TRIO FOR PIANO, VIOLIN,
AND HORN in E-FLAT MAJOR (“HORN TRIO”), OP. 40
Recording: Eduard Drolc, violin; Gerd Seifert, horn; Christoph
Eschenbach, piano [DG 437 131-2]
Brahms composed his second piano trio in the summer of
1865, while in the Black Forest resort town of Lichtenthal
near Baden. It is not numbered with the standard piano
trios because he replaced the cello with an instrument of
which he was particularly fond: the horn, which his father
played well and with which he himself was proficient. He
did not, however, care for the new valved instrument that was
coming into increased use. The valves were particularly
liberating for a composer like Wagner, who wrote extensively
for horns in a chromatic language, but Brahms preferred the
“purer” sound of the natural valveless horn, and explicitly
indicated that instrument for the trio. He wrote it for
the horn pitched in E-flat, and all four movements are in that
key (the third in its minor version), thus creating a strange
connection to the first piano trio, in
which all four movements also share the same key center.
The horn part in the trio is atmospheric, virtuosic, and often
highly melodic, but Brahms only gave it notes that could be
produced on the natural horn with hand manipulations.
Thus, the violin part is much more agile, and that instrument
is often given the leading role. The piano part is
incredibly difficult, especially in the rapid 6/8 finale in
“hunting” style. Uniquely here, Brahms begins a
multi-movement instrumental work with a movement that is not
in sonata form, and the whole structure resembles the
slow-fast-slow-fast pattern of a baroque sonata. The
second movement is a large scherzo with a trio section in the
striking key of A-flat minor (seven flats). Other
passages not centered on E-flat include the contrasting
sections of the first and third movements. The Horn Trio
is contemporary with the German Requiem, and like that
work, it includes a possible tribute to Brahms’s mother, who
had died in early 1865. Here, it is in the third “Adagio
mesto” movement, a striking dirge in slow 6/8 time. The
surroundings of the Black Forest were also surely an
inspiration, and the types of music associated with the horn
are reflected in the scherzo and especially the finale, with a
fast 6/8 meter that contrasts with the slow 6/8 of the Adagio
that precedes it. The finale is in sonata form with a
very literal recapitulation, and because of its tempo it is
over in six minutes even with the exposition repeat. The
Adagio contains a hidden “pre-quotation” of the finale’s main
theme, providing an additional connection to their shared
meter. The opening movement is a rondo form, which is
typically associated with slow movements or final
movements. Here, the main 2/4 material in E-flat is
contrasted with faster episodes in minor keys and 9/8
meter. All four movements showcase the horn in an
idiomatic way, which is why Brahms was not pleased with the
need to provide an arrangement substituting the horn with a
cello (thus creating a standard piano trio with an unusually
restrictive cello part). He was more accepting of a
viola option in a later edition, but both substitutions are
virtually never performed today. The trio is standard
repertoire for horn players, though it is now usually played
with the modern valved instrument. It is also his only
chamber work with a wind instrument before the four late pieces with
clarinet. The central trio section of the scherzo is
derived from an early and unpublished piano piece that was
discovered in a privately held manuscript album with
contributions from other composers (including Robert and Clara
Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, and Gioachino
Rossini). The manuscript was offered at auction in 2011.
IMSLP WORK PAGE
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First
Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)
SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition [monochrome] including
violin and horn parts)
SCORE FROM IMSLP (Viola part [first edition], alternate
SCORE FROM IMSLP (Cello part [first edition], alternate
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche
1st Movement: Andante (Rondo form--ABA’B’A”).
E-FLAT MAJOR, 2/4 and 9/8 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1 (a). Beginning on the
upbeat, the violin presents the main melody, primarily based
on a long-short-short rhythm, dolce espressivo.
It turns down and up, then reaches a bit lower. Two
upward gestures lead to the closing upward continuation over
the questioning “dominant” harmony. The piano discreetly
accompanies the melody with chords on the upbeats, the first
four on the “dominant” followed by two E-flat chords and then
two more leading back to the “dominant” on B-flat.
0:16 [m. 9]--The horn now enters, playing the full
melodic phrase just given by the violin. The piano has
the same chords. The violin adds a new accompaniment
figure against the piano chords of rising figures in shorter
notes with double stops over a constant “pedal” note on
0:31 [m. 17]--The violin makes a darker turn with
ominous half-steps in its low register incorporating notes
from the minor key. The piano initially doubles the
violin, then moves in the opposite direction, also using the
“ominous” half-steps. On its second gesture, the violin
moves higher. The horn responds with two figures of
upward leaps and downward half-steps.
0:39 [m. 21]--The violin drops out, and the horn
returns to the main long-short-short melody, now at a higher
level, still over mostly “dominant” piano chords on the
upbeats. The horn works its way downward, and E-flat
chords in the piano briefly turn to minor. Finally, the
horn makes a dramatic downward leap before landing on two
full-measure notes descending stepwise from B-flat. The
closing piano chords are like the ones heard against the two
earlier melodic statements. The volume gradually
diminishes. The horn completes its descent against the
piano entry after holding the second long note over a bar
0:53 [m. 29]--Part 2 (b). Overlapping the
horn, the piano blossoms forth with this expressive new idea,
beginning with an echo of the previous horn descent. The
left hand plays broad rising arpeggios in triplet rhythm
beginning off the beat, and there is a syncopated inner
harmony as well in clashing “straight” rhythm. The new
idea continues with shorter “straight” notes beginning off the
beat. Against this, the violin makes an entry with its
own descent in long notes, but from E-flat. The violin
continues with similar short notes beginning off the beat in a
quasi-imitation. It makes a syncopated leap up, then
falls with a minor-key turn against the piano’s syncopated
harmonies over continuing triplet arpeggios in the left hand.
1:06 [m. 37]--The horn begins another statement of the
new idea in its high register against the continuing piano
figuration with thicker harmonies. The volume begins a
steady buildup. The violin immediately imitates a third
(tenth) higher, and the harmonies make a detour to the
seemingly remote key of G-flat major. That key, however,
is “relative” to the home minor key on E-flat. After a
full imitation, the horn adding octave leaps under the
violin’s completion, the two instruments come together,
harmonized in sixths, now moving toward E-flat minor without a
full arrival there. The idea begins in right hand piano
octaves, further thwarting any cadence.
1:21 [m. 47]--As the volume reaches forte, the
violin and horn hold long notes, and the piano’s right hand
octaves continue with the motion just heard in the other
instruments. The volume diminishes over two imitative
exchanges between the piano and the other instruments.
The left-hand triplets change to an arching motion. A
full arrival on E-flat minor is still avoided, and in fact the
last phrase in the violin and horn is diverted toward the
“dominant” key of B-flat. The phrase is extended as the
last imitation is completed, the intensity having rapidly
1:36 [m. 57]--Part 3 (a’). The ominous
half-steps from 0:31 [m. 17] make a return, now with the
instrumentation reversed. The horn plays the original
violin line, and the violin takes the upward leaps and
downward half-steps that were in the horn. The piano’s
quasi-doubling is only in the low bass. The triplet
figures beginning off the beat, now falling broken octaves,
have passed from the left hand to the right.
1:44 [m. 61]--The horn begins its version of the melody
from 0:39 [m. 21]. It is now freely harmonized by the
violin in gentle counterpoint, and extended by four measures
with a new internal upward sequence that increases the
intensity. The piano continues with its off-beat triplet
descents in the right hand, now with harmonies, and the left
hand plays the expected off-beat chords. The volume
builds slightly, then recedes. The violin drops out
after the horn’s dramatic downward leap, and the horn’s long
descending notes are both syncopated over bar lines after the
first one is reiterated.
2:06 [m. 74]--The piano reiterates the E-flat cadence,
with another horn repetition of its final G. Two more
repetitions follow, but the bass moves down to D, signifying a
key change to G minor. The B section begins on
an upbeat, with the violin in triplet rhythm to transition
into the new 9/8 meter.
B Section--Poco più animato, G minor, 9/8 time
2:10 [m. 77]--The key signature indicates G minor, as
does the violin upbeat, but the first agitated and yearning
phrase in the violin moves quickly to C minor, as does the
piano bass. The piano’s right hand has mid-range
descents off the beat while its bass mostly marks the second
and third beats of each measure. The violin melody
surges up in three mildly syncopated figures before it further
spins out. The horn enters with descents in longer
notes. The second half of the violin phrase swings up
before dipping down. The horn joins it in harmony on
another upward sweep and slower descent. The piano
patterns continue, reaching a bit higher at the end of the
phrase. The arrival of the last descent moves toward G
2:26 [m. 85]--The horn drops out with the turn to G
minor, and the violin has a series of descents marked as
duplets in a cross-rhythm with the 9/8 meter. The piano,
however, keeps the 9/8 firmly in place with a series of
arpeggios doubled in octaves between the hands, ascending on
the first two beats and descending on the last. After
two short duplet descents, the violin has a longer one and the
piano arpeggio arches up and back down. The phrase is
then varied. The piano right hand has a version of the
violin descents, but they remain in the 9/8 figuration, and
the violin takes the arpeggios, doubling the piano’s left
hand, which adds some harmonies. The violin has a
forceful G-minor cadence, but the piano undermines it.
