EIGHT SONGS (LIEDER UND GESÄNGE) TO TEXTS BY G. F.
DAUMER OP. 57
Recording: Jessye Norman, soprano (No. 1); Dietrich
Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449
Other than the
“Magelone” cycle, this is the only set of solo songs to texts
by a single poet. Daumer was an eclectic writer
whose value as a poet is debated among Brahms devotees to this
day. Certainly the composer was fond of the poet, whose
texts are used for the famous “Liebeslieder”
waltz-quartets. Daumer specialized in erotic and sensual
verse, both of his own creation and in free translations or
adaptations of Persian, Spanish, or Indian sources. The
great Persian poet Hafiz was one of his favorite
sources. The texts of this set are all of an unusual
sensuality for Brahms, and indeed, they seem to have been
specifically chosen for their subtle eroticism. All of
the texts are essentially variations on the same basic
subject: that of an ardent yearning that must somehow be
suppressed without a certainty of fulfillment. The set
is not a formal “cycle,” as the poems themselves were not
originally grouped together, but because of their common
authorship, themes, and even musical style, they work very
well when performed as a set. Indeed, their first
performance was as a complete group, which was unusual.
As in other sets of the period, the final song is the largest,
most elaborate, and most varied. The first song is
exceptionally exuberant and bright. Its source was one
of Daumer’s “women’s songs,” but it is not gender-specific and
can be sung by a man. The second through fifth songs all
have a greater sense of desperation and despair, but each
approaches those feelings through contrasting musical
means. The masterful third song extracts an unusual
amount of material from a very short poem. The sixth and
seventh songs are more gentle, but still filled with the same
sense of unfulfilled yearning. The final song, with its
two highly contrasting sections, serves as both a unification
and a culmination of the preceding seven, beginning in aching
motionlessness and ending with a return to the exuberance of
the first song. The songs were published without titles,
and are referred to by their first lines. Op. 57 is the
first of three sets of eight songs (continuing with Opp. 58
and 59) that, along with the nine of Op. 63, help form a
bridge from the “first maturity” to the “high maturity.”
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily
Ezust's site at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.
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.
FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters,
edited by Max Friedländer):
Von waldbekränzter Höhe (in original key, G major)
1: Von waldbekränzter Höhe (in low key, E-flat major)
Wenn du nur zuweilen lächelst (in original key, E-flat major)
2: Wenn du nur zuweilen lächelst (in low key, D-flat major)
Es träumte mir (in original key, B major)
3: Es träumte mir (in low key, A-flat major)
Ach, wende diesen Blick (in original key, F minor)
4: Ach, wende diesen Blick (in low key, D minor)
In meiner Nächte sehnen (in original key, E minor)
5: In meiner Nächte sehnen (in low key, C-sharp minor)
Strahlt zuweilen auch ein mildes Licht (in original key, E major)
6: Strahlt zuweilen auch ein mildes Licht (in low key, D
Die Schnur, die Perl’ an Perle (in original key, B major)
7: Die Schnur, die Perl’ an Perle (in low key, A-flat major)
Unbewegte laue Luft (in original key, E major)
8: Unbewegte laue Luft (in low key, C major)
forest-crowned heights”). Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer. Lebhaft
(Lively). Four part form (ABB’A’). G MAJOR, 4/4 time
(Low key E-flat major).
Von waldbekränzter Höhe
Werf’ ich den heißen
Der liebefeuchten Sehe
Zur Flur, die dich umgrünt, zurück.
Ich senk’ ihn auf
Vermöcht’ ich, ach,
Zu fließen eine Welle,
Zurück, o Freund, zu dir, zu dir!
Ich richt’ ihn auf
Der Wolken über mir,
Ach, flög’ ich ihre
Zurück, o Freund, zu dir, zu dir!
Wie wollt’ ich dich
Mein Heil und meine Pein,
Mit Lippen und mit Blicken,
Mit Busen, Herz und Seele dein!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). The exuberant,
virtuosic piano part is an essential element of this song’s
breathless character. The right hand sets up a perpetual
motion in two bars before the vocal entry; its top notes form a
countermelody to the vocal line when it enters. The left
hand plays galloping syncopations. The vocal line itself
joyously arches upward and then settles back down. The end
of the stanza makes a strong tonal shift to the dominant key (D
major). The last line is repeated.
