EIGHT SONGS (LIEDER UND GESÄNGE), OP. 59
Recording: Jessye Norman, soprano (Nos. 5, 8); Dietrich
Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449
This set was
published somewhat later than Op. 57
and Op. 58 (also sets of eight
songs titled “Lieder und Gesänge“--Brahms usually chose one of
those two words). It is actually closer in character and
time of composition to the nine songs of Op. 63, also given the title with
both German descriptors (in English, we would translate both
as “songs”). As with all of these sets, it shows a sense
of internal organization, but perhaps a more elegant
one. Rather than building up toward a large capstone
song, as do Op. 57 and Op. 58, or creating three “subgroups”
with one poet apiece, as does Op. 63,
Op. 59 is arranged in two groups of four, each ending with a
pair of poems by his friend Klaus Groth (Op.
63 also closes with Groth). The first song of each
subset is by a great romantic poet (Goethe and Mörike,
respectively), the second by a “lighter” poet. Brahms’s
admiration for Daumer spilled from Op.
57 into this set, and No. 6 of Op. 59, to a very erotic
Daumer text, seems like a leftover from the Op. 57 songs, to which it is very
similar, if more complex in form. The first song is a
dramatic, but restrained setting of an excellent late Goethe
text. The second song uses subtle rhythmic manipulation
to illustrate the voyage on the sea (the later song in Op. 106 with the same title is a
different poem). Nos. 3 and 4, both “rain songs” to
related Groth texts, use the same basic material and are
usually paired without a break. No. 3 is the most
substantial song in the set by far. The main material of
these songs was “recycled” to great effect in the finale of
the first violin sonata, Op. 78
(which begins like a violin transcription of No. 4’s
opening). “Agnes,” No. 5, is a stylized folk-like lyric
by Mörike, and Brahms responds with a setting resembling his
songs on actual folk texts. The mixed meter is handled
with particular deftness, as is the varied accompaniment
between verses. The final two Groth songs are rather
short, but both are of unusual quality, particularly the
almost manic No. 7, with its intricate counterpoint,
major/minor mixture, and manipulation of the main melodic
figure. No. 8 is restrained and beautiful, and is
notable for its long, slow descents in the vocal line. The set
is the subject of a notable letter by Brahms to his publisher,
often cited as evidence that the song groups and opus numbers,
rather than being random collections, have order and logic in
their arrangement. In the letter, he was adamant about
the grouping into two subsets as well as the overall order for
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily
Ezust’s site at http://www.lieder.net.
most part, the translations are line-by-line, except where the
difference between German and English syntax requires slight
alterations to the contents of certain lines. The German
texts (included here) are also visible in the translation links.
IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters,
edited by Max Friedländer):
1: Dämmrung senkte sich von oben (in original key, G
Dämmrung senkte sich von oben (in high key, B-flat minor/major)
Auf dem See (in original key, E major)
2: Auf dem See (in low key, E-flat major)
Regenlied (in original key, F-sharp minor)
3: Regenlied (in low key, D minor)
Nachklang (in original key, F-sharp minor)
4: Nachklang (in low key, D minor)
Agnes (in original key, G minor)
5: Agnes (in low key, E minor)
Eine gute, gute Nacht (in original key, A minor/major)
6: Eine gute, gute Nacht (in low key, F-sharp minor/major)
Mein wundes Herz (in original key, E
7: Mein wundes Herz (in low key, C-sharp minor/major)
Dein blaues Auge hält so still (in original key, E-flat major)
8: Dein blaues Auge hält so still (in low key, D major)
1. Dämmrung senkte sich von
oben (Twilight Sank
from High Above). Text by Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe. Langsam (Slowly). Varied strophic (Stanzas
1-2) and Through-composed (Stanzas 3-4) forms. G
MINOR/MAJOR, 3/8 time (High key B-flat minor/major).
Dämmrung senkte sich von oben,
Schon ist alle Nähe fern,
Doch zuerst empor gehoben
Holden Lichts der Abendstern.
Alles schwankt in’s Ungewisse,
Nebel schleichen in die Höh’,
Widerspiegelnd ruht der See.
Nun am östlichen Bereiche
Ahn’ ich Mondenglanz
Schlanker Weiden Haargezweige
Scherzen auf der nächsten Flut.
Durch bewegter Schatten Spiele
Zittert Lunas Zauberschein,
Und durch’s Auge
schleicht die Kühle
Sänftigend in’s Herz
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
minor, four bars establish the opening accompaniment pattern, a
harmonized two-note group followed by a rest, in the piano’s tenor
range. The very low bass moves in the third bar. The
mood is somewhat ominous and foreboding.
