TWELVE SONGS AND ROMANCES (LIEDER UND ROMANZEN) FOR
FOUR-VOICE WOMEN’S CHORUS WITH (OPTIONAL) PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT,
Recording: Women of the North German Radio Chorus, conducted by
Günter Jena; Gernot Kahl, piano [DG 449 646-2]
set of secular songs for female chorus completes the line of
pieces composed for Brahms’s Hamburg women’s choir (except for
the special case of the Op. 113 canons). Published
significantly later than they were written, the songs are of
slighter scope than the other choral works released around the
same time. In fact, they could be aptly described as
choral miniatures, since none of them lasts much longer than
two minutes in performance. Four parts are indicated in
all the songs, although in some, particularly the sequence of
four settings from Heyse’s Jungbrunnen,
the altos remain in unison much of the time. As in some
of Brahms’s other short pieces for women’s choir, the second
alto parts often reach into dangerously low territory, such as
at the end of each strophe in No. 1. An interesting
question in performances of the songs is whether or not to
include the piano accompaniment. Brahms almost never
wrote works for choir with piano accompaniment. A few,
such as Op. 27 and Op. 30, have organ parts. The piano
does play a large role in the vocal quartets, which are often
sung by small choirs. But the role of the piano in Op.
44 is unique. Brahms indicated that the pieces were to
be sung either a cappella
or with optional piano accompaniment. But the piano
parts he provided, while simple and often offering basic
harmonic support, rarely merely double the vocal lines.
In fact, in certain songs, the piano actually adds a new and
interesting element. The varied accompaniment to the
last two strophes of No. 1 is an obvious example, as is an
isolated anticipatory repeated note after the first phrase of
No. 7. The arpeggios and oscillating motion of No. 12
add an entirely new layer to the canonic voices of No.
12. Performances are therefore enhanced when the piano
parts are included. (This recording, despite a moment of
questionable declamation at the beginning of No. 2, has the
advantage of including the piano.) The set of twelve is
arranged in two books of six, with the Jungbrunnen songs opening
Book II. The most substantial song is No. 2, which is
virtually through-composed. No. 3 has a memorable
repeated refrain. Often, Brahms introduces subtle
variations to strophic settings in the last verse, as in Nos.
4 and 6. No. 12 is another brilliant piece of canonic
writing on the same level as those in the sacred choruses of
Op. 37. Except for the folk texts of Nos. 3 and 4, all
are settings of fairly major German poets. Of some
interest is that two poets famous for great song cycles of
Schumann and Schubert, Chamisso and Müller, are represented in
the penultimate song of each book.
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are
from Emily Ezust’s site at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.
most part, the translations are line-by-line, except where the
difference between German and English syntax requires slight
alterations to the contents of certain lines. The German
texts (included here) are also visible in the translation links.
IMSLP WORK PAGE
SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)
1. Minnelied (Love Song). Text by
Johann Heinrich Voss. Con moto. Simple strophic song
(with embellished accompaniment in last two stanzas). E
MAJOR, 3/8 time.
(The title Minnelied is
also used for the solo song Op. 71, No. 5.)
Der Holdseligen sonder Wank
sing’ ich fröhlichen Minnesang,
denn die Reine, die ich meine,
winkt mir lieblichen Habedank.
Ach, bin inniglich minnewund,
gar zu minniglich küßt ihr Mund,
lacht so grüßlich, lockt so küßlich,
daß mir’s bebt in des Herzens Grund.
Gleich der sonnigen Veilchenau
glänzt der Wonnigen Augen Blau.
Frisch und ründchen blüht ihr Mündchen
gleich der knospenden Ros’ im Tau.
Ihrer Wängelein lichtes Rot
hat kein Engelein, so mir Gott!
Eia! säß ich unablässig
bei der Preislichen bis zum Tod!
(Note: Brahms switched stanzas 2 and 3, as above. In the
translation, the stanzas should be switched to match the
music. The last stanza given in the poem here is simply a
repetition of the first, which Brahms did not indicate should be
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
(strophe) 1. Each line begins with a downbeat rest, so the
voices begin off the beat. The first two lines have the same
contour up and down, but the second is first two steps, then one
step lower, the shift coming through artful repeated notes, along
with a chromatic line in the second sopranos. Each line is
three bars long. The harmony is rich and full, and the
second altos are unusually low. The second line ends on a
half-close. The piano mostly follows the voices, but not
with the same exact voicing.
0:11 [m. 7]--The third
line is stretched to four measures, reflecting the structure of
the poem, where the third line of each stanza has an internal
rhyme. Brahms stretches out the rhyming syllables.
There are two two-bar units, each beginning with a downbeat
rest. The first of these is the high point of the
verse. The second sopranos continue their beguiling
half-step motion. The piano introduces its extremely subtle,
but effective variation from the voices as it plays a bottom note
on the downbeat before the second two-bar unit, anticipating
repeated notes in the second altos. The phrase hints at the
related minor key, then ends on a colorful F-major chord, a
half-step above the keynote E. The fourth line is similar to
the first two, its range and contour being somewhat midway between
them. It reaches a full cadence, now with chromatic motion
in the first altos. The second altos end on a deep, earthy
0:24 [m. 1]--Stanza
(strophe) 2. Lines 1 and 2, with music and declamation as in
0:33 [m. 7]--Lines 3 and
4, with music and declamation as in stanza 1.
