Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449 633-2]
Published 1871.

This set is the first example of a type of grouping that would continue in the next two sets. Perhaps not as symmetrical as Op. 59 nor as steadily progressive as Op. 63, it nonetheless contains internal “subgroups” by two poets.  The first three songs are all by Kopisch, two of them translations from Italian.  There are also two songs by Friedrich Hebbel that are juxtaposed, and while very different, they both begin with similar vocal gestures.  The two books are also highly contrasted.  The first four love songs are of a rather gentle character, despite the somewhat bitter ending of No. 3 (“Die Spröde”), and the second set of four contains more deeply introspective, dark, and heavy songs.   The set also retains a vestige from the three previous sets (including the previous Daumer set, Op. 57), the long “capstone” song, which he abandoned in Op. 59 and Op. 63.  As in Op. 48 and Op. 49, that “capstone” song is by August Friedrich von Schack, and is quite extended even though Brahms cut two verses from the poem.  The first four songs all have virtuosic piano parts, especially No. 1, “Blinde Kuh,” which is practically a piano toccata with vocal embellishment.  No. 2, “Während des Regens,” uses metrical alternation to an unusual degree and is the only one of Brahms’s “rain songs” (the most famous of which are in Op. 59) where the precipitation is a symbol of joy rather than of regret or loss.  No. 4, which continues the character of the first set despite not being by Kopisch, is one of the most inspired, hushed, and atmospheric of all the songs, and is extraordinarily difficult for both performers.  The second book begins with the painfully lamenting and almost motionless “Schwermut,” which is about as stark a contrast to the serene, joyful No. 4 as can be imagined.  The Hebbel songs both include romantic imagery typical of earlier song composers.  No. 6 is a ghostly, spectral picture, while No. 7 transitions--almost without a demarcation--from an idyllic forest dream scene to the protagonist’s inner torment.  Sketches exist for this song (a rarity for Brahms), which give great insight into his compositional process.  The setting of the Schack “Serenade” uses the typical idioms of the genre, such as plucked string imitation, but it is nonetheless quite tragic, as the singer remains unanswered and alone at the window.  The songs of Op. 58 are not among the composer’s most familiar, but they are all of exceptional quality and imagination, and provide an unusual array of moods and styles within a carefully planned organization.

Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily Ezust
s site at http://www.lieder.net.  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.  Includes an  earlier version of the text for No. 3.  Also includes an individual printing of No. 8.  No. 3 has the original minor-key ending.  In No. 4, the last beat of m. 23 is a G-major chord.  In No. 5, the first section is notated in 4/4 [common time].)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke--original keys.  Includes major-key ending of No. 3, changed from the first edition [not played by Barenboim].  Text of No. 3 as sung by Fischer-Dieskau.  In No. 4, the last beat of m. 23 is changed to a B-minor chord.  In No. 5, the first section is notated in 2/2 [cut time].  These changes from the first edition were not retained in the Peters Edition.)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max Friedländer):
No. 1: Blinde Kuh (in original key, G minor/major)
No. 1: Blinde Kuh (in low key, E minor/major)
No. 2: Während des Regens (in original key, D-flat major)
No. 2: Während des Regens (in low key, B-flat major)
No. 3: Die Spröde (in original key, A major--as in the first edition, includes the minor-key ending as played by Barenboim.  In the later complete edition, the ending was changed to major.  Includes text as sung by Fischer-Dieskau.)
No. 3: Die Spröde (in low key, G major--includes minor-key ending and text as sung by Fischer-Dieskau.)
No. 4: O komme, holde Sommernacht (in original key, F-sharp major--as in the first edition, has a G-major chord on the last beat of m. 23.  In the later complete edition, it was changed to a B-minor chord.)
No. 4: O komme, holde Sommernacht (in low key, E major--analogous to the first edition, the last beat of m. 23 is an F-major chord, not an A-minor chord.)
No. 5: Schwermut (in original key, E-flat minor, from high voice edition--as in the first edition, the first section is notated in 4/4 [common time].  In the later complete edition, it is in 2/2 [cut time].)
No. 5: Schwermut (in original key, E-flat minor, from low voice edition [not changed from high voice edition]--the first section is notated in 4/4 [common time].)
No. 6: In der Gasse (in original key, D minor)
No. 6: In der Gasse (in low key, C minor)
No. 7: Vorüber
(in original key, F major)
No. 7: Vorüber (in low key, D major)
No. 8: Serenade (in original key, A minor)
No. 8: Serenade (in low key, F-sharp minor)

1. Blinde Kuh (Blind Man’s Bluff).  Text by August Kopisch, after an Italian (Sicilian) folk poem.  Vivace.  Binary form (AABB’) with coda.  G MINOR/MAJOR, 2/4 time (Low key E minor/major).

German Text:
Im Finstern geh’ ich suchen,
Mein Kind, wo steckst du wohl?
Ach, sie versteckt sich immer,
Daß ich verschmachten soll!

Im Finstern geh’ ich suchen,
Mein Kind, wo steckst du wohl?
Ich, der den Ort nicht finde,
Ich irr’ im Kreis umher!