0:30 [m. 15]--An interlude
sets up a new rhythmic motion, with upward-arching broken chords
in triplet rhythm instead of the faster groups of four. D
major. It also anticipates the melody of the next stanza.
0:38 [m. 18]--Stanza 2 (B). Marked “Ruhiger”
(“More tranquilly”). The vocal line is somewhat more subdued
for this verse. It begins by shifting to minor, then again
making a strong key change to B-flat at the end of the first
line. The rest of the stanza remains in that key. The
piano continues its triplet rhythm, the left hand resuming its
galloping syncopations for the last two lines. The top notes
of the right again play a countermelody, this time suggesting the
melody of A. The
last line (“zurück, o Freund, zu dir, zu dir”) has a sense of
yearning and is repeated.
1:10 [m. 33]--Interlude as
at 0:30 [m. 15], now in B-flat major.
1:18 [m. 36]--Stanza 3 (B’). The music is very
similar to that of stanza 2, but the declamation of the lines is
different, with the first two lines set to an expanded version of
the first musical line of the earlier stanza. In this line,
the key very subtly shifts down a half-step to B major, where the
rest of the stanza will remain. Over the last two lines,
Brahms marks “Allmählig lebhafter” (“Gradually more
lively”). The statement of “zurück, o Freund, zu dir, zu
dir” and its repetition are even more yearning and excited than in
1:48 [m. 50]--The cadence
of stanza 3 is unexpectedly over a B minor chord. The following interlude is
similar to the preceding two, but is more active and changes key,
as the others did not. It moves back to the home key of
G. It also stops the triplet rhythm and establishes the
original exuberant accompaniment.
1:54 [m. 54]--Stanza 4 (A’). Marked “Sehr
lebhaft” (“Very lively”). The first four musical lines are
the same as in stanza 1, but are performed at a faster
speed. Also, the placement of the lines is different, with
the second line repeated to the music used for the third line of
stanza 1, and the third line sung to the music used for the first
statement of the fourth line in stanza 1.
2:08 [m. 62]--For the last
line of stanza 4, Brahms alters the music from stanza 1, avoiding
the motion to D major heard in the repetition of that stanza’s
last line. Instead, the line ecstatically reaches to the
song’s highest note. It is repeated to a longer, broader
musical line with joyful wide leaps. The piano briefly
concludes the song after the final vocal descent on the word
2:29--END OF SONG [68 mm.]
2. “Wenn du nur
zuweilen lächelst” (“If you would only smile now and
by Georg Friedrich Daumer, adapted from the Persian by
Hafis. Poco Andante. One-verse through-composed
form. E-FLAT MAJOR, 9/8 time (Low key D-flat major).
Wenn du nur zuweilen lächelst,
Nur zuweilen Kühle fächelst
Dieser ungemeßnen Glut -
In Geduld will ich mich fassen
Und dich alles treiben lassen,
Was der Liebe wehe tut.
0:00 [m. 1]--The 9/8 meter
sets up a gentle flow in its three-beat groupings. The voice
and piano begin together with no introduction. They
establish the lilting motion in the first line of text, with warm
chords and a solid, but comforting bass line.
0:08 [m. 3]--The piano
suddenly breaks into groups of two chords that clash against the
established three-beat grouping. The second line of text
then begins, with the vocal line coaxing the piano back to the
flowing rhythm. The end of this line brings the first
minor-key inflections of notes.
0:15 [m. 5]--The third
line makes a much darker turn. It is repeated, moving to a
cadence in the key of G minor. The gently flowing 9/8 rhythm
and rocking bass line persist, but are more agitated.
0:26 [m. 8]--The piano
plays a three-note gesture similar to the opening notes of the
song. The music moves back to the home major for the fourth
line, which enters tentatively after the piano gesture, stammering
the words “in Geduld” (“with patience”) twice before completing
0:37 [m. 12]--The fifth
line enters as the three-note piano gesture continues to be
repeated, but this line and the succeeding sixth line become
rapidly intensify, introducing many chromatic notes and mixing
major and minor. The climax comes on the word “Liebe”
(“love”), set to an inflected minor-key note and rich descending
0:55 [m. 18]--The sixth
and final line is repeated, entering on the last beat of a bar and
tied over to the next one, intensifying the feelings of yearning
desperation. The repetition is stretched out over longer
notes, including a biting minor inflection on the first note of
“wehe” (“pain” or “injury”). The vocal line ends in a very
tentative and almost resigned manner.