0:46 [m. 14]--Stanza
(strophe) 3. The vocal parts are unchanged, but Brahms now
includes a completely new piano part. The bottom lines in
the left hand remain similar, but they do reach lower into the
bass at the end of the second line. The right hand now has
flowing figures that move twice as fast as the voices. At
the end of each of the first two lines, the right-hand harmonies
follow the left hand after the beat.
0:56 [m. 20]--The third
line continues the pattern, with the flowing right-hand lines
entering off the beat for each half of the phrase. As in the
other stanzas, the left hand enters alone on the downbeat before
the second two-bar unit, but now it leaps down an octave in the
second bar. The fourth line follows the pattern of the first
two, but the left hand is now in the low bass, and it enters on
the downbeat before the voices, as in the second part of the third
line. It did not do this in the first two stanzas.
1:08 [m. 14]--Stanza
(strophe) 4. Lines 1 and 2, with music, declamation, and
piano part as in stanza 3.
1:17 [m. 20]--Lines 3 and
4, with music, declamation, and accompaniment as in stanza 3.
1:31--END OF SONG [26 mm. (x2)]
2. Der Bräutigam (The Bridegroom). Text
by Josef Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff. Allegro.
Combination of strophic and through-composed (or varied strophic)
form (AAA’B). E-FLAT MAJOR, 6/8 time.
Von allen Bergen nieder
So fröhlich Grüßen schallt -
Das ist der Frühling wieder,
Der ruft zum grünen Wald!
Ein Liedchen ist erklungen
Herauf zum stillen Schloß -
Dein Liebster hat’s gesungen
Der hebt Dich auf sein Roß.
Wir reiten so geschwinde,
Von allen Menschen weit. -
Da rauscht die Luft so linde
Wohin? Im Mondenschimmer
So bleich der Wald schon steht. -
Leis rauscht die Nacht - frag’ nimmer,
Wo Lieb’ zu Ende geht!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. With no introduction, the sopranos forcefully shoot
upward in an arpeggio of the E-flat chord while the altos begin to
provide a solid harmony. The sopranos separate at “Bergen,”
then continue upward to the end of the line. The second line
is the same, but without the last syllable and note. The
piano provides punctuating, largely doubling chords. The
third line begins without the first sopranos. The seconds
oscillate around the keynote while the altos descend. The
first sopranos enter after one bar, also on the oscillating line
up a step, and the harmony emphasizes C minor as the line
concludes. The lower three voices must repeat “der
Frühling.” The piano doubles everything except the
0:14 [m. 8]--The last line
is greatly extended. All voices sing “der ruft” in harmony,
then the altos echo it on a half-step in octaves. The
sopranos then sing the next two syllables in harmony, echoed by
the altos on the same half-step. This happens a third time,
the sopranos completing the line on a cadence, but echoed by the
same octave half-step. The entire line is then repeated, the
sopranos beginning in long notes with the altos following in
faster motion, still emphasizing the same half-step, until they
come together. The sound is rich and full. Finally, in
a flowing cadence gesture, the sopranos repeat “zum grünen Wald”
and the altos repeat the whole line again. The piano adds to
the sopranos’ harmony on the two-note gestures and provides a
lower bass to the alto half-steps.
0:27 [m. 1]--Stanza
2. This is indicated with repeat signs, and the first three
lines are as in stanza 1, with the repeated text for the lower
parts in the third line being “dein Liebster.”
0:38 [m. 8]--The extended
last line follows the pattern of stanza 1, beginning with “der
hebt.” The last partial repetition in the sopranos is “dich
auf sein Roß.”
0:52 [m. 16]--Stanza
3. The first two lines are as in stanzas 1 and 3.
Then, with the third line, there is a dramatic change. The
voices are suddenly hushed. The second sopranos begin their
oscillation, as before, but the altos below them greatly alter
their harmony, moving toward A-flat major, to which the second
sopranos must conform. When the first sopranos enter, they
are on the same pitches as the seconds, not a step higher.
The words “so linde,” repeated in the lower voices, are suddenly
stretched out, extending the phrase by a bar. In addition,
the speed itself is slowed, and the song has apparently become
1:05 [m. 24]--The last
line, instead of being given the elaborate extensions and
alternating syllables from the first two stanzas, is modestly set
only once, as a phrase moving the harmony back to a cadence in the
home key. The second altos retain a memory of the pervasive
half-step. This is followed by a pause of a full measure
before the final stanza’s dramatic entrance.
1:15 [m. 28]--Stanza
4. The sopranos abruptly call in a loud unison on the
question “Wohin?” The piano does not play under them.
It joins with the altos, who repeat it in harmony, along with the
second sopranos, as the first sopranos hold their note. They
are suddenly quiet again. The line is then completed in a
descending line with harmony that moves to the minor key.
The voices pause, then sing the second line in more low, colorful
harmonies that begin to suggest the “dominant” minor key,
B-flat. They slow down. There is another full-measure
1:31 [m. 37]--For the
third line, the sopranos and altos alternate, both in harmony, in
the style of a call and response. They each sing “Leis
rauscht die Nacht” twice. The key seems to fluctuate between
B-flat major and E-flat major. The voices are still quiet,
but are animated, as Brahms indicates. The piano plays bare
octaves and thirds under them. As the altos sing their
second response, the sopranos continue with “frag’ nimmer,”
completing the line. The altos then join them in a
repetition, growing in volume. The key continues to
oscillate between B-flat and E-flat, and the piano only plays long
1:41 [m. 43]--The last
line continues the musical phrase, reaching its high point in
pitch and volume, then descending and slowing. It ends on
the “dominant” chord, finally creating the expectation of the home
key, E-flat. The voices, remaining strong but continuing to
slow dramatically, repeat the last line. The sopranos begin,
with the altos following closely after. The top three voices
descend broadly, stretching out “Lieb’” as they quiet down.
