Recording: Edith Mathis, soprano; Brigitte Fassbaender, alto; Peter Schreier, tenor; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, bass; Karl Engel, piano [DG 449 641-2]

Published 1874.

While working on his second set of Liebeslieder waltzes for vocal quartet and piano duet, Brahms released a set of three more extended quartets akin to those of Op. 31 published ten years earlier.  The first of these, in fact, dates from the time of Op. 31.  It was composed on Christmas Eve 1863, in the immediate aftermath of Brahms’s permanent relocation to Vienna.  The text of Sternau’s poem “An die Heimat” clearly spoke to Brahms’s thoughts toward his native Hamburg.  The poem has nothing to suggest multiple voices or pairs of voices (such as those in the first two quartets of the earlier set), but Brahms created out of it a motet-like piece of grandiose structure, a complex through-composed form with refrain.  Two highly contrapuntal verses (using canonic and fugal techniques) frame a central section in solemn block harmonies.  In 1874, he added two further sophisticated and complex vocal quartets as companions, preparing the set for publication along with the songs of Op. 63.  The central setting of a Schiller ode is Brahms’s only use of that great classical German poet other than the later large-scale Nänie for chorus and orchestra.  Schiller indicated that the text, rich in classical imagery, was a description of a picture, an evocative illustration of a sunset using the symbolism of mythology.  Brahms’s setting matches the eloquent nature of Schiller’s words, with a hypnotic piano bass pattern underlying the voices, along with effectively contrasting major-key passages utilizing the female and male voices in pairs.  Of the three, this is probably the most appropriate for a small choir.  Brahms did not encourage or approve of his vocal quartets being performed by choirs, but he knew it was inevitable and tolerated it.  The third quartet would not work particularly well with more than four voices.  Brahms was re-engaging with the poet Daumer for the New Liebeslieder waltzes, and a Daumer text is used here as a dialogue between the soloistic tenor voice and the block forces of the other three.  In correspondence, Brahms called this piece “Three Questioners,” although the poem only indicates a dialogue between an amorous man and his heart (with parenthetical attributions omitted by Brahms).  Despite the title “Fragen” (“Questions”), the three interlocutors begin to make pronouncements and admonitions instead of inquiries as the piece continues.  It is also through-composed, but with two definite points of return.  The piece demands a first-rate tenor, whose lines are considerably more elaborate than those of the “questioners.”  These are highly expressive and profound pieces in comparison to the excellent but less elaborate Op. 31.  While not technically “vocal chamber music” (which would require an additional instrument besides piano), the term is apt.  His next set of quartets (disregarding the contemporary New Liebeslieder), Op. 92, would retain the aesthetic approach seen here, but with more concise structures.

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

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)
No. 2: Der Abend

1. An die Heimat (To the Homeland).  Text by Otto Inkermann under the pseudonym C.O. Sternau.  Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell (With motion, but not too fast).  Three-part through-composed form with refrain.  G MAJOR, 3/4 time.

German Text:
Wunderbar tönendes Wort!
Wie auf befiederten Schwingen
Ziehst du mein Herz zu dir fort,
Jubelnd, als müßt’ ich den Gruß
Jeglicher Seele dir bringen,
Trag’ ich zu dir meinen Fuß,
Freundliche Heimat!

Bei dem sanftklingenden Ton
Wecken mich alte Gesänge,
Die in der Ferne mich flohn;
Rufen mir freudenvoll zu
Heimatlich lockende Klänge:
Du nur allein bist die Ruh’,
Schützende Heimat!