Wer um dich stirbt,
Der hat keine Ruh’!
Kindchen erbarm dich,
Und komm herzu!
Ja, komm herzu,
Herzu, herzu!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  The piano establishes its accompaniment pattern for the first two verses.  It is a constant stream of light and steady notes (sixteenth notes) in both hands.  The hands move in opposite directions at times, other times in the same direction.  One hand often plays scales while the other plays leaps, and at times the hands play similar patterns.  The perpetual motion, quiet level, and light touch create a playful and secretive mood despite the minor key.  The opening of the right hand anticipates, in notes twice as fast, the beginning of the vocal melody.
0:05 [m. 6]--Stanza 1 (A).  The singer enters against the continuing piano motion.  The first phrase, setting the first two lines, is a closed and regular phrase with a full cadence.  The piano’s top line occasionally roughly doubles the vocal line.  The second phrase, setting the other two lines, introduces more chromatic notes and some mild syncopation in the piano right hand, with some notes held over bar lines.  It is an irregular five bars.  The last line is repeated to a new phrase which introduces a skipping descent in a dotted rhythm that stretches the second syllable of “verschmachten.”  It is also five bars and reaches a full cadence after a turning vocal flourish.
0:19 [m. 2]--The vocal cadence leads into a repeat of the same music, beginning with the introduction.  The cadence bar doubles as the first of the repeated introduction, and the repeat leads back to the second bar.
0:23 [m. 6]--Stanza 2 (A).  Brahms fashions the first two lines as a refrain.  He changed the repetition pattern of the original poem (not shown in the text above) to accomplish this.  The word “Kreis” is the syllable that is lengthened in the “skipping descent” when the last line is repeated to the new phrase.
0:38 [m. 20]--The cadence bar now leads into a very animated bridge that shifts the music from minor to major for the last two stanzas.  The left hand here abandons the steady motion in favor of dotted rhythm, and the right hand introduces harmony to the previously unadorned line.  The volume rapidly increases.
0:40 [m. 23]--Stanza 3, lines 1-4 (B).  It is set in a bright major mode.  The piano continues the perpetual motion.  The first two lines are set to a regular phrase with a joyously leaping voice and wide piano arpeggios.  The second line makes a very brief, but poignant turn to B minor.  The third and fourth lines are again quiet and secretive.  The piano right hand introduces small rests that give the music a slightly tentative character illustrating the entreaty described in the text.  The third line is repeated to that effect, and the fourth line reaches a half-cadence that includes tinges from the G-minor key of the first two stanzas.
0:49 [m. 33]--Stanza 3, lines 1-4 repeated (B’).  The only variation in this repetition is in the opening leaps, which add a leading note, shift the other notes forward, repeat the middle one, and shorten all of them by half.  This serves to add propulsion to the upward motion.  The remainder of the music is repeated without variation.  The harmony leading out of the half-cadence is changed to lead into the coda.
0:58 [m. 43]--Stanza 3, lines 5-6 (Coda).  The last two lines, which simply reiterate the fourth line of the stanza, are used by Brahms to create a punctuating coda.  The fifth line shoots joyously upward.  The piano varies the rhythm with rests and dotted rhythms, and adds harmony to the right hand.  The first “herzu” of the last line again makes the same upward motion with a single leap of a fifth, eliminating a middle note.
1:02 [m. 47]--Brahms adds an extra “komm” before the last “herzu.”  This “komm” enters on a mild syncopation at a lower level than the previous two leaps.  This allows an even wider leap (a seventh) to the same note for the final “herzu,” which is sustained as the piano races upward.  The kinetic energy of the piano finally bursts into two short rolled chords and a final sustained one with a low bass octave.
1:13--END OF SONG [52 mm.]

2. Während des Regens (During the Rain).  Text by August Kopisch.  Lebhaft (Lively).  Modified strophic form (AA’BA”).  D-FLAT MAJOR, 6/4 and 9/4 time (Low key B-flat major).

