Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449 633-2]

Published 1868.

In 1868, in the wake of the German Requiem, his departure from Hamburg, and the death of his mother, Brahms published a “batch” of 21 songs separated into four opus numbers, 46, 47, 48, and 49.  This established what from that point would be his usual practice of publishing a “sequence” of song groups.  Thus, Opp. 57, 58, and 59 (to which Op. 63, with its similar aesthetic, can be joined); Opp. 69, 70, 71, and 72; Opp. 84, 85, and 86; Opp. 94, 95, 96, and 97; Opp. 105, 106, and 107.  Of these sequences, only Opp. 46-49 and 69-72 were released as a single publication.  The 1868 songs (including the “prelude,” to the larger sequence, Op. 43) also marked the stylistic change of a “second period.”  The dramatic scenes of Op. 32 and Op. 33 are replaced by more introspective and intimate reflections.  It is in these groups that he developed the modified strophic, three-part through-composed, and ABA forms that would pervade his remaining song output.  To be sure, there are simple strophic songs, especially in Op. 48, but his preferred practice was to have a contrasting “middle” section of some sort, even in a through-composed song (and those through-composed pieces typically did have some sort of partial return to earlier material).

Op. 46, the opening set from the publication, is the only one given the somewhat more formal designation “Gesänge” instead of “Lieder,” and it contains the fewest songs with four.  All four are particularly elegant through-composed forms, and while #4 is nominally a modified strophic song, the contrast in the second part is such that the strophic elements are more structure than substance.  The first two songs are to texts by Daumer, whose verse was first used in Op. 32 and who would eventually be set by Brahms more than any other poet.  They are from the
“international” collection that would be the source of the Liebeslieder Waltzes.  The first song, “Die Kränze,” is an atmospheric and excellent setting of a long and difficult text.  It is a prototype of the Brahms-style three-part through-composed form with a distinctive middle section and the return of a recognizable passage.  The second is exceedingly beautiful, and its “Hungarian” touches are muted.  Here, the middle section is marked by fanfare gestures and “horn fifths.”  The other two songs are to texts by Ludwig Hölty, in the edition adapted by Johann Heinrich Voss (Brahms’s source for Hölty).  “An die Nachtigall” is in fact a fragment, and Voss wrote fully half the text himself.  The turbulent, complex “Die Schale der Vergessenheit” is a song whose value for publication Brahms seriously questioned, calling it “desolate,” but his friend, the baritone Julius Stockhausen was enthusiastic about it, and he changed his mind.  This is a three-part form resembling an ABA, but with a third section the length of the first two combined.  The tender “An die Nachtigall” expressively depicts the nightingale’s flight, culminating in the exquisite setting of the last word “entfleuch.”  The song’s imaginative accompaniment contributes to the mood.

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

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

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max Friedländer):
No. 1: Die Kränze (in original key, D-flat major)
No. 1: Die Kränze (in middle key, B major)
No. 1: Die Kränze (in low key, A major)
No. 2: Magyarisch (in original key, A major)
No. 2: Magyarisch (in low key, G major)
No. 3: Die Schale der Vergessenheit (in original key, E major)
No. 3: Die Schale der Vergessenheit (in low key, D major)
No. 4: An die Nachtigall (in original key, E major)
No. 4: An die Nachtigall (in middle key, D major)
No. 4: An die Nachtigall (in low key, C major)
Nos. 2-3 (original keys, higher resolution)

1. Die Kränze (The Wreaths).  Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer from a Greek source.  Ziemlich langsam (Rather slowly).  Three-part through-composed form.  D-FLAT MAJOR, 4/4 time (Middle key B major, low key A major).