The second altos, however, bring back a remembrance of their
pervasive half-step, adding a repetition of “wo Lieb’.” The
line is completed, with chromatic notes in the sopranos on
“zu.” The second altos continue their obsessive half-step on
these last words, repeating it a total of seven times before
finally joining the three upper voices in the final cadence,
moving there after they complete it. In this last
repetition, the piano follows the voices and again adds a low bass
to the half-step.
2:03--END OF SONG [48 mm.]
3. Barcarole .
Text by Karl Witte after an Italian folk source. Allegretto
grazioso. Simple strophic form with refrain. E MAJOR,
6/8 time. (The solo altos in the recording are unidentified.)
O Fischer auf den Fluten, Fidelin!
Komm schnell zu fischen her!
Und auf seinem schmucken Kahne,
auf dem Kahne rudert er.
“Was willst du, daß ich fische?” Fidelin!
Mein Ringlein fiel ins Meer.
Dir lohnt die schönste Börse, Fidelin!
von hundert Talern schwer.
“Nicht will ich deine Börse, Fidelin!
von hundert Talern schwer.”
“Ein liebevolles Küßchen, Fidelin!
ein Kuß ist mein Begehr.”
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. Two solo altos begin a
cappella. They sing the first line in so-called
“horn fifth” harmony, which, along with the 6/8 meter, lends the
piece a mild echo of a hunting song. The full choir joins on
the refrain interjection, “Fidelin!” along with the piano in a
graceful punctuating descent. The a cappella solo altos then take the second line
in similar “horn fifth” harmonies, but with a mild harmonic shift
that points to A major for the beginning of the refrain.
0:12 [m. 6]--Refrain.
The full choir joins with the piano for the refrain. The
peaceful rocking rhythm, beginning halfway through the preceding
measure, dispels the mild hunting echo. The four parts are
in full harmony throughout the first part of the refrain. At
the repetition of “auf dem Kahne” is again the mildly dissonant
turn, now suggesting F-sharp minor. The climax, full but
still tender, comes on “rudert er.” Those words are repeated
by all voices, with the second sopranos and first altos trailing
as an echo, adding an additional repetition of “rudert.” The
completion of the phrase by these middle voices overlaps with the
beginning of the last phrase on “Fidelin linla.”
0:20 [m. 10]--The outer
parts, first sopranos and second altos, gently sing “Fidelin
linla.” They are echoed and overlapped by the middle
parts. The outer voices enter again to punctuate the final
“linla.” In this closing phrase, the piano is reduced to
supporting chords on the two statements of “linla.”
0:31 [m. 1]--Stanza
2. Alto solos with “Fidelin” interjection.
0:41 [m. 6]--Refrain.
Text and music as at 0:12.
0:49 [m. 10]--Closing
phrase on “Fidelin linla,” as at 0:20.
1:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
3. Alto solos with “Fidelin” interjection.
1:10 [m. 6]--Refrain.
Text and music as at 0:12 and 0:41.
1:18 [m. 10]--Closing
phrase on “Fidelin linla,” as at 0:20 and 0:49.
1:28 [m. 1]--Stanza
4. Alto solos with “Fidelin” interjection.
1:38 [m. 6]--Refrain.
Text and music as at 0:12, 0:41, and 1:10.
1:46 [m. 10]--Closing
phrase on “Fidelin linla,” as at 0:20, 0:49, and 1:18.
1:56 [m. 1]--Stanza
5. Alto solos with “Fidelin” interjection. In this
performance, they are sung somewhat more slowly and tenderly than
2:06 [m. 6]--Refrain.
Text and music as at 0:12, 0:41, 1:10, and 1:38.
2:14 [m. 10]--Closing
phrase on “Fidelin linla,” as at 0:20, 0:49, 1:18, and 1:46.
2:26--END OF SONG [14 mm. (x5)]
4. Fragen (Questions). Text by
Anastasius Grün after a Slovenian folk source. Sehr lebhaft
und rasch (Very lively and rapidly). Two strophes with coda
(Bar form). C MAJOR, 6/8 time.
(The title Fragen is
also used for the vocal quartet Op. 64, No. 3.)
Wozu ist mein langes Haar mir dann,
wenn ich kein Band drein flechten kann?
Wozu ist mein Füßchen mir flink und fein,
darf tanzen ich nicht mit dem Liebsten mein?
Wozu ist mir nur die weiße Hand,
darf ich nicht halten den Liebsten umspannt?
Wozu mein Aug mir so schwarz und scharf,
wenns nicht mehr den Liebsten erspähen darf?
Wozu sind mir die Gedanken mein?
Zu denken, mein Liebster, allimmer dein!
0:00 [m. 1]--Strophe
1. All voices sing the first two lines (the first question)
in rich, ebullient harmony with piano bass and support. The
6/8 motion, beginning with an upbeat, is excited and rapid.
The first sopranos have a light embellishment as the voices
approach a half close at the end of the phrase.
0:09 [m. 5]--The third and
fourth lines (the second question) are presented in imitation,
with the two soprano parts following the two alto parts at the
distance of half a bar and with overlapping text. While the
second altos and second sopranos provide harmony with no direct
imitation, the first sopranos follow the first altos at the
distance of a sixth until the end of the second line, where all
the voices come together on another half close as the altos repeat
“dem Liebsten.” The piano essentially doubles the vocal
0:19 [m. 11]--Strophe
2. The fifth and sixth lines (the third question) are sung
to the same music as the first question, with a slight, but
significant alteration at the very end. Both soprano parts
reach a step higher in the last bar (on “Liebsten”) before they
descend to the half close, slightly increasing the urgency.