0:12 [m. 5]--Stanza 1,
lines 1-2. The accompaniment continues in the pattern and
range established in the introduction, but the left hand also
plays on both the first two beats. The vocal melody of the
first line comes from the bass of the introduction, and is
evocative of the falling darkness. Its long-short rhythm
contrasts with the piano’s two short notes and a rest. The
second line continues the rhythmic patterns in both piano and
voice, briefly moving to D minor.
0:32 [m. 13]--Stanza 1,
lines 3-4. A new accompaniment pattern is established with
off-beat syncopations in the right hand against melodic fragments
in the left. The long-short pattern continues in the vocal
line, but the melody and harmony brighten considerably to a
striking E-flat major. The fourth line brings the music back
to the minor key. The lengthening of the word “Abendstern,”
with a note crossing a bar line, stretches the line to five bars
instead of four, the cadence merging with the following interlude.
0:49 [m. 21]--Arriving
with the cadence of stanza 1, this interlude has the same bass as
the introduction, but the right hand now plays a flowing line
derived from the original two-note figures. It is quiet and
mysterious in nature.
0:57 [m. 25]--Stanza 2,
lines 1-2. The vocal line is as in stanza 1 for these two
lines. The accompaniment is new, continuing the flowing,
mysterious lines from the preceding interlude in both hands.
1:13 [m. 33]--Stanza 2,
lines 3-4. Line 3 is essentially the same melody as in
stanza 1, but at a different level, eschewing the brightness of
E-flat major for the darkness of the related C minor, appropriate
for the text of this line (“Darkness steeped in black”). The
fourth line is again rhythmically similar the last line of stanza
1, and it also begins in C minor. It is subtly altered,
however, to end back home in G minor, as had the first
verse. The accompaniment, with the off-beat syncopations and
low melodic fragments, also comes from the last two lines of
stanza 1. The cadence again merges with an interlude.
1:28 [m. 41]--Arriving
with the cadence of stanza 2, this interlude is mostly a reprise
of the introduction, with the harmonized two-note groups.
The fourth bar introduces a new sharp dissonance (the two notes of
a half-step played together), and the bridging arpeggio suggests
another motion to E-flat major.
1:40 [m. 46]--Stanza 3,
lines 1-2. The off-beat syncopations continue, but the music
has again brightened to E-flat major. The vocal line is more
active, and steadily rises over the two lines. The bass line
has moved up to the middle range, where it slowly outlines
harmonies before working its way back down with some longer
syncopation. The piano syncopations continue in major for a
descending bridge to the next lines.
1:54 [m. 54]--Stanza 3,
lines 3-4. Brahms writes a circular bass progression through
B-flat, F, and C (all minor) leading back home to G. The
vocal line arches up and back twice with long-short-short figures
that increase the intensity. The vocal melody then slows
down and diminishes in the fourth line as these figures are passed
to the piano right hand, finally interrupting the persistent
2:08 [m. 62]--Stanza 4,
lines 1-2. Although there is a continuous flow into this
stanza from the colorful harmonies at the end of the last, this is
an important arrival, as the home key of G unambiguously moves to
major. The melody is a transformed version of that used for
the last two lines of the first two stanzas. The setting is
higher, but the long-short rhythm confirms its identity. The
accompaniment is also similar, but follows the vocal line more
closely. The phrase is extended to a full-hearted, but
gentle climax through the repetition of “Lunas” and the stretching
out of “Zauberschein” in a brief turn to C major.
2:24 [m. 72]--Stanza 4,
lines 3-4. The intensity continues for these lines, which
include surprising dissonant harmonies and a continued emphasis on
the harmony of C major under the word “sänftigend.” The left
hand slows down to longer block chords in a lower register.
The overall motion is downward, with a lengthening of “Herz” over
a moving mid-range left hand line. There is a half-close
before the repetition.
2:40 [m. 81]--The last two
lines are repeated without “und” and with an extra repetition of
“sänftigend.” The volume rises to the first “sänftigend,”
still over C major harmony, then diminishes for the second
statement of the word, now over a darker minor chord. For
the last warm words, Brahms indicated two vocal options. One
turns and rises with some decoration. The other continues to
descend to the lowest vocal pitch. Fischer-Dieskau sings the
lower version. In a short postlude, continuing off-beat
middle range syncopations and descending bass lines lead, after
more rich harmonies, to a final rolled chord.
3:22--END OF SONG [94 mm.]
2. Auf dem See (On the Lake). Text by
Karl Joseph Simrock. Etwas bewegt (With some motion).