German Text:
Hier ob dem Eingang seid befestiget,
Ihr Kränze, so beregnet und benetzt
Von meines Auges schmerzlichem Erguß!
Denn reich zu thränen pflegt das Aug’ der Liebe.
Dies zarte Naß, ich bitte,
Nicht allzu frühe träufet es herab.
Spart es, bis ihr vernehmet, daß sie sich
Der Schwelle naht mit ihrem Grazienschritte,
Die Theuere, die mir so ungelind!
Mit einem Male dann hernieder sei es
Auf ihres Hauptes goldne Pracht ergossen,
Und sie empfinde, daß es Thränen sind;
Daß es die Thränen sind, die meinem Aug’
In dieser kummervollen Nacht entflossen.

English Translation

Part 1
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  The most distinctive element is a three-note upward turn beginning on the “dominant” note and marked dolce.  It will pervade the song.  It is consistently deployed on beats 2 and 3.  With that turn in the background (perhaps symbolic of tears), a tender melody rises and falls in two-note harmony, doubled in both hands.  It reaches its high point exactly midway through the four-bar prelude.
0:15 [m. 5]--Phrase 1 (Line 1 and first two words of line 2).  The singer largely follows the pattern of the introduction at the beginning of the line, the vocal part adding its own downward turn after a long note in the first measure.  The piano simply repeats its introduction music for most of the first three measures.  At the end of the phrase after the high point, the voice moves lower than the piano did in the introduction, ending with a poignant suspension on the title word “Kränze.”  The piano follows it.  The upward turn remains constant throughout.
0:27 [m. 9]--Phrase 2 (Remainder of line 2 and line 3).  The music now turns to the “relative” minor key (B-flat minor), and the upward turn moves down to the “dominant” in that key.  The voice begins on the upbeat, leaping up, stalling on a long-short rhythm, then moving even higher.  The piano harmonies are no longer doubled, but are in contrary motion, shadowing the voice.  The singer reaches the song’s highest pitch (which will only be heard twice more).  At the end of line 3, the notes are lengthened, and the phrase is stretched to five measures, ending on a “dominant” harmony.  In the penultimate measure, the last note is cut off the upward turn, and the first two notes are heard on beats 2 and 4 against long vocal notes.
0:44 [m. 14]--Phrase 3 (Line 4).  The voice has a broad dolce scale descent in longer notes.  The key turns back toward home, first hinting at the “subdominant’ (G-flat) but avoiding an arrival there.  The first two notes of the upward turn are now passed between the hands, and the right-hand harmonies follow the voice, the left moving up against it.  After the arrival on G-flat is averted by a chromatic note, the harmony turns to the other side, the “dominant” (A-flat).  Here the voice rises high again, and the piano finally moves away from its upward turn patterns, breaking into rising arpeggios in triplet rhythm.  The voice reaches the highest pitch for the second time as part of a very broad, warm, and rich full cadence in the home key.
1:02 [m. 19]--The introduction is played again in varied form.  The upward turn and the harmonized rise and fall are preserved, but new arpeggios in triplet rhythm are added surrounding these.  The most prominent are the ones rising from the bass on the first beat of each measure, but others are added on the last beats of the first and third measures and the third beat of the second measure.
Part 2
1:15 [m. 23]--Phrase 4 (Lines 5-6).  The key changes to the home or “parallel” minor, which (in the original key) is notated as C-sharp minor.  There, the fifth line is sung to a short fragment with an upward leap.  Against it, the piano plays the two-note version of the upward turn, passing it from the left to the right hand and back and harmonizing it.  The sixth line begins with two gentle upward leaps and turns to the “relative” major key (E major).  The voice then gently tumbles down for “träufet es herab” against triplet arpeggios in the piano.  These are extended in a one-bar interlude emphasizing “dominant” harmony.
1:31 [m. 28]--Phrase 5 (Lines 7-8).  This is a parallel phrase to the last one.  It begins in B minor, pivoting from B as the “dominant” in E major.  The first words of the seventh line, through “vernehmet,” are sung to the melodic fragment that had been used for the fifth line, adding rhythmic variation to accommodate the
words.  The remainder of the seventh line and the eighth line again turn to the “relative” key (now D major), with the same melodic shape as before, but it is extended with another leap and descent for the word “Grazienschritte,” the extension taking the place of the one-bar interlude.  The piano patterns, with the two-note figures and the triplet arpeggios, follow those in the previous phrase.