The piano changes slightly to follow them. There are also
alterations based on syllabification. The second altos have
slight changes in their line.
0:27 [m.15]--The seventh
and eighth lines (the fourth question) are sung in imitation to
the same music as the third and fourth lines, as at 0:09 [m. 5].
0:37 [m. 21]--Coda.
The voices come together and begin the pivotal final question with
an abrupt shift to B-flat major, becoming louder and more
animated. The words “die Gedanken mein” are repeated.
The voices move back home to C for the first statement of the last
line, becoming even more exuberant.
0:45 [m. 26]--The last
phrase begins as if it will be a repetition of “allimmer dein”
similar to the repetition of “die Gedanken mein.” It is,
however, extended and stretched out to bring the song to a
close. The outer voices, first sopranos and second altos,
sing “allimmer” twice, with the first sopranos broadly descending
and the second altos in wide leaps, the piano providing a bass an
octave below them. The middle voices sing “allimmer dein”
twice in faster motion. The first altos, who delayed their
completion of the first statement of the line, trail behind the
second sopranos in a brief canon. All voices except the
first altos come together on a final statement of “allimmer, immer
dein” for the concluding cadence. The first altos, who are
trailing, eliminate the extra “immer. Throughout the coda,
the piano follows the voices.
0:58--END OF SONG [29 mm.]
5. Die Müllerin (The Mill Maid). Text by
Adelbert von Chamisso. Allegro. Strophic form
(AA’AA’). C MINOR, 6/8 time.
Die Mühle, die dreht ihre Flügel,
Der Sturm, der sauset darin,
Und unter der Linde am Hügel,
Da weinet die Müllerin:
Lass sausen den Sturm und brausen,
Ich habe gebaut auf den Wind;
Ich habe gebaut auf Schwüre --
Da war ich ein törichtes Kind.
Noch hat mich der Wind nicht belogen,
Der Wind, der blieb mir treu;
Und bin ich verarmt und betrogen --
Die Schwüre, die waren nur Spreu.
Wo ist, der sie geschworen?
Der Wind nimmt die Klagen nur auf;
Er hat sich auf’s Wandern verloren --
Es findet der Wind ihn nicht auf.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. The first two lines are sung in a forceful, aggressive
unison, with the altos an octave below the sopranos in the swaying
6/8 motion, with upbeat, that has dominated the song set so
far. The remaining two lines are sung in harmony and more
subdued, the altos beginning a half-bar before the sopranos,
lengthening their notes after the sopranos enter. All voices
finish the phrase together. The altos are in two parts from
the beginning of the phrase, while the sopranos only split at the
very end at the cadence. The piano supports and doubles the
unison phrase and the second, harmonized phrase.
0:17 [m. 9]--Stanza
2. The first phrase, formerly sung in unison, is greatly
altered. It is also now sung in harmony, with only the first
sopranos maintaining the previously unison melody. The first
altos harmonize directly with them throughout. On the first
line, the second sopranos and second altos introduce a rollicking
octave leap depicting the blustering wind, which is also taken by
the piano. At the second line, the second altos join the
first altos in unison while the second sopranos add a third line
of harmony, also incorporated into the piano part. This
leads into the second phrase (the last two lines), which is
unchanged from the first stanza other than an indication that it
is supposed to be louder than it was there.
0:33 [m. 1]--Stanza
3. Sung to the same music as stanza 1, with one slight
change in declamation in the last line where “waren” is assigned
to two notes formerly given to one syllable.
0:48 [m. 9]--Stanza
4. Sung to the same music as stanza 2 (with harmonized first
phrase and the octave leap in the second soprano and alto parts),
with two notes assigned to the second word, “ist,” that had
previously been given to the two syllable “sausen.”
1:06--END OF SONG [16 mm. (x2)]
6. Die Nonne (The Nun). Text by
Johann Ludwig Uhland. Andante. Strophic form with
altered harmonies in last verse. G MINOR, 4/4 time.
Im stillen Klostergarten eine bleiche Jungfrau ging.
Der Mond beschien sie trübe,
An ihrer Wimper hing
Die Träne zarter Liebe.
“O wohl mir, daß gestorben der treue Buhle mein!
Ich darf ihn wieder lieben:
Er wird ein Engel sein,
Und Engel darf ich lieben.”
Sie trat mit zagem Schritte wohl zum Mariabild;
Es stand im lichten Scheine,
Es sah so muttermild
Herunter auf die Reine.
Sie sank zu seinen Füßen, sah auf mit Himmelsruh’,
Bis ihre Augenlider
Im Tode fielen zu:
Ihr Schleier wallte nieder.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. The minor-key setting is tender, but intensely sad in
expression. The first long line is given in two short
phrases with upbeats, the second altos on low bell-like repeated
notes. The piano effectively restricts itself to two-chord
groups on the upbeats and downbeats. The shorter second and
third lines are set to the same short phrase, with even sparer
piano chords. The third line leads directly into the fourth,
in which both sopranos parts make a dramatic upward leap
(harmonized in thirds) before the altos follow. The
completion of the phrase is poignantly drawn out, the piano now
full and comforting.