1:07 [m. 21]--The piano
postlude begins as the last word is sung. It appears to
reprise the opening of the song, but it skips the second bar,
moving to the clashing two-note groups of the third. These
are then interrupted by a chord with the same minor-key inflection
just heard on the word “wehe,” tied over the bar line and falling
into a “sigh” figure. The “sigh” is repeated without the
inflection, but with continued chromatic notes in the bass.
Finally, a third, lower sigh is in pure major and gently ends the
1:37--END OF SONG [25 mm.]
3. “Es träumte mir” (“I dreamed”).
Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer, adapted from a Spanish folk
poem. Sehr langsam (Very slowly). One-verse
through-composed form. B MAJOR, 6/8 time (Low key A-flat
Es träumte mir,
Ich sei dir teuer;
Doch zu erwachen
Bedurft’ ich kaum.
Denn schon [ach] im Traume
Bereits empfand ich,
Es sei ein Traum.
0:00 [m. 1]--A three-bar
introduction introduces the slow rising arpeggios that will
dominate the left hand for most of the song. They
accompany a series of expressive, dissonant chords with many
non-key (chromatic) notes. For much of the song, the low
note of the bass arpeggios remains the same (F-sharp, the
expectant “dominant” note). The whole song has a sense of
suspended time. No vocal phrase enters at the beginning of a
0:14 [m. 4]--The first two
lines are set to a single, melodious phrase, lingering on the word
“teuer” (“dear”). This phrase is one of only two in the song
where the constant bass arpeggios break. They and the
slow-moving chords temporarily give way to more flowing chords
that follow the vocal line.
0:28 [m. 8]--The arpeggios
and expressive chords of the opening return immediately for the
next phrase, which sets the third and fourth lines. The
expressive chords follow and double the vocal line when it
enters. This phrase makes an immediately darker turn, moving
to a minor key (C-sharp minor) and incorporating a dissonant leap
in the word “erwachen” (“to awake”).
0:48 [m. 12]--Unlike the
previous two phrases, which each set two lines without a pause
between them, the next phrase, setting the fifth and sixth lines,
adds some space between the lines, which are set to a similar
rising, questioning gesture. These gestures intensify and
reach the climax of the song. The last arpeggio under the
sixth line finally moves away (down) from the constant F-sharp as
the bottom note. The key of B returns, mixing its major and
minor versions. In line five, Brahms replaced the original
word “ach” (a simple interjection like “ah!”) with “schon”
(“already”). The last line follows without a break:
1:01 [m. 16]--For the
“extra” seventh line, which clinches the heartbreaking message of
the poem, Brahms allocates as much music as he did for his phrases
setting two lines. This is done by setting the line twice to
a very slowly descending phrase. The first of these includes
striking notes borrowed from the minor key (mode), which are also
included in the now-constant arpeggios. The bottom notes of
these are now free, wandering about after losing their F-sharp
“anchor.” The minor-mode notes almost wail in despair.
The arpeggios continue for two more bars, slowing, softening, and
reaching a notated pause.
1:31 [m. 21]--The music of
the introduction is repeated, but the first of the arpeggios is
reduced from six notes to five to increase the sense of gradual
motion from the preceding pause. Also, the third and fifth
of the expressive chords are now quickly rolled, which they were
1:49 [m. 24]--The fifth
and sixth lines are repeated, but now to the music originally used
for the first two lines at 0:14 [m. 4]. As there, the
arpeggios break in the piano. The end of the phrase deviates
from the original, though, reaching higher and becoming more
intense. The rocking chords continue darkly after the vocal
line ends. Brahms restores the original word “ach” to the
fifth line to heighten the sense of despair.
2:05 [m. 28]--The
arpeggios again return in the bass, but are not anchored to
F-sharp. The seventh line is set twice more (for a total of
four times). As before, both settings are to a slow
descending phrase including minor-key borrowings. The second
phrase is now even more despairing, incorporating more dissonant
chromatic notes, extended a bar, and actually ending in the minor,
which the earlier second phrase did not.
