Recording: Jessye Norman, soprano (No. 5); Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449 633-2]

Published 1854.  Dedicated to Albert Dietrich.

This group provides early evidence of the care Brahms took in assembling his songs.  It ends with his earliest extant song, placed there (instead of in Op. 3) because it is an answer to the first five.  The first two songs are reasonably substantial, while the other four are unusually brief.  It seems that he wanted to construct a series of scenes depicting lonely or abandoned maidens followed by a boy jubilantly coming home.  The two Eichendorff poems (Nos. 2 and 3) can both be found in a different form in the poet’s novels, and Brahms appears to have paid attention to their context there.  The first three poems are narrative third person, the last three first person.  Perhaps the larger opening songs, both of which are excellent, were meant to provide contrasting outcomes, the first leading to death and the second to hope, but the third song makes it clear that hope will not prevail, at least until the final song.  The text of “Anklänge” does not make it clear that the girl will never wear the wedding dress she is sewing, but Brahms’s music does, fitting the context of its larger form in the novel.  The poem itself, in the form used for the song, is simply one of a series of three under that abstract title.  The two folk songs in the distinctive Swabian dialect, his earliest folk text settings, are dark and starkly grim.  No. 4 is not gender-specific, but No. 5 is.  That song is as deeply affecting as it is slight, not least due to its striking stepwise modal harmonies and its use of the “bar” form typical of Bach chorales.  The closing song by the 19-year-old Brahms begins dramatically and ends grandly, skillfully building to its major-key conclusion, but its tightness, running less than a minute, clashes somewhat with the expression, and the expression is perhaps too demonstrative for the straightforward four-line poem.  The poet Uhland was himself from the Swabian area, so it was fitting for him to answer the dialect songs.

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

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original keys)
From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max Friedländer):
No. 1: Treue Liebe (in original key, F-sharp minor)
No. 1: Treue Liebe (in middle key, E minor)
No. 1: Treue Liebe (in low key, E minor--same key published in middle and low editions)
No. 2: Parole (in original key, E minor)
No. 2: Parole (in low key, C minor)
No. 3: Anklänge (in original key, A minor)
No. 3: Anklänge (in low key, F-sharp minor)
No. 4: Volkslied
(in original key, E minor)
No. 4: Volkslied
(in low key, C-sharp minor)
No. 5: Die Trauernde (in original key, A minor)
No. 5: Die Trauernde (in low key, G minor)
No. 6: Heimkehr (in original key, B minor)
No. 6: Heimkehr (in middle key, G minor)
No. 6: Heimkehr (in low key, F-sharp minor)
Nos. 2-5 (original keys--higher resolution)

1. Treue Liebe (True Love).  Text by Eduard Ferrand.  Andante con espressione.  Strophic form with varied third verse.  F-SHARP MINOR, 6/8 time.  (Middle/low key E minor).

German Text:
Ein Mägdlein saß am Meerestrand
Und blickte voll Sehnsucht ins Weite.
»Wo bleibst du, mein Liebster, Wo weilst du so lang?
Nicht ruhen läßt mich des Herzens Drang.
Ach, kämst du, mein Liebster, doch heute!«

Der Abend nahte, die Sonne sank
Am Saum des Himmels darnieder.
»So trägt dich die Welle mir nimmer zurück?
Vergebens späht in die Ferne mein Blick.
Wo find’ ich, mein Liebster, dich wieder,

