ones,” dominates, but the key remains in A-flat, the key of the “tender ones.”  The “indifferent ones” sing the first half of their line (from stanza 3) in A-flat minor.  The “tender ones” respond with their first half (from stanza 4) in A-flat major.  The “indifferent ones” follow with their second half, and the “tender ones” respond with their second half, which has moved to C-flat major (related to A-flat minor).
4:51 [m. 117]--The “indifferent ones” sing the second line of stanza 3.  The harmony here is very active, moving through E major and E-flat major before arriving again on A-flat.  Note that in the coda, the “indifferent ones” are singing in harmony rather than in imitation.  They are being drawn into the world of the “tender ones,” but the minuet rhythm provides keeps them separate for now.
4:57 [m. 121]--The “tender ones” sing the second line of stanza 4 in A-flat major.  A repetition of “himmlischer” extends their phrase so that it overlaps with the next entry of the “indifferent ones.”
5:04 [m. 125]--Overlapping the cadence of the “tender ones,” the “indifferent ones” again begin the exchange heard at 4:39 [m. 109].  The only major difference is that on the responses of the “tender ones,” the piano right hand begins to play the flowing line of their music, further undermining the world of the “indifferent” ones, although their minuet rhythm holds on in the left hand.
5:15 [m. 133]--For the first time, all four voices sing together.  The music is essentially that from 4:51 [m. 117], with the same active harmony, but added vocal texture.  The “indifferent ones” still sing their line from stanza 3, but they are increasingly subsumed in the world of the “tender ones,” who simultaneously sing their line from stanza 4.  The piano right hand plays a wonderful mixture of the minuet rhythm and the flowing “tender ones” music.  The music swells to a rich, harmonious climax.
5:21 [m. 137]--Similar to 4:57 [m. 121], but all four voices sing together in A-flat major, repeating their last lines.  The soprano cuts out the first part of the line, stretching out the word “himmlischer,” which she sings twice.  The first one begins on a long note on her climactic highest pitch.  The tenor joins her on the second one (he having sung the first part of the line), and both sing a decorative turn figure to add closure to the final cadence.  The “indifferent ones” repeat the word “vermeidet.”  The accompaniment again mixes the flowing line of the “tender ones” with the minuet rhythm of the “indifferent ones.”  The line is extended to a fifth bar at the cadence.
5:28 [m. 141]--Piano postlude, beginning in overlap with the final vocal cadence.  It is very gentle.  It continues the mixture of the minuet rhythm and the flowing “tender ones” music.  Three warm A-flat chords in the middle register finally close the quartet.
5:50--END OF QUARTET [149 mm.] 

2. Neckereien (Teasing).  Text by Josef Wenzig, after a Moravian (Czech) folk poem.  Allegretto con grazia.  Varied, alternating strophic form (ABA’BA”).  E MAJOR, 4/4 time.

German Text:
Fürwahr, mein Liebchen, ich will nun frein,
Ich führals Weibchen dich bei mir ein,
Mein wirst du, o Liebchen, fürwahr du wirst mein,
Und wolltest dus auch nicht sein.

“So werd ich ein Täubchen von weißer Gestalt,
Ich will schon entfliehen, ich flieg in den Wald,
Mag dennoch nicht deine, mag dennoch nicht dein,
Nicht eine Stunde sein.”

Ich hab wohl ein Flintchen, das trifft gar bald,
Ich schieß mir das Täubchen herunter im Wald;
Mein wirst du, o Liebchen, fürwahr du wirst mein,
Und wolltest dus auch nicht sein.

“So werd ich ein Fischchen, ein goldener Fisch,
Ich will schon entspringen ins Wasser frisch;
Mag dennoch nicht deine, mag dennoch nicht dein,
Nicht eine Stunde sein.”

Ich hab wohl ein Netzchen, das fischt gar gut,
Ich fang mir den goldenen Fisch in der Flut;
Mein wirst du, o Liebchen, fürwahr du wirst mein,
Und wolltest dus auch nicht sein.

“So werd ich ein Häschen voll Schnelligkeit,
Und lauf in die Felder, die Felder breit,
Mag dennoch nicht deine, mag dennoch nicht dein,
Nicht eine Stunde sein.”