1:45 [m. 33]--Phrase 6 (Line 9).  The descending word “Teuere” makes a dramatic harmonic shift from D major back toward C-sharp minor using a “diminished seventh” harmony on the continuing triplet arpeggios.  The word builds in volume and slows in tempo, giving it emphasis along with the harmonic shift.  This internal climax continues through the completion of the line to a long note on the first syllable of “ungelind.”  The triplet arpeggios continue in the piano with bell-like high notes, and a full cadence is reached in C-sharp minor as the word “ungelind” is completed.  This last motion is echoed in a piano interlude, with the melody harmonized in thirds above the continuing arpeggios, the volume still forte.
Part 3
2:04 [m. 38]--Phrase 7 (Lines 10-11).  The key suddenly but gently changes to A major, down a major third.  There, the tenth line is sung to a melody that lightly bounces up and arches back down.  The piano doubles this in the right hand, harmonizing it in thirds, while the left continues the triplet arpeggios, creating a two-against-three effect.  The piano repeats this pattern as an imitation before the voice continues with line 11.  Here the triplets, now descending, move to the right hand, with a bell-like descending fourth placed above them and slower harmonies in the left hand.  The voice reaches high, then descends chromatically, illustrating the “pouring” in the text, and ending with a “leaning” suspension onto “dominant” harmony.
2:19 [m. 43]--Phrase 8 (Line 12).  With the suspended arrival of the last phrase, the piano’s descending fourth above the right-hand triplets has expanded into a “zigzag” that moves it down.  The singer settles down and expressively presents the line, turning up and back down, then leaping and descending to an arrival in A major.  The piano almost imperceptibly shifts back to the two-note upward turn passed between the hands, but it now expands to thirds and wider leaps.  Above this, it echoes the vocal phrase after it is completed.  The key signature changes back to D-flat, and the concluding notes of the echo are re-spelled.
2:35 [m. 48]--Phrase 9 (Lines 13-14).  The key change is magical but simple as the outer notes of the piano slip down a half-step and pull the voice with them.  The initial motion is to A-flat (the “dominant” in D-flat).  There, the voice echoes the previous phrase a half-step lower to begin line 13 with its repeated words.  It continues with rising motion doubled by the piano over the ascending two-note figures passed between the hands.  D-flat major finally arrives with a long note on “Aug’.”  The upward turns narrow back to a step.  The final line begins broadly, then leaps down with a mild dissonance.  The piano harmonies (with the “subdominant” hint) and the end of the vocal line resemble phrase 3 (line 4) from 0:44 [m. 14].
2:51 [m. 53]--After resolving a half-bar metric displacement, the last word “entflossen” is sung to the same “broad, warm, and rich” cadence with which Part 1 concluded before the reprise of the introduction at 1:02 [m. 19], with the voice rising to its highest pitch.  The piano changes to the rising triplet arpeggios, as it had there.
2:59 [m. 55]--Postlude.  The first two measures following the cadence are the same as in the reprise of the introduction at 1:02 [m. 19], with very minor intensification of the left-hand arpeggios.  In the third measure, however, the melody swells in volume and makes a leap to the note one above the voice’s highest pitch, an unexpected intensification.  It includes another inflection toward the “subdominant” (G-flat) with the upward turn placed on the home keynote.  After the expected descent, this leap is repeated with the approaching notes shifted higher.  The descent follows again, and the intensification subsides.
3:18 [m. 60]--The extended postlude continues with reiterations of the upward turn on the keynote D-flat, now played in right-hand octaves.  They come closer together, with statements on a downbeat and (an octave lower) on an upbeat.  The triplet arpeggios in the left hand lose their first note and finally, before the upbeat statement of the upward turn, slow to “straight” rhythm.  There is a continued emphasis on the “subdominant,” but it has a piercing minor-key inflection (on the striking visual note B-double-flat).  The minor inflection colors the final “plagal” cadence, which incorporates the upward turn and concludes with one last triplet arpeggio.  The effect is a written-out slowing, and the volume diminishes throughout.
3:51--END OF SONG [63 mm.]