2:39 [m. 92]--The volume has surged to forte,
and the piano undermines the violin’s G-minor arrival with
bass motion to B-flat. Both hands of the piano plunge
down in two-note figures that mildly disrupt the rhythmic
pulse. Receding back to piano, another G-minor
arrival is undermined by the piano turning to B-flat, leading
to more of the familiar arpeggios. The horn enters with
a syncopated sighing figure and the violin responds with a
longer upward reach. The horn has another, higher sigh,
and the violin surges up again, the volume building. The
horn sighs are heard again, with less distance between them,
and the violin responses are shorter. Chromatic
harmonies again suggest C minor or E-flat major.
2:55 [m. 101]--The piano lands on a “minor seventh”
chord on F, the hands still doubled, and begins a series of
oscillations that vacillate between the C-minor/E-flat-major
area and the prevailing G-minor key. The violin has
wailing high notes that move by half-step with the changing
harmony, then leap down. Suddenly, the piano breaks its
figuration and swings outward in contrary motion between the
hands, moving toward yet another strongly suggested G-minor
cadence that does not quite arrive. The horn and violin
punctuate the apparent cadence, which is interrupted by
oscillating broken octaves on A in the violin.
3:02 [m. 105]--Against the oscillating violin, the
piano, dolce, plays the opening gestures of the
syncopated main melody that began the B section in the
violin, but a fifth higher than those. The violin
oscillations move away from A, and the horn has slow-moving
long notes. After the three opening gestures from the
melody, the piano suddenly halts, its plunked bass notes
reaching further down. The harmonies are highly
chromatic, but they lead to a fourth aborted G-minor cadence.
3:11 [m. 110]--The oscillating figures now move to the
piano’s right hand, with added harmony and solid bass
octaves. The thematic gestures move back to their
original instrument, the violin, and they echo the piano’s
statement of the three opening gestures. The violin also
seems to pause at the top of the third gesture as the horn
enters on long notes, but as the piano oscillations continue,
the theme surges forward over chromatic harmony after the held
violin note. The phrase is stretched out in an almost
wailing descent, with strong syncopation across bar
lines. These finally lead to the long-awaited G-minor
arrival, which is satisfyingly completed, but the piano’s left
hand immediately rises in horn-like harmonies.
3:27 [m. 118]--The violin and horn begin another
descent leading to a G-minor cadence, but the intensity
gradually diminishes. This cadence is also followed
immediately by the rising harmonies, now in the violin and,
appropriately, the horn, with the piano adding downward
harmonies against the rising ones. The right hand’s
oscillations have continued through all of this. The
violin and horn slowly descend toward what seems like it will
be a third cadence, but the piano undermines this with the
note C-sharp in its oscillations and avoidance of G in its
bass. The volume diminishes and the tempo gradually
3:46 [m. 127]--The apparent cadence has been stretched
out and undermined by the piano, which now makes a more overt
shift to move back toward the home key of E-flat major.
This happens with a rising arpeggio against the violin and
horn, who have continued their descent past the apparent
arrival point. The arpeggio emerges into high right-hand
oscillations. The violin makes a tentative hint at the
main A section theme. Another piano arpeggio is
in slower duplet cross-rhythms, preparing the return of the
straight 2/4 meter. The oscillating figures, also in
duplets, are an octave lower, leading into the A’
3:54 [m. 131]--The horn enters on the last upbeat and
leads into a statement of the main theme as the 2/4 meter and
E-flat-major key return. The off-beat piano responses
now use the oscillating motion in triplet rhythm reminiscent
of their figures in the B section. The left hand
has “straight” rising arpeggios.
4:08 [m. 139]--After the horn finishes its statement,
it is joined by the violin, which takes the lead, and they
play a harmonized variant of the melody using two-note slurs
and repeated notes. It is still recognizable, but the
long-short-short aspect is removed. After two measures,
the horn moves to longer notes syncopated over bar
lines. The piano oscillations become continuous, without
the off-beat entrances, and the left hand has broken octaves
that arch up and down. As expected, this statement leads
into the “ominous” passage.
4:21 [m. 147]--The A’ section is abbreviated,
eliminating Part 2 (b). The “ominous” figures are
like those of the second appearance at 1:36 [m. 57].
Other than the transitional upbeat, the piano is the same as
it was there. The other instruments are once again
reversed, however, so that the initial lead-in is from the
violin, as it was in the original appearance.
4:28 [m. 151]--The expanded version of the main melody
is given as it was at 1:44 [m. 61], with the instruments in
the roles they took there. There are no significant
modifications to the presentation. The horn’s final
descending notes are stretched out and syncopated, as they
4:51 [m. 164]--The reiterations of the cadence are
heard as at 2:06 [m. 74], but the bass does not move down and
remains anchored on the low E-flat. The horn, however,
moves down by a half-step. The lead-in to the B’
section is from the violin on an upbeat, as before, with a
triplet rhythm to transfer to the 9/8 meter, but the key
center will be a third higher, on B-flat minor beginning with
strong suggestions of E-flat minor.
B’ Section--Poco più
animato, B-flat minor, 9/8 time
4:55 [m. 167]--The initial presentation of the B
section melody closely matches 2:10 [m. 77], transposed up a
third. The horn entries fall where they should, and the
piano figuration is essentially the same. The horn
motion is narrower on the big upward sweep. At the end
of the phrase, there is a deviation as the upward sweep and
slower descent are reiterated a third higher. The slower
descent is again reiterated, moving back down the third and
suggesting an arrival on B-flat minor. At this point,
everything from the previous B section is excised up
to the passage analogous to 3:11 [m. 110], resulting in
another abbreviated section.
5:17 [m. 179]--As at 3:11 [m. 110], the opening
gestures are stated, here in the horn instead of the violin,
against piano oscillations that now have their onset after the
abbreviation. The reversal remains in force as the horn
continues to take the lead in the wailing descent leading to
the arrival on B-flat minor. With the excision of
material, this arrival is not as delayed. The rising
horn-like harmonies are heard in the piano’s left hand, as
5:34 [m. 187]--This is exactly analogous to 3:27
[m.118], with the melodic lead moving back to the violin,
where it originally was. The next cadence in B-flat
minor is followed by the rising harmonies, with a discreet
downward register shift in the horn. The slowed descent
to the third cadence is undermined in the piano as expected,
here with the note E-natural and avoidance of B-flat in the
5:52 [m. 196]--Analogous to 3:46 [m. 127]. The
piano’s rising arpeggio and high oscillations, along with the
violin’s hint at the main theme help to transition back there,
and the piano’s duplet cross-rhythms prepare the return of
2/4. There is no change to the harmonic pattern, so the
arrival is not on the home key of E-flat major, but the
seemingly remote G-flat major, where the final section will
6:00 [m. 200]--The return of Theme 1 has the texture of
the opening statement, but it is presented by the horn instead
of the violin and is transposed up to G-flat. The first
phrase has the expected pattern of upbeat piano chords
emphasizing the “dominant” harmony (here on D-flat).
6:16 [m. 208]--The second statement of the theme is
skipped, and there is a new and extended version of the
“ominous” figures. The lead is taken entirely by the
piano, with the right hand shadowing the left, its notes
offset after the beat. The violin and horn enter
together in harmony where the horn had entered before, but the
violin takes over the upper melodic line on these entries, the
piano following its original patterns with the offset right
6:24 [m. 212]--The “ominous” figures are now
significantly extended, with a shift up to A-flat, and the
volume gradually builds. A third sequence appears to
move up again, but the entry of the violin and horn breaks the
pattern with continuous notes, both instruments descending
chromatically in half-steps, still in harmony. The piano
continues to move down where an upward leap would be expected,
shifting back to G-flat where the sequence began.
6:39 [m. 220]--The buildup to the climax begins.