Gib mir den Frieden zurück,
Den ich im Weiten verloren,
Gib mir dein blühendes Glück!
Unter den Bäumen am Bach,
Wo ich vor Zeiten geboren,
Gib mir ein schützendes Dach,
Liebende Heimat!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The piano has a four-bar introduction in which partly harmonized arpeggios move up in the left hand, then down in the right in two sequences over G-major harmony.  The voices enter with two block statements of the opening “Heimat!”  The first is over the same G-major harmony in the piano with the alternating arpeggios between the hands, the voices pausing on the downward turn.  The second is over an arpeggio suggesting a strong motion toward the “dominant” key.  Again, the voices pause on the right-hand descent.  Both statements gently swell and are in the rhythm of a half note followed by a quarter.
0:14 [m. 9]--The harmony shifts quickly back to G, and the piano begins to play repeated chords in triplet rhythm in the right hand against a solid bass, including descending arpeggios.  The soprano and alto forcefully present the first full line, the soprano beginning with a long-short rhythm.  The tenor and bass overlap with their presentation of the line, the tenor reaching high with a long-short rhythm, the bass leaping a seventh, while the harmonies quickly shift to C minor and D major.  Their conclusion overlaps with the next imitative sequence.
0:21 [m. 13]--The piano shifts to rising arpeggios in triplet rhythm, with the left hand leading the right and adding “straight” rising octaves at the end of measures.  The soprano starts an imitative sequence, top to bottom, on the next two lines, also using the triplet subdivision in rising gestures.  Each voice enters one measure after the last, and all four only sing the text of the two lines once.  Each is a fourth lower than the last, except the bass is only a step lower than the tenor.  The soprano and alto slow considerably in their continuation.  The harmony in the piano is driven by “diminished” chords and “diminished seventh” chords and gradually works toward C major and minor.  The tenor is concluding as the next sequence begins.  
0:30 [m. 18]--The soprano and alto enter in syncopation on “jubelnd,” beginning the next imitative sequence on the next two lines, but only the soprano continues the text initially.  The bass is still finishing the last text, changing to straight rhythm in contrast to the triplets.  On the downbeat, the piano abruptly shifts to “dominant” harmony in A-flat major and moves back to the repeated chords in triplet rhythm.  The tenor has a syncopated “jubelnd” as the alto begins its imitative statement, and the bass does as well when the tenor repeats the word to continue.  The harmony shifts from A-flat to D-flat major.  The piano changes to arpeggios over bass octaves, the soprano has two-note descending slurs, and the bass repeats “jubelnd.”
0:37 [m. 22]--The bass finally has the full statement as the top two voices conclude and the tenor lags a bit.  The piano again changes to repeated chords.  With another “diminished seventh” chord, the alto has a second (fifth overall) statement of the lines, and the soprano follows with the sixth and last statement.  The alto repeats “den Gruß” within its statement.  The harmony remains active, at first moving to the “dominant” in the home key of G, then shifting toward B major.  The bass finishes its statement as the tenor enters, not in imitation, with only the second of the two lines used in this sequence.
0:44 [m. 26]--The piano changes again to triplet arpeggios as the soprano lands on a syncopated note within its statement on “jeglicher.”  The bass also enters in syncopation on that word, and will repeat the second of the lines, as the tenor is doing.  The alto repeats the words “jeglicher Seele” within its statement, and the tenor also repeats those words within its repetition of the line.  The soprano again moves to the two-note slurs, and the harmony, driven by the piano, makes another artful shift to E-flat major.  The soprano and bass conclude before the alto and tenor, who trail, all becoming quieter.  This concludes the second and more complex imitative sequence.
0:52 [m. 30]--The soprano expressively sings the stanza’s penultimate line.  It begins with another syncopation.  With subtlety and “enharmonic” notes (alternate “spellings”), the key center shifts to B major in the continuing piano triplets and the sliding soprano line.  As the soprano concludes, the tenor and bass enter in harmony, also in syncopation.  The alto then has its entry, but without the word “trag’,” instead starting with “zu dir.”  The three lower voices repeat those words, and the soprano enters again beginning with them.  The piano’s triplets and bass move over E and A back to the long-absent home G-major harmony.  The soprano and tenor repeat “zu dir” (the tenor for a third time) before the gentle cadence in G.
1:05 [m. 36]--Refrain.  The last line of each stanza, with an adjective describing “Heimat,” is set to the same dolce music.  Here, it overlaps with the cadence of the preceding line.  Against the alternating piano arpeggios from the beginning, the tenor gently soars upward with “freundliche Heimat.  The piano begins a “circle of fifths” progression with preparatory “diminished seventh” arpeggios.  The tenor ends with an upward half-step, and then the alto has the soaring, arching line on “freundliche Heimat,” harmonized by the tenor.  The bass is next, with the alto harmonizing.  At this point, the harmony has moved to E minor.