2:28 [m. 32]--The extended
postlude enters with the last vocal note on “Traum”
(“dream”). It continues the slow rising arpeggios, whose
bottom notes now hold on the home note of B, and more expressive,
bitingly dissonant chords. Although the major mode is
re-established with the beginning of the postlude, the dissonances
undermine it. After four arpeggios, the bottom note moves to
a low F-sharp, and the notes are reduced to five, then four, and
finally three (with B again in the bottom) under the last chords,
assisting the gradual slowing to motionlessness. This
postlude is the first definite arrival on the home key, and even
then, the tension between minor and major is not resolved until
the very end.
3:22--END OF SONG [38 mm.]
4. “Ach, wende
(“Ah, turn away this
by Georg Friedrich Daumer. Ziemlich langsam (Rather
slowly). Ternary form (ABA). F MINOR, 3/4 time (Low
key D minor).
Ach, wende diesen Blick, wende dies Angesicht!
Das Inn’re mir mit
ewig neuer Glut,
Mit ewig neuem Harm erfülle nicht!
Wenn einmal die gequälte Seele ruht,
Und mit so fieberischer Wilde nicht
In meinen Adern rollt das heiße Blut -
Ein Strahl, ein flüchtiger, von deinem Licht,
Er wecket auf des Wehs gesamte Wut,
Das schlangengleich mich in das Herze sticht.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). The voice and piano
begin together in an expressive, lightly harmonized melody.
For the first line, the top of the piano part doubles the
voice. The character is that of a lament.
0:12 [m. 5]--For the
second and third lines, the accompaniment changes to a steady,
solid, and very wide-ranging triplet rhythm. This
accompaniment cascades downward for the second line. At the
arrival of the third, it arches up and down across a wide swath of
the keyboard. This is also the arrival of the climax in the
vocal line, with strong accents and biting dissonances in the
piano. The third line is repeated and quickly subsides at
the end. A very brief transition leads to the second stanza.
0:38 [m. 15]--Stanza 2 (B). The beginning of the
stanza is expressive and warm. The first line is set in a
closely-related major key, D-flat. The piano accompaniment
doubles the voice, but also adds another, more active line in
octaves as well as a separate bass line. The vocal line is
0:51 [m. 20]--As the
second line of the stanza arrives, Brahms keeps the established
accompaniment texture, but marks that the music should intensify
and become more agitated. The key also moves strongly back
to the minor. The words “in meinen Adern” (“in my veins”)
are repeated, and this repetition yields the song’s largest
climax, punctuated by a sudden rich chord, followed by an even
richer one on “rollt das heisse Blut” (“courses [my] hot
blood”). The wide-ranging triplets return at the
climax. Under “Blut” (“blood”) a third, dissonant chord (a
“diminished seventh”) helps to pivot back to the “A” music.
1:12 [m. 29]--Stanza 3 (A). The expressive A melody returns, but only in
the piano. The voice enters on the last beat of the first
bar, creating a dissonance. The second bar begins with a
dotted (long-short) rhythm to accommodate the text, but from that
point, the music is identical to that of stanza 1.
1:25 [m. 33]--For the
second and third lines, the wide-ranging triplets enter, as in
stanza 1. The accents and dissonances are especially
appropriate as they fall under the words about the serpent’s sting
to the heart. The third line is repeated as in stanza
1. The music remains identical until the moment of
transition, which is replaced by a solid downward-plunging line
and a loud F-minor chord to end the song.
2:00--END OF SONG [42 mm.]
5. “In meiner
Nächte Sehnen” (“In my night-time longing”). Text by Georg Friedrich
Daumer. Agitato. Ternary form (ABA’). E MINOR,
6/8 time (Low key C-sharp minor).
In meiner Nächte Sehnen,
So tief allein,
Mit tausend, tausend Tränen,
Gedenk’ ich dein.
Ach, wer dein Antlitz schaute,
Wem dein Gemüt
Die schöne Glut vertraute,
Die es durchglüt,
Wem deine Küsse brannten,
Wem je vor Lust
All seine Sinne schwanden
An deiner Brust -
Wie rasteten in Frieden
Ihm Seel’ und Leib,
Wenn er von dir geschieden,
Du göttlich Weib!