The violin embarks on a long, harmonically adventurous
development of the main theme, with high and passionate
interjections from the horn. The piano has a continuous
pattern in triplets beginning off the beat, rising from lower
notes (originally with a “pedal” effect) to higher
harmonies. The left hand begins with solid bass
octaves. Beginning in G-flat, the violin varies the
theme with a held note, then shifts to B major with the
marking un poco animato poi a poi. The
piano’s left hand moves up here, adding harmony, and descends
again during the B-major sequence.
6:53 [m. 228]--The next key shift is to E major, but
the patterns are more varied as forte is
reached. After three bars, G-sharp is re-notated as
A-flat, signaling the long-delayed motion home to E-flat
major. Indeed, the piano figures and the violin melody
skillfully shift the harmony down a half-step in another
three-bar unit, and the tension breaks with the simultaneous
arrival of the climax and the home key.
7:01 [m. 234]--The violin spills right into a new
variant of the main theme as E-flat major is asserted.
It plays in continuous two-note groups, and the horn
interjections have jubilant leaps. The piano texture
changes to continuous triplets in both hands, rising in the
left and arching in the right. The phrase is in two
sequences, the melody of the second a step higher than the
first, with a detour toward A-flat. The last measure of
the second sequence is repeated in the violin over new piano
harmonies and a continuing horn gesture, then it is
fragmented, beginning off the beat as the volume begins to
diminish. The figure is stated one more time with a
minor and “Phrygian” inflection
7:15 [m. 245]--As the volume diminishes, the piano bass
moves to a familiar element: the “ominous” figures.
These are echoed by falling broken octaves in the right hand
in off-beat triplet rhythm. On the upbeats (where the
“ominous” figures begin), the violin has detached double-stops
with the bottom note remaining static (on E-flat for six bars)
and the top note rising. The horn has single detached
notes against them. There are three statements of the
“ominous” figures in the piano, the right hand moving down an
octave after the first one. A fourth one begins, but it
turns back up on the third note, leading into a rising
chromatic scale over three measures. The horn
unobtrusively takes over the violin’s rising figure.
7:30 [m. 256]--The horn has gradually emerged on the
rising figures, and after the piano’s chromatic scale, it
reaches a high point and becomes melodic, with a rising
gesture leaping down to E-flat. This downward leap is
the completion of the movement’s melodic narrative. The
piano moves to rising arpeggios that break on the downward
leap, and the violin still has upbeat double-stops. The
horn gesture with the downward leap is heard again as the
piano briefly halts on a high chord.
7:40 [m. 261]--A third statement of the gesture is
stretched out dramatically over three measures (an implied 3/2
bar) with piano chords held over bar lines. These begin
very high and leap down by octave, and there are long violin
double-stops. The violin and horn reach the final
resolution on an upbeat, which arrives with great relief and
satisfaction. It is rounded off by two violin/horn
downbeats followed by piano chords, the second one held and
including a low bass octave, all on E-flat harmony.
8:02--END OF MOVEMENT [266 mm.]
2nd Movement: Scherzo - Allegro; Molto meno
Allegro (Scherzo and Trio). E-FLAT MAJOR, 3/4 time.
Part 1 (Exposition)
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1. The piano begins alone with
a very detached melody in triple octaves, played in straight
quarter notes and quietly breathless. It is given in
three waves. The first two are sequential, with rising
lines and distinctive downward turns. The third isolates
the downward turn and veers away from the home E-flat toward a
chord on G.
0:08 [m. 13]--The violin and horn join the piano with a
sudden forte outburst on a duple or “straight” figure
in cross-rhythm that is a major element of the movement.
The figure essentially changes three 3/4 measures into 2/4
measures, but with the duple measures fitting in the same
temporal space as the prevailing 3/4 measures. The
effect is the opposite of triplet rhythm. The outburst
seems to point toward C major but is deflected quickly back to
E-flat. The horn exuberantly leaps down and up an
octave, then works up to a higher downward octave leap, and
the violin has a trill.
0:11 [m. 17]--The opening piano melody is elaborated,
no longer in triplet octaves. The right hand adds an
upper harmony to the left-hand octaves, and repeatedly plays a
“pedal” E-flat under this new line. The violin and horn,
meanwhile, simply blast the note E-flat above this (with one
downward turn), using long notes held over bar lines and
punctuating detached quarter notes after the downbeats.
Where the third “wave” would be, the harmony quickly changes
and moves toward the home minor key. Forceful long notes
and detached leaping notes are heard in the violin and horn as
the piano elaborates the downward turn with rapidly changing
chords. This new third “wave” is stated a second time.
0:19 [m. 33]--Transition. The harmony changes for
yet another statement of this third “wave” material, now in
B-flat minor. The repetition is interrupted by strongly
syncopated chords, punctuated by the violin and horn, with yet
another harmonic shift toward F major.
0:23 [m. 41]--Suddenly quiet, the violin and horn
reiterate the note F, holding it over the bar line. The
piano’s left hand rises in detached notes, and then the violin
and horn repeat their syncopation, adding dissonant double
stops. A second rising figure in the piano left hand,
higher than the last one, is also interrupted by the
syncopated and dissonant violin/horn pair. A third
left-hand figure turns back around, while the violin and horn
increase the speed of their syncopation to create a hemiola
or cross-meter. This superimposes one longer 3/2 measure
against two 3/4 bars. The key arrives at the “dominant”
0:28 [m. 49]--Theme 2 (B-flat major). The violin
takes over for a soaring melody using “duple” figures, quietly
echoing the earlier outburst. The horn supports the
violin line, and the piano, now in legato octaves,
plays its straight quarter notes against the duple melody in
two-against three patterns, using the downward turns, then an
upward sweep. The violin melody reaches a high note,
then slowly descends in long two-measure notes against the
piano’s steady ascent. After reaching the top of that
ascent, the piano leaps back down on a broken B-flat chord.
0:35 [m. 61]--The horn responds to the soaring violin
line as that instrument briefly drops out. This horn
response is highly distinctive, with an upward leap, a high
downward turn, then two downward leaps. It begins in
G-flat before turning back to B-flat, avoiding an arrival
cadence. The piano figures here have a rising left hand
beginning each measure before a right-hand chord on the third
beat. The horn response is given a second time, now with
violin arpeggios that rise, then fall at the turn back to
B-flat. The piano figures reach higher. The last
downward leap becomes a descent leading to the cadence, which
arrives, but leads directly into a plunging piano arpeggio in
octaves that moves back to E-flat.
Part 2, First Section (Development)
0:46 [m. 81]--The horn takes the lead in a statement of
Theme 1, with the violin in its lowest register below it and
the piano adding a galloping punctuation on the last and first
beats of measures. After the first two waves pass in
this intriguing new texture, the third one with downward turns
is taken over by the piano, which moves toward F-sharp major,
supported by sliding longer notes in the violin and
horn. A second statement of the downward turns in the
violin and horn over sliding piano octaves turns toward A
0:54 [m. 97]--The key signature changes to the five
sharps of B major. A third statement of the material
from the theme’s third wave with downward turns begins high in
piano right-hand octaves, rapidly descending and landing on a
C-sharp-minor chord. There, the duple rhythm forte
outburst from 0:08 [m. 13] follows in the piano alone.
The duple-rhythm figure is echoed piano by the violin
and horn, lightly accompanied by detached “straight”
quarter-note arpeggios in the piano. At the end, the
piano does add a punctuating “duplet” figure after its
three-note arpeggios. The horn adds a major-key
1:01 [m. 109]--The piano echoes the last gesture forte
with a trill, then the other two instruments do the same piano,
the horn again adding a major-key inflection. The piano
trails downward, now also piano, stating the figure
three times with rich harmonies and suspensions, including
G-sharp minor, E major, and finally an extended approach to B
major, whose key signature has already been indicated.
1:10 [m. 121]--A new theme in B major is introduced
based on the rising figure from both the opening of the main
theme and the rising piano left-hand gesture at 0:23 [m.
41]. The violin and horn, in soothing harmonies of
sixths, present a series of three-note figures with the last
note held over a bar line and sustained. At the
sustained notes, the piano has a new and difficult series of
upward-skipping arpeggios doubled between the hands, outlining
the main harmonies in B major. The theme is marked dolce
and the piano arpeggios leggiero. There are two
eight-measure sequences, the second one pressing gently
1:21 [m. 137]-- The roles of the piano and the two
melodic instruments are now reversed. The piano has the
wide, detached arpeggios in its bass while its right hand
develops the downward turn with alternating lower notes.
The violin responds with the rising arpeggio, punctuated at
the end by an accented piano bass octave. This happens
three times, and there are many chromatic notes. In
place of a fourth exchange, the horn enters with its own held
note and rising line against the continuing alternations in
the piano right hand.