Ich hab wohl ein Hüdchen, gar pfiffig und fein,
Das fängt mir das Häschen im Felde schon ein:
Mein wirst du, o Liebchen, fürwahr du wirst mein,
Und wolltest dus auch nicht sein.

English Translation

A Section--E Major
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The opening piano gesture lands first on E, then on B, establishing the keys of the men and women, respectively.  The tenor quietly begins the two-voice fugue that will present the first stanza.  It presents the main melody of this fugue (the subject) on the first two lines.  The opening leap is the most characteristic feature.  The piano breaks a light octave doubling of the voice between the hands.
0:12 [m. 6]--The bass enters, imitating the tenor a fourth below on the main subject and the first two lines.  The tenor continues with a counterpoint (countersubject) on the third and fourth lines that skittishly moves downward, then skips up and leaps down two times as “fürwahr du wirst mein” is repeated.  The fourth line is set to an upward shooting gesture that reaches a full cadence.  The piano adds chords to the right hand while the left hand doubles the bass.
0:20 [m. 10]--Before the tenor reaches his cadence, the bass now imitates the third and fourth lines on the “countersubject,” but drops down to a fifth below the tenor.  The piano bass now strongly plays the original subject melody in octaves.  The tenor rests for a bit after his cadence, then sings two interjections on “fürwahr du  wirst mein.”  He repeats the fourth line with its shooting gesture and cadence, adding an extra repetition of “und wolltest” before.  After the bass finishes the countersubject, he joins the tenor on “das auch nicht sein” in harmony, and both reach a cadence together.  A brief piano interlude imitates this cadence, adding extra syncopation and a leaping, detached bass.  It moves to B major.
B Section--B Major
0:35 [m. 17]--Stanza 2.  The women enter together in harmony.  On the second line, they pass a decorative figure between each other.  They grow in volume as they move toward the third line, where they reach a forceful level.  The last line is an upward shooting, harmonized triplet rhythm that reaches a cadence.  The piano continues the detached, leaping bass of the interlude, adding some gentle “sigh” figures at first, then bringing the right hand into the detached, leaping rhythm.
0:50 [m. 24]--Stanza 3, lines 1-2.  The tenor and bass quietly enter together in the women’s key and with their music as they finish their cadence.  They move away from the key, however, and on the second line, they do not sing together.  While the decorative figure is passed between them as it was between the women, the tenor leads the bass on the words, while the women sang them together.  The tenor repeats “herunter im Wald,” adding yet another “herunter.”   The bass only repeats “herunter,” and only once.  The harmony moves back to E Major and the music again swells in volume.
A’ Section--E Major
1:00 [m. 29]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4.  Before the tenor finishes the second line, the bass begins the third on the original main fugue subject.  The tenor follows in canon (exact imitation an octave higher) at the close distance of  two beats.  The piano bass strongly doubles the vocal bass on the subject.  While the bass finishes the subject on the fourth line, repeating “und wolltest,” the tenor breaks the canon, singing the fourth line to the shooting triplet rhythm sung by the women on similar words at the end of stanza 2.