1:18 [m. 43]--The soprano finally has an entrance, but only sings “freundliche.”  The other three voices, in overlapping succession, restate the word on long notes as the soprano repeats it with a downward leap.  The harmony moves away from the “circle of fifths” progression and pivots back to G major with its “dominant” chord.  The alternating piano arpeggios stop, and now they descend in the right hand after bass octaves on downbeats.  The alto and tenor (but not the bass) repeat “freundliche” again, and the soprano sings it a third time before all voices come together with an extremely satisfying cadence on “Heimat.”
1:29 [m. 48]--Stanza 2.  At the cadence of the refrain, the alternating arpeggios start again like the beginning, but the voices together sing the opening “Heimat!” only once on a static G-major harmony.  The piano, however, is pivoting toward C major at the same time.  The second sequence of alternating arpeggios leads to the music for the following text, which is completely new.
1:36 [m. 52]--The voices, now moving together, sing the stanza’s first three full lines unaccompanied.  The harmonies sway gently on the first line, which moves from C back to G major.  On the second line, the top three voices hold the word “alte” over a bar line as the bass has broad rising leaps on the word.  There is another turn toward harmony on C, this time C minor.  A measure later, after a small swell, there is a similar bass motion on “Gesänge” as the other voices hold it over a bar line.  The third line turns toward another minor key, D minor, as it gently works its way down.  The arrival chord, however, is on D major, the “dominant” in the home key of G.  This coincides with the re-entry of the piano, echoing the bass motion.
1:53 [m. 60]--The next passage is again unaccompanied, and begins with the same music for the fourth line that was used for the first.  At the beginning of the fifth line, however, the soprano briefly drops out, and the alto takes the leading line up to the held note over a bar line on the repeated word “heimatlich.”  The bass again leaps broadly, but now on new notes leading to a new harmony, B major.  The soprano enters with an imitation of the preceding alto line (thus stretching out the phrase).  That voice only sings “heimatlich” once, then soars up on “lockende,” as does the tenor.  The alto and bass hold the word over another bar line.  The arrival on “Klänge” is colorful, still in B major, leading straight into new material for the next line.
2:05 [m. 66]--The three upper voices quickly rise in a three-note upbeat to begin the penultimate line.  The piano enters on the downbeat with held bass notes and harmonized descending arpeggios.  The key shifts from B major to E major.  The voices continue, the soprano passionately descending on “allein bist die Ruh.  That voice repeats “du nur” twice on the same descending line before continuing with a restatement of the line.  The alto slows down and does not initially sing “bist die Ruh,” instead repeating “du nur allein.”  The tenor finishes the line and repeats “bist die Ruh.”  These two middle voices drop out, and the bass finally re-enters, quickly matching the soprano on the repetition.  The key shifts home toward G.
2:13 [m. 69]--Refrain.  In a skilled overlap, the piano harmony arrives on G major, and the tenor begins the refrain, now using the word “schützende.”  The other three voices, however, are still finishing their statement of the previous line.  The bass only sings it once, with a repetition of “die Ruh.”  The soprano also repeats those words after finishing the full repetition.  The alto finally adds its only, slower statement of “bist die Ruh.”  The piano smoothly transitions to the patterns used for the first refrain.  The other voices finally conclude the previous line as the tenor reaches the upward half-step.  From that point, the refrain continues as before, with alto and bass entries on “schützende Heimat.”
2:26 [m. 76]--The refrain continues as at 1:18 [m. 43] with the soprano entry, the overlapping succession, and the satisfying cadence, the only difference being the replacement of “freundliche” with “schützende.”
2:38 [m. 81]--Stanza 3.  Once again, the alternating arpeggios begin, and the voices sing a single “Heimat!”  This time, however, it is over C-minor harmony, and the piano follows suit in its arpeggios.
2:46 [m. 85]--The key signature changes to G minor, and there, the tenor alone states the first full line of the stanza and most of the second before any other voices enter.  The minor key adds urgency to the request as the tenor arches up and down.  The piano, meanwhile, has moved to a series of winding mid-range right-hand figures in triplet rhythm, the left hand dropping out.  The tenor arches down at the arrival of the second line, building in intensity.  The bass enters, overlapping and imitating the tenor’s statement of the line.  The piano left hand enters with a straight descent, initially doubling the bass, and the key shifts to E-flat major.  As the tenor concludes, the alto and soprano in succession, forte, sing and hold the word “Gib.”