2. Magyarisch (Magyar Song).  Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer from a Hungarian source.  Andante.  Three-part through-composed form.  A MAJOR, 2/4 time (Low key G major).

German Text:
Sah dem edlen Bildnis in des Auges
Allzusüßen Wunderschein,
Büßte so des eigenen Auges heitern
Schimmer ein.

Herr mein Gott, was hast du doch gebildet
Uns zu Jammer und zu Qual
Solche dunkle Sterne mit so lichtem

Mich geblendet hat für alle Wonnen
Dieser Erde jene Pracht;
All umher, wo meine Blicke forschen,
Ist es Nacht.

English Translation
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1, Introduction.  With the right hand in the middle tenor register and the left in the low bass, the piano presents an anticipation of the beautiful main vocal melody in euphonious block chords.  The initial rising gesture follows the rhythm the voice will use, but the following downward turn doubles the note lengths that will be heard in the vocal line.  The sixth measure completes the melodic line that will be sung to the first poetic line.  That measure doubles as an “upbeat” to the stanza, the singer entering with low “dominant” notes on “Sah dem” that leap up to begin the melody the piano has just previewed.
0:10 [m. 7]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The first line, which began with the “upbeat,” continues, following the melody heard from the piano.  The notes of the downward turn on “in des Auges” are half the length of those in the piano’s introductory presentation.  The accompaniment is an undulating high-low pattern in both hands, the “high” notes mostly doubled in octaves.  These also double the vocal line.  The high-low pattern is briefly broken for the downward turn.  The music of the second line has not been heard, but it naturally completes an eight-bar phrase.  A leap and a descent are followed by an upward-sighing grace note and an expectant, suspended conclusion.  The left hand breaks the pattern, moving to rising arpeggios.
0:21 [m. 15]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  The music is virtually identical to that of the first two lines, but Brahms must deal with the declamation of the short fourth line.  By eliminating the “upbeat,” the last two syllables of line 3 can be transferred to the musical fourth line.  This also allows the word “Auges” to be set to the same notes as before.  Even so, the notes preceding the first upward leap in the fourth line (analogous to the second) are joined and delayed by a beat, creating syncopation before the delayed leap.  The upward-sighing grace note again precedes the suspended conclusion.  The left-hand accompaniment is slightly varied in line 4 to accommodate the syncopation and then add a lower octave.
0:31 [m. 23]--Stanza 2, line 1.  The two vocal gestures, while different, both begin with a fanfare-like long-short rhythm (the second twice as fast), followed by a descent (the second with two downward skips followed by an upward turn).  The piano supports the fanfare-like effect by harmonizing the melody in “horn fifths” in both hands.  Above it, the right hand adds tolling bell tones on the “dominant” note.
0:35 [m. 27]--Stanza 2, line 2.  The fanfare figure moves up a step on “uns zu Jammer,” and the key darkens to minor for those words as the volume builds.  The piano continues to harmonize in “horn fifth” style.  The voice breaks off, and the piano repeats the fanfare up another step, still in minor.  When the voice enters again, the words are repeated, and the fanfare moves up a step for the third time.  This time, the climactic word “Jammer” is held over the bar line on the high pitch before the line is completed on a receding descent over the so-called “Neapolitan” harmony on B-flat.  The piano adds syncopation.  The line ends on the “dominant,” but the piano completes the cadence on the original fanfare, moving back to major.
0:45 [m. 33]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4.  The vocal line rises and falls, using the rhythm of the “fanfare,” but it returns to the character of the first stanza.  After two measures of block chords, the piano returns to the undulating pattern, but does not double the voice.  This happens halfway through the third line, as the voice soars up, then dips down in a highly ingratiating downward arch.  The motion down to the final cadence is given to the single word of the last line, “Zauberstrahl.”  The piano trails down with syncopation in the right hand, and that hand descending all the way back to the mid-tenor register.  The voice again has an “upbeat” measure on the first syllables of the third stanza, but it begins off the beat.
1:00 [m. 42]--Stanza 3, lines 1-2.  The vocal line follows the pattern from stanza 1, including the upward-sighing grace note and suspended conclusion.  The piano, however, plays its accompaniment in the lower register, reminiscent of its anticipatory statement in the introduction, with block chords against the voice.  These become longer under the second line.
1:12 [m. 50]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4, first statement.  The stanza now mixes the music of the previous two, and line 3 is set like line 1 of stanza 2, with the fanfares, horn fifths, and bell tones.  The bells are faster though, reiterated twice in each bar instead of once.  The final three-syllable line is set to a rising gesture like the one that began line 3 of stanza 2 but without the “fanfare” rhythm.
1:21 [m. 56]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4, second statement.  The first two syllables of the line 3 repetition are set to rising full-measure half notes against the undulating accompaniment.  But then the voice breaks into an extended passage of ornamental faster notes, with downward arches and a descent on “forschen.”  The piano harmonizes this passage directly, with a chord under each note until the descent.  The harmony hints at B and F-sharp.  The fourth line (“ist es Nacht”) is set to a slow descent toward an apparent full cadence with a note held over a bar line.  Piano chords, suddenly diverting from the cadence to the minor-inflected “subdominant” harmony, with a syncopated bass, connect to an “extra” third repetition of that short line.
1:36 [m. 66]--Stanza 3, line 4, third statement.  The A-major harmony is restored, and the final line “ist es Nacht” is stated once more, cutting off the first note from the previous statement but retaining the syncopated note held over the bar line.  This time the cadence is not disrupted, and the piano trails down echo-like to the familiar tenor register in a brief postlude, continuing a pattern of syncopated notes held over bar lines.  The final chord is decorated by a brief upward grace-note slide.
2:00--END OF SONG [72 mm.]