1:08 [m. 33]--The two male parts sing the subject and countersubject on music very similar to that at 0:12 [m. 6], but they sing the same text together as the music diminishes in volume.  The tenor’s line is exactly the same as it was then, and while the bass’s is mostly the same, instead of finishing the subject, he joins the tenor on the cadence as at the end of the first A section.  Note that the text of these lines is the same as the corresponding lines of stanza 1.  The original piano interlude from the end of the first A section follows.
B Section--B Major
1:21 [m. 39]--Stanza 4.  The women enter, and their setting of this stanza is musically identical to their setting of stanza 2.
1:35 [m. 46]--Stanza 5, lines 1-2.  The tenor and bass sing these lines as they had the first two lines of stanza 3, and the music is identical.  The tenor repeats “den goldenen Fisch in der Flut,” (without any extra repetition since the repeated text is longer than in stanza 3), and the bass only repeats “den goldenen.”
A” Section--E Major
1:46 [m. 51]--Stanza 5, lines 3-4 and stanza 6, lines 1-2.  Here begins one of the most delightful and intricate passages of counterpoint in all of Brahms’s works.  The tenor and bass sing lines 3 and 4 to the same canon passage they had at 1:00 [m. 29].  The piano accompaniment is mostly the same as at that point as well.  It is altered to accommodate the women, who unexpectedly enter with the next stanza against the men.  They sing against the men in a very loud and animated passage using many triplet rhythms.  The first line is sung with the alto imitating the soprano a bar later and a fifth lower.  The imitation does not continue on the second line.  The soprano repeats the line (without “und”) so that the alto, who adds a third “die Felder,” can catch up.  The piano echoes the triplet rhythm in chords as all four voices come together.
1:53 [m. 55]--Stanza 6, lines 3-4 and stanza 7, lines 1-2.  The women sing their lines to the music of the men’s main melody.  Because they are also in the men’s key, they are becoming subsumed in their world, and the men are winning the teasing duel.  They sing together on the third line of their stanza, but the alto breaks away, repeating “mag dennoch nicht dein.”  They are separated on the fourth line, but the alto catches up under the soprano’s longer notes.  Meanwhile, the men begin the seventh stanza singing the same animated, triplet-rich music used by the women at 1:46 [m. 51] with the same imitation, the tenor repeating the second line.  There are slight differences to accommodate extra syllables, and the bass line changes at the end to its original role at the cadence, the soprano singing the tenor’s original shooting triplet line.
2:01 [m. 59]--Stanza 7, line 3.  The women drop out.  The men lead out of the previous frenzy, quieting down as they begin the passage heard at 1:08 [m. 33].  This suddenly changes, as the previous upward shooting line on “fürwahr du wirst mein” stalls and continues to move down.  The voices, in harmony, repeat “fürwahr” three times on sigh figures as the music gradually slows down.  Under these repetitions, the piano hints at its interlude heard at the end of stanzas 1 and 3.
2:11 [m. 62]--Stanza 7, line 4.  The bass timidly rises on the fourth line and the tenor follows, the bass holding a long note on “auch.”  As the tenor similarly begins to hold, the women make a sudden, fast, loud, and impetuous entrance on their last line from stanzas 2, 4, and 6, but ignorantly adding a word from the men (“auch”).  They shoot up in the harmonized triplets and reach a full cadence.  Under this, the men complete their own cadence, the basses repeating “und wolltest dus auch” under the tenor’s long note before they both sing “nicht sein.”  They come together with the women, whose last word, “sein,” is the same.
2:19 [m. 65]--Piano postlude, using the upward shooting harmonized triplets and the  leaping, detached bass.  It closes with three emphatic E-major chords.
2:28--END OF QUARTET [67 mm.]