German Text:
Voller, dichter tropft ums Dach da,
Tropfen süßer Regengüsse,
Meines Liebchens holde Küsse
Mehren sich, je mehr ihr tropfet!
Tropft ihr, darf ich sie umfassen,
Laßt ihr
s, will sie mich entlassen;
Himmel, werde nur nicht lichter,
Tropfen, tropfet immer dichter!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Lines 1-2 (A).  The pattering accompaniment that graphically depicts the rain is established rather hesitantly in the two-bar introduction, the right hand establishing its pattern of playing after the beats.  These rising lines become more assertive under the text, and the right hand begins to incorporate double notes.  The singer sweeps upward in the first line, then falls back down, as does the accompaniment.
0:07 [m. 5]--The second line shifts from 6/4 to 9/4 time, which enables the lengthening of the first syllables of “Tropfen” and “Regengüsse.”  The vocal line begins at a high level, and reaches its peak on “Regengüsse.”  The phrase makes a motion to the “dominant” key, A-flat, but the voice does not reach a complete close there.  The pattering accompaniment arches up and back down after the voice, moving back to the home key.
0:14 [m. 8]--Lines 3-4 (A’).  The meter moves back to 6/4, and line 3 is set in the same manner as line 1.
0:17 [m. 10]--The fourth line is set in 9/4 time, as was the second.  The lengthened words are the parallel “mehren” and “mehr.”  The line is identical to line 2 until the end, where the voice does come to a full close on A-flat after an embellished descent.  The following piano bridge is static, undulating on the same two notes in both hands.
0:25 [m. 13]--Lines 5-6 (B).  The music slides strikingly to D minor.  The first words of line 5, “Tropft ihr,” remain unexpectedly in the previous 9/4, and are consequently lengthened.  The right hand harmonies are more full, and include three- and four-note chords.  The vocal line has a gently pleading quality.  The rest of the line moves back to 6/4 and makes a subtle harmonic shift from D minor to A major, the piano moving to the static undulation heard before the line, but a half-step higher.
0:31 [m. 16]--The sixth line, like the fifth, begins with a 9/4 bar on “laßt ihrs.”  It also moves to D minor, but now begins with a more dissonant “diminished seventh” chord.  The rest of the line is in 6/4, and begins in a similar manner as had this portion of line 5, but the word “entlassen” is suddenly and joyously expanded, sliding to the new key of B-flat major.  The volume greatly increases, and the singer soars, stretching the second syllable of the word to four notes, the first of which is held for eight beats.
0:39 [m. 20]--The words “will sie mich entlassen” are repeated, leading to a climax.  The repetition makes a dramatic motion back to the home key of D-flat.  This time, the second syllable of “entlassen” is stretched even longer, to six notes.  The first of these is again eight beats, but the last is also a bit longer at three beats.  It is used to quiet the music down for a half-cadence, at which point the steady pattering finally makes a noticeable break (it had also briefly stopped under the first “entlassen”).
0:47 [m. 24]--Lines 7-8 (A”).  The singer’s melody for line 7 is the same as that for lines 1 and 3, but the pattering accompaniment is more smooth and flowing, suggesting a more steady and heavy rainfall (as pled for by the protagonist of the poem).  The right hand only rests on the first and fourth beats of the two bars.
0:51 [m. 26]--As expected, the meter shifts to 9/4 for the last line.  Brahms marks it animato, and indeed, the pattering becomes more insistent, the right hand now playing steady notes with no breaks.  The first note on “Tropfen” is lengthened in a manner similar to the first notes of lines 2 and 4, but the rest of the line diverges and remains in the home key.  Chromatic notes are introduced in the chords of the left hand to add harmonic color.
0:55 [m. 28]--The words “immer dichter” are repeated.  The first syllable of “immer” is given the lengthening that it was denied on its first statement.  The word “immer” is given a third time before the second “dichter.”  This statement of “dichter” is greatly lengthened, and the pattering accompaniment underneath is more tightly grouped, becoming excited even as the volume diminishes.  The word “dichter” is then given a third statement with the same lengthening at a higher level.  These repetitions remain in 9/4.
1:01 [m. 31]--The last word “dichter” is given a fourth and final statement as the meter shifts back to 6/4.  The word’s lengthening is the same, however.  The shift to 6/4 affects the accompaniment, whose notes are even more tightly grouped.  The singer seems to trail off after this last statement of the word, avoiding a full close.  The piano continues to happily patter ever upward, suddenly breaking off with a rolled chord.  This is followed by another, suddenly louder rolled chord and then a final lower, solid chord to end the song.
1:13--END OF SONG [34 mm.]

3. Die Spröde (The Aloof Woman).  Text by August Kopisch, after an Italian (Calabrian) folk poem.  Grazioso.  Varied strophic form (AAB).  A MAJOR, 2/4 time, with two 3/4 bars (Low key G major).

German Text:
Ich sahe eine Tig’rin
Im dunkeln Haine,
Und doch mit meinen Tränen
Konnt’ ich sie zähmen.

Sah auch die harten Steine,
Ja Marmelsteine,
Erweicht vom Fall der Tropfen
Gestalt annehmen.