Modified strophic form (AABA’). E MAJOR, 3/4 time (Low key
(The title Auf dem See
is also used for Op. 106, No. 2.)
Blauer Himmel, blaue Wogen,
Rebenhügel um den See,
Drüber blauer Berge Bogen
Schimmernd weiß im reinen Schnee.
Wie der Kahn uns hebt und wieget,
Leichter Nebel steigt und fällt,
Süßer Himmelsfriede lieget
Über der beglänzten Welt.
Stürmend Herz, tu auf die Augen,
Sieh umher und werde mild:
Glück und Friede magst du saugen
Aus des Doppelhimmels Bild.
Spiegelnd sieh die Flut erwidern
Turm und Hügel, Busch und Stadt,
Also spiegle du in Liedern,
Was die Erde Schönstes hat.
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
an upbeat, the introduction establishes the mood and the musical
materials of the song’s main strophe. A phrase of rocking
triple meter with a gentle dotted rhythm (long-short) passed
between the hands over a static bass gives way to a second phrase
in which the left hand dotted rhythms continue but the right hand
indulges in cross-meter, with three groups of two rising chords
imposed against two 3/4 bars. The phrase restores metric
order at the end, hinting at the minor key.
0:12 [m. 9]--Stanza 1 (A). The first two lines
are set to a wide-ranging, arching melody evocative of the waves
described in the text. The accompaniment is simply a
repetition of the introduction for the first six bars (including
the cross-meter). The divergence allows a repetition of “um
den See” on a murmuring repeated note. Unlike the
introduction, this extended phrase does not make reference to the
0:26 [m. 19]--The
remainder of the strophe has a more stepwise motion with longer
notes. The piano bass retains the rocking dotted
rhythm. The last line reaches a high point. It is then
repeated over a descent. Under this repetition, the piano
again uses the cross-meter with three groups of two ascending
beats that clash with the main triple meter in the vocal
line. The metric order is again restored for the satisfying,
closed vocal cadence, which is rounded off by a brief bridging
piano postlude that continues the descent.
0:45 [m. 9]--Stanza 2 (A). As in stanza 1 at
0:12, with the “murmuring repetition” on “steigt und fällt.”
1:00 [m. 19]--As in stanza
1 at 0:26, with the same declamation and line repetition.
1:19 [m. 33]--Stanza 3 (B). There is great
contrast with a turn to the home minor key (E minor). The
accompaniment changes dramatically with ascending arpeggios in
triplet rhythm (groups of three notes per beat). But
elements of the main strophe are still present, such as the dotted
rhythm in the right hand and cross-meter (again three groups of
two ascending beats, this time in triplet rhythm) under the second
line. The words “werde mild” are stretched out as an
extension, somewhat arresting the stormy nature of the contrasting
music. There is a piano bridge at “mild” that again uses the
1:32 [m. 43]--The
remainder of the stanza begins somewhat calmer, moving to the new
key of G major (which is related to E minor). The words
“Glück” and “Frieden” are lengthened on descending half-steps,
placing a cross-rhythm in the vocal melody and extending the third
line. After the last line avoids a cadence, a bridge using
the familiar cross-meter increases the intensity and moves to B
major, toward the home key. The last line is strongly
repeated. Another, longer bridge passage moves to the home
key, diminishes, and uses the familiar cross-meter in its last two
bars, which abandon the triplet rhythm.
1:52 [m. 59]--Stanza 4 (A’). The music is
essentially the same as the first two strophes, but there is an
extremely effective embellishment on the word “Flut.” The
murmuring repetition is on “Busch und Stadt.”
2:07 [m. 69]--The last two
lines are as in the first two strophes, with an added crescendo on
the ascent in the first statement of the last line. Two
closing chords are added to the descending postlude.
2:36--END OF SONG [84 mm.]
3. Regenlied (Rain Song). Text by
Klaus Groth. In mäßiger, ruhiger Bewegung (In measured,
peaceful motion). Expanded ternary form (AA’BCC’AA”).
F-SHARP MINOR, 2/2 [Cut] and 3/2 time (Low key D minor).
Walle, Regen, walle nieder,
Wecke mir die Träume wieder,
Die ich in der Kindheit träumte,
Wenn das Naß im Sande schäumte!
Wenn die matte Sommerschwüle
Lässig stritt mit frischer Kühle,
Und die blanken Blätter tauten,
Und die Saaten dunkler blauten.
Welche Wonne, in dem Fließen
Dann zu stehn mit nackten Füßen,
An dem Grase hin zu streifen
Und den Schaum mit Händen greifen.