2:55 [m. 90]--The piano’s right-hand triplets have worked their way higher.  The soprano holds its statement of “Gib” over the bar line, and as the bass concludes its statement of the second line, all four voices “bloom” forth on the third line, the soprano moving down from a high G.  The bass, beginning later after its conclusion, omits the word “blühendes.”  The piano continues with its triplets, but they are now more static with a consistent arching shape, and the left hand adds low bass notes.  They key shifts again, from E-flat major toward B-flat.  The closing word “Glück” is set to a half-step in the top three voices, rising in the soprano and alto and falling in the tenor.
3:00 [m. 93]--The tenor and bass enter to restate the line in a harmonized descent, holding “gib” over a bar line.  They quiet down and turn back to minor, but D minor instead of G minor.  The piano’s left hand, in bass octaves, becomes more active, and the triplets move back to the middle range.  The voices conclude the line on the “dominant” harmony in D minor, overlapping with the alto’s statement of the next line.
3:05 [m. 95]--The alto sings the fourth and fifth lines to a melody like the tenor’s at 2:46 [m. 85] in D minor.  The piano has winding triplets as expected, but they begin lower and are played by the left hand.  As the alto turns upward on the fifth line, the triplets pass to the right hand and the left hand again has an arpeggio in straight rhythm, clashing with the triplets but matching the rhythm of the vocal line.  Unlike the bass’s imitation of the tenor’s second line before, here the soprano has an entry that just barely overlaps the alto, and the full two lines are sung, but the key turns back home to G minor.  The triplets are in the left hand, and the right hand now has harmonies whose top voice doubles the soprano line.
3:19 [m. 103]--As the soprano finishes the fifth line, the alto, then the tenor quickly overlap with entries on the penultimate line, with downward motion.  The soprano also starts the line right after concluding her statement, holding the word “gib” over a bar line.  At that point, the triplets pass back to the right hand and the left has long octaves.  The key remains centered on G, but now moves back to G major.  The bass finally makes an entry with a note held over a bar line as the other three voices are completing the line.  The soprano holds a long five-beat note on “Dach.”  As the bass sings the line, the tenor drops out and the alto repeats “gib mir ein.”
3:30 [m. 108]--The key signature changes back to G major, and all voices but the tenor are together on the word “schützendes,” the bass repeating it before having sung the last word “Dach.”  The three voices come to a satisfying cadence on “Dach” against the piano’s triplets in arching shapes.  At the cadence, the refrain begins for the last time.
3:36 [m. 110]--Refrain.  This closely matches 1:05 [m. 36] and, without the large overlap, also 2:13 [m. 69].  The three-syllable words preceding “Heimat” in these refrains have all been three-syllable adjectives, the last two using forms that correspond to the English present participle ending with “-ing” (in German these forms use “-end”).  Here it is “liebende.”  The tenor begins, followed by the alto and bass, as before, with the familiar alternating arpeggios from the piano.
3:47 [m. 117]--Soprano entry corresponding to 1:18 [m. 43] and 2:26 [m. 76], with overlapping succession and cadence.  Here, Brahms indicates ritardando molto e diminuendo, requesting a significant slowing and diminishing of volume.  At the end, there is a slight change so that the alto and tenor complete the word “Heimat” before the cadence, and the piano harmonies have a new upward turn to lead into the coda.
4:00 [m. 122]--Coda.  It is marked “più Adagio.”  The alto and tenor, having ended before the cadence, now overlap with it on a repetition of “liebende Heimat.”  The piano again moves to the triplets, which are passed from the right hand to the left and back.  The soprano and bass have a dovetailing entry as the alto and tenor conclude.  The exchange happens again as “liebende” is passed back to the alto and tenor.  The tenor sings “Heimat” as the other three, now together, sing “liebende” one last time.  There are several colorful chromatic inflections in both the piano and voices throughout these exchanges.
4:13 [m. 126]--The voices now sing a long, stretched-out statement of “Heimat, with the soprano reaching up as the others hold.  The piano’s triplets now pass from the left hand to the right and back on every beat, continuing to slow down.  The soprano’s leap and the piano triplets have a minor-key inflection with the note E-flat.  As the word is concluded on the third measure, the tenor briefly holds a suspension before resolving it.  The triplets in the piano now tumble down instead of turning down and back up, still passed from the left hand to the right and back over a low bass octave G.  This continues in a one-measure bridge.
4:29 [m. 130]--Now “più lento,” the voices have one last statement of “Heimat,” stretched out as before with the soprano leap, but without the minor-key inflection, resulting in an extremely warm conclusion.  Underneath it, the piano has rising harmonized arpeggios in straight rhythm, not triplets, leading to the last held G-major chord as the voices conclude the word and this sophisticated piece of vocal ensemble music.
4:49--END OF QUARTET [132 mm.]