Die Wasser umspielten ihr schmeichelnd den Fuß,
Wie Träume von seligen Stunden;
Es zog sie zur Tiefe mit stiller Gewalt:
Nie stand mehr am Ufer die holde Gestalt,
Sie hat den Geliebten gefunden!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The piano begins a quiet undulation depicting the waves on the shore.  The flowing motion is passed between the left and right hands with overlap.  After a measure, the voice enters on the upbeat with its gently rocking melody, reaching up and descending at the end of the first line.  The left hand now takes longer breaks instead of overlapping with the right.  On the second line the voice rises and swells to a high note, making a very brief harmonic detour to G minor and D major.  At the high note on “Weite,” the piano rises and slows in an arpeggio before the voice drops down
0:13 [m. 6]--Stanza 1, lines 3-5.  The piano’s sliding upward motion leads to the third line.  The music is the same as the first line, but the piano is set an octave higher with the left hand reiterating the “dominant” note C-sharp.  Long-short rhythms on repeated notes are used to accommodate extra syllables.  The fourth line is set to a new and urgent surging line, doubled by the piano left hand.  The right hand moves to upward arching arpeggios on unstable “diminished seventh” harmonies.   The first statement of the fifth line is a step higher than the fourth and ends with a strong motion toward B minor.
0:29 [m. 12]--The voice leaps up to repeat the last line, which begins with a surge to forte in B minor.  The left hand continues to double the notes of the voice while the right now incorporates wider leaps and rising octaves in its steady, constant motion.  The voice moves down as the harmony moves back home to F-sharp minor.  At the last word “heute,” the singer soars up in a poignant “tritone.”  Under this, the piano sweeps up and down in an extended and colorful motion to the cadence, the voice settling on the expectant “dominant” note.  In the bridge measure, the piano continues down, alternating lower and upper notes.
0:39 [m. 1]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2.  Strophic repetition from Stanza 1 with a “split” repeated note on “nahte” and a “joined” note on “Saum.” 
0:53 [m. 6]--Stanza 2, lines 3-5.  Strophic repetition from Stanza 1 at 0:13 with a “split” repeated note on “Ferne” in line 4.  The word “Liebster” in line 5 arrives at the same point as in the first stanza.
1:09 [m. 12]--Climactic repetition of the last line as at 0:29 with the “tritone” on “wieder.”
1:19 [m. 15]--Stanza 3, lines 1-2.  Though marked dolce, the music is more agitated.  The piano surges up in arpeggios, using triplet rhythm for the first time.  At the top of each arpeggio, there is a “sighing” descent to the “dominant” note in straight rhythm in both hands.  The first vocal line is like those in the first two stanzas, but with the new accompaniment.  As the line comes to an end, the “sighing” descents gradually move upward.  The second vocal line is changed, reaching higher and using repeated notes instead of a rising direction, and building strongly in volume.  The harmony also avoids the harmonic detour, staying close to the home key.  As the line ends, the “sigh” figures take over, reaching high and plunging down.
1:33 [m. 20]--Stanza 3, line 3.  This is the crux and climax of the song.  The voice stays on a repeated note, then leaps up to a longer one (D) on “stiller.”  Under this, the piano plays a very colorful triplet arpeggio on an “augmented” chord and moves strongly to D, now D minor, on “Tiefe.”  As the voice leaps up to “stiller,” another colorful harmony is heard in an arpeggio on E-flat.  The voice follows this, moving up, then down, before settling again on the long-held D.  The piano arpeggios, still in triplets, now become highly decorative, establishing D minor in a rising line, then moving in right-hand waves as the left settles on a held drone.  These waves slow, diminish and descend after the voice drops out in the second measure.
1:49 [m. 25]--Stanza 3, lines 4-5.  The piano’s arpeggios cease, and the music returns to the home key (F-sharp minor).  Block chords accompany the statement of line 4, which resembles the typical setting of lines 1 and 3 in the other stanzas.  There is one more reference to D (major) on “holde.”  On the last line, the voice expressively decorates the word “hat” with grace notes, then descends in a similar way as in the other two stanzas, but quietly and over block chords. 
2:02 [m. 28]--There is still a “tritone” on the last word “gefunden,” but it is changed, now starting on the upbeat a half-step lower, and rising to the “dominant” note, which is held a full measure.  The piano’s right hand begins to play high arching arpeggios under it.  The voice rises a step, to where the “tritone” had landed in previous stanzas, holds that note a full measure, then quickly moves through the “dominant” note and leaps down to the keynote F-sharp, holding it for two measures as the right-hand arpeggios slow, descend, and diminish over a low hollow left-hand harmony.  These continue for another measure.
2:19 [m. 33]--The piano continues its postlude, returning to the patterns from the opening, an octave lower than before.  After two very quiet ppp measures of these, the left hand plays three softly thumping reiterations of a low bass octave, the last one held.
2:40--END OF SONG [36 mm.]

2. Parole (Watchword--Italian “Parole” = “Words”).  Text by Josef Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff.  Andante con moto.  Varied strophic form (AABBA’).  E MINOR, 6/8 time.  (Low key C minor).

German Text:
Sie stand wohl am Fensterbogen
Und flocht sich traurig das Haar,
Der Jäger war fortgezogen,
Der Jäger ihr Liebster war.