Oder mit den heißen Wangen
Kalte Tropfen aufzufangen,
Und den neuerwachten Düften
Seine Kinderbrust zu lüften!
Wie die Kelche, die da troffen,
Stand die Seele atmend offen,
Wie die Blumen, düftertrunken,
In dem Himmelstau versunken.
Schauernd kühlte jeder Tropfen
Tief bis an des Herzens Klopfen,
Und der Schöpfung heilig Weben
Drang bis ins verborgne Leben.
Walle, Regen, walle nieder,
Wecke meine alten Lieder,
Die wir in der Türe sangen,
Wenn die Tropfen draußen klangen!
Möchte ihnen wieder lauschen,
Ihrem süßen, feuchten Rauschen,
Meine Seele sanft betauen
Mit dem frommen Kindergrauen.
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
establishes the pervasive single long-short rhythm (dotted rhythm)
that will permeate this song and the next. It is heard first
in isolation on an upbeat, then, after three detached chords, in
the bass. More chords lead to the vocal entry.
0:09 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A). The singer enters
with the dotted rhythm, then begins the flowing melody of the
song. The piano establishes a pattering “rain”
accompaniment, played by the right hand in the middle range.
Though meandering, it contains many repeated notes. The
dotted rhythm is played by the left hand, both over and under the
perpetual “rain” motion in alternation. The singer also
begins the third and fourth lines with the dotted rhythm.
The harmony of the third line makes a lovely upward shift to G
major at the mention of childhood. The left hand abandons
the dotted rhythm in the last line, playing low bass octaves.
0:34 [m. 21]--Restatement
of the introduction.
0:41 [m. 25]--Stanza 2 (A’). The first two lines
are set to the same music as stanza 1, but the third and fourth
lines slide more forcefully upward, the fourth line at a higher
level, moving toward the key of A major, where the B section is set. The
pattering rain accompaniment and the isolated dotted rhythms above
and below it from the left hand continue. The fourth line is
repeated with longer notes, but increasing speed to aid in the
transition to the next section.
1:13 [m. 46]--Stanza 3 (B). This section is much
more lively, with a joyous, leaping vocal line and a skittish
accompaniment that includes isolated detached notes in the left
hand and rapid arpeggios in the right. These right hand
arpeggios are in groups of six with the first note replaced by a
rest. They alternate with syncopated, harmonized two-note
figures. The stanza begins in A major, then moves strikingly
to C major in its last line. Stanza 4 follows seamlessly.
1:25 [m. 54]--Stanza 4 (B continued). The first
line is exceptionally exuberant. The right hand abandons the
syncopations, playing only the six-note groups, which now
oscillate up and down, still with their first note replaced by a
rest. The left hand plays a smoother bass line instead of
the detached leaping notes. The second line slides upward by
half-steps in longer notes, some held over bar lines.
1:35 [m. 61]--The third
line returns to the patterns heard in stanza 3, re-establishing A
major. In the last line, the high point, the right hand
groups replace the initial rests with downbeat notes that, taken
together, form a descending line that nearly doubles the
voice. The left hand again becomes smooth. The line is
repeated strongly, and these initial notes now double the voice
exactly. There is a strong cadence in A, then a brief bridge
continuing and repeating the descending patterns with greatly
1:53 [m. 71]--Stanza 5 (C). The meter changes to
3/2. These longer bars seem to arrest the forward progress
of the song to provide contrast and respite. The main key of
the 3/2 section is D major. The stanza begins with an upbeat on
the last beat of the 2/2 bars in the bridge. The constant
“rain” accompaniment ceases, as the text now focuses completely on
the memories of the past. Instead, the singer uses patterns
of two long notes followed by two short ones. The piano left
hand initially follows the singer’s rhythm. The right hand
alternates with chords after the beats of the long notes, then
joins on the shorter ones. The second line moves to F-sharp
2:02 [m. 75]--At the
beginning of the third and fourth lines, the two long notes are
replaced by a long-short dotted rhythm. The piano now plays
straight chords in the left hand, with the right hand following
after the beat. The two lines move from F-sharp major (the
major version of the home key) back to D for the sixth
stanza. This motion and the right hand after-beat chords
continue in a bridge.
2:16 [m. 81]--Stanza 6 (C’). The entire stanza
is essentially identical to stanza 5, with two small exceptions in
the voice (the piano is unchanged). First, the long-short
dotted rhythm is already used at the beginning of the second
line. Second, the ending of the last line is slightly
altered for a continuous descent.