2. Der Abend (Evening).  Text by Friedrich Schiller.  Ruhig (Peacefully).  Expanded ternary form (ABB’A’).  G MINOR/MAJOR, 3/4 time.

German Text:
Senke, strahlender Gott, die Fluren dürsten
Nach erquickendem Tau, der Mensch verschmachtet,
  Matter ziehen die Rosse,
    Senke den Wagen hinab!

Siehe, wer aus des Meers krystallner Woge
Lieblich lächelnd dir winkt! Erkennt dein Herz sie?
  Rascher fliegen die Rosse.
    Thetys, die göttliche, winkt.

Schnell vom Wagen herab in ihre Arme
Springt der Führer, den Zaum ergreift Kupido,
  Stille halten die Rosse,
    Trinken die kühlende Flut.

An dem Himmel herauf mit leisen Schritten
Kommt die duftende Nacht; ihr folgt die süße
  Liebe. Ruhet und liebet!
    Phöbus, der Liebende, ruht.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A).  A spectral four-bar introduction establishes the accompaniment pattern.  In the left hand, descending broken octaves on the first two beats of each bar represent the tired horses.  These octaves move downward with each measure.  In the right hand are long chords that establish the G-minor key.  The fourth of these is unusual and dissonant, a rare “major seventh” above the preparatory “dominant” D, but considering a B-flat in the bass, it could also be called a “ninth” chord.  In any case, it is a colorful lead-in to the voices.
0:11 [m. 5]--Line 1.  The voices, depicting listlessness, are in straight harmony, but the rhythm is most notable.  It is a long-short pattern built on half notes leading into either a quarter note or two eighth notes until the longer last two notes of the six-bar phrase.  This balances the piano bass octaves on the first two beats, which continue, now mostly doubled.  The right hand doubles the soprano line with harmonies that include most of the alto notes.  The first line leads to the “dominant” harmony. 
0:25 [m. 11]--Line 2.  The second line, which features striking upward leaps from the tenor, then the soprano on “der Mensch,” makes a more complete motion to that “dominant” harmony.  The piano’s right hand abandons the melodic doubling in the last three bars.  In the third and fourth bars, the doubled bass octaves descend a third and a fifth instead of a downward octave leap.
0:39 [m. 17]--Line 3.  These last two lines are shorter, and the third line, lingering on the “dominant” harmony, is set to a very static four-bar phrase, again describing the tired horses, using the same patterns as the first two lines.  The doubled bass octaves have the same descent of a third in all four measures.
0:49 [m. 21]--Line 4.  The last line is an expansive seven-bar phrase.  The accompaniment pattern of descending octaves breaks, moving to longer chords and lines supporting the voices.  The tenor and soprano, who are mostly in contrary motion, begin a measure before the alto and bass, touching C minor.  The latter voices imitate the soprano and tenor a fifth below.  The line is then repeated.  The soprano overlaps the alto/bass imitation, entering in syncopation and holding over a bar line.  The tenor follows two beats later, the alto and bass a beat after that, all in syncopation.  The voices conclude together with a G-minor cadence, but the soprano stretches more syncopated notes before it catches the others.
1:04 [m. 27]--At the cadence, the piano has another four-bar sequence resembling the introduction, but the bass octaves are doubled (and they descend an octave), moving gradually down by half-step to lead to the “relative” key of B-flat major.
1:15 [m. 31]--Stanza 2 (B).  Line 1.  Beginning in warm B-flat major, the tenor and bass sing in dolce harmonies to welcome the emergence of the water goddess Thetis.  The rhythms are like those of the first stanza.  The piano, however, moves to broadly arching arpeggios, with the hands playing in harmony with each other but both outlining the same chord in each measure.  By the end of the line, the voices have moved to G major.  As in stanza 1, the first two phrases are six bars long.
1:27 [m. 37]--Line 2.  It begins with an abrupt motion to E-flat major and a leaping octave in the vocal bass.  The tenor begins on a high G and remains in a high register for the line.  The arching piano arpeggios continue.  The line continues with a motion to F major (the “dominant” in B-flat, where the stanza began), and another wide upward leap from the bass.
1:39 [m. 43]--Line 3.  The soprano and alto now join in an exuberant four-bar phrase.  The piano patterns change drastically, with the left hand again using doubled octaves, beginning with downward leaps greater than an octave, but then moving back to octave leaps.  The right hand has cascading harmonies in a new triplet rhythm, suggesting the quicker flight of the horses.  The vocal lines conclude with a full-hearted extension of the word “Rosse.”  The key center is still F major, but it will move back to B-flat.
1:46 [m. 47]--Line 4.  Moving back to B-flat, where the stanza began, the soprano and alto sing the line in a rapturous descent, with great activity in the alto line.  The piano here moves back to the harmonized arching arpeggios.  As they finish the line, the tenor and bass overlap and repeat it on the same notes, but with the bass adding an octave leap at the beginning.  The piano becomes less active under the male voices, the left hand moving back to the familiar descents and the right breaking up the arpeggios.  The cadence of the tenor and bass in B-flat merges directly into stanza 3, including a two-note piano upbeat that anticipates the leaping triplets in the right hand that underlie that stanza’s first two lines.