Und als der Frühling gekommen,
Die Welt war von Blüthen verschneit,
Da hat sie ein Herz sich genommen
Und ging in die grüne Haid’.

Sie legt das Ohr an den Rasen,
Hört ferner Hufe Klang --
Das sind die Rehe, die grasen
Am schattigen Bergeshang.

Und Abends die Wälder rauschen,
Von fern nur fällt noch ein Schuß,
Da steht sie stille, zu lauschen:
»Das war meines Liebsten Gruß!«

Da sprangen vom Fels die Quellen,
Da flohen die Vöglein in’s Thal.
»Und wo ihr ihn trefft, ihr Gesellen,
O, grüßt mir ihn tausendmal!«

English Translation
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  It appears to be in C major, a minor third below the actual key.  The series of horn calls begins with an upbeat on an open fifth in the bass.  The right hand then plays a rising call, after which the left-hand fifth separates like a drum roll.  This sequence is repeated.  On a third statement, the right-hand call is a third higher, and the left hand leaves its drone fifth to introduce a harmony that includes the note A-sharp, also included in the fourth right-hand call.  There is a pause on this colorful harmony (the so-called “augmented sixth”), which provides a transition into the home key (E minor) for the vocal entry.
0:16 [m. 6]--Stanza 1 (A), lines 1-2.  The plaintive vocal line descends against tumbling piano arpeggios with the bass anchored to the “dominant” note (B).  Line 1 begins with a long-short repeated-note rhythm while line 2 has a single syllable in the same place.  Line 2 is set a third lower than line 1, and the piano adds an imitation of line 1 against it, creating a harmony a third above, placed over the continuing arpeggios.
0:28 [m. 10]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  The piano bass moves to C.  The vocal line now rises and builds, in minor thirds instead of steps, and closes with a falling major third.  The use of notes foreign to E minor (F-natural and A-flat), with a seeming “dominant” C in the bass, suggests the key of F minor or major, but the presence of the note B belies that.  It could be a mixture of C minor and major, but B-flats undermine that.  At any rate, the higher line 4 omits the falling third, and the C major harmony returns to the environment of the introduction, adding the A-sharp to assist the transition.  The last two “horn calls” are heard in the right hand, but with an earlier deployment of the A-sharp and an added reference to the drum roll fifth in the left.
0:49 [m. 6]--Stanza 2 (A), lines 1-2.  The opening partial upbeat comes at the end of the first ending before a repeat sign (m. 16a) after the transitional horn calls, which had slowed and quieted down.  In these lines, the long-short rhythm on a repeated note is omitted from line 1 and added to line 2 due to the reversed syllabic declamation.  The piano imitation under line 2 still includes the long-short rhythm, as in stanza 1.
1:01 [m. 10]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4.  The only difference from stanza 1 is that two words, “Herz sich” are set to notes previously used for the one-syllable word “fort.”  The transition follows, but halfway through the second ending measure (m. 16b), an oscillating broken octave on C begins in the right hand.
1:22 [m. 17]--Stanza 3 (B), lines 1-2.  For these next two verses, in which the girl thinks of the greeting from her beloved hunter, Brahms completely moves away from the home key.  The broken octave C continues in the right hand for an introductory measure and throughout the first two lines of the verse.  Hushed, the singer enters with a new melody that has the same basic rhythm as the first two verses.  This is in the key of F, a half-step above the home key (a key center that had been hinted in the second half of the previous verses).  Below the continuing broken octave, the left hand doubles the voice an octave lower, but harmonizes it throughout in thirds, fifths, and sixths, creating another “horn call” effect.
1:33 [m. 22]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4.  The broken octave moves up to E, not as the home key, but as the “dominant” in A, where these two lines are set.  The third line is in A minor rising, the second in A major settling down.  The left hand continues to double the vocal melody with its harmonization.  As the last line concludes on a half-close, the left hand immediately echoes it.  The line itself is then repeated with a full close.  The transitional measure (the first ending, m. 27a) moves the right-hand broken octave back to C for the repetition of the musical material in stanza 4.
1:46 [m. 18]--Stanza 4 (B), lines 1-2.  The musical material is the same, but adjustments are made to the declamation.  At the end of the second line, the voice even adds a descending note in the long-short rhythm to accommodate an extra syllable.  This “added” note was already present in the left-hand doubling.  Even against a note that is long in both stanzas, the piano has a long-short rhythm to preserve the character.
1:54 [m. 22]--Stanza 4, lines 3-4.  Here there are no adjustments to the syllables or declamation, but it is interesting to note that at the end of line 4, in both stanzas, the piano left hand has the “added” note in the descent (like that in line 2) even though the voice does not have this note in either stanza (it is omitted even in the piano on the line repetition).  The second ending (m. 27b) continues the broken octave on E, delaying the motion back down to C and change to minor harmony in an extension measure.  There is a “plagal” motion back to E minor for the final stanza.
2:09 [m. 29]--Stanza 5 (A’), lines 1-2.  These lines are as in the first two stanzas, including the right-hand imitation.  Interestingly, the long-short rhythm on the repeated note now happens in both lines.  Even the transitional measure is as before, giving no hint of the dramatic change in the next lines.
2:18 [m. 33]--Stanza 5, lines 3-4.  Suddenly strong and forceful, the vocal line is dramatically altered.  Repeated notes and leaps replace the rising lines, and the key shifts toward the “dominant” B major.  The last line reaches higher, and the harmony moves away from the “dominant” and toward the home major key.  The last note on “mal” is held for a full measure.  The falling arpeggios in the piano continue.
2:28 [m. 37]--The climactic word “tausend” is shouted forth twice more on long notes.  The second repetition rises to a high G-sharp and holds it for a measure and a half.  This note defines E major, but the full arrival on that harmony is effectively delayed, with the “relative” C-sharp minor and the “dominant” B major extending it.  In fact, the full cadence does not happen until the voice descends from G-sharp to E, making it even more effective and satisfying.
2:33 [m. 40]--Piano postlude.  With the final note and the delayed cadence on “mal,” the piano finally breaks from the arpeggios and returns to the horn calls of the introduction, now in the “proper” key of E major.  The first of these is coupled with the familiar open fifth in the left-hand bass, now using the long-short rhythm from the verses.  There are two more horn calls, and before each one, the top note of the bass harmony rises a half-step, ending with a sixth.  After the last horn call, the hands come together and move inward in contrary motion, both harmonized, before settling to the final chord, which has the major-clinching G-sharp on top.
2:53--END OF SONG [45 mm.]