Und du, so eine zarte,
Holdsel’ge Kleine,
Du lachst zu meinem Seufzen
Und bittern Grämen.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  The lilting, graceful two-note figures begin on an upbeat.  The fast arching triplet groups in the left hand initially contribute to this gracefulness.  The music suddenly includes surprising borrowings from the minor, along with a more agitated dotted rhythm in the right hand.  The left hand triplets become more forceful, and clash with the right hand rhythm.  They settle on an arching A-major arpeggio, dissipating the tension before the entry of the singer.
0:09 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A).  The singer enters with another lilting melody beginning with a dotted rhythm.  At the mention of the tigress (“Tig’rin”), the borrowings from the minor as heard in the introduction assert themselves.  The accompaniment is now completely in triplet arpeggios, with both wide and shorter sweeping motion.  The second line, “im dunklen Haine,” is repeated, the first time moving straight upward, the second time using the dotted rhythm to propel itself.
0:21 [m. 11]--As the second line finishes, the piano begins a reminiscence of the introduction, restoring the full major mode.  The third line has a brief chromatic descent.  The triplets are now passed between the hands.  The last line comes fully to the lilting and graceful mood heard at the beginning, with its light downward leaps.  The piano introduces a short three-note countermelody under “zähmen.”  The line is repeated, with a lengthened cadence on “zähmen.”  The voice does note come to a full close.
0:36 [m. 1]--The piano leads smoothly into a repetition of the introduction.  Repeat signs are used for the second stanza.
0:43 [m. 5]--Stanza 2 (A).    The music is as in stanza 1.  The minor-key borrowings are now used to illustrate the marble stone (“Marmelsteine”).  Brahms goes back to line 1 and repeats “die harten Steine” rather than the second line on the dotted rhythm.
0:55 [m. 11]--The last two lines, including the reminiscence of the introduction and the repetition of the final line, are as in stanza 1.  The countermelody and lengthened cadence are both heard under “annehmen.”
1:09 [m. 19]--The introduction is again reprised, this time without repeat signs, since the last stanza will be set to quite different music.
1:17 [m. 23]--Stanza 3 (B).  The new material begins with an inserted 3/4 bar.  This allows for an expressive pause after the meaningful word “du.”  The borrowings from minor again begin to be heard.  The 2/4 meter is restored, and the descending pattern on “so eine zarte” is repeated for “holdsel’ge Kleine.” This time, the top notes of the continuing piano triplets harmonize the sung melody a third above. 
1:26 [m. 27]--Another 3/4 bar is inserted here for a parallel passage on the last two lines that seems to begin in the same way.  The descending pattern is suddenly wrenched up a half-step, however, and the key itself is also shifted up to B-flat major.  This greatly increases the agitation.  The pattern on “bittern Grämen” is a rhythmic variant of that at “zu meinmen Seurzen.”
1:36 [m. 31]--The B-flat major harmony is artfully used (as the “Neapolitan” chord) to pivot back to the minor key on A.  The last two lines are conflated together in an unambiguous minor.  The text is abbreviated to “Du lachst zu meinem bittern Grämen.”  Both the voice and piano arrest their motion, the former with a pause after “lachst” followed by the rhapsodic arch on the rest of the words that descends to an A-minor cadence.  Brahms marks it ad libitum.  The piano inserts pauses during this arching line.
1:48 [m. 35]--The expressive descent and cadence on “Grämen” leads to a final reminiscence of the introduction in the bleak minor key.  The gracefully leaping descents are now given in a syncopated rhythm within single bars,  turning them into dirge-like sobs above the left hand triplets, which are now separated by rests.  The last two chords in this recording remain in the minor key.  The first edition and several others, including Peters, retained this ending.  Brahms himself changed the last two chords to major in his personal copy, an alteration reflected in the Complete Edition reprinted by Dover.  He was apparently undecided as to how dark he wanted the ending of such a mostly gentle song to be.
2:07--END OF SONG [39 mm.]

4. O komme, holde Sommernacht (O Come, Lovely Summer Night).  Text by Melchior Grohe.  Lebhaft und heimlich (Lively and secretively).  Through-composed form with elements of ternary design.  F-SHARP MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key E major).

German Text:
O komme, holde Sommernacht,
Dich hat die Liebe recht gemacht
Zum Siegen!

Da brechen manche Knospen los,
Da öffnen ihren süßen Schoß

Da neigt ihr Haupt im Dämmerschein
Die Rose,
Da wird mein Liebchen auch noch mein,
Das lose!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The song begins on an upbeat with a downward-winding series of notes in triplet rhythm, a rhythm that will persist throughout the song.  They are marked molto piano.  When the voice enters after a bar, it has a joyous, but secretive quality, leaping happily in an extremely bright melody with dotted rhythm.  It is supported by the continuing triplets, now somewhat lower and wider and marked leggiero, as well as a bass line with rustic “horn fifth” harmonies.  This is marked sotto voce.  This harmonized bass becomes more fragmented in the second phrase after “verschwiegen.”  Brahms went out of his way to convey the light, secretive quality.  He also exploited the short three-syllable lines throughout the poem with strategically placed long notes, such as here on “verschwiegen” and “Siegen.”
0:15 [m. 10]--Brahms adds to what would have been a very short song by repeating the entire text and melody of stanza 1.  The accompaniment is varied, placing the shimmering triplets in the low left-hand bass and the “horn fifth” harmonies in the right hand.
0:28 [m. 18]--Stanza 2.  For this middle section, the triplets move back to the right hand.  Every other note is harmonized with a double third, making the texture thicker.  The bass now plays in octaves, still in the prevailing dotted rhythm.  The harmony makes a colorful motion, first to the home minor and then to the much brighter key of D major.  The word “verstohlen” is given a decorative turn, under which the triplets now include full three-note chords and a delayed harmonic resolution (a “suspension”).  They move back to the double thirds before the next line.
0:35 [m. 22]--The next lines are almost parallel to the last two.  The word “süßen” is given a decorative, but somewhat dissonant falling line.  The last word, “Violen,” is extremely evocative.  The first note is held for six full beats, delaying by two the expected arrival of the last syllable.  In addition, the harmony in the triplets under the long note includes an inner voice with a wonderful suspended resolution.  The harmony seems as if it is moving back home to F-sharp, but it “overshoots” this and arrives instead on B major as the word “Violen” is finally completed.
0:42 [m. 26]--Stanza 3.  The first two lines are analogous to those of stanza 1, but they are sung higher, in B major.  The left hand has the “horn fifths,” the right the triplets.  The vocal line is varied at the end with the lengthened word “Rose,” which does not leap as high as expected, resulting in a somewhat gentler sound.
0:48 [m. 30]--The last two lines slide back down to the home key of F-sharp, which is helped by the previous alteration on “Rose,” as the voice moves down by half-steps to reach the home key.  The upbeat on “da” is lengthened by a beat to emphasize the shift.  The melody itself is also altered so that it has a more generally descending contour.  In an opposite motion to the first two lines of the stanza, the final lengthened word, “lose,” reaches higher than expected, leading into the small coda.  Low bass octaves are again heard.
0:55 [m. 34]--The coda consists of a repetition of “das lose,” under which the triplets, having already moved to the left hand under the previous syllable, move back to the right as “lose” begins again.  They are at a lower level, however, as are the left hand bass octaves.  The first syllable of “lose” is held six beats, and as it is completed, the triplets move again to the low left hand, where they remain through the postlude.  The hesitant voice does not reach a full close.  The right hand floats steadily upward in the dotted rhythm, becoming ever softer and slower until it reaches a transfigured cadence on F-sharp.
1:17--END OF SONG [38 mm.]