0:39 [m. 1]--Stanza
2. Repeat signs are indicated for the ten-bar stanza in the
second and third verses. The only change in declamation is
the replacement of the two-syllable “eine” with a single syllable
1:17 [m. 1]--Stanza
3. Again indicated with a repeat. Declamation as in
1:56 [m. 11]--Stanza
4. For the final verse, with its vivid imagery, the harmony
is significantly changed, and even the melody includes a few
major-key inflections. The long first line now has a sort of
major-minor mixture with some very close and dissonant harmonies,
and the piano already abandons its austere two-chord groups in the
second half of the line. The second altos remain on their
bell-like low notes even longer. Brahms indicates a quieter
2:09 [m. 15]--The second
line is as in the first three stanzas, but the piano now
accompanies fully and the singing becomes slower and softer.
A piano bass note, not heard in the other stanzas, bridges it to
the third line. This third line is not identical as it was
before. It introduces the major-minor mixture and a lower
second alto line on repeated bell tones. The final line is
also subtly altered. The second sopranos do not move up with
the first sopranos on the leap, but create a wider held harmony of
a sixth before the alto entrance. The major-minor mixture is
preserved, and the verse concludes with a transfigured major
2:40--END OF SONG [20 mm.
7. Vier Lieder aus dem Jungbrunnen
(Four songs from the collection Der
Jungbrunnen), No. 1: “Nun stehn die Rosen in Blüte” (“Now
the roses are blooming”). Text by Paul Heyse.
Allegro. Simple strophic form. E MAJOR, 3/8 time.
Nun stehn die Rosen in Blüte,
Da wirft die Liebe ein Netzlein aus,
Du schwanker, loser Falter,
Du hilfst dir nimmer heraus.
Und wenn ich wäre gefangen
In dieser jungen Rosenzeit,
Und wär’s die Haft der Liebe,
Ich müßte vergehen vor Leid.
Ich mag nicht sehen und sorgen;
Durch blühende Wälder schweift mein Lauf.
Die lustigen Lieder fliegen
Bis in die Wipfel hinauf.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. The first two lines are sung to a buoyant phrase in full
harmony that reaches a half-close. The piano initially has
punctuating chords on the upbeats and downbeats, then follows the
voices more closely at the end of the phrase.
0:10 [m. 9]--The piano
plays an isolated upbeat and downbeat on an octave B, which is
used to pivot to G major. The first statement of the last
two lines is in that key. The phrase is sung mostly in
unison and mostly a cappella
after the bridging piano octaves. Each line begins quietly
in unison on an arching melody, growing to forte on the last word
(“Falter” or “heraus”), where the voices split into harmony for
two chords supported by piano. These chords confirm the new
key of G major. The first sopranos reach higher, supported
by a more dissonant chord, at the end of the last line on
0:20 [m. 18]--The last two
lines are repeated with full harmony in voices and piano.
The key shifts directly back to E major in the second bar as
the music swells to a full forte
and the first sopranos reach a climactic high note on the extended
“Falter.” They reach even higher in the last line on the
word “nimmer,” which is also extended. A bar of silence
after the cadence, before the upbeat of the next verse, creates
another nine-bar phrase like the previous G-major one.
0:30 [m. 1 (upbeat of m. 26)]--Stanza
2. The first two lines are presented as in stanza 1.
0:37 [m. 9]--The piano
octaves again introduce the G-major phrase from 0:10 for the last
two lines. The climactic words are now the potent “Liebe”
(“love”) and “Leid” (“sorrow”). A new dotted rhythm is added
for the extra syllable on “müßte,”
0:47 [m. 18]--Repetition
of the last two lines, as at 0:20. No rhythm change is
needed for “müßte,” since “hilfst” was set to two notes here.
0:57 [m. 1 (upbeat of m. 26)]--Stanza
3. The first two lines are given as in the previous
verses. There is an extra syllable (on “blühende”), but no
musical changes are required to accommodate it.
1:04 [m. 9]--Again the
piano octaves and G-major phrase, as at 0:10 and 0:37. The
number of syllables is as in stanza 1, but the declamation of the
words on “bis in die Wipfel hinauf” requires that the dotted
rhythm from stanza 2 be retained and the preceding upbeat be
dropped, so that the line begins on the downbeat. The
climactic words are “fliegen” and “hinauf.”
1:13 [m. 18]--Repetition
of the last two lines, as at 0:20 and 0:47. The declamation
of the last line is handled by extending “fliegen” by one note,
eliminating the upbeat to the last line, which again begins on the
downbeat, providing a more emphatic conclusion than in the two
1:24--END OF SONG [26 mm. (x3)]
8. Vier Lieder aus dem Jungbrunnen
(Four songs from the collection Der
Jungbrunnen), No. 2: “Die Berge sind spitz” (“The
mountain peaks are high”). Text by Paul Heyse.
Andantino. Two-part modified strophic form. A MINOR,
Die Berge sind spitz
Und die Berge sind kalt,
Mein Schatz steigt zu Berge
Und ich in den Wald.
Da tröpfelt das Laub
Von Regen und Thau,
Ob die Augen da tröpfeln,
Wer sieht es genau?
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. The music is measured, quiet, and somewhat austere.
The first two lines are presented in a phrase that ends on a
half-close. The sopranos provide the melody, harmonized in
thirds throughout and descending by step in each measure. It
moves steadily, with prominent dotted (long-short) rhythm.