3. Anklänge (Reminiscences).  Text by Josef Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff.  Andante moderato.  Two-part through-composed form with varied partial return.  A MINOR, 3/4 time.  (Low key F-sharp minor).

German Text:
Hoch über stillen Höhen
Stand in dem Wald ein Haus;
So einsam war’s zu sehen,
Dort übern Wald hinaus.

Ein Mädchen saß darinnen
Bei stiller Abendzeit,
Tät seidne Fäden spinnen
Zu ihrem Hochzeitskleid.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]-Stanza 1.  The piano’s right hand begins a soft, steady after-beat syncopation in octaves on the “dominant” note, which will continue through the first half.  After two measures, the voice enters on the upbeat, singing in a short-long pattern.  For the first line, the singer winds upward, down a step and up a skip.  The second line moves straight down, turning up on the last note.  The mezza voce melody is doubled in both hands, in the upper voice of the left hand one or two octaves below, and after the beat, in harmonies inside the right-hand syncopated octaves.  The voice part in the second line is only three measures long as opposed to four in the first, but the piano fills the fourth measure with a bridge on the “dominant” harmony.
0:23 [m. 11]--The third and fourth lines are set to the same music as the first two, but the final note of the last line moves down instead of up.  The piano bridge after the second line is changed.  It delays the “dominant” harmony and adds a sliding chromatic line in the bass.
0:42 [m. 19]--Stanza 2.  The first two lines are in the “dominant” key (E), the first in major and the second in minor.  The right hand abandons its octaves, but not the continuous after-beat syncopation.  The harmonies are the same in both hands, in sixths, fifths, and thirds, with the left hand on the beat.  The voice sweeps up in both lines, leaping down between them.  Again, the second line is set in three measures without the downward leap, the piano completing the phrase.  The piano follows the contour of the vocal line, but the doublings (now in the lower voice of both hands, the left higher than before) are less regular.
0:57 [m. 27]--The third line returns to the home key, the voice excitedly leaping and descending.  The full harmonies of the right-hand syncopation now double the voice in the top notes.  The left hand has tolling bass octaves and fifths on the downbeats, leaping up to sighing gestures on the second and third beats.  The last line soars and builds strongly, moving to the “relative” C major and reaching the voice’s highest pitch.  The left hand here has marching bass octaves that also rise, harmonizing the voice in expanded thirds.  It is again set in three measures.  The piano bridge moves to the home key with a colorful “augmented” chord.
1:12 [m. 35]--The third and fourth lines are repeated to the same vocal melody used in stanza 1.  The only significant changes to the voice part itself are that it begins forte, then diminishes in volume for the last line, and the final note does not move, but stays on the home keynote.  The accompaniment is changed in several ways.  First, the constant outer note in the syncopated right hand is now the “tonic” note A instead of the “dominant.”  Second, the doubling of the vocal line in the bass is supplemented by a harmony a third above.  Third, the “tonic” note A is reiterated as a “pedal point” in the bass.  The last vocal note is held three measures and the piano texture thins, turning to major at the very last moment in a final measure.
1:48--END OF SONG [44 mm.]