5. Schwermut (Melancholy).  Text by Karl August Candidus.  Sehr langsam (Very slowly).  Two-part through-composed form.  E-FLAT MINOR, Cut time [2/2] and 4/2 time (Also E-flat minor in low key edition).

German Text:
Mir ist so weh ums Herz,
Mir ist, als ob ich weinen möchte
Vor Schmerz!
Und lebensmatt
Möcht’ ich das Haupt hinlegen
in die Nacht der Nächte!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.  Introduction.  A succession of slow, steady, low, and dark-hued octaves and chords is punctuated twice by a funeral march-like idea with a prominent dotted rhythm.  It is marked sotto voce.
0:22 [m. 6]--  Line 1.  The voice enters, echoing the rudimentary melody presented by the slow chords and octaves in the introduction.  It begins softly, and the piano accompaniment retreats to the background.  It is simply a repetition of the introduction music from its second bar, doubling the voice.  The voice seems to struggle to leap upward before plunging back down below its opening pitch on “Herz.”
0:36 [m. 9]--Lines 2-3.  The piano now explores new areas, nearly doubling the new vocal line, but the funeral march idea in dotted rhythm is still heard in every other bar.  The voice again struggles upward, this time in purely stepwise motion.  The funeral march idea overlaps a bar before the third line, “vor Schmerz,” where the voice is shifted up one more pitch level before leaping back down on “Schmerz.”  At that point, a gradual increase in volume reaches its climax, but it is immediately cut off.  The introduction music, again from its second bar, is very slightly altered and functions now as a small interlude.
1:17 [m. 17]--Lines 4-5.  These two short rhyming lines are set at a lower vocal pitch than what has gone before.  The same repeated note is sung six times before falling a third for the last two syllables.  The process is long and slow, and the repeated pitch’s notation is changed from G-flat to F-sharp on its third reiteration.  This change reflects the new harmonization of the funeral march idea.  It enters after the piano has been silent for three long beats, but it is now in B minor.  After the voice drops the third, the funeral march rhythm also drops and is heard in G minor.  Four slow chords bring the music back home to E-flat.
1:51 [m. 24]--Part 2.  Line 6.  The voice enters again on an upbeat with the last of the four slow chords.  The meter changes here to 4/2, doubling the length of the bars.  The voice descends stepwise as it sings the line, slightly elongating “hinlegen.”  The accompaniment pattern changes to left hand arpeggios on the strong beats leading to right hand chords on the weak ones, all still very slow.  The harmony here is ambiguous, retaining vestiges of the previous G minor before seeming to shift the home E-flat to major.
2:08 [m. 26]--Line 7.  The line begins with a note held over a bar line.  The key shifts briefly to G-flat major, and the voice leaps twice upward before dropping a step at the end of “Nächte.”  The piano pattern remains constant, save for one right hand chord on a strong beat on the first syllable of “Nächte.”
2:25 [m. 28]--The last line is repeated after a dissonant bass note under the previous last syllable of “Nächte.”  It again begins with a note held over a bar line.  This time, it rises more steadily by steps.  The key again seems to want to shift, to C-flat, but now “Nächte” descends in two wide, syncopated leaps and reaches a cadence at home in E-flat.  From “Nacht,” right hand chords are heard on every beat.  Under “Nächte,” the left hand arpeggios slow down from four-note groups to three (notated as triplets) under highly chromatic chords.  The piano still manages to definitively establish the home major key.
2:44 [m. 30]--The postlude begins with the cadence.  The previous pattern is used, with right hand chords (still quite chromatic) only heard on weak beats.  The left hand arpeggios now reach very low.  For the first bar, they are again four notes, but they move back to three in the next one.  There is then a last, low, quiet chord that retains a bit of comfort due to the fact that it is a major chord.
3:24--END OF SONG [32 mm.]