3. Die Schale der Vergessenheit (The Goblet of Oblivion).  Text by Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty, adapted by Johann Heinrich Voss.  Lebhaft, doch nicht zu rasch (Lively, but not too rapidly).  Three-part through-composed form.  E MAJOR, 3/4 time (Low key D major).

German Text:
Eine Schale des Stroms, welcher Vergessenheit
Durch Elysiums Blumen rollt,
Bring, o Genius, bring deinem Verschmachtenden!
Dort, wo Phaon die Sängerin,
Dort, wo Orpheus vergaß seiner Eurydike,
Schöpf den silbernen Schlummerquell!

Ha! Dann tauch’ ich dein Bild, spröde Gebieterin,
Und die lächelnde Lippe voll
Lautenklanges, des Haars schattige Wallungen,
Und das Beben der weißen Brust,
Und den siegenden Blick, der mir im Marke zuckt,
Tauch’ ich tief in den Schlummerquell.

English Translation

Part 1
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The voice and piano enter together, depicting the forceful flow of the river.  The piano’s triplet flourishes alternate chords with single notes over a left hand with downward motion in the bass.  The dissonant harmony, clinging to F-sharp, ambiguously suggests the home key in that bass.  The voice initially remains static around a single note, including a strong syncopation on “welcher,” but it leaps up on “Vergessenheit” at the same time the piano changes to another ambiguous harmony on C, now zigzagging down in “straight” rhythm.  The voice arches on line 2, suggesting E minor, not major.  Finally, the “dominant” of E arrives via a “diminished seventh” and continues in a one-bar bridge.
0:15 [m. 11]--Stanza 1, line 3.  The piano pattern, with rising left hand at the beginning of each bar and a downward zigzag in the right hand, continues from the previous line.  The harmony of the home key, E major, is finally heard at the beginning of the line, but it quickly deviates toward the key of G-sharp minor, and it seems as if a cadence in that key is coming.  The voice also suggests this.  It begins with downward leaps leading to a strong syncopation (which, like the previous one on “welcher,” creates a “hemiola” with an implied 3/2 bar).  The arrival on G-sharp is interrupted by another colorful “diminished seventh.”
0:22 [m. 16]--The words “bring deinem Verschmachtenden” are repeated with a similar syncopation and “hemiola.”  The piano pattern changes to a more static oscillation in the right hand against descending bass octaves in the left.  The long, colorful word “Verschmachtenden” is extended by a measure, descending toward another apparent arrival on G-sharp minor.  This time the arrival is blunted by a suddenly diminished volume on two “suspensions” in the piano with the right hand quickly imitating the left.
Part 2--Poco animato, A-flat major
0:34 [m. 23]--Stanza 1, lines 4-5.  The change from G-sharp minor to A-flat major is smooth here, since they are “parallel” keys based on the same note.  Still, the transition is artful.  The piano’s “suspension” patterns continue, with the bass shifted down by a half-step to create a “dominant” harmony.  The patterns continue under the now-ingratiating vocal line, which is spun out over the two lines in pure major.  Another syncopation and “hemiola” are used in the longer line 5.  The “suspension” patterns continue, mostly with the right hand quickly imitating the left, and they introduce some dissonance, but it is mild compared to the thorny harmonies of the first part. 
0:46 [m. 33]--Stanza 1, line 6.  This line is set to broadly leaping longer notes leading to a descent and cadence with a “hemiola.”  The piano moves back to the pattern seen most prominently in line 3, with the rising left hand that dovetails into the downward zigzag of the right.  The key moves to E-flat major, the “dominant” of A-flat, and the cadence is there.  Two more gentle statements of the piano’s “suspension” patterns close the section and stanza in a calm mood before the abrupt return of the stormy opening music.
Part 3