The altos are less active, providing harmonic support. The
second altos are on a pedal point A until the last two notes of
the phrase. The first altos move a bit more, but many of
their notes double the second altos an octave above. The
piano part is also steady, playing bass leaps of octaves and
fifths on the downbeats and right hand chords in the middle of
0:13 [m. 5]--The second
phrase, presenting the last two lines, maintains much the same
pattern but begins higher. The sopranos break from the
motion in thirds a measure before the full cadence. The
second altos move away from the pedal point, but are still very
static, as are the first altos. In octaves for the first
measure, the alto parts drift apart before the cadence. The
piano part also retains the same pattern, but the bass notes now
leap down by steps or by fifths. Both hands break their
pattern to support the cadence.
0:24 [m. 9]--Stanza
2. This verse is presented in imitative canon for its first
three lines. The sopranos begin in thirds, as before, but
pause after the first line as the altos imitate them. The
altos are in unison, an octave below the first sopranos. The
pattern continues for the second line, but the sopranos move up
instead of down, as in the first stanza. The sopranos begin
the third line at the same pitches as the second. The first
altos still imitate, but now not strictly, and a fifth or sixth
below. The second altos move away from the imitation and the
unison, providing bass support to the first altos. The first
sopranos pause as the altos finish the line, but the second
sopranos add a harmony above the altos on “tröpfeln.” The
piano part is very sparse, supporting the altos in single notes at
first, leaving the sopranos exposed, then moving to chords under
the third line. As the altos finish on “tröpfeln,” the music
0:43 [m. 16]--For the last
line, the canon ends, but the voices are not completely
together. The first sopranos begin on the upbeat, singing
the melody that ended the first stanza. The second sopranos
begin on the downbeat and do not sing the dotted rhythm, but
cadence with the first sopranos. The altos also begin on the
downbeat, in harmony with each other. They hold out the word
“wer” and trail the sopranos on the rest of the line, singing the
final word “genau” after the sopranos have finished it. The
second altos echo the last three descending notes of the soprano
melody an octave lower while the first altos repeat a hollow E
above them. The piano supports the main harmonies.
0:53--END OF SONG [17 mm.]
9. Vier Lieder aus dem Jungbrunnen (Four songs from the collection Der Jungbrunnen), No.
3: “Am Wildbach die Weiden” (“The willows on the
Wildbach”). Text by Paul Heyse. Angenehm bewegt (In
pleasant motion). Strophic form. A MAJOR—F-SHARP
MINOR, 6/8 time.
Am Wildbach die Weiden,
Die schwanken Tag und Nacht.
Die Liebe von uns beiden
Hat Gott so fest gemacht.
Am Wildbach die Weiden,
Die haben nicht Wort und Ton.
Wenn sich die Augen besprechen,
So wissen die Herzen davon.
Translation (Note: The word “Wildbach” in this poem is
likely a proper name, referring to a specific stream in
southwestern Germany, a tributary of the Main River. It
could also mean simply “rushing stream” or “rapids.”)
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. Like several other songs in the set, this one begins with
an upbeat in 6/8 time. The swaying “willow” motion is quite
consistent throughout. The song is in three-part harmony, as
the altos are not split until the last note of each verse.
The second sopranos split on the first syllable of “Weiden,”
creating a rich harmony. The accompaniment has some
interest. The left hand adds notes (on beats 2 and 5 of each
measure) to the alto line that it mostly doubles, creating a
continuous bass motion below a right hand that plays a few
isolated thirds. The first phrase (two lines) is in pure A
major with a half close.
0:11 [m. 5]--The second
phrase shifts from A major to its relative minor key, F-sharp
minor, and surprisingly ends there with a full cadence, providing
an overtone of melancholy to the cheerful swaying of the
willows. In this phrase, the piano right hand has mostly
octave leaps, moving in a single voice. The left hand trails
the vocal cadence, providing a firm conclusion and leading to the
0:21 [m. 9]--Stanza
2. The vocal parts are as in stanza 1, with repeated notes
added for the extra syllable on “haben.” The accompaniment,
however, is richer and fuller. The left hand moves down an
octave, and the right hand begins earlier, playing complete
harmonies rather than the isolated thirds.
0:29 [m. 13]--As in stanza
1, the second phrase moves to F-sharp minor and stays there until
the end. Extra repeated notes are needed, interrupting the
swaying motion on the words “Augen,” “wissen,” and “Herzen.”
The left hand of the piano remains an octave below the first
stanza, and the right hand is again in full harmonies, playing
throughout the phrase with no breaks. The left hand trails
the vocal cadence as before, the lower octave providing an even
more solid minor-key conclusion.
0:43--END OF SONG [16 mm.]
10. Vier Lieder aus dem Jungbrunnen
(Four songs from the collection Der
Jungbrunnen), No. 4: “Und gehst du über den
Kirchhof” (“If you go across the churchyard”). Text by
Paul Heyse. Andante. Strophic form with slight
extension. E MINOR—E MAJOR, 3/4 time.
Und gehst du über den Kirchhof,
Da find’st du ein frisches Grab;
Da senkten sie mit Tränen
Ein schönes Herz hinab.
Und fragst du, woran’s gestorben?
Kein Grabstein Antwort gibt;
Doch leise flüstern die Winde,
Es hatte zu heiß geliebt.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. The first two lines are set in E minor. The altos
begin in unison with a characteristic turning upbeat figure.