6. In der Gasse  (In the Lane).  Text by Friedrich Hebbel.  Gehend (Moving).  Two-part through-composed form.  D MINOR, 3/4 time (Low key C minor).

German Text:
Ich blicke hinab in die Gasse,
Dort drüben hat sie gewohnt;
Das öde, verlassene Fenster,
Wie hell bescheint’s der Mond.

Es gibt so viel zu beleuchten;
O holde Strahlen des Lichts,
Was webt ihr denn gespenstisch
Um jene Stätte des Nichts!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The piano introduction, played in octaves until three chords bring it to a close, provides the main motive or element that ties the song together.  Its winding leaps, initial upbeat, dotted rhythm, and downward trajectory help to set the quiet, unsettled mood.
0:09 [m. 7]--The first line is the only time the voice directly sings the introduction material, and it is in unison with the piano.  The second line diverges upward as the piano extends the introduction material further downward with more harmony.  It moves even more into the bass in a brief interlude.
0:22 [m. 17]--In the third line, the voice meanders around two pitches before reaching up to echo the main motive.  Under this, the piano plays low chords.  The bridge to the fourth line uses the same pervasive motive.  The first statement of the last line is quite static.  The line is repeated and stretched out on the words “hell” and “bescheint’s.”  The piano plays drooping figures over low chords in both statements.  The voice ends in the related key of F major, and the low bass again plays a bridge with the introduction motive.
0:49 [m. 36]--Stanza 2.  The introduction begins again, but it is suddenly and dramatically loud and animated.  The voice enters “early,” and is also very animated, shooting upward on the first two lines.  These move toward B-flat, in a mixture of major and minor.  The dotted rhythm from the introduction continues to persist underneath this, now harmonized with colorful chords.  As the second line is completed, Brahms indicates even more agitation, and an active bass is now heard under the motive.
0:59 [m. 46]--The third line winds steadily downward in a long-short rhythm.  The fourth line again moves powerfully upward.  Underneath, the active bass winds around, then emerges into ascending arpeggios.  Over the course of the two lines, the home key of D minor is again firmly established.  The last word “Nichts,” is a large climax over a colorful “diminished seventh” chord.
1:06 [m. 53]--The last line is repeated in long notes.  The voice sings the first of these, “um,” without the piano.  The piano enters with the arpeggios under the second and fourth notes, the voice singing alone again on the third and fifth, quieting down.  There is then a vocal break as the piano is isolated for another arpeggio figure.  Finally, the piano again breaks as the singer darkly intones “des Nichts!”
1:13 [m. 60]--Entering on “Nichts!” with the main dotted rhythm, the piano strongly builds to the last chord.
1:30--END OF SONG [65 mm.]

7. Vorüber  (Past).  Text by Friedrich Hebbel.  Sehr langsam (Very slowly).  Two-part through-composed form.  F MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key D major).

German Text:
Ich legte mich unter den Lindenbaum,
In dem die Nachtigall schlug;
Sie sang mich in den süßesten Traum,
Der währte auch lange genug.