0:58 [m. 41]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2 (minus last word).  Part 3 is the length of the first two parts combined, setting the whole of stanza 2.  The vocal setting of line 1 and most of line 2 is almost identical to that in stanza 1.  The piano patterns, with triplet flourishes, are also closely followed, but the harmony is different and more intense, with the right-hand chords mirroring the left-hand bass descent.  The first chords are moved up a third, with the lingering suggestion of G-sharp (A-flat).  This emphasis continues until the leap on “Gebieterin,” where the C-major harmony appears as before.  But now the goal is the actual home-key harmony of E instead of the “dominant.”  The last word (where the “dominant” arrival was) is omitted.
1:10 [m. 50]--Stanza 2, line 3 (plus line 2, last word).  The last word of line 2 was not omitted just for variation, but because of the syntax, with “voll Lautenklanges” forming a natural unit.  After a brief break, the voice enters with those words, which have the effect of extending line 2.  The “extension” seems gentle and light, but it is disrupted by a sudden loud, dissonant outburst in the piano, which echoes the arching melody used for line 2.  The remainder of line 3 attempts to re-establish E major with another syncopated “hemiola,” but there is another dissonant diversion with a higher piano echo of the line 2 melody.  With the harmony again unstable, Brahms indicates a steady buildup of volume and speed (cresc. sempre ed accel.).
1:20 [m. 57]--Stanza 2, line 4.  The reiterations of the arching line 2 melody are placed above an undulating inner voice, and that pattern is established for this line.  The line itself is sung breathlessly, ending with a large downward leap.  Against it, the piano plays two more echoes of the line 2 melody at the same level, higher than the previous ones.  The left hand has descending half-steps after longer notes.  The harmony and key center are unstable, but they trend toward the “dominant.”
1:25 [m. 62]--Stanza 2, line 5.  The voice erupts into the familiar opening music used for the first lines of both stanzas.  The piano is set yet another third higher, with the harmony strongly suggesting the “dominant” on B.  At the point of the syncopated “hemiola,” the voice itself rises a third (which it did not do before in either statement of this material), resulting in the song’s highest pitch on “Marke” (“marrow”), which can be considered the turbulent song’s climax.  The piano patterns generally follow the ones from line 1 at 0:58 [m. 41], but this time there is no harmonic diversion, and the triplet flourishes persist in their arduous pursuit of an arrival on the home key.
1:31 [m. 68]--Stanza 2, line 6.  The home key of E major arrives strongly, but it is still not particularly stable.  This line emerges into the same melody that was used for the final line of stanza 1 at the end of Part 2 at 0:46 [m. 33].  The long leaping notes leading to a descent and cadence follow the same pattern as they did there, but they are a half-step higher (in E instead of E-flat).  Indeed, the line ends with the same word (“Schlummerquell”).  The accompaniment retains the active triplet rhythm in the right hand, now cascading over the keyboard, while the left hand has the familiar rising figures.  A satisfying cadence on E is expected, but it is thwarted by yet another rude “diminished seventh” that arrives instead.
1:38 [m. 75]--The last line is repeated, beginning on another bar-crossing syncopation.  The “diminished seventh” persists in the piano triplets over a reiterated downward-marching bass line in octaves.  The vocal line is altered in the repetition, but it finds its way back to the same descent on “Schlummerquell,” slowing in the process.  Before that, the harmony gradually becomes more stable, working its way to the “subdominant” on A and finally the “dominant” on B.  The full cadence on E arrives at last.
1:45 [m. 80]--Postlude.  At the cadence, with the bass anchored on a reiterated low octave on the hard-won E, the right hand continues to cascade down in triplets, with a middle voice reiterating the stepwise downward motion that has been so frequently heard in the left hand.  The triplets then tumble down the keyboard to the tenor register before climbing back up toward the final held E-major chord.
2:02--END OF SONG [84 mm.]