1:27 [m. 145]--The previous passage is repeated, but at
the end, under the horn entry, the piano right hand is subtly
altered, pushing one measure back and following it with a new
descent, still with the lower alternations. The violin
also changes from the previous rising line to a downward turn
against the horn entry. After the repetition, at the
arrival point, the notation is changed from B major to C-flat
major, making it look closer to the home key of E-flat.
1:32 [m. 153]--Another statement of the passage seems
to begin, notated in C-flat instead of B, but the violin
arpeggio now pushes strongly toward E-flat minor. The
next two exchanges solidify this, with the piano bass deftly
shifting while the right hand and the violin responses remain
more static. Where the horn had entered on the previous
two statements, the violin suddenly breaks into the familiar
downward turn, with syncopated notes held over bar
lines. The piano follows the lead, adding syncopation
over bar lines to its figuration as well. The volume
strongly builds. The violin changes to repeated eighth
notes and the horn enters to reinforce the downward
turn. The excitement intensifies as E-flat minor changes
Part 2, Second Section (Recapitulation)
1:38 [m. 163]--Theme 1. The tension is released in the
cascading return of the opening theme, now in an abbreviated
form consisting of only the third “wave” with the downward
turn. Both hands of the piano are in powerful octaves,
the right hand shadowing the left. The arrival of the
duple outburst is triumphant.
1:41 [m. 167]--The duple outburst is heard in its
original form from 0:08 [m. 13].
1:44 [m. 171]--The theme is presented as at 0:11 [m.
17], with minor intensification of piano chords at the very
end of both statements of the third “wave.”
1:52 [m. 187]--Transition. This passage is half
as long as the one at 0:19 [m. 33] and does not have another
statement of the third “wave.” Instead of moving to
B-flat minor, the initial harmony is B-flat major, and there
are simply four measures of the downward turn in the piano
bass alternating with the familiar detached repeated and
leaping notes in the violin and horn. These make a full
motion to B-flat instead of F.
1:54 [m. 191]--Analogous to 0:23 [m. 41]. The
violin now has the repeated notes and syncopation across bar
lines (on B-flat instead of F), playing in octaves, and the
horn enters to provide the dissonance, which was previously in
violin double stops. The piano plays its rising figures
in both hands, doubling them at the octave. The hemiola
cross-meter has a horn leap previously also heard in the
violin double stops. Because the opening was on B-flat
instead of F, the arrival point is simply the home key of
1:58 [m. 199]--Theme 2 in E-flat. The first eight
measures are analogous to 0:28 [m. 49], with the soaring
violin melody in “duple” figures supported by the horn against
the straight quarter-note octaves in the piano creating a
two-against-three pattern. The violin’s descent in long
notes, however, is half as long, and the piano does not leap
down on an arpeggio after its ascent. Instead, the
violin gently descends, abbreviating its second long note,
leading to a new piano statement of the soaring “duple”
2:03 [m. 207]--The piano’s statement of the melody is
in right-hand octaves and, somewhat surprisingly, in its
original exposition key of B-flat. The violin has the
quarter-note two-against-three pattern that was previously in
the piano. The horn’s longer notes emphasize the shift
to B-flat. As in the last statement, the descent in long
notes, now in the piano against the rising violin, is
shortened with a gentle descent.
2:08 [m. 215]--The long notes are isolated and passed
back to the violin, moving back to E-flat, and the piano plays
the rising line in octaves. The volume gradually
builds. The second long note and the new “gentle”
descent are reiterated, then the descent is repeated twice
more with leaping horn. At a forte climax, the
piano suddenly plunges down on an arpeggio that suggests
“dominant” harmony in the key of A-flat. The violin
doubles this for three measures, leaving the piano alone for
the last, lowest notes.
2:14 [m. 227]--The rising notes heard in the piano at
0:23 [m. 41] and again at 1:54 [m. 191], along with the violin
and horn harmonies in the “developmental” B-major passage at
1:10 [m. 121], are used for another new extension.
Instead of A-flat major, it in A-flat minor, foreshadowing the
coming Trio section in that key. In low triple octaves,
the piano plays the rising notes, and the violin and horn
blast out a dissonance as the last one is held over a bar
line. This happens twice, and then the piano bass has an
ascending sequence of the rising notes, with chords on the
last beat of each bar in its right hand, supported by the
2:19 [m. 235]--The distinctive “horn” response from
0:35 [m. 61] is finally heard, but led by the violin. As
before, it begins in one key and ends in another. Here,
it starts in C-flat major (“relative” to the A-flat minor just
heard) and ends in the home key of E-flat, analogous to the
earlier pattern. The piano has its familiar
accompaniment to this, which is not unlike the patterns it has
just been playing, and the horn holds a note before leaping up
to double the violin. The horn, the instrument that had
been associated with this figure, takes over for the downward
leaps as the violin plunges down in an arpeggio.
2:23 [m. 243]--The new extension from 2:14 [m. 227] is
heard again, now in E-flat minor instead of A-flat minor, and
then the “horn” response follows in the horn alone, on its
original harmonic level of G-flat. But it is diverted
and cut off before the downward leaps. The piano then
takes the “horn” response in an upper voice above its
continuing patterns, back on C-flat. This is also
diverted and cut off.
2:32 [m. 259]--The violin, which has been pausing,
takes the “horn” response, now beginning in E major (notated
as F-flat). As in the previous two horn and piano
attempts, it does not reach the downward leaps, but now it is
extended, reaching up twice with the descending gestures that
normally precede these leaps, moving strongly back to E-flat
major and passing briefly through F major. The horn
forcefully punctuates these gestures.
2:37 [m. 267]--The violin reaches a high E-flat, then
plunges down with syncopation as the horn arches powerfully
down and up. As the horn reaches its high note, the
violin arpeggio, leaping briefly back up before falling again,
leads to an emphatic E-flat cadence in all instruments, the
horn leaping down. The E-flat chord is reiterated by the
piano (which has finally cut off its persistent figuration),
then the violin and horn (the former with a four-string
chord), then the piano again with its right hand an octave
lower before all three hold the last low chord for three
measures, ending the sonata-form scherzo.
2:44 [m. 278]--Transition to Trio section. The
violin quietly plays an octave E-flat, completing the phrase
at the end of the scherzo. Then it holds the E-flat
octave while the piano, in octaves doubled between the hands,
descends from on high on the “dominant” arpeggio that leads to
A-flat, where the Trio section is set. This continues
for four measures, the last of which has another violin octave
reiteration. The tempo steadily slows down. Then
there is another four-measure unit with the piano arpeggio
beginning an octave lower and off the beat, descending low and
leading right into the Trio in A-flat minor. The violin
and horn have a dissonant upbeat leading into the main Trio
theme, which will be led by the horn.
TRIO (Molto meno Allegro, A-flat minor)
2:52 [m. 287]--The key of A-flat minor, with its seven
flats, is highly unusual for Brahms. The melody led by
the horn, with the violin in harmony a third below, is
exceedingly melancholy. It has a swaying character, with
long notes followed by shorter rising notes and a downward
turn. The piano accompanies it with low bass A-flats
followed by broken octaves on A-flat in the right hand that
begin off the beat. These descend an octave on the
second measure and another octave on the fourth. This
piano pattern is repeated for the second four-bar unit, where
the horn melody is played a step higher.
3:03 [m. 295]--The horn closes off its initial phrase
with a high upward reach, still harmonized by the violin, then
it descends in broken chords with an apparent motion to E-flat
minor. The piano’s bass and broken octaves move to
B-flat (again spread over three octaves), leading toward an
arrival on E-flat. That arrival, however, is on a
“dominant” chord that signals motion back to A-flat
minor. The end of the phrase on that “dominant” chord
(on the fifth measure) overlaps, or elides, with the beginning
of the next phrase.
3:09 [m. 299]--The piano now has a full statement of
the phrase, overlapping with the “dominant” chord. The
melody is in an upper voice, with the undulating motion
continuing under it in the right hand, deftly harmonizing it
in thirds at the top of the undulations. The violin and
horn trail after their arrival for two measures, aiding the
harmony with lines in contrary motion to the piano, before
they leave the piano alone for the next two measures.
The piano left hand also adds harmonies and bass notes.
The violin and horn enter again to gently accompany the first
two measures of the second four-bar unit. The melody
follows the original pattern.
3:18 [m. 307]--The closing passage in the piano follows
the pattern of the original horn statement, moving toward
E-flat minor. The violin and horn accompany the piano
throughout here, including another contrary motion gesture in
thirds. The piano’s left hand moves up to the lower
treble register, and again the expected arrival on E-flat is
thwarted by the “dominant” chord.