2:34 [m. 89]--The bridge
that followed stanza 5 is omitted. Instead, the last line of
stanza 6 is repeated as the meter almost sneakily shifts back to
2/2 time. The repetition remains in D major, with a hint of
minor on the second syllable of “verborgne.” The left hand
chords and right hand after-beat chords are retained. The
piano, in the low and middle range, continues this pattern after
the line is repeated, the top notes of the chords sliding upward
by half-steps in a quiet, diminishing motion back to the home
2:50 [m. 96]--Stanza 7 (A). Musically identical
to stanza 1. Note the similar text.
3:16 [m. 112]--Introduction.
following the repetition at 2:34 [m. 89] replaced the introduction
before stanza 7.
3:23 [m. 116]--Stanza 8 (A”). It is more similar
to stanzas 1 and 7 than to stanza 2. Brahms indicates that
the music should become more peaceful and quiet in a gradual
manner. He replaces the pervasive dotted rhythms in the
voice at the beginning of the first and third lines with a slow
syncopation. The fourth line has a straight rhythm at the
beginning. This fourth line diverges from the main stanzas
by making a strong turn to the home major key with an extension of
the third syllable of “Kindergrauen.”
3:52 [m. 132]--The last
line is gently repeated in the major key with a new melodic
line. This repetition uses long notes, some held over bar
lines. The “rain” accompaniment continues, with three
statements of the dotted rhythm in the bass.
4:04 [m. 138]--With the
singer’s last note, a piano postlude begins, still in the major
key. The “rain” accompaniment remains in the middle
range. The dotted rhythm is heard twice more in the
bass. A long chord in the right hand arrests the “rain”
patter, and the dotted rhythm in the bass is replaced by the slow
syncopation heard in the voice in stanza 8. The “rain”
patter tries to begin again, but the music slows and quiets,
another long chord stops things for good, and the notes of the
left hand syncopation are even slower, doubled in length before
the final major chord.
4:38--END OF SONG [147 mm.]
4. Nachklang (Echo). Text by Klaus
Groth. Sanft bewegt (Gently moving). Ternary form with
minimal contrast. F-SHARP MINOR, Cut time [2/2] (Low key D
(A slightly different version of this text is used for a
completely different setting that was never published [WoO 23]. Confusingly, the setting is
titled Regenlied, so it
has the title of Op. 59, No. 3 and the text of Op. 59, No. 4.)
Regentropfen aus den Bäumen
Fallen in das grüne Gras,
Tränen meiner trüben Augen
Machen mir die Wange naß.
Wenn die Sonne wieder scheinet,
Wird der Rasen doppelt grün:
Doppelt wird auf meinen Wangen
Mir die heiße Träne glühn.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). There is no
introduction, and the voice begins alone on an upbeat, but it is
essentially the same music as the first stanza of “Regenlied” (No.
3). The beginning of the third line abandons the dotted
rhythm in favor of a longer syncopation, and the ending of the
stanza lacks a final leap. There is an overall diminishing
as well. The opening is effective either following No. 3 or
on its own.
0:29 [m. 17]--An interlude
introduces new accented harmonies not heard at this point in No.
3, but the music is similar to the preceding song’s
introduction. The piano than re-introduces the main rhythms.
0:37 [m. 21]--Stanza 2,
lines 1-2 (B). The
two lines make reference to the sunshine, and the music turns to a
brighter related major key (A major). The music is similar
to the main material, but the piano has the dotted rhythm in
chords at the top of the texture, and the contour of the vocal
line is new. The piano also abandons the “pattering” in
favor of more straightforward ascending arpeggios. The
second line reaches a small climax, and the ensuing interlude,
though containing some dissonances, remains in major.
0:53 [m. 31]--Stanza 2,
lines 3-4 (A’). The
last two lines return to the main material, but are altered so
that the singer can rise to a very dramatic high note at the
song’s largest climax. There, the piano plays the dotted
rhythm in low bass notes that rise by half-steps.
1:06 [m. 39]--The last
line is repeated and stretched out with longer notes. The
accompaniment pattern continues with low bass notes.
Although the vocal line remains in minor, certain notes in the
piano hint at the major-key close of the postlude (similar to that
of No. 3).
1:15 [m. 44]--The postlude
begins with the last vocal note on “glühn.” It immediately
turns to the major mode (on the home keynote of F-sharp).
The dotted rhythm is heard two more times in the right hand.
The “pattering” figures move up and back down, swelling to a final
climax before settling back down. Three soft major chords at
the end essentially lengthen the dotted rhythm. The final
mood is very ambiguous.
1:36--END OF SONG [50 mm.]