4. An die Nachtigall (To the Nightingale).  Text by Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty, adapted by Johann Heinrich Voss.  Ziemlich langsam (Rather slowly).  Two-part modified strophic form.  E MAJOR, 4/4 time (Middle key D major, low key C major).

German Text:
Geuß nicht so laut der liebentflammten Lieder
Tonreichen Schall
Vom Blütenast des Apfelbaums hernieder,
O Nachtigall.

Du tönest mir mit deiner süssen Kehle
Die Liebe wach;
Denn schon durchbebt die Tiefen meiner Seele
Dein schmelzend Ach.

Dann flieht der Schlaf von neuem dieses Lager,
Ich starre dann,
Mit nassem Blick, und todtenbleich und hager,
Den Himmel an.

Fleuch, Nachtigall, in grüne Finsternisse,
Ins Haingesträuch,
Und spend’ im Nest der treuen Gattin Küsse;
Entfleuch, entfleuch!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Strophe 1.  Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The piano sets up the prevailing accompaniment pattern.  Rising mid-range figures in the left hand (mostly thirds) are followed off the beat by descending figures in the right hand (usually beginning with a harmonic third or a three-note chord) and leaping down.  After one measure, the voice enters.  In the stanzas, eleven-syllable lines alternate with four-syllable lines.  The longer lines are usually more active.  Here, the first line dips down, then rises to a high note and descends in a beautiful melodic contour.  Brahms sets the four-syllable line as four long descending half-notes.  The left hand moves to the low bass in long notes, and the right hand follows off the beat with reiterated chords.
0:19 [m. 8]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  The accompaniment moves back to the original pattern, which evokes the nightingale.  Line 3 begins like line 1, but it turns back up after the high note.  Line 4, like line 2, is set as four half-notes.  This time, they are more angular and lead to a full arrival on the “dominant” B major (line 2 had ended on that chord, but with its usual preparatory function).  Again, the accompaniment changes to low bass notes with pulsing repeated chords in the right hand.  These continue, thinning to an octave, in a bridge measure.
0:34 [m. 15]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2.  The material changes for this second stanza.  Moving back to the home key, the vocal line becomes more active, with faster notes.  Line 1 begins with a downward leap and continues with faster notes that rise back up.  It concludes with another downward leap and a slower rise on “Kehle.”  The left hand has pulsing octave syncopations on the “dominant” note in the middle range, and the right hand has chords marked with sforzato accents.  Line 2 again uses longer notes, but only on the second and fourth syllables.  It leaps down from the long note on “Liebe.”  Syncopated chords in the right hand move steadily down before emerging on the “dominant” octave that had been in the left hand.
0:45 [m. 19]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4.  Line 3 is more static, but it moves to the minor.  Again, there are sforzato chords in the right hand against the continuing “dominant” octave.  The line rises at the end.  There is a brief break, during which the piano makes an abrupt and striking harmonic shift with syncopated right-hand chords.  These lead to F major, the so-called “Neapolitan” harmony a half-step above the home keynote.  The left hand moves to long low bass notes, also in F major.  Line 4 is again set to four half-notes.  These descend from the highest vocal pitch and function as a climax.  The piano continues its pattern in a brief bridge and solidifies the arrival on the F-major harmony.