They are hushed and expressive. The altos remain in unison
for the entire minor-key phrase. The sopranos follow,
entering as the altos sing “den Kirchhof,” repeating the same
turning figure. The sopranos add full harmony. The
altos repeat “den Kirchhof” on a new, lower figure as the sopranos
reach those words. The second line is a repetition of the
first line from the point of the soprano entry. The altos
begin with the sopranos, though, so there is no text
repetition. The first sopranos add a dotted rhythm in the
first measure of the line to aid in declamation. The
accompaniment is simple, but elegant. It consists only of
repeated statements of the opening turning upbeat figure sung by
the altos at the beginning. The right hand plays it twice,
doubling the altos, then the left hand moves it down an octave
while no voices sing it. A single right-hand, left-hand
alternation follows for the second line.
0:26 [m. 11]--Lines 3 and
4 shift to a comforting E major. The altos remain in unison
at the beginning, but split at the word “Tränen,” creating a full,
also comforting four-part harmony. The last line descends to
a gentle half-close before the second verse. The piano now
doubles the vocal harmonies, becoming fuller after the first two
bars when the altos split into two parts.
0:45 [m. 19]--Stanza
2. The first two lines are sung in E minor, as in stanza
1. The altos repeat “und fragst du woran’s” instead of the
single word “gestorben” (which would have been analogous to “den
Kirchhof,” but would have created declamation problems). In
the second line, they also repeat “Antwort” rather than stretching
out the less important word “gibt,” which would have been
analogous to “Grab” in stanza 1. The sopranos do stretch out
“gibt.” The sopranos have an interesting reversal in
declamation, the first sopranos placing a dotted rhythm in the
first line, but not the second, a reversal from stanza 1.
The accompaniment is as in stanza 1.
1:09 [m. 29]--The last two
lines in E major are mostly as in stanza 1. There are some
changes in declamation, most notably the addition of a dotted
(long-short) rhythm in the sopranos for the extra syllable on
“flüstern.” The most significant change is at the end, where
Brahms extends the phrase by a measure to reach a full cadence
instead of the half close heard at the end of stanza 1. The
sopranos descend an extra note to reach the final, soothing
E. To accomplish this, the words “zu heiß” are repeated in
all parts. The piano harmonies are also extended at the
end. Brahms adds a measure of rests after the voices end to
compensate for the upbeat at the beginning of the song.
1:38--END OF SONG [38 mm.]
11. Die Braut [Von der Insel Rügen] (The Bride [From the Island of Rügen (Rugia)]). Text by
Wilhelm Müller. Andante espressivo. Simple strophic
form. D MINOR, 3/2 and 4/4 time.
Eine blaue Schürze
hast du mir gegeben,
Mutter, schad’ ums Färben,
Mutter, schad’ ums Weben!
Morgen in der Frühe
wird sie bleich erscheinen,
will zu Nacht so lange
Tränen auf sie weinen.
Und wenn meine Tränen
es nicht schaffen können,
wie sie immer strömen,
wie sie immer brennen,
wird mein Liebster kommen
und mir Wasser bringen,
wird sich Meereswasser
aus den Locken ringen.
Denn er liegt da unten
in des Meeres Grunde,
und wenn ihm die Wogen
rauschen diese Kunde,
dass ich hier soll freien
und ihm treulos werden,
aus der Tiefe steigt er
auf zur bösen Erden.
In die Kirche soll ich --
nun, ich will ja kommen,
will mich fromm gesellen
zu den andern Frommen.
Lasst mich am Altare
denn dort ist mein Plätzchen,
wo die Witwen knien.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1,
lines 1-2. The first two lines are sung in block harmony
with six notes to each line in the 3/2 meter. The altos are
in unison, so the harmony is in three parts. The altos
remain static on the keynote D for eight notes before jumping
down. The sopranos sharply rise and fall in the second
line. The steady motion and minor key create a sense of
resigned melancholy. The piano simply plays a rising octave
under each line, the second with harmony above it.
0:09 [m. 3]--Stanza 1,
lines 3-4. The next two lines are still set in groups of six
steadily moving chords, but the meter changes to 4/4. This
allows there to be a two-beat break between each line, during
which the piano overlaps with the end of the line for a descending
bridge figure that has an unsettling, interrupting
character. The voices swell in both pitch and volume on each
line, and the altos split for the last three notes of each
line. The fourth line makes a strong motion to C major.
0:17 [m. 7]--Stanza 1,
lines 5-8. The remaining four lines return to the steady,
static motion with no breaks between the lines, and the meter
changes back to 3/2. All four lines remain at a quiet level,
matching the static motion with static dynamics. On the last
line, the meter changes again to two bars of 4/4 simply to allow
two beats of rest at the end. The altos are in unison for
the first two lines, splitting rather dramatically for the end of
the third (seventh) line and the last line. The first
sopranos have a very sad chromatic note (E-flat ) at the top of
the final line. The piano now participates fully, the left
hand doubling the alto (and second alto) line throughout.
The right hand plays a group of two chords for the second and
third beats of the first three lines, then doubles the parts more
fully on the last line.
0:31 [m. 1]--Stanza 2,
lines 1-2, as at 0:00. Because Müller’s poem consistently
holds to the six-syllable lines in all stanzas, no change in
declamation is needed between the stanzas.
0:37 [m. 3]--Stanza 2,
lines 3-4 in 4/4, as at 0:09.
0:46 [m. 7]--Stanza 2,
lines 5-8, as at 0:17.
1:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 3,
lines 1-2, as at 0:00 and 0:31.
1:07 [m. 3]--Stanza 3,
lines 3-4, as at 0:09 and 0:37.
1:16 [m. 7]--Stanza 3,
lines 5-8, as at 0:17 and 0:46.