1:53 [m. 51]--Stanza 3 (B’).  Line 1.  The soprano and alto sing to the same music used by the tenor and bass in stanza 2, moving from B-flat to G.  The piano, however, is much more active than it was there.  The right hand has triplet rhythms that leap up and down, including broken octaves.  The triplet rhythm clashes with the up-down motion, creating a sense of imbalance.  In addition, the left hand is playing detached rising arpeggios in straight rhythm, creating yet another level of metric complexity.  Both hands briefly break during the last beat of each bar, but not together, as the right hand has two-note upbeats.
2:04 [m. 57]--Line 2.  The soprano and alto continue as the tenor and bass had done in stanza 2, with motion to E-flat and F.  The only adjustment is that the alto does not have the initial leaping octave that the bass had sung.  The active, rhythmically complex accompaniment pattern from the first line continues, with leaping triplets in the right hand and straight rising arpeggios in the left.  The soprano soars at the end of the line that refers to Cupid.
2:15 [m. 63]--Line 3.  In the most incredible moment of this wonderful quartet, the motion suddenly stops.  The soprano and tenor sing on a repeated B-flat, using the familiar long-short rhythms.  The piano bass is in double octaves, now gradually descending by half-step or whole step.  The right hand starts with octave B-flats, then adds harmonies.  As the soprano and tenor reach a long note on “Rosse,” the alto and bass enter on a repeated G, singing the text to the same rhythms.  As they reach “Rosse,” they also hold the note as the soprano and tenor descend a half-step.  The piano bass makes its only upward motion in the line.  The alto and bass then also descend a half-step, merging with the next line, arriving on a very warm D major.
2:32 [m. 69]--The soprano and tenor begin the line in harmony with longer notes, overlapping with the half-step descent in the alto and bass.  Those voices enter a measure later, singing faster notes to catch up with the others.  The piano bass descents are, as usual, on the first two beats, initially in doubled octaves, then moving to a broken octave on A.  The voices come together on “kühlende,” but the soprano continues to sing longer notes.  The D-major sound is radiant.  The lower three voices repeat “die kühlende Flut,” holding the first syllable of “kühlende.”  The soprano only repeats that word, singing “Flut” only once as the others repeat it.  After the rich cadence, the piano converts D major to a “dominant” leading to G.
2:54 [m. 77]--Stanza 4 (A’).  Line 1.  The key signature changes to G major, and the quartet will end there.  The tenor and bass sing this first line, using patterns like those of stanza 1, but now in the comforting major, dolce.  They are in harmonies of thirds with one exception, expanding to a sixth on the first syllable of “leisen.”  The piano bass continues as expected, now using broken octaves without doubling, but adding the harmony of a third in the first two measures.  The right hand plays long held octaves, reaching high.  There are colorful harmonies of F-sharp major and B minor at “leisen Schritten.”
3:07 [m. 83]--Line 2.  The sopranos and altos join.  The presentation is again like stanza 1 in a major-key version, but the tenors and basses have three straight quarter notes on “duftende Nacht,” the tenors rising on an arpeggio that hints at C major.  The piano’s right-hand octaves arch back down from the heights with strong syncopation.  Schiller’s poem has an elision between the second and third lines, splitting an adjective from the noun it modifies, and Brahms’s setting follows suit as “süße” is set over two measures using chromatic harmonies, including a “diminished seventh,” that resolve on the third beat.  These flow directly into line 3.  The piano bass continues its characteristic rhythm, using broken octaves throughout the phrase.
3:21 [m. 89]--Line 3.  Again, this resembles stanza 1, the static phrase describing the tired horses, but now describing peace and love.  It lingers on “dominant” harmony, with a striking rolled “dominant seventh” chord in the piano’s right hand at the end.  Another four bars are added for a repetition of “ruhet und liebet, including a reiteration of “ruhet.”  The soprano is higher here, as is the harmony, but the repetition again ends with the striking rolled “dominant seventh” chord in the piano’s right hand.  Throughout the phrase, including the reiteration, the left-hand patterns are played with doubled octaves, but not all octave descents.
3:41 [m. 97]--Line 4.  This line naming the “radiant God” of the opening as “Phoebus” (Apollo) is set in a highly chromatic way, but the piano bass keeps things anchored with a persistent broken octave G.  The soprano and tenor begin with rising lines, imitated after a measure by the alto and bass.  All voices except the bass complete the line, but the bass does not state “ruht.”  All voices repeat the line, the sopranos beginning a beat earlier in syncopation and the altos two beats later, also in syncopation, with the tenor and bass on the downbeat.  The lower voices, with some staggering, almost complete the line without the final word “ruht.”  The bass repeats “Phöbus.”  The soprano, moving faster, completes it and even repeats “ruht.”
3:57 [m. 104]--At this point, all four voices finally come together with a third statement of the line, although the alto and tenor have only sung the final word “ruht” once and the bass has not sung it at all.  The soprano, however, has sung it three times.  When the voices finally come together, the bass is singing “Phöbus” for the fourth time, all other voices the third time.  Now they all sing the entire line, moving together, stretching out the word “liebende” and reaching a G-major cadence with the fifth of the chord, D in the soprano’s top voice.  The piano has three more measures of chords with the broken octave G in the bass before the hands come together for a closing, widely spaced held G-major chord.
4:28--END OF QUARTET [111 mm.]