3:23 [m. 311]--The piano appears to begin another
statement, but turns toward the major in the second
measure. The violin and horn break at this point.
Still with its undulations and harmonies below the melody, the
piano quickly moves back to minor, but then, instead of the
expected second four-bar unit, it is diverted into a wholly
unexpected “dominant” chord in A major/minor, a half-step
higher. The violin and horn make another brief entry
here. This statement in A follows the pattern of the
previous phrase and leads up to another “dominant” chord a
half-step higher, in B-flat. A slow and steady crescendo
3:34 [m. 319]--A statement in B-flat appears to begin,
but it is cut off after two measures by another sequence on
C-flat as the piano reaches higher. The violin and horn
accompany steadily here, the former using double stops.
C-flat major is “relative” to A-flat minor, and after the two
measures there, the piano’s next upward reach to its highest
note yet (C-flat) is syncopated across a bar line. The
piano trails down with with two more syncopated notes across
bar lines (B-flat and A-flat), the violin and horn drop out,
and the strong arrival back on A-flat minor is signaled by its
own “dominant” chord as the volume recedes.
3:45 [m. 327]--The main melody returns, and its first
two four-bar units are given a combined statement by the horn
(with violin harmonies in thirds) and the piano, whose
patterns are even more richly harmonized and doubled than in
its solo statement. The second four-bar unit makes a
turn to major.
3:55 [m. 335]--The piano right hand, violin, and horn
strike a dissonant “diminished” chord, and the piano’s left
hand establishes the broken octaves on A-flat, which remain
anchored throughout the next harmonically adventurous
measures, and descend two octaves two times. After the
first “diminished” chord, the piano harmonies move up while
the violin/horn pair moves down, still with the prevalent
harmony in thirds. The rhythmic pattern of the main
melody remains in force. After a second statement of
this pattern, it is diverted up a half-step with another
“diminished” chord. The pattern is heard here with a
higher-reaching horn, then the piano shifts up a fourth in the
last pattern. The volume builds to a climax.
4:06 [m. 343]--At the climax, the piano chords swing
down from a high point with some mild dissonance. The
horn and violin continue, the former reaching another high
note. The piano chords are above more broken octaves in
the left hand (always beginning off the downbeat), initially
the “subdominant” D-flat. Two downward swings of two
measures, the second one lower, gradually recede in
volume. The bass then moves to the “dominant” E-flat,
and the piano chords are now full measures, again with two
two-bar descents, each punctuated by violin and horn.
For a third and final sequence, the piano bass E-flat descends
to the very low register, and the chords move lower,
approaching the satisfying cadence in A-flat minor.
4:23 [m. 355]--Transition to Scherzo reprise. At
the cadence, the broken octaves in the piano bass slow to
undulating quarter notes on a low A-flat. The violin and
horn drop out, having previously been reduced to
punctuation. The piano’s top note descends to an F-flat,
then to E-flat on top of the A-flat-minor chord. Having
attained closure, the phrase quickly turns to transition back
to E-flat for the Scherzo reprise. This occurs with a
move of the piano bass broken octaves to B-flat (the
preparatory “dominant” in E-flat), along with two subtle
harmonic changes in the mid-range right hand to form the
“dominant” harmony. The entire transition is subdued,
slowing to its close. On the final measure, the bass
stops, and the chord is suspended.
Part 1 (Exposition)
4:40 [m. 1]--Theme 1. Opening piano melody in
detached triple octaves, as at the beginning.
4:47 [m. 13]--“Duple” cross-rhythm forte
outburst, as at 0:08.
4:50 [m. 17]--Full statement of main melody and
extension of its third “wave,” as at 0:11.
4:58 [m. 33]--Transition starting on B-flat minor and
moving toward F major, as at 0:19.
5:02 [m. 41]--Reiterations of F, rising figures in
right hand, and hemiola, as at 0:23.
5:07 [m. 49]--Theme 2 in B-flat. Soaring “duple”
melody against “triple” piano octaves, as at 0:28.
5:14 [m. 61]--Horn responses, G-flat leading to B-flat,
piano arpeggio back to E-flat, as at 0:35.
Part 2, First Section (Development)
5:25 [m. 81]--Horn statement of Theme 1, diverted
toward F-sharp and A major, as at 0:46.
5:33 [m. 97]--Motion to C-sharp minor and “duple”
outbursts, forte and piano, as at 0:54.
5:40 [m. 109]--Echoing forte and piano
gestures and extension leading to B major, as at 1:01.
5:49 [m. 121]--New theme in B major, as at 1:10.
6:00 [m. 137]--Reversal of instrument roles and heavily
chromatic statements, as at 1:21.
6:06 [m. 145]--Repetition of previous passage with
subtle alterations at the end, as at 1:27.
6:12 [m. 153]--Motion to minor, syncopation, and
buildup, as at 1:32.
Part 2, Second Section (Recapitulation)
6:18 [m. 163]--Abbreviated opening of Theme 1, as at
6:21 [m. 167]--Duple outburst, as at 1:41.
6:23 [m. 171]--Full presentation of the theme, as at
6:31 [m. 187]--Abbreviated transition moving to B-flat,
as at 1:52.
6:33 [m. 191]--Syncopation with horn dissonance and hemiola
leading to E-flat, as at 1:54.
6:38 [m. 199]--Theme 2 in E-flat. Eight measures
analogous to exposition, as at 1:58.
6:42 [m. 207]--Piano statement of soaring duple melody
in B-flat, as at 2:03.
6:47 [m. 215]--Isolated long notes and buildup to
climax on A-flat, as at 2:08.
6:54 [m. 227]--Rising piano figures held over bar lines
with dissonant blasts, as at 2:14.
6:58 [m. 235]--Violin response moving from C-flat to
E-flat, as at 2:19.
7:03 [m. 243]--Rising notes in E-flat minor, then horn
and piano responses, as at 2:23.
7:11 [m. 259]--Violin response leading to E-flat, as at
7:16 [m. 267]--Closing passage with syncopation and
emphatic E-flat chords, as at 2:37.
7:27--END OF MOVEMENT [362 (+277) mm.]
3rd Movement: Adagio mesto (Rondo
form--ABA’B’A”). E-FLAT MINOR, 6/8 time with one 9/8
0:00 [m. 1]--The piano opens alone, with the hands
doubled an octave apart, both in the bass register.
The swaying long-short rhythm is lugubrious, like a tragic
gondola song. Each long note is decorated with a
rolled chord. The soft pedal is depressed for this
introduction. After two measures circling around
E-flat minor and C-flat major, the next two measures, which
are virtually identical, have highly chromatic melodic
motion and are centered on the “subdominant” and “dominant”
0:26 [m. 5]--The violin and horn enter, the former
taking the lead on the main melody. It leaps down to
its initial swaying gestures, then strives up and back down
in the next two bars. The horn accompaniment is
atmospheric, mostly following the rhythm of the violin
melody, but not always. The piano, meanwhile, has
descending thirds in its right hand against syncopated
octave leaps in its left, which descend chromatically.
By the fourth measure, the right-hand harmonies are sixths,
and the key has shifted to A-flat major/minor. The
phrase is trailed by the last two measures of the piano’s una
corda opening in E-flat minor, the first doubled by
the violin with a downward horn leap and the second moving
to the “relative” G-flat major.
1:01 [m. 11]--The entire previous melodic phrase is
given in the “relative” key of G-flat major, this time with
the violin mostly harmonized by the piano on the former horn
line, the horn only having one brief interjection in the
first measure and then a longer note in the third. The
melody has the “minor key” inflection of the flatted sixth
degree but is still mostly major. The piano bass still
has analogous syncopated octave leaps. The key shift
at the end is to C-flat major. This time, with the new
harmonic orientation, the phrase is trailed by the entire
four-measure soft pedal introduction. The violin
doubles the opening notes against another slow horn
leap. The left-hand doubling starts halfway through
the first measure.
B Section--B-flat minor
1:48 [m. 19]--The horn begins alone on the principal
B section melody, a leaping “horn-like” tune that
mostly outlines the B-flat-minor chord with “neighbor” and
“passing” notes on G-flat and E-flat. The last note of
the two-measure melodic unit is held over the bar
line. The violin then imitates the melody, pivoting it
a fourth higher to E-flat minor, with a gentle harmonic
continuation from the horn. The piano then enters in
octaves on the original horn line in B-flat minor. The
violin continues with a downward-arching
accompaniment. The horn suddenly breaks into faster
notes, culminating in a plunge to low B-flat.