5. Agnes. Text by
Eduard Mörike. Con moto. Modified strophic form with
variations largely in the accompaniment. G MINOR, 3/4+2/4
time (Low key E minor).
Rosenzeit! wie schnell vorbei,
bist du doch gegangen!
Wär mein Lieb’ nur
sollte mir nicht bangen.
Um die Ernte wohlgemut,
Aber, ach! mir kranken Blut,
mir krankem Blut
will nichts mehr gelingen.
Schleiche so durch’s
so durch’s Tal,
als im Traum verloren,
nach dem Berg, da tausendmal,
er mir Treu’
Oben auf des Hügels Rand,
wein’ ich bei der
an dem Hut mein Rosenband,
von seiner Hand,
spielet in dem Winde.
The 3/4--2/4 alternation is complex, but regular. Each
stanza consists of three five-bar phrases. The meter of
these phrases is always 3/4--2/4--2/4--3/4--2/4. The third
phrase of each stanza repeats the text of the second. The
“extra” 2/4 bar in the middle of each phrase accommodates the text
repetitions in Mörike’s poem. It always serves as a somewhat
restrained echo. “Agnes” is the protagonist of this
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. An introduction of two bars, one in each meter (3/4--2/4)
presents the strong, vigorous chord accompaniment of this
stanza. The vocal line is similarly vigorous, with strong
dotted (long-short) rhythms. The “echoing” bars are
distinctly restrained. The top note of the accompanying
chords follows the vocal line. In the third phrase,
otherwise a repetition of the second, the piano deviates slightly
in the first bar, the right hand lagging behind the voice and
reaching higher before catching up.
0:26 [m. 18]--Stanza
2. An introductory interlude is similar to the first
introduction, but it introduces right hand syncopation after the
beat. The vocal line is essentially the same as in stanza 1,
but in the third phrase, the first three bars are altered, the
voice following the line the piano had used (reaching higher) in
stanza 1 and cutting the first three syllables, thus deviating
from the pure repetition of the second phrase. The
alteration is preserved in the “echo.” The accompaniment
follows the implications of the interlude, with the right hand
playing chords after the beats and the left hand playing octaves
on the beats. In a reversal, the first bar of the third
phrase preserves the vocal line of the second phrase in the
piano. Voice and piano are both much lighter than in stanza
0:54 [m. 35]--Stanza
3. The introductory interlude is lengthened to three bars
(adding a second 2/4 bar). The right hand preserves the
vigorous dotted rhythm of the first stanza as well as the lighter
after-beat syncopations of the second. The left hand
introduces a new flowing line. This flowing line continues
in both hands, usually harmonized in thirds or sixths, under the
vocal line. The vocal line is as in stanza 2. The
piano continues to preserve the original vocal line in the first
bar of the third phrase.
1:22 [m. 53]--Stanza
4. Again, the interlude is three bars. This time, the
flowing line is there from the outset. Under the vocal line,
the flowing harmonies are more continuous and more
chromatic. The third phrase no longer preserves the vocal
line of the second phrase in the piano. The vocal line is as
in stanzas 2 and 3, but even more subdued. The echoing
repetitions are replaced by new rhyming words. A two-bar
postlude (3/4--2/4), is suddenly accented, with the dotted rhythm
in the bass, before settling to its melancholy close.
2:12--END OF SONG [72 mm.]
6. Eine gute, gute Nacht
(A Good Good-Night).
Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer from a Russian folk source.
Poco Andante. Two-part through-composed/varied strophic
form. A MINOR/MAJOR, 2/4 time (Low key F-sharp minor/major).
Eine gute, gute Nacht
Pflegst du mir zu sagen -
Über dieses eitle Wort,
O wie muß ich klagen!
Daß du meiner Seele Glut
Nicht so grausam nährtest;
»Eine gute, gute Nacht«,
Daß du sie gewährtest!
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1
(Stanza 1). An introduction presents the pervasive falling
figure. The falling leaps are tritones (dissonant intervals
between a fourth and fifth), but they are very gentle and only
mildly biting. The left hand includes similar figures moving
at twice the speed. The effect is both melancholy and
graceful. An unexpected loud chord punctuates the end of the
0:13 [m. 7]--The first
line is set to similar leaps, but they are more melodious,
consonant fourths and thirds, not in A minor, but its related
major key of C. The piano seems to echo these figures, again
at twice the speed. The second line somewhat reverses
direction. The piano echoes the dotted (long-short) figure
on “sagen” twice, with a slight intensification and motion back to
the minor key.