Denn nun ich erwache, nun ist sie fort,
Und welk bedeckt mich das Laub;
Doch leider noch nicht, wie am dunklern Ort,
Verglühte Asche der Staub.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The two opening bars establish the accompaniment pattern for the first verse.   The gently arching left hand and the languid right hand chords set an exceedingly atmospheric mood.  The first two lines are set to three-measure phrases, and they are separated by a bar.  While the end of the first line introduces mild dissonance at “Lindenbaum,” this is short-lived.  In the left hand, the arching lines gradually give way to repeated ascending arpeggios, and the right hand also gradually becomes more active.  The second line comes to a complete and fulfilling cadence.
0:38 [m. 10]--At the third line, Brahms includes three expressive directions.  First, that the soft pedal be depressed, second that there should be a slight slowing (“poco sostenuto”), and third, molto dolce (very sweetly).  The ascending “sie sang” is sung twice, and as the line continues, it introduces lowered pitches borrowed from the minor key (the sixth and seventh, though not the crucial third degree of the scale).  The word “süßesten” is set to a very languid descending triplet that clashes with the main piano rhythm.  The entire third line is then repeated, and Brahms fulfills the implications of the lowered pitches, moving through the warm “flat” keys of D-flat and G-flat over a now more flowing “süßesten.”
1:09 [m. 17]--The last line gradually comes back toward home.  “Der währte” is set to a downward leap.  It is then repeated, and the line is completed over a sudden and strong crescendo that reaches a climax on “lange.”  The harmony moves to C major, the “dominant” key, but it has notes borrowed from C minor, and it even retains vestiges of the flat keys that suggest the “home” minor key (F minor).  Through all of this, the piano has retained its essential character, with the left hand moving between the repeated ascents and the arching lines.  The piano now has a bridge that settles back down and confirms the motion to C major.
1:36 [m. 22]--Stanza 2.  The second verse storms in, introducing a completely new character as the dream ends.  The key immediately moves to A minor, which is relative to C major.  The piano accompaniment rests under the first words, set to a repeated note.  At “erwache,” it enters with agitated groups of six chords over a powerful bass.  They then yield to a more steady syncopation.  The music settles somewhat as the line is completed, and the second line becomes even more steady, transforming the syncopation to simple after-beat notes in the right hand.  The line is sung twice, the second with a bit more intensity, but the entire passage from the beginning of the verse remains firmly in A minor, despite colorful dissonances.
2:14 [m. 32]--The third line again becomes agitated, and increases in volume.  The piano pattern, with notes after the beats in the right hand, continues.  The vocal line strives higher, and shifts the harmony up a half-step to B-flat, first major, then minor.  Finally, “wie am dunklen Ort” is repeated.  This is the most colorful harmonic moment in a song that is full of them.  The motion is to the very remote G-flat minor.
2:32 [m. 37]--The last line soars upward in a strong arpeggio that is finally back in the home key of F, but it is firmly and tragically F minor, not major.  The piano also reaches upward with repeated chords.  They are now in triplet rhythm, but they retain the syncopation.  The piano bass imitates the vocal ascent a fifth higher.  This marks a great climax on the word “Asche.”  The words “verglühte Asche” are repeated, but more deliberately, in steady descending notes.  After a break, the line is completed with “der Staub,” which punctuates a dark cadence.  The syncopated triplets and leaping bass shadow the voice.
2:46 [m. 40]--The cadence merges into a postlude.  The triplets abandon the syncopated held notes, and despite strongly accented dissonances and continued notes from the minor key, the F-major chord gradually asserts itself.  This is finally confirmed in the last bar of repeated triplet chords, which are completely that of F major.  They rapidly recede from the powerful vocal close, but the last chord, however quiet, still does not seem completely settled.
3:20--END OF SONG [43 mm.]

8. Serenade (Serenade).  Text by Adolf Friedrich von Schack.  Grazioso.  Varied strophic/Ternary form (ABA’).  A MINOR, 6/8 and 9/8 time (Low key F-sharp minor).
(The title Serenade [a non-German word] is also used for Op. 70, No. 3.)

German Text:
Leise, um dich nicht zu wecken,
Rauscht der Nachtwind, teure Frau!
Leise in das Marmorbecken
Gießt der Brunnen seinen Tau.

Wie das Wasser, niedertropfend,
Kreise neben Kreise zieht,
Also zittert, leise klopfend,
Mir das Herz bei diesem Lied.

Schwingt euch, Töne meiner Zither,
Schwingt euch aufwärts, flügelleicht;
Durch das rebumkränzte Gitter
In der Schönen Kammer schleicht.

»Ist denn, liebliche Dolores«,
Also singt in ihren Traum -
»In der Muschel deines Ohres
Für kein Perlenwörtchen Raum?

[Here two stanzas omitted by Brahms]

O dem Freund nur eine Stunde,
Wo dein Arm ihn heiß umschlingt,
Und der Kuß von deinem Munde
Feurig bis ans Herz ihm dringt!

Hast du ihn so ganz vergessen?
Einsam harrt er am Balkon,
Überm Wipfel der Zypressen
Bleicht des Mondes Sichel schon.

Wie das Wasser, niedertropfend,
Kreise neben Kreise zieht,
Also zittert, leise klopfend,
Ihm das Herz bei diesem Lied.«

English Translation
(includes two stanzas omitted by Brahms)