2:19 [m. 25]--The piano continues to spin out the
line, rising higher while its left hand takes the faster
notes and plunge from the horn, which drops out after its
low note. The violin plays a counterpoint in contrary
motion. The key now moves to F minor, and there is a
single 9/8 measure (m. 26), extended by a pause on that
2:34 [m. 27]--At a very quiet level, the horn and
violin begin a series of overlapping exchanges through
changing harmonies, which are articulated by syncopated
chords in the piano that arch in and out with the hands in
contrary motion. First the horn plays the melody in
D-flat minor with inward-moving piano. Then the violin
plays in A major against outward piano, followed by the horn
in F-sharp minor, inward piano. At this point, the
violin and horn exchanges are closer, within the measure,
moving from D major (outward piano) to D minor (inward
piano), all with chromatic inflections.
3:02 [m. 32]--The piano now moves to an undulation in
triplet rhythm with high right-hand two-note harmonies
against low bass broken octaves. Against this, the
violin and horn continue their exchanges. The volume
and the speed intensify gradually. The exchanges start
on a dissonant “diminished” harmony, then move to E-flat
minor. The violin seems to work toward an arrival
point in B-flat minor, albeit with the chromatic inflection
of C-flat, as a climax is approached. This, however,
is cut off by another “diminished” harmony marked with a
3:18 [m. 36]--After the sforzando
interruption, the pattern is repeated, with the violin
moving to a lower octave, and the volume and speed now
reversing and diminishing. The left hand moves to
“straight” rhythm against continuing triplet undulation in
the right hand. The horn drops out as the violin works
toward another apparent B-flat-minor arrival in its lower
octave. Now the right hand also moves to “straight”
rhythm, enhancing the “slowing” effect. The arrival is
again cut off with a “diminished” harmony, but it is now the
“half-diminished” chord on F, which belongs to the
movement’s home key of E-flat minor, to which there is now a
transition for the return of the main A section
3:33 [m. 40]--In the transition, the piano undulates
on the “half-diminished” harmony, now in “straight” rhythm
in both hands. The horn has a low and almost ominous
syncopated descending half-step from C-flat to B-flat
(Brahms indicated an upper octave as an option if these low
horn notes are too difficult to produce). The piano
quickly switches to “dominant” harmony at the end of the
measure. The piano then slows down its undulation even
more, from sixteenth notes to eighth notes, stretched over
two measures, still over the same “half-diminished”
harmony. The horn repeats and stretches out its
ominous descending half-step, doubling the note values over
the slower piano. The “dominant” harmony slows into
3:50 [m. 43]--The full una corda piano
introduction is stated, with some minor alterations,
including full chords on shorter notes at the
beginning. The most striking difference, however, is a
mere shadow, a ghost of the leaping Theme 2 melody in the
violin, whose initial entry was on E-flat minor. Here
it is played against the first two measures of the piano
introduction, marked triple piano and even quasi
niente, indicating that it should barely be audible.
4:16 [m. 47]--The first melodic phrase is stated as
at 0:26 [m. 5], including the trailing last two measures of
the piano introduction.
4:49 [m. 53]--The phrase in G-flat major is given as
at 1:01 [m. 11], but it does not merge into the full piano
introduction. Instead, at the turn to C-flat major,
the piano continues its patterns, including the syncopated
left-hand broken octaves, extending the harmony on C-flat
major for two measures, including a pungent chromatic
inflection, and using its “relative” A-flat-minor harmony to
lead back to E-flat (now major) and into the much varied and
abbreviated B’ section.
B’ Section--E-flat major and F major
5:21 [m. 59]--The violin and horn enter with new
material derived from the leaping B section theme,
transformed into a warm E-flat major and in a harmony
resembling “horn fifths.” The horn is above the violin
in its low register. This music is the source of the
finale’s main theme. After this, the piano, in
right-hand octaves, plays the actual B section theme
in the “relative” C minor over a low bass octave and held
violin/horn notes. Another violin/horn entry on the
“horn fifths” harmony is moved up a step to F major, the
violin now on top. The piano follows with a statement
of the B theme in D minor, in high octaves.
The violin and horn hold their last note, but the violin now
imitates the theme in D minor after its first measure.
6:08 [m. 67]--A major and rapid buildup begins,
propelled by the piano bass, beginning in D minor. The
violin and horn in unison have a rising third on D-F,
followed by the piano’s right hand in the middle register
off the beat, while the bass emphasizes upward leaps and
rising half-steps in octaves. The piano right hand
moves gradually up for two more D-minor interjections off
the beat, this time with a harmonized upward-leaping
sixth. A third, higher interjection is diverted to a
flexible “diminished seventh” chord. These right-hand
interjections form a mild hemiola, an implied 3/4
measure superimposed on the 6/8 one.
6:16 [m. 69]--At the climax, marked passionata,
the violin begins the main theme, initially transformed to
the major key, harmonized by the horn. The piano
continues with its leaping figures, now in full harmony and
split between the hands in the main 6/8 division.
E-flat major turns quickly back to minor as the violin
expands on the long-short swinging gesture from the theme,
supported by single notes from the horn. The key now
veers toward another major key, C-flat major, but a violin
descent moves back to E-flat minor. The horn has an
upward leap from a low note, preparing for its sweeping
6:34 [m. 73]--The violin and horn play in unison
octaves, again beginning the main theme in major. A
brief hint of A-flat minor/C-flat major underpins a massive
arpeggio in both instruments, supported by forceful leaping
piano chords. The horn virtually wails and whoops
upward while the violin plunges down against it, both
playing an A-flat-minor arpeggio in opposite
directions. This brings the horn to the foreground as
it reaches its high note, whereupon the violin leaps up and
they play in octaves again, re-establishing E-flat
minor. This second climax is marked fortissimo.
The violin and horn sweep down four times in the long-short
rhythm until they slow and quiet down over longer notes
leading to a “diminished” harmony.
6:53 [m. 77]--The piano introduction (now without
soft pedal) overlaps with the arrival of the violin and horn
on the “dominant” note B-flat. It has a colorful new
harmonization with “diminished seventh” chords. The
violin and horn drop out after two short B-flats, and the
new harmonization shifts toward B major (an “enharmonic”
re-notation of the C-flat major that has appeared in the
movement already). At the third measure of the
introduction, the original pattern breaks, and there is a
descent toward E minor (B becoming the “dominant” harmony)
with diminishing volume. The left-hand octaves begin
to emphasize the introduction’s opening half-step, working
steadily down as the violin and horn re-enter and slide to
7:17 [m. 81]--The piano bass octaves continue to work
down, emphasizing the half-step, against descending
chromatic thirds in the right hand, which has also moved to
the low register. The violin and horn, initially
harmonized in thirds, enter again. The violin has an
upward leap, whereupon all three instruments definitively
arrive with a sforzando accent on the last E-flat
minor harmony, which is slowly reiterated three times, each
one lower. The piano bass, now very low, continues to
emphasize the half-step, now a thrice reiterated leading
tone. The final harmony fades away.
7:54--END OF MOVEMENT [86 mm.]
4th Movement: Finale - Allegro con brio
(Sonata-Allegro form). E-FLAT MAJOR, 6/8 time.
[NB: In a
clear mistake, the edition of this movement in the Breitkopf
& Härtel Sämtliche Werke assigns separate measure
numbers to the first ending, going against standard practice,
including elsewhere in the Sämtliche Werke. In
the guide, I use the correctly numbered measures as in the Neue
Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke published by Henle. If
consulting the Breitkopf edition reprinted by Dover, subtract
eight measure numbers from the second ending on. The
first measure of the second ending should be m. 91b, not m.
99. The first measure on the next system is m. 95 (or
95b), not m. 103. The first measure without two
“versions” is m. 99, not m. 107 (forte and non
legato in the piano, penultimate measure on the page,
3:02 in the guide). The next page starts with m. 101,
not m. 109.]
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1. The first statement of the
“hunting” theme is given to the violin, starting on an
upbeat. It leaps and bounds in 6/8, with many repeated
notes. It is derived from the passage in the Adagio at
5:21 [m. 59]. The very difficult piano part has a
downward-leaping bass on beats 1, 3, 4, and 6 with right-hand
responses (which double and harmonize the violin theme) on
beats 2, 3, 5, and 6. The violin theme builds and
finally reaches a long high F, reiterated twice, whereupon the
piano tumbles down.
0:08 [m. 9]--The horn joins the violin (which is now an
octave higher) on a restatement of the melody, initially
doubling it, then breaking off to leap in the opposite
direction. The piano part is even more difficult, with
thicker right-hand chords and bass octaves. The horn
drops out after four bars, and the violin intensifies the
continuation on its own, deviating from its original statement
in the sixth measure with new long-short figures, but still
culminating on a high F (which is also on the long-short
figures), an octave higher than the last statement.