4. Volkslied (Folk Song).  Text from Georg Scherer’s collection Deutsche Volkslieder.  Bewegt (With motion).  Simple strophic form.  E MINOR, 3/4 time.  (Low key C-sharp minor).

German Text (Swabian dialect):
Die Schwälble ziehet fort, ziehet fort,
Weit an en andre, andre Ort;
Und i sitz’ do in Traurigkeit,
Es isch a böse, schwere Zeit.

Könnt’ i no fort durch d’ Welt, fort durch d’ Welt,
Weil mir’s hie gar net, gar net g’fällt!
O Schwälble, komm, i bitt’, i bitt’!
Zeig mir de Weg und nimm mi mit!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza (strophe) 1.  The piano introduces the continuous undulating eighth-note motion that will underlie the entire song.  It works up, beginning in the tenor range, sticking to the notes of the main “tonic” minor harmony.  In the third measure, the lower note becomes anchored to the “dominant” pitch.  The voice enters at the end of the fourth measure with its meandering melody, artfully doubled in the top notes of the left and right hands, the latter integrated with the continuous motion.  The repetition of “ziehet fort” is quieter, without the left hand doubling, as that hand moves to a low drone fifth.
0:08 [m. 10]--In the second line, the singer works upward and builds in volume with successively higher three-note descents, repeating the word “andre.”  The right-hand undulation breaks free from the lower “dominant” note, moving first to the keynote, then, with the harmony, to the note of the “relative” major, G at the high point.  The top notes of the left hand harmonize the voice first a sixth, then a third below.  After the line is completed over G-major harmony, the piano echoes the descent a third lower, still undulating over the lower note (now the keynote) and left-hand harmonies, finally settling on E major (not minor).
0:15 [m. 17]--The third line begins like the first, but where that had broken off for the text repetition, this continues to work upward, with the lower note of the right hand undulation moving from the “dominant” to the keynote.  After reaching another high point, the final line moves down a full octave in two stepwise descents, closing with the song’s only full cadence and only instance of the “leading tone,” buried in the right-hand harmony.  The piano’s continuation begins like the echo after the second line, but it is an octave lower, remains in minor, and is extended with another descent, arriving at the song’s opening notes.
0:28 [m. 30a (1)]--Stanza (strophe) 2.  The first ending (mm. 30a-31a) is the same as the first two measures of the piano introduction, but with a continuing drone fifth in the bass, which had not been present at the beginning.  The repeat sign leads back to the third measure.  The first line of the stanza is sung as before, with the quieter text repetition on the more awkward “fort durch d’Welt.”
0:36 [m. 10]--The second line follows as at 0:08, with repetition of “gar net” and piano motion to E major.
0:44 [m. 17]--Lines 3-4, set as at 0:15, with some changes of declamation.  The last word of the third line, “bitt’,” is extended up to the note previously used as an upbeat to the final line.  The last line is declaimed quite differently, with extra syllables on the descents and an omitted syllable between them.  After the piano continuation, the second ending simply ceases the motion and holds the harmony for two measures.
1:04--END OF SONG [31 mm. ([29 x 2] +2)]

5. Die Trauernde (The Unhappy Girl).  Text from Georg Scherer’s collection Deutsche Volkslieder, previously rearranged and edited by Wilhelm Hauff.  Langsam (Slowly).  Strophic bar form (AABa’).  A MINOR, 3/4 time.  (Low key G Minor).

German Text (Swabian dialect):
Mei Mueter mag mi net,
Und kein Schatz han i net,