1:30 [m. 1]--Stanza 4,
lines 1-2, as at 0:00, 0:31, and 1:00.
1:37 [m. 3]--Stanza 4,
lines 3-4, as at 0:09, 0:37, and 1:07.
1:46 [m. 7]--Stanza 4,
lines 5-8, as at 0:17, 0:46, and 1:16. The voices slow
slightly at the end.
2:02--END OF SONG [11 mm. (x4)]
12. Märznacht (March Night). Text by
Johann Ludwig Uhland. Poco Allegro. Two-part sectional
form with double canons. B-FLAT MINOR—B-FLAT MAJOR, 6/4
Horch! wie brauset der Sturm und der schwellende Strom in der
Schaurig süßes Gefühl! lieblicher Frühling, du nahst!
0:00 [m. 1]--Part
1. The first section in B-flat minor sets the first large
line in an elaborate double canon (direct imitation) in three-bar
units. It begins with the first sopranos, imitated a
half-bar later by the first altos a fifth lower. The line
has an opening note, then a leap up to a faster descending
chromatic line. The canon continues through “Sturm” before
the second sopranos and second altos enter. The first
sopranos make it through “und der.” The lines have an
unsettled, windswept quality, which is enhanced by the piano
part. In this song, the piano does not follow the vocal
lines at all, but plays a series of sweeping accompanying
arpeggios, passed between the hands, which frequently dovetail
with one another.
0:08 [m. 4]--The second
sopranos and second altos enter with the same canon at the fifth
heard in the first parts, three bars after each respective first
part. The second sopranos imitate the first sopranos
exactly, at the same pitches, as the second altos also imitate the
first altos exactly. The first parts now break their canon
with each other, joining together in harmonic arching motion on
“und der schwellende Strom,” where the first altos catch up to the
first sopranos and bring the line to a close. Meanwhile, the
second parts continue their precise imitation of the first parts,
reaching the same point the first parts did before they entered,
just as the first parts complete the line together.
0:13 [m. 7]--The first
parts begin again with the same lines heard at the
beginning. They only continue through “Sturm” as the second
parts complete the line as the first parts had previously done,
remaining in direct imitation of their respective first parts
throughout. Thus, these three measures are essentially a
precise repetition of the last three measures (mm. 4-6), but the
piano accompaniment is thinned out slightly and the dynamic level
decreases and begins to wind down. The first parts drop out
after completing their initial canon at the fifth on the word
“Sturm,” the first sopranos dropping out first.
0:19 [m. 10]--As the first
altos come to a close, the second sopranos, followed by the second
altos, also repeat the first three bars of imitation at the fifth,
but in isolation, as the first parts had been at the
beginning. They quietly wind down, closing on “Sturm.”
The piano drops out in the last two bars. Both second parts
complete a full imitation of the first parts. As the second
altos bring the section to a close, they lead directly into the
shift to B-flat major for the second part, which sets the second
0:25 [m. 13]--Part
2. The shift to major has occurred, but the change in
character only happens gradually. Similar to Part 1, the
first sopranos begin, followed by the first altos a half-bar
later. Although both parts begin with a descending chromatic
line, they are no longer in direct imitation. The first
altos begin a sixth lower, and the motion is completely different
in each part on “süßes Gefühl.” The piano now changes from
arpeggios to an oscillating motion, at first in the right hand
only, and the dynamic trajectory is reversed from Part 1.
This section begins quietly and steadily builds.
0:32 [m. 16]--The second
parts enter. As in the first section, they imitate their
respective first parts exactly, on the same pitches. The
first parts diverge widely from each other, however. The
first sopranos reach a held high note on “Frühling” while the
first altos continue with descending chromatic motion. The
first parts complete the line at the same time, while the second
parts continue their direct imitation of them, reaching the point
in their musical lines where they had entered against the first
parts. The piano becomes thicker, subtly adding long B-flats
in the left hand and fuller oscillating harmonies in the right.
0:38 [m. 19]--As in Part
1, the first parts begin their lines again as the second parts
complete their imitation. This time, however, they do not
break off, and continue with their lines after the second parts
reach the conclusion. The piano builds more, with the left
hand moving an octave lower.
0:44 [m. 22]--The second
parts also begin a full repetition as the first parts, unlike
their process in the first section, complete their second
statement fully. Thus, the sections at 0:32 [m. 16], 0:38
[m. 19], and 0:44 [m.22] are essentially repetitions of the same
music with the parts exchanging, the only real change being in the
building volume and strengthening piano part, whose bass B-flat
now moves down another octave.
0:50 [m. 25]--The first
parts have completed their second statement and now add totally
new lines on “lieblicher Frühling, du nahst!” as the second
sopranos complete their line. The second altos change their
conclusion slightly to make it more conducive to a full cadence,
replacing their ascent on “Frühling, du nahst!” with a leap down
to a held B-flat and cutting the word “lieblicher.” This
final phrase is rich and full. The new line in the first
altos is particularly interesting. Under the voices, now
harmonizing fully, the piano reaches an ecstatic motion with full
oscillating chords in the right hand. The left hand also
oscillates with a broken octave above its low B-flat. The
joyous conclusion, which slows at the final cadence, contrasts
sharply with the unsettled opening, although the motion throughout
the song has been a continuous, swelling stream (matching the
“schwellende Strom” of the text). The loud-soft-loud dynamic
arc, reaching its quiet point at the shift from minor to major at
Part 2, is also masterfully constructed.
1:04--END OF SONG [27 mm.]
END OF SET
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