3. Fragen (Questions).  Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer, after a Turkish source.  Andante con moto.  Three-part through-composed form.  A MAJOR, 6/8 time.

German Text:
“Mein liebes Herz, was ist dir?”
“Ich bin verliebt, das ist mir.”
“Wie ist dir denn zumut'?”
“Ich brenn’ in Höllenglut.”
“Erquicket dich kein Schlummer?”
“Den litte Qual und Kummer?”
“Gelingt kein Widerstand?”
“Wie doch bei solchem Brand?”
“Ich hoffe, Zeit wird’s wenden.”
“Es wird’s der Tod nur enden.”
“Was gäbst du, sie zu sehn?”
“Mich, dich, Welt, Himmelshöh’n.”
“Du redest ohne Sinn.”
“Weil ich in Liebe bin.”
“Du mußt vernünftig sein.”
“Das heißt, so kalt wie Stein.”
“Du wirst zugrunde gehen!”
“Ach, möcht’ es bald geschehen!”

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]-Part 1.  First exchange.  The three-bar piano introduction sets up the accompaniment pattern.  It involves leaping, arching harmonies with the left hand playing on the six metric units of the bar and the right hand following with sixteenth notes after all beats but the first and, in every third bar, the fourth.  The right hand is in two-note harmonies or full chords.  The mixing of major and minor is already apparent in this introduction.  The three questioners, beginning on an upbeat, gently address the heart, dolce, in swaying harmonies.  They emphasize the question, repeating “was ist dir?”  The tenor, in the huge solo role as the heart, responds, soaring high, mixing major and minor, then repeating and elongating “das ist mir.”
0:15 [m. 10]--Second exchange.  Overlapping the tenor’s arrival, the three voices pose their second question in long-short rhythms, holding out “Mut” and turning toward the “dominant” key of E as they rise.  The whole question is sung a second time, with the voices falling.  The tenor, louder than before and more agitated, overlaps with the end of the repeated question, singing the entire answer twice.  The last note is held before the repetition, which soars again to the tenor’s high A.  The first response tends toward E minor, but the second turns decisively to E major.  For the first time, the right hand plays after the first beat.
0:25 [m. 16]--Third exchange.  This is shorter and more direct.  The questioners only sing once, with no text repetition, moving back to A major.  The piano’s right-hand off-beat notes are briefly sustained in the bridge to the response.  The tenor responds without overlap, again louder than the questioners, changing from A major to A minor.  The right hand of the piano plays after the first beat once again.  It is also now less predictable when the right hand will not play after the fourth beat.
0:32 [m. 20]--Fourth exchange.  This is greatly extended, with four full repetitions of the question.  The response (this time answering a question with a question) is also sung four times, and there is significant overlap between the questioners and the tenor’s responses.  The first inquiry quickly rises, moving toward C major.  The tenor responds, beginning with his high A and descending, holding out the first syllable of “solchem.”  Already after “Wie doch,” the questioners interrupt and ask again as the tenor concludes his first response.  The key center has moved to C minor.  The tenor responds a second time, this time with a reiteration of “wie doch” and without the immediate interruption from the questioners.
0:41 [m. 25]--The third inquiry overlaps the tenor’s second conclusion, rising and building.  It moves back toward A major.  The tenor’s third response is more active, with fast bouncing descents.  The questioners immediately overlap with their fourth and last iteration of the question.  The alto and bass begin, and the soprano enters a measure later, echoing the tenor’s last response.  The bass stretches out “Widerstand” and the alto reiterates “kein Widerstand,” allowing the soprano to catch up.  The piano’s right hand, now constantly playing after all the beats, has become smoother and smoother, with held eighth notes often replacing the detached sixteenth notes.  The held and detached notes now become mixed.
0:49 [m. 29]--The tenor begins with a slight overlap, but then remains alone for the impassioned fourth response (itself a question) to the questioners’ repeated inquiry.  A steady descent is stretched out with the typical long-short rhythms of 6/8 meter.  Here, the right hand does not play after the fourth beat.  The tenor does not quite reach the keynote, A, and the piano quickly bridges to the return of the opening music to begin Part 2, still with the right hand not playing after the fourth beat.
0:53 [m. 32]--Part 2.  Fifth exchange.  The questioners begin in the same way they had with the first exchange, but then they repeat and extend “wenden,” the soprano reaching high and leaping down, making another harmonic turn, now to the “subdominant” D.  The tenor overlaps with this stretched-out repetition of “wenden,” holding out an impassioned high A on “Tod” (“death”).  The right hand here plays after every beat.  This is a climactic moment, and as he often does, the tenor turns to the minor key, now D minor. 
1:01 [m. 36]--The questioners overlap, making the hopeful inquiry a second time, descending, quieting from the tenor’s climax, and moving back to A.  The tenor’s second response is also much more subdued, although he still stretches out “Tod,” and he again turns toward minor.  Under this second tenor response to this exchange, the piano makes its first departure from the constant pattern of the right hand following the left after the beats.  To help with the diminishing volume and intensity, the hands now exchange on all six beats, the right hand following on the second, fourth, and sixth, creating a subtle cross-meter (implied 3/4)
1:10 [m. 41]--Sixth exchange.  Instead of a cadence on A minor, there is a “deceptive” motion to F major, indicated by a key signature change.  The piano has two measures of a new pattern with smoothly arching mid-range arpeggios.  The questioners enter halfway through the third bar as the smooth patterns continue.  The tenor’s response is his wildest and most disruptive.  Suddenly forte, he sings “Mich, dich, Welt” in implied 3/4 meter, supported by broken octaves in the piano bass.  The right hand of the piano has rising partly harmonized arpeggios in groups of three sixteenth notes, effectively an implied 12/16 meter.  The right-hand patterns continue as the tenor reaches a high A in the next bar and the bass restores the 6/8 pulse.