1:03 [m. 24]--Beginning halfway through the measure, the climactic line “dein schmelzend Ach” is repeated.  The harmony moves back toward a full cadence in the home key of E major.  The voice has a long five-beat B (a full measure plus a beat), out of which follows the descent to the cadence.  The piano then has a bridge to the second strophe (and third stanza), its syncopated chords rising, the left hand moving back to the middle register.
1:17 [m. 29]--Strophe 2.  Stanza 3, lines 1-2.  Line 1 follows the pattern from stanza 1 in the first strophe, but it gradually turns to minor and stays there.  The four-syllable line 2 is set to the usual four half-notes, but they now mournfully sigh downward in thirds.  The accompaniment follows the previous pattern, with the rising left hand and descending off-beat right hand under the first line and the pulsing syncopated chords under the second.
1:34 [m. 35]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4.  Line 3 begins in minor and with the usual gesture, but it then emerges into a rising chromatic line that builds in intensity.  Under this chromatic line, the left-hand pattern changes from its constant rising figures to alternations between rising and falling.   The right hand still descends.  A bridge continues to build, and then line 4 emerges in the song’s only forte.  The second and highest of its four notes is expanded to six beats on that forte.  The piano has the usual syncopated chords and low bass notes.  The long note leaps down a cadence in the “dominant,” and this is also inflected to minor.  A two-measure bridge settles down, still in minor until the end, and the chords thin to a reiterated octave.
2:01 [m. 45]--Stanza 4, lines 1-2.  Back in soothing E major, the vocal line is the same as it was in stanza 2 at 0:34 [m. 15].  The accompaniment, however, is entirely different, as Brahms introduces tumbling arpeggios in triplet rhythm to illustrate the nightingale’s flight.  These arpeggios, two in a measure, begin firmly off the beat, are split between the hands, and follow a constantly reiterated “dominant” note.
2:14 [m. 49]--Stanza 4, lines 3-4.  These lines are essentially new and bring the song to a transfigured close.  The tumbling triplet arpeggios continue, but now the underlying notes are active.  Line 3 uses the song’s most familiar melodic shape, the downward dip and ascent.  Here, it is used twice, over an ecstatic but restrained buildup.  Its final word “Küsse” is set to a full measure note that leaps down.  The repeated word “entfleuch” that makes up the last four-syllable line follows directly.  The first statement rises over the continuing triplet arpeggios.  It is separated from the second by a measure of these that settles down.  Then the second statement of the word drops down, but the expected cadence is averted by the piano.
2:34 [m. 55]--The vocal cadence is diverted with a “deceptive” motion in the piano bass.  This leaves the last word to the triplet arpeggios in a brief postlude.  The bass steadily moves down to an arrival point on a low E.  The volume and the speed are both reduced, and the low E comes against a chord in the right hand.  The left hand then jumps from the low note to contribute to this final harmony.
2:55--END OF SONG [57 mm.]