0:14 [m. 17]--At the climax, the horn again joins in a
new continuation to double the violin, which reaches even
higher (to held high G’s). The piano tumbles down in
octaves (the hands two octaves apart). The violin
continues with two measures of high figuration in G minor
against an implied 3/4 cross rhythm (or hemiola) in
the piano. More high notes, now at home on E-flat (again
doubled by the horn with tumbling piano), lead again to the
high figuration in E-flat major. This is quickly
diverted back toward G minor.
0:22 [m. 25]--The long high notes in violin and horn
are now on D. The piano has new figuration here, winding
upward with half-steps, including harmonies on the first and
last beats. The key center is G minor. After three
upward leaps to the D in the violin and horn, the piano winds
upward on its own, whereupon the leaps are heard again with
the violin an octave lower. Again the piano winds upward
an octave higher than it was before.
0:29 [m. 33]--More upward leaps in violin and horn lead
from G back down to E-flat and the home key, the piano
returning to the downward leaps with the hands an octave
apart. The violin and horn have two measures in
alternation on leaps to E-flat, and then they resume a joyous
version of the theme leading to the high long-short figures,
the piano also returning to its original figuration under the
theme. The violin trails down on the long-short
figures. This phrase is then extended four bars with the
violin breaking the long notes of the long-short figures into
repeated notes like the original thematic phrase. The
horn now harmonizes in long-short figures. All
instruments pause after reaching the “dominant” B-flat.
0:39 [m. 45]--Transition. The horn rapidly
repeats the note B-flat. The piano responds with a
quieter arpeggio in octaves on G-flat major. The violin
follows with the same arpeggio, whereupon the piano descends
and implies the key of B-flat minor. The violin joins
the descents. Descending half-steps in the violin,
harmonized by the piano, alternate with ascending half-steps
in the piano’s highest voice. Through all of this, the
horn keeps punching out its repeated B-flat, which is
reinforced by the lowest voice of the piano, which also
reiterates the note in each measure. A quiet volume is
indicated for the whole phrase.
0:47 [m. 53]--The violin now has the rapidly repeated
B-flat, forte, doubled intermittently by longer and
lower horn B-flats. The piano has the arpeggio on
G-flat, but this is then re-interpreted as F-sharp for the
minor version as the violin and horn lower their note to A,
the horn holding it as a “pedal point.” The piano chords
descend against an F-sharp-minor arpeggio. The chord
descent reaches up an octave, and then the half-step
alternation begins between descending and ascending, now all
in the piano as the violin reiterates the A. The
half-step is then isolated in right-hand piano octaves,
reiterated faster, and with syncopation over strong beats and
bar lines, still against F-sharp-minor harmony.
0:54 [m. 61]--The fast syncopated half-step moves to
the violin and horn two octaves apart. F-sharp is again
interpreted as G-flat. The piano blasts out dissonant
“diminished” chords. After two measures, the half-step
gradually moves downward. The piano chords are active,
initially seeming to indicate a harmonic motion toward B-flat
major and minor. A final chromatic motion in the piano
chords is followed by a strong arrival on F major. The
violin and horn break their continual syncopated half-steps
and also tumble down to land on the note F, where a bass
“pedal point” is about to be established.
1:00 [m. 67]--Theme 2 (B-flat major). The piano,
in low bass broken octaves, established a “pedal” point on F,
which functions as the preparatory “dominant” in the key of
B-flat. The violin has a rising line beginning with an
extended upbeat. The horn and the piano’s right hand add
harmony and counterpoint. The half-step is still
emphasized in the violin line and the supporting horn
entry. The piano follows the violin’s statement with an
upward-leaping figure that is repeated one and two octaves
lower. The violin line is stated again a step lower,
ending on a high F. The piano’s upward-leaping figure is
again rapidly repeated one and two octaves below. The
low broken octave “pedal point” on F continues throughout.
1:07 [m. 75]--The piano bass now moves to the
ubiquitous half-step, with low bass octaves moving from short
upbeat F’s to long-held G-flats. A new version of the
violin line makes a turn to the remote key of B minor, a
half-step higher, with D-natural being the common note between
them. The horn entry and responses in the piano right
hand (with G-flat notated as F-sharp) confirm this
motion. The same violin line is heard again, but now it
turns back to B-flat, including the horn entry and right-hand
response. The half-step in the low piano bass on F and
G-flat changes to a repeated syncopated F in the last two
1:17 [m. 83]--Closing theme. The horn begins a
long and low B-flat “pedal point, sustaining it for the whole
phrase. The piano also confirms B-flat with high
bell-like chords over descending left-hand thirds, marked dolce.
The piano figures in both hands create a hemiola, the
impression of 3/4 meter superimposed on the 6/8 pulse.
The notation on the page, using a sequence of quarter-note
thirds in the left hand, also looks like 3/4 instead of
6/8. After the bell-like sequence in the right hand,
which alternates high harmonies with lower notes, the violin
enters to restore the 6/8 pulse with a gently descending
line. The piano’s implied 3/4 continues under this, with
colorful left-hand “dominant” chords over B-flat.
1:21 [m. 87]--The violin now plays the notes that had
been the top of the piano’s bell-like chords, also in the hemiola
with implied 3/4. The piano’s right hand has high broken
octaves that “double” the hemiola descent in the left
hand, whose “melody” is now in the lower voice of harmonies
that alternate fourths and thirds. The violin, which has
been playing the line derived from the bell-like chords, again
restores the 6/8 pulse, now transforming its previous
descending line into a swaying upward sweep toward a high
B-flat. The piano’s implied 3/4 again continues under
this, again with colorful “dominant” chords in the left
hand. This leads into the first ending, and the horn’s
long “pedal point” B-flat finally breaks.
1:24 [m. 91a]--The long first ending has the piano
continuing its implied 3/4 hemiola with broken octaves
that skip up and leap down. The left hand also has leaps
up and down in the implied 3/4. The chromatic note
G-flat is heard in the second measure and again in the
fourth. The lowest left-hand notes move steadily
downward. Suddenly, the horn enters with the distinctive
upbeat and opening gesture of the main theme, quickly followed
by the violin in harmony, building strongly. The piano’s
broken octaves leap more widely and become stuck on B-flat,
which now becomes the “dominant” in the home key of
E-flat. Everything culminates on a loud “dominant” chord
stretched to a measure and a half, preparing the repeat.
1:32 [m. 1]--Theme 1. The opening upbeat now
completes the last measure of the first ending [m. 98a].
First violin statement, as at the beginning.
1:39 [m. 9]--Statement with horn entry leading to
long-short figures, as at 0:08.
1:46 [m. 17]--Climax with motion to G minor, as at
1:53 [m. 25]--Upward leaps with new winding piano
figuration, as at 0:22.
2:01 [m. 33]--Leaps continue against plunging piano,
then joyous version of theme, as at 0:29.
2:11 [m. 45]--Transition. Repeated horn B-flat
with G-flat arpeggios and alternating half-steps, as at 0:39.
2:18 [m. 53]--Repeated B-flat in violin, lowered to A
with harmony shifting to F-sharp minor, as at 0:47.
2:25 [m. 61]--Syncopated half-steps over “diminished”
harmony, motion toward B-flat, as at 0:54.
2:31 [m. 67]--Theme 2. Rising violin line over
“pedal point” with upward-leaping piano figure, as at 1:00.
2:38 [m. 75]--Half-step in piano bass with motion to B
minor and back, as at 1:07.
2:47 [m. 83]--Closing theme. Bell-like piano
chords with hemiola over horn “pedal point,” as at
2:51 [m. 87]--Violin syncopation and hemiola,
then sweep up to high B-flat, as at 1:21.
2:55 [m. 91b]--The second ending begins like the first,
with broken octaves and left-hand leaps that continue the hemiola
3/4 effect, but the harmonic direction is different even in
the first measure. The horn and violin enter on the
upbeat to the fifth measure, the violin playing the thematic
gesture and the horn playing the familiar upward leaps.
The key has changed to D major, and the rising violin line
continues for four measures with a high D as its goal.
The piano figuration resembles the broken octave figures, but
now harmony is added to the wildly difficult leaping lines in
the right hand, where rapid hand shifts to repeated notes are
required. The “diminished seventh” harmony on C-sharp is
prominent in both hands.
3:02 [m. 99]--With the arrival on D, the violin and
horn have two more of the upward leaps against cascading piano
octaves like those at 0:14 and 1:46 [m. 17]. Then the
leaps are suddenly cut off and the piano immediately drops in
volume. The piano alone presents a bare version of Theme
1 split between the hands, low bass octaves providing the
on-beat notes. This begins in D major but quickly shifts
to that key’s “relative” B minor. In that key, the
violin, harmonized by the horn, begins a new, expressively
broad melody that will pervade the development section.