0:28 [m. 14]--The last two
lines are set more urgently, with some syncopation and dotted
rhythm. The piano plays dissonant descending arpeggios with
slight accentuation. The ending of the verse settles onto an
incomplete close moving to the “dominant” key of E. A rising
arpeggio makes a rapid transition to the opening introductory
0:38 [m. 19]--Part 2
(Stanza 2). The piano introduction in A minor seems to begin
again, but after one bar, the voice enters with a new rising
melody on the first two lines of the stanza. The right hand
notes begin to be heard after the beats of the more steady left
hand. The harmonies are still similar to the opening until
the second line is repeated on longer notes, with the piano
becoming ever lighter.
0:53 [m. 27]--The piano
immediately begins a variant of the main vocal melody from the
first part, continuing with the right hand playing after the
beat. The voice then enters with the original melody itself,
set quite obviously to the same words (the third line of this
0:59 [m. 31]--The music
makes a “leap” to material from 0:28 [m. 14] for the last
line. The piano plays the same types of dissonant descending
arpeggios with the accentuation, but this time they lead to the
home key of A (now major instead of minor). The vocal melody
is quite different, however, staying more close to the descending
piano lines, but in longer notes. The line is repeated with
more syncopation and faster notes on “daß du” but longer,
stretched-out notes on “sie gewährtest.” The incomplete
vocal close is questioning and hopeful.
1:10 [m. 36]--The
questioning vocal ending arrives with a variant of the
introduction, complete with the descending tritone leaps as well
as other dissonances and chromatic notes. The piano quiets
until the final major chord, which is heard after a bass note
1:28--END OF SONG [41 mm.]
7. Mein wundes Herz (My
Wounded Heart). Text by Klaus Groth. Bewegt
(With motion). Two-part varied strophic form. E
MINOR/MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key C-sharp minor/major).
Mein wundes Herz verlangt nach milder Ruh’,
O hauche sie ihm ein!
Es fliegt dir weinend, bange schlagend zu -
O hülle du es ein!
Wie wenn ein Strahl durch schwere Wolken bricht,
So winkest du ihm zu:
O lächle fort mit deinem milden Licht!
Mein Pol, mein Stern bist du!
0:00 [m. 1]--A passionate
introduction presents the main descending four-note figure that
permeates the song (a skip, then two steps). It is first
heard in broken sixths in the right hand while the left moves in
nearly the opposite direction. There follows a reiteration
of the last two pairs of notes, then an inversion of them set an
octave higher (moving upward to an expectant chord). There
are strong accents (sforzandi).
0:10 [m. 5]--Stanza
1. The first line begins with the descending four-note
figure, then widely arches back upward. The voice begins
alone. The piano imitates the vocal melody at twice the
speed in the middle range. When the bass comes in, it is
also imitating the melody at different pitches (a sixth
below). The line seems to move to the related G major, but
the more urgent second line, which moves upward in longer notes,
confirms the key of E minor. A descending piano arpeggio
0:21 [m. 12]--The piano
again has the four-note figure, this time in the middle range and
both on and after the beats a third apart. The voice enters
on the third line with an inversion of the four-note figure
(moving up one skip and two steps). Against this inversion,
the piano plays both the upward and the downward versions, in that
order, at twice the speed. As the vocal line continues to
strive upward, the bass again has the four-note figure in its
original direction and speed. The music moves more clearly
to G major. The last line is set in that key, becoming
joyous in both voice and piano. The line is repeated in
0:35 [m. 21]--An interlude
arrives with the vocal cadence in G major. It sets up chains
of broken sixths using the descending four-note figure as the
music moves back to E minor. Two statements, the second a
step higher, are heard. An extension reaching up an octave,
also based on the four-note figure, is arrested by a long chord
and the questioning downward slide of its top note.
0:43 [m. 25]--Stanza
2. The first two lines are set as in stanza 1 at 0:10 [m.
5]. The pitches are slightly altered in the descending piano
arpeggio leading to the last two lines, assisting in the move to
0:53 [m. 32]--The
four-note figure is heard after the beats, as at 0:21 [m. 12], but
the top voice is an octave higher and the bottom note is a sixth
below rather than a third. The music moves decisively to the
home major key (E major). The third line overtly uses the
four-note figure in its original form. It is imitated three
times by the piano, first in the top voice at twice the speed,
then, each time an octave lower, in the middle and the bass ranges
at the original speed. The voice continues with another
descent against these imitations.
1:01 [m. 36]--As the line
ends, another triple imitation is heard in the three voices of the
piano (the top one again at faster speed), with the harmony
altered in a brief motion to the “dominant” key. A
repetition of “mit deinem milden Licht” set to a new melodic line
(still beginning with the four-note descent) moves emphatically
toward the song’s joyous climax.