3. Der Gang zum Liebchen  (The Path to His Sweetheart).  Text by Josef Wenzig, after a Bohemian (Czech) folk poem.  Con moto e grazioso.  Strophic form (ABAB) with coda.  E-FLAT MAJOR, 3/4 time.
(The same text and title, with different music, is used for the solo song, Op. 48, No. 1.  The musical material is the same as the piano waltz, Op. 39, No. 5, which is in E major, a half-step higher.  The similar title Gang zur Liebsten is used for the unrelated solo song, Op. 14, No. 6.)

German Text:
Es glänzt der Mond nieder,
Ich sollte doch wieder
Zu meinem Liebchen,
Wie mag es ihr gehn?

Ach weh, sie verzaget
Und klaget, und klaget,
Daß sie mich nimmer
Im Leben wird sehn!

Es ging der Mond unter,
Ich eilte doch munter,
Und eilte daß keiner
Mein Liebchen entführt.

Ihr Täubchen, o girret,
Ihr Lüftchen, o schwirret,
Daß keiner mein Liebchen,
Mein Liebchen entführt!

English Translation

Strophe 1
0:00 [m. 1]--An expansive piano introduction presents the opening rhythm of the main melody (beginning with a long-short rhythm), harmonized in the top voices of the both hands and marked dolce (sweetly).  Under these are steadily rising lines in two-note groups.  After two sequences of the rhythm, there is a large leap and descent.  The accompanying two-note groups descend two bars later.  The music slows and settles over rich harmony with minor-key inflections.
0:21 [m. 9]--Stanza 1 (A).  The voices present the waltz melody in very tender, sonorous block harmony.  While the soprano sings the main melody, the rhythmic impetus begins with the middle parts.  As in the piano waltz, the melody begins in an inner voice, the soprano actually singing below the alto.  The dotted rhythm, however, which is in the melody in the waltz, is in the accompanying repeated notes, here sung by alto and tenor.  The piano provides flowing, arching chord accompaniment.  The stanza ends with a motion to the related “dominant” key of B-flat.
0:35 [m. 17]--Stanza 2 (B).  The strophe continues with the contrasting section.  The structure here of ABAB differs from the piano waltz’s AABB.  A contrasting phrase moves to F minor, then back to E-flat.  The dotted rhythm begins in the bass and alto, but the soprano retains the melody.  Accented, resolving “sigh” figures abound.  The following phrase (lines 3-4) is nearly identical to the opening of stanza 1, but the harmony is based on a new pedal B-flat which was not present before.  The initial dotted rhythm on this phrase in tenor and alto is disrupted by the single-syllable word “sie” in a line one syllable shorter.
0:49 [m. 25]--A six-bar extension to the phrase repeats the last two lines, and then the last line a third time.  The first repetition cuts off “wird sehn” in the soprano, which extends the word “Leben.”  The extension moves strongly to A-flat major and a variation of the melody in that key leads to the highest soprano notes (on the extended “Leben”).  Then a descending line of chords moves back to E-flat and sets the last line the third time.  The melody does not reach a complete close at the cadence, and the final E-flat harmony merges back into the introduction.
Strophe 2
1:02 [m. 1]--Piano introduction, as at the beginning, leading out of the first strophe, and marked as a repeat.
1:19 [m. 9]--Stanza 3 (A).  Set to the same music as stanza 1.  At the third line (the second phrase of the stanza), the alto has an added dotted rhythm on a repeated note to accommodate an extra syllable.
1:34 [m. 17]--Stanza 4 (B).  Set to the same music as stanza 2.  The extra syllable (“keiner”) means that the second phrase (lines 3-4) is set to the same declamation in tenor and alto as the opening of the melody in stanza 1, which was not the case in stanza 2.
1:47 [m. 25]--The six-bar extension repeats the last two lines, then the last line a third time.  The soprano cuts off “entführt” on the first repetition, extending the important word “Liebchen” on the high notes.  The ending of the passage is different from stanza 2.  Instead of completing the line with “entführt,” the words “mein Liebchen” are repeated again and “entführt” spills over past the initial six-bar extension.  The harmony does not land on E-flat, as it had in stanza 2, and a sense of anticipation is created.
2:00 [m. 31]--At the point where the music had merged back to the introduction at the end of the first strophe, the second syllable of “entführt” is extended over three bars plus one beat on a long, expectant (“dominant”) chord that does not resolve.  Under this, the piano plays a long, arching line harmonized between the hands.  This is an “extension” of the extension.  After the voices drop out unresolved, the piano does indeed merge back to the introduction, as it had in the first strophe.  It is merely delayed.
2:07 [m. 35]--The piano introduction begins again, but at its previous high point, instead of moving back down, it extends even higher, beautifully changing the harmony and pitch level (higher) of the vocal lead-in.
2:24 [m. 43]--The music is now very calm and slows to the end.  The voices enter with “mein Liebchen” on a static chord on A-flat (the “subdominant”).  The piano continues to murmur and undulate under this.  After another bar of piano undulation, the voices once again sing the key words “mein Liebchen” (the sixth statement of these words from the last stanza), beginning on an A-flat minor chord and finally resolving to an E-flat chord in a so-called “plagal” cadence (but without the keynote in the soprano).  The piano undulates still more, and the voices finally sing “entführt” on a complete, full close, the sopranos striving up to the keynote as the piano also stops on the chord.
3:00--END OF QUARTET [51 mm.]