It stretches to a full phrase with continuing piano figuration
over a repeated bass B. At the end, the piano bass
slides up by half-step to C-sharp.
3:15 [m. 113]--The piano reverses roles with the
violin/horn pair. On C-sharp minor, the violin plays the
leaping gestures from the theme against a constantly
punctuating C-sharp (or D-flat) from the horn. The piano
plays the new broad melody in bass octaves, remaining in
C-sharp minor and supported by long chords in the right
hand. After the arrival, the piano bass again slides up
by half-step to E-flat.
3:24 [m. 123]--The pattern derived from the main theme
passes back to the piano, with the bass on E-flat. A
buildup now begins with descending violin lines derived from
the new broad melody. The horn’s long notes are high and
move up by half-step. The short violin descents and the
piano bass quickly move from E-flat to E. The violin
figures are then contracted to two-note descents as the piano
bass continues to move up quickly to F, F-sharp, and G.
The horn dips back down from its high ascent. When the
bass reaches A-flat, the violin and horn both sustain notes
held over the bar line (the violin reaching a very high
G-flat). The piano bass now moves note by note to A and
B-flat as the violin and horn articulate another held note.
3:33 [m. 133]--The climax is reached as the piano bass
arrives on B (notated as C-flat). It is now harmonized,
with the right-hand figures also beginning off the beat on
C-flat. Suddenly, the harmony is wrenched strongly back
down a half-step to B-flat, which happens to be the “dominant”
harmony in the home key of E-flat. The violin and horn
break from their held note to punctuate the strong arrival on
B-flat. The piano then cascades down with falling and
rising leaps dovetailing between the right and left
3:36 [m. 137]--The horn is now exposed on leaping
gestures against quieter piano arpeggios. These leaping
figures begin on B-flat and then the piano arpeggios (and the
upbeat) make a colorful shift to G-flat. The horn then
extends the leaping figures to a melodic phrase with a descent
over a new arpeggio, that of E-flat minor. As the horn’s
descending melody concludes, a “diminished seventh” chord and
arpeggio forcefully wrench the harmony back to B-flat, where
the piano again cascades down with leaps dovetailing between
the hands. The violin is absent for this entire passage
and will remain absent through the re-transition.
3:43 [m. 145]--Re-transition. The volume
diminishes, and a gradual slowing is indicated. The
horn’s leaping figures are now smooth and sustained. The
piano arpeggios make the same motion from B-flat to G-flat as
before, but then G-flat is re-notated as F-sharp. This
leads to a new arpeggio, D major, as the horn descends, but
this quickly shifts again to G minor and then to another
“diminished seventh. The horn descent is stretched out
before leaping up to D, where the piano also moves.
3:52 [m. 153]--The direction of the volume and speed is
reversed, as an acceleration and buildup is now
indicated. With this arrival on D, the horn’s leaps are
sustained, but the piano now has detached leaping gestures
instead of smooth arpeggios. These dovetail again in
contrary motion, the right hand falling and the left hand
rising. The hands move back outward with each horn
leap. The implied harmony moves from D major back to the
“dominant” B-flat and finally to E-flat, signaling the
return. The horn has two shorter leaps with this
arrival. The note E-flat slides to E-natural and then
F. The piano plunges with its contrary leaps on F and
B-flat against a sustained horn F, rushing headlong into the
3:59 [m. 161]--Theme 1. Emerging directly out of
the development, it is an exact reprise of the beginning and
the repeat at 1:32. The entrance of the violin with the
theme is highly effective after its long absence.
4:06 [m. 169]--Statement with horn entry leading to
long-short figures, as at 0:08 and 1:39 [m. 9].
4:12 [m. 177]--Climax with motion to G minor, as at
0:14 and 1:46 [m. 17].
4:20 [m. 185]--Upward leaps with new winding piano
figuration, as at 0:22 and 1:53 [m. 25].
4:26 [m. 193]-- Leaps continue against plunging piano,
then joyous version of theme, as at 0:29 and 2:01 [m. 33].
4:36 [m. 205]--Transition. From this point, the
music of the exposition is transposed up a fourth. The
repeated horn note is E-flat, and the arpeggios are on
C-flat. The descents imply E-flat minor. The
alternating half-steps follow the expected pattern. The
passage is analogous to 0:39 and 2:11 [m. 45].
4:43 [m. 213]--The violin has the rapidly repeated
E-flat, and the piano’s arpeggio on C-flat is re-interpreted
as B for the minor version as the violin and horn note is
lowered to D. The high chord descent and the half-step
alternation follow as expected with syncopated isolation in
piano octaves, all analogous to 0:47 and 2:18 [m. 53].
4:50 [m. 221]--Fast syncopated half-steps in violin and
horn against dissonant “diminished” piano chords, analogous to
0:54 and 2:25 [m. 61]. These are now only one octave
apart due to range limitations of the violin with the upward
transposition. B is again interpreted as C-flat.
The downward motion leads to an arrival on B-flat, where the
bass “pedal point” will be established.
4:56 [m. 227]--Theme 2 in the home key of E-flat,
analogous to 1:00 and 2:37 [m. 67], with the “pedal point” in
bass octaves on B-flat, the rising violin line, and the
upward-leaping piano figure.
5:03 [m. 235]--The half-step in the piano bass is
followed by a motion to E minor and back, analogous to 1:07
and 2:38 [m. 75]. The piano bass drops an octave at the
end, and the last rising piano harmony is given more weight
with an added lower note.
5:12 [m. 243]--Closing theme. Bell-like piano
chords with hemiola over horn “pedal point,” analogous
to 1:17 and 2:47 [m. 83]. The violin’s first dolce
gesture is shifted down an octave because the transposition
would have placed it very high. There is then a leap to
the original register in the second measure.
5:16 [m. 247]--Violin syncopation and hemiola,
analogous to 1:21 and 2:51 [m. 87]. The last note of the
violin sweep (E-flat) is shifted down an octave.
5:21 [m. 251]--The first six measures are closely
analogous to those of the first ending at 1:24 [m. 91a],
especially in the piano. The 3/4 hemiola
continues, and the chromatic note is C-flat. The horn
and violin entries in the fifth and sixth measures are also
similar, but the horn has no upbeat, and most significantly, a
swinging downward motion in the horn is replaced by further
upward motion, and the violin echoes this. In the first
ending, the goal was to move back home to E-flat, and now the
music is already there. The horn and violin entries are
marked crescendo and propel the music forward.
The horn and violin now repeat their entries a third higher
above the harmony of a “dominant” chord suggesting a move to
5:27 [m. 259]--The piano abruptly lands on the chord of
C-flat (heard in the transition passage of the recapitulation)
for both a left-hand arpeggio and a right-hand block chord as
the horn and then the violin arrives on a high E-flat.
The left hand then has a downward motion with a long-short
rhythm as the right hand continues the arpeggio. The
violin and horn, in harmony, immediately shift back to E-flat
with an arpeggio (also confirmed in a piano chord) and
continue with the downward motion just heard in the piano’s
left hand. The same pattern is repeated, with an abrupt
shift to C-flat and back to E-flat, but the violin is brought
down an octave in its arpeggio.
5:34 [m. 267]--The violin and horn extend the
harmonized downward motion, playing it twice and rising a
sixth, then a third (bringing the violin back to the original
upper octave). The piano leaps from octave B-flats to
high chords. The piano then begins the main theme in
typical “horn fifth” harmony. After two measures, the
horn plays the thematic opening, the piano moving to off-beat
responses in the right hand over bass octaves leading strongly
toward A-flat. Finally, the violin takes the theme, the
horn moving to a sustained long-short rhythm. The violin
extends the pattern up for two bars, moving from an arrival on
A-flat to a fortissimo cadence in E-flat.
5:43 [m. 277]--The violin and horn hammer home the main
thematic gesture in contrary motion, the violin arching down
while the horn arches up. They state the pattern twice
over forceful cadence chords in the piano on the upbeats and
downbeats. The horn then stalls, repeating a downward
leaping gesture eight times as the violin plunges from the
heights and then moves back up. At the same time, the
piano doubles the speed of its cadence gestures, placing two
in a bar, the right hand leaping up and down in contrary
motion to the bass octaves, then moving even higher. The
final cadence is stretched out in the last two bars, all three
instruments leaping after a pause, then plunging to the
concluding chord, which is held out.
6:06--END OF MOVEMENT [287 mm.]
END OF TRIO
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