0:00 [m. 1]--A brief
introduction sets up the rhythm and the mood. Two short
fragments and one longer one, all with a typical 6/8 swing.
0:06 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A). The voice takes up
the line whose rhythm and direction were anticipated in the bass
of the introduction. The accompaniment that enters with the
voice breaks into a trembling rhythm that persists through the
rest of the song. The bass line freely imitates the
voice. After two parallel phrases for each pair of lines,
the last line is repeated as a tag, with the word “gedenk”
receiving an extra repetition. The stanza moves to a cadence
on the related “dominant” key (B minor). A very brief
0:22 [m. 17]--Stanzas 2
and 3 (B). The two
middle stanzas are combined into one section. The second
stanza is very active, with four rising figures. The second
line makes a hopeful and warm move to major. The last two
lines restore the minor-key passion, wrenching upward to A
minor. Punctuating chords join the accompaniment texture for
the last line.
0:32 [m. 25]--The
beginning of the third stanza marks the climax of the song.
The second and fourth lines are set to shorter figures half-the
length of those previously used for these short lines in the first
two stanzas. The bass line intermittently doubles the
voice. The last two lines are repeated as the music
subsides, with an extra repetition for the words “an
deiner.” A cadence on B minor/major precedes another brief
0:50 [m. 37]--Stanza 4 (A’). The first two lines are
as in stanza 1 (A).
The third line adds an extra sliding note to the word
“geschieden.” The fourth line reaches higher than in stanza
1 in order both to close the song on a more emphatic note and to
end in the home key of E minor. The line is repeated, with
the “extra” repetition of the word “göttlich” reaching even higher
for the cadence.
1:03 [m. 47]--A postlude
begins with the last vocal cadence on the word “Weib.” The
“trembling” accompaniment persists until the end. Some
biting, accented dissonances are heard. The passion does
subside, but the ending is not completely subdued, despite ending
1:21--END OF SONG [53 mm.]
zuweilen auch ein mildes Licht” (“Although
a gentle light shines”). Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer. Sanft
bewegt (Gently moving). Ternary form (ABA’). E MAJOR,
6/8 time (Low key D major).
Strahlt zuweilen auch ein mildes Licht
Auf mich hin aus diesem Angesicht -
Ach, es können auch wohl Huldgebärden
Machen, daß uns fast das Herze bricht.
Was die Liebe sucht, um froh zu werden,
Das verraten diese Blicke nicht.
The shared meter and key center, as well as the quiet, major-key
ending of the fifth song, make for a very smooth transition
between the fifth and sixth songs.
0:00 [m. 1]--A. A very brief
introduction with gently rising arpeggios anticipates the rising
vocal line. The first couplet is set to a leisurely rising
and falling line that quickly moves to a cadence on B major.
The accompaniment is a mostly continuous flow, with much doubling
of the vocal line. Many non-key, chromatic notes are
0:18 [m. 8]--B. The second couplet is
more agitated and chromatic, beginning with an upward sliding
vocal line. The left hand of the piano plays mostly doubled
notes in thirds. A cadence on the home minor key (E minor)
and the agitated mood convey the message of these lines, that the
kind glances are not those of love.
0:32 [m. 14]--A’. The introductory
measures enter with the preceding minor-key cadence, gradually
moving back to major. The fifth line is set as the first
was, but the sixth line, the second of the last couplet, is
altered, moving toward G major instead of B major, with a more
incomplete close. A one-bar interlude includes light
0:50 [m. 21]--The last
line is repeated, re-establishing the home major key. This
final vocal line still ends rather inconclusively after a brief
swell. There is a short postlude that includes somewhat
disconcerting syncopated chords that intrude on the continuous
texture. The closing is, however, very gentle and
mild. Despite its rich harmony, this song is a bit of a
respite from the darker mood of the last two songs.
1:13--END OF SONG [26 mm.]
7. “Die Schnur, die
Perl’ an Perle” (“The string, on which pearl after pearl”). Text by Georg Friedrich
Daumer, adapted from a Sanskrit poem. Etwas langsam
(Somewhat slowly). Two-part form (AA’). B MAJOR, 3/4
time (Low key A-flat major).