A Section
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  Two introductory bars set up the accompaniment pattern.  Plucked string effects are split between the hands in imitation of the guitar.  The pattern continues under the verse.  The vocal line follows a formula.  The second line comes to a half-cadence, the third intensifies the first, and the fourth is extended by a bar with a lengthened note (“seinen”) before a full cadence.  The accompaniment adds an extra right hand pattern after the half-cadence, and becomes most active under the last line.
0:19 [m.11]--The cadence merges into an interlude that very subtly reduces the activity in preparation for the next verse.
0:27 [m. 15]--Stanza 2.  The accompaniment is changed  to illustrate the dripping water of the fountain.  Rolled thirds in the right hand punctuate the vocal line, which now gently descends in each of the first two lines.  Vestiges of the patterns from stanza 1 punctuate the ends of each line.
0:35 [m. 19]--For the last lines of the stanza, which are set in the radiant-sounding “dominant” key of E major, Brahms finally introduces smooth “legato” harmonies in the right hand dominated by thirds.  The left hand plays off-beat ascending arpeggios.  The vocal line becomes more decorative under “leise klopfend,” and intensifies in the last line as it moves to a highly fulfilling cadence on E.  The piano already anticipates the bell tones of the following interlude under the last line.  The song’s first repeated words are “das Herz.”
0:44 [m. 23]--The interlude continues a bright “bell-tone” motif introduced under the stanza’s last line.  It quickly makes the turn back home to A minor and quiets down for the third stanza, though still retaining the “bell” rhythm.
0:51 [m. 26]--Stanza 3.  The first two lines are varied from stanza 1, set slightly higher and introducing a decorative note on “meiner.”  The last two lines, however, are set as in stanza 1.
1:06 [m. 34]--The interlude begins as had the one after stanza 1 from 0:19 [m. 11], but its last bar is diverted to move to F major, the key of the ensuing middle section.
B Section
1:13 [m. 38]--Stanza 4.  The verse begins in the last half of the final 6/8 bar in an extended upbeat.  The change to triple time (though in 9/8, retaining the swing of the outer sections) and to F major signals a different sound world for the middle section.  The vocal line has a light decoration in the first line.  Most of the interest is in the accompaniment, which has a chain of thirds under the second line that continues beyond the half-cadence to plunge from a high register down to the tenor range of the keyboard.  The left hand patterns of three-note descents remain very constant, slowly changing harmonies.
1:24 [m. 42]--The third line has the same decoration as the first.  Under the last line, however, the descending thirds are replaced by wider sixths, and the harmony moves back unexpectedly to A minor, the home key of the song.  The line is repeated in a pleading manner, using C major to pivot from A minor back to F, and the line of descending sixths changes back to thirds, again extended beyond the vocal cadence (in C).  A single striking two-chord gesture that happens over a single bar of undulating (rather than descending) left hand figures moves back to F major.
1:44 [m. 49]--Stanza 5.  It is notable that the two verses Brahms omitted fall between his fourth and fifth stanzas, the two in the middle section that are set to very similar music.  Thus he “bridges the gap” to conceal his abbreviation of the poem.  He also made some slight changes to the text of this verse, replacing “noch” (“still” or “again”) with “nur” (“only”), since the omitted verses spoke of a former encounter.  He added the more vivid “heiß” (“warmly”) to replace “so,” a neutral word.  With all of this, the first two vocal lines of the stanza are set identically to the corresponding lines of stanza 4.  The accompaniment is enriched, however, first with more colorful, dissonant harmonic motions on “Freund” and “Stunde,” then with the chain of thirds beginning at a higher level (a third higher!) than in stanza 4.
1:56 [m. 53]--The third line is set as in stanza 4, but with the colorful harmonic motion on “Munde.”  The last line is greatly altered.  It is sung three times instead of two.  The motion to A minor and C major is avoided, and it becomes much more excited, as this is the climax of the poem.  The left hand abandons its pattern and strides up in strong octaves.  The right hand continues the undulating rhythm, also working upward.  The first statement of the line builds, the second is already excited, beginning a step higher with the left hand moving in thirds, and the third finally reaches a strong vocal cadence in F major.  Here, the piano breaks its constant motion.
2:14 [m. 60]--The vocal cadence is somewhat undermined by the “colorful” harmonic motion heard throughout stanza 5.  The ensuing interlude continues the 9/8 meter and rhythmic patterns of the previous stanza, and includes three more of the “colorful” harmonies that help move back to A minor for the return.
A’ Section
2:26 [m. 64]--Stanza 6.  The meter changes back to 6/8, and stanza 6 is set identically to stanza 1.
2:41 [m. 72]--The interlude is a bar shorter than the one after stanza 1, since stanza 7 includes great variations from stanza 2 and requires a different approach with less preparation.
2:47 [m. 75]--Stanza 7.  As in stanza 2, there are rolled thirds and gently descending vocal lines, but they are set higher, largely because there is now going to be no motion to E major, rather the stanza will remain not only in A, but also in minor.  To help that goal, the first two lines are shifted up to D minor to create a parallel motion within the stanza.  The text is identical to stanza 2.
2:55 [m. 79]--The last two lines are similar to the corresponding lines of stanza 2, including the smooth legato harmonies and the ascending off-beat arpeggios.  The harmony is active, first shifting to D major, then back home to A minor, where the last line is again set over the “bell tones.”  As in stanza 2, “das Herz” is repeated.  The bell tones have a greatly altered character, being set in minor.
3:06 [m. 84]--The singer rounds off the song with a repetition of the last line.  The only word that is changed from stanza 2 is the replacement of “mir” (“me”) with “ihm” (“him”), and Brahms emphasizes this by beginning the word on an upbeat and holding it across the bar line.  The vocal line then soars up to an exceptionally high note that almost singular in the Brahms songs.  It is even very high in the “low key” version in F-sharp minor.  The note is also chromatic, falling outside the scale of the key.  After this dramatic and somewhat tragic gesture, the voice reaches a strong A-minor cadence over the bell tones.
3:12 [m. 86]--The postlude begins with the vocal cadence.  The guitar-like figures are completely transferred to the bass, and the right hand plays smoother figures that are reminiscent of the smooth legato harmonies heard at the end of stanza 2 and stanza 7, although they are broken by breathless rests.  Although the singer ended firmly in minor, after the postlude winds down with a subtle cross rhythm (“hemiola
), the pianist is allowed to play two A-major chords to end the song on a slightly more hopeful, if subdued note.  The last of these, after an intervening bass octave, is cut off quickly, as if strummed.
3:29--END OF SONG [91 mm.]