1:07 [m. 40]--The setting
of the final line, clearly in E major, is reminiscent of the
joyous last line of the first stanza. It includes a new
descending leap on “bist du.” The repetition of “mein Pol,
mein Stern” becomes full and warm, with beautiful stepwise
“sighing” motion on “Pol” and “Stern.”
1:14 [m. 44]--The piano
figures become quieter. The words “mein Stern” are repeated
a third time before the line is completed again with “bist
du.” This last setting of “mein Stern bist du” is set once
again to the ubiquitous four-note descending figure, this time in
notes twice as long, imitated by the low bass in octaves.
The piano continues after the vocal cadence, and its last chords
make a final reference to the pervasive descending figure.
Brahms’s artful manipulations of this figure throughout the song
do nothing to inhibit the natural and spontaneous musical,
emotional, forward thrust of the song.
1:39--END OF SONG [49 mm.]
8. Dein blaues
Auge hält so still (Your Blue Eyes Keep so Still). Text by
Klaus Groth. Ziemlich langsam (Rather slowly).
Two-part varied strophic form. E-FLAT MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low
key D major).
Dein blaues Auge hält so still,
Ich blicke bis zum Grund.
Du fragst mich, was ich sehen will?
Ich sehe mich gesund.
Es brannte mich ein glühend Paar,
Noch schmerzt das Nachgefühl:
Das deine ist wie See so klar
Und wie ein See so kühl.
Translation--NOTE: The words “and detached” in the translation are only implied in the original
text and could perhaps be omitted from the translation. This
last line is highly ambiguous in meaning. “Your” (“deine”) in the penultimate line could
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
line anticipates similar slow descents to come in the vocal
part. There are two of these, played against rising left
hand arpeggios and each followed by bars of more static,
oscillating motion, the first one over a dissonant (“diminished
0:17 [m. 5]--Stanza 1,
lines 1-2. The two lines are set to a rather static melody
with repeated notes and slow dotted (long-short) rhythms on the
downbeats. The oscillating motion continues in the inner
voice of the piano, which otherwise has slow-moving chords.
The second line is set to a deliberate descending scale, doubled
by the top line of the piano, and ending on the home keynote.
0:34 [m. 9]--Stanza 1,
lines 3-4. The third line has more repeated notes
interrupted by strategically placed rests for a halting
effect. The leap up and back down is again deliberate and
marked. The last line leaps down twice, first a fourth, then
a fifth, resulting in a complete descent of an octave, the dotted
rhythm remaining prominent. In both lines, the oscillating
motion in the piano continues, and low bass octaves are
added. The cadence on the large descent has moved to the
related key of B-flat. A brief arpeggio at the cadence
bridges to the second stanza with a turn to the minor key.
0:56 [m. 14]--Stanza 2,
lines 1-2. The first line is similar to that of stanza 1,
but it is now in the minor key and with more active, urgent
harmonies. The second line is altered, with a repetition
added on “noch schmerzt.” The descent is now in faster notes
interrupted by halting rests between the sighing repetitions, all
against richly chromatic harmony. The rest of the line is
set to a long turning decoration that lands dreamily on G-flat
major (the major key relative to the minor key on E-flat) and
extends the line by a bar.
1:17 [m. 19]--Stanza 2,
line 3. Line 3 is very similar to the setting in the first
stanza, but on new pitches (a minor third higher than stanza 1),
and still in G-flat. Unlike the first stanza, the last line
does not follow immediately, but is preceded by an interruption
echoing the end of the third line a step lower.
1:32 [m. 22]--Stanza 2,
line 4. A sliding bass shifts the key abruptly back to
E-flat. The line is again very similar to the setting in
stanza 1 (but on the new “home key” pitches a fourth higher), with
the important difference that the second leap is only a third,
avoiding an arrival on the keynote. It is also louder.
This opens the door for a repetition of the line set to an even
greater descent spanning a tenth (an octave plus a third), adding
a top descending third to the original two leaps and reaching a
strong cadence in the home major key. Both statements of the
line are variants of the version from stanza 1, the first narrower
and the second wider. The loud volume also emphasizes the
strange ambiguity of meaning in the line’s text.
1:47 [m. 25]--Piano
postlude. It arrives with the strong vocal cadence and
quickly settles down. It is essentially identical to the
introduction, adding a repetition of the last gesture with a low
bass octave and a final sustained rolled chord.
2:24--END OF SONG [29 mm.]
END OF SET
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