Die Schnur, die Perl’
Um deinen Hals gereihte,
Wie wiegt sie sich so fröhlich
Auf deiner schönen Brust!
Mit Seel’ und Sinn
Mit Seligkeit berauschet
Sie, diese Götterlust.
Was müssen wir erst fühlen,
In welchen Herzen schlagen,
So heiße Menschenherzen,
Wofern es uns gestattet,
Uns traulich anzuschmiegen
An eine solche Brust?
0:00 [m. 1]--A brief
two-bar introduction sets up the underlying inner motion of the
accompaniment. The top voice, beginning on an upbeat, leaps
down and then mirrors the leap up.
0:06 [m. 3]--Stanza 1 (A). The first two lines
are set to a lovely and leisurely melody over the undulating
accompaniment with the top line doubling the voice. The last
four notes are echoed in a one-bar interlude.
0:20 [m. 9]--The third
line is set to two gestures that leap down to a distinctive
chromatic note and then slide upward to propel an opposite
ascent. The fourth line is stated twice, both times after
extremely artful changes of key, the first sliding down a
half-step to B-flat and the second regrouping on F-sharp, which is
more close to home. The first statement reaches upward, the
second settles back down toward a two-bar interlude.
0:50 [m. 21]--The last
three lines (5-7) of the stanza re-establish the home key and move
toward a gentle cadence. Nonetheless, there are several
distinctive chromatic notes. The sixth line reaches the
song’s highest pitch.
1:06 [m. 27]--The cadence
of stanza 1 merges with a four-bar interlude. The first two
bars have rich chords, while the second anticipate the return of
the opening melody.
1:16 [m. 31]--Stanza 2 (A’).
The first two lines are set as at 0:06 [m. 3], except for a slight
alteration of the melody on the word “wir” in the first line,
which moves up instead of down. The echoing one-bar
interlude is also omitted.
1:28 [m. 36]--In contrast
to stanza 1 at 0:20 [m. 9], the third line follows immediately
without the intervening echo. It also begins with the leap
to a chromatic note and subsequent upward slide, but the second
gesture reaches farther upward. The second gesture adds even
more “sliding” chromatic notes and hints at a move to D-sharp
minor. The key changes and the music that accompanied the
fourth line and its repetition are completely omitted,
accommodating the fact that stanza 2 is one line shorter.
1:38 [m. 40]--The changes
to the second gesture of line 3 allow for a quick return to the
home key after the brief minor-mode suggestion. Lines 4-6
are set to similar music as lines 5-7 of stanza 1, but the last
two lines are sung at a lower pitch level, still reaching the
gentle cadence in the home key. The first two bars of the
interlude from 1:06 [m. 27] follow this cadence.
1:58 [m. 48]--As a
postlude, the last line is sung again to a low repeated note,
under which the piano, also in a low register, plays the opening
melody. On the last word (“Brust”), the voice leaps up to a
note right above the final keynote. It is suspended there
for a full bar, with the delayed downward resolution bringing a
great sense of fulfillment. The steady piano accompaniment
slows to triplet groups for the only time under this suspension
and delayed resolution. The voice and piano end together.
2:17--END OF SONG [51 mm.]
Luft” (“Motionless, tepid air”). Text by Georg Friedrich
Daumer. Langsam--Lebhaft (Slow--Lively). Through
composed form in two large sections with contrasting tempo and
meter. E MAJOR, 9/8 and 4/4 time (Low key C major).
Unbewegte laue Luft,
Tiefe Ruhe der Natur;
Durch die stille Gartennacht
Plätschert die Fontäne nur.
Aber im Gemüte schwillt
Heißere Begierde mir,
Aber in der Ader quillt
Leben und verlangt nach Leben.
Sollten nicht auch deine Brust
Sehnlichere Wünsche heben?
Sollte meiner Seele Ruf
Nicht dir deine tief durchbeben?
Leise mit dem Ätherfuß
Säume nicht, daherzuschweben!
Komm, o komm, damit wir uns
Himmlische Genüge geben!
SECTION 1 (Langsam--9/8).