1:23 [m. 47]--Seventh exchange.  This is the crux of the quartet.  The piano moves back to its smooth arching arpeggios patterns, retaining a dissonant D-sharp from the previous wild response.  The questioners now have a statement (as they had previously on the fifth exchange).  They gently push back to A minor, but there is another “deceptive” motion to F as the tenor makes the first response, dolce.  He smoothly moves down, heading now toward B-flat major, as the piano’s right hand again changes to the disruptive arpeggios in groups of three sixteenth notes.
1:31 [m. 51]--Overlapping with the tenor, the questioners give their admonishing statement a second time, suddenly more actively and vigorously.  The piano aids in this.  In a highly chromatic, minor-inflected F major, its patterns are now detached and with fuller harmonies.  The tenor gives his response a second time, now to an equally vigorous, bouncing line.  The questioners overlap again and give the statement a third time, the sopranos imitating the bouncing tenor line.  The piano harmonies are still very chromatic.  The tenor’s third response reaches to a high A, and he reiterates “weil ich in Liebe” before the final word “bin” as the questioners overlap with a fourth statement of “du redest ohne Sinn.”
1:37 [m. 55]--In that fourth statement, the soprano also reaches a high A, shadowing the tenor.  The tenor is completing the reiteration of his third response at the same time.  The piano harmonies become smooth again.  Finally, without an intervening tenor response, the questioners move directly to the fifth and final statement of the admonishing words, stretching out the word “ohne” and repeating it with a descent that also diminishes in volume.  Before they complete the phrase, the tenor enters with one last response under the first “ohne,” and all four voices end the complex exchange together on the rhyming words “Sinn” and “bin,” reaching a hard-earned F-major cadence after all the chromatic harmonies.  The piano also recedes.
1:46 [m. 59]--The cadence is satisfying, but short-lived, as a piano interlude serves to make a transition back to the home key of A major.  The left hand has wide arpeggios while the right enters off the downbeat with rising harmonies.  When A major arrives in the third measure, it is marked dolce, and the piano patterns lead with livelier motion into the next exchange.
1:53 [m. 63]--Eighth exchange.  The original piano patterns, with the right hand following the left off the beat, gradually reassert themselves.  The questioners have yet another statement, now a direct admonition in long-short rhythm.  The tenor passionately responds with his protest, as usual adding poignant chromatic notes.  The questioners repeat their strong admonition, a step higher and more urgently.  The tenor’s response is also a step higher and extremely anguished.  The piano’s patterns are marked forte and are now nearly hammered.  Then everything rapidly diminishes as the tenor stretches and reiterates “so kalt, so kalt wie Stein.”  Over a new “pedal” piano bass A, his cadence overlaps with the next exchange and Part 3.
2:12 [m. 72]--Part 3.  Ninth exchange.  Part 3 is entirely devoted to the last couplet.  The original accompaniment pattern returns definitively, and the initial statement of the questioners is like those at the beginning and 0:53 [m. 32], following the pattern of the latter as “zu Grunde gehen” is repeated and stretched out with a turn toward D major.  The tenor’s agitated, contrasting, minor-inflected response overlaps with this, with the high A held on the word “bald.”
2:20 [m. 76]--As in Part 2 at 1:01 [m. 36], the tenor response overlaps with a second statement from the questioners that turns warmly back to A (the alto repeating “du wirst”).  As they conclude it, the accompaniment slows as it had before to the hands exchanging on all six beats for the tenor’s second, more resigned response in A minor.  There is now no “deceptive” motion, and the full cadence arrives.
2:28 [m. 81]--As the tenor descends to his resigned minor-key arrival, the questioners have a third statement, this one using all long half-measure notes before an internal repetition of “wirst zu Grunde.”  Here, the tenor enters early, descending on longer notes together with the alto and tenor (who are of course singing different words) as the soprano glides down in long-short patterns.  The accompaniment throughout this third statement is new, with high chords in the middle of each bar and low octaves on the downbeats and upbeats.  Some upper harmonies are added to the upbeat in the third and fourth bars.  The questioners finally sing “gehen,” the tenor only slightly extending beyond them with the completion of “geschehen.”
2:38 [m. 86]--The intensity and activity have steadily receded to this point.  The tenor begins a fourth response without the word “ach.”  The questioners begin a fourth and final statement of their last pronouncement, with the soprano beginning high and with a chromatic inflection (G-natural) like the last tenor descent.  Against this, the tenor repeats “bald” three times on a descending long-short rhythm.  All voices come together on a long note, the tenor’s word “geschehen” rhyming with the questioners’ “gehen.”  The tenor adds a poignant ornamental turn to the long note.  After this full measure, all four voices gently descend to their final A-major cadence, the tenor even here adding a biting minor-key inflection.
2:49 [m. 91]--The piano has a gentle postlude overlapping with the cadence.  The left hand retains the new pattern that has been established, with the bass octaves anchored to the keynote A.  The right hand, after echoing the opening vocal gesture, moves to a long-held chord that thins to a two-note harmony.  After the left hand slows, playing an isolated rolled chord halfway through the penultimate measure, the quartet closes with a held chord in both hands.
3:07--END OF QUARTET [94 mm.]