0:00 [m. 1]--Two-bar
introduction establishing the pattern of rising arpeggios and the
prominent dissonance (lowering of the second scale degree) in the
bass. It is in the piano’s bass and tenor register.
0:12 [m. 3]--The voice
enters in the languid tempo established by the piano. While
not quite “motionless,” there is a static effect. The
characteristic chromatic note on “laue” (“tepid”), which lowers
the sixth scale degree, becomes a prominent “marker” for this
opening melody on its recurrences in the fast section. The
second line gradually moves downward after an initial leap.
The line is repeated with a turn to E minor and B minor. The
slow rising arpeggios, one per bar, continue in the piano, along
with a solid bass in octaves.
1:03 [m. 13]--As the
repetition of the second line ends, the piano abandons its pattern
of languid arpeggios for a more flowing motion with trills,
signifying the splashing in the fountain. The third line
enters against this motion, which is still slow, in warm B
major. The trills continue in the pattern as the fourth line
is sung. The fourth line is repeated, turning back home to
E, but also back to the minor mode.
1:33 [m. 20]--At the word
“nur” in the repetition of the fourth line, the slow, low
arpeggios begin again for an interlude that serves as a transition
to the faster second section. Despite this function, the
interlude actually becomes steadily slower and quieter, ending in
a bar marked “Adagio.” It is highly chromatic.
SECTION 2 (Lebhaft--4/4).
2:08 [m. 25]--The tempo
change is sudden, but not jarring. Half of one 4/4 bar
should equal a third of one 9/8 bar. The piano begins its
rippling accompaniment one bar before the voice enters. To
transition out of the interlude, it begins quietly, but quickly
builds as the voice enters. The fifth and sixth lines are
joyous and in major, but still retain chromatic tinges, especially
as loud piano chords enter.
2:19 [m. 31]--The seventh
line begins with the same sweeping gesture as the fifth, but going
into the eighth line, the music is even more joyous and
fulfilling, and less chromatic. Some “color” notes remain in
the accompaniment at the high point of line eight. There is
a one-bar transition to the next passage.
2:31 [m. 37]--The
accompaniment becomes less active, using a triplet rhythm (groups
of six instead of groups of eight in the rippling pattern).
The music is also more subdued than the preceding passage.
While still in the “Lebhaft” tempo, the ninth line is sung to the
same music as the first line from the “Langsam” tempo, complete
with the characteristic chromatic note and even rhythmic
correspondence. Line ten is very chromatic, with the piano
bass sliding up in octaves. A loud one-bar outburst leads to
the next couplet.
2:42 [m. 43]--The eleventh
and twelfth lines are set in a similar manner to the preceding
two. Line eleven also echoes the first line from the slow
section. Line twelve begins as did line ten, but it then
erupts into even more chromatic notes, making a surprising key
change to F major, a half-step above the home key.
2:53 [m. 49]--The
thirteenth and fourteenth lines are completely set in the key of F
major. The preceding key change creates a rather “remote”
sound that is heightened by the quiet, delicate setting of the
lines. A two-bar interlude over a large crescendo slides
back to the home key and sets up the climax of the song.
3:04 [m. 55]--The climax
arrives with the penultimate fifteenth line and the return of E
major. The faster rippling accompaniment in groups of eight
notes returns. The voice soars in longer, higher
notes. The words “Komm, o komm” are stated twice before the
line continues. The last line arrives with the song’s
highest pitch (to music previously heard in line eight, at a
smaller climax). There are sharply accented off-beat chords
under the last word, “geben.” A one-bar bridge suddenly
quiets the music down.
3:19 [m. 63]--The last two
lines are repeated to quiet music. The fifteenth line is now
set to the music of the opening line from the slow section, which
has now made three appearances in the fast section, all with its
characteristic chromatic note. That note is retained for the
beginning of the last line, which finally slides up to a gentle,
if somewhat inconclusive ending. Under this, the rippling
piano reaches ever higher in the right hand and ever lower in the
low octaves of the left. This pattern continues for two bars
after the singer ends before a quiet chord, spaced very widely
between the hands, concludes the diverse, satisfying song.
The three recurrences of the opening melody in the fast portion
are an effective device to unify the two sections.
3:49--END OF SONG [70 mm.]
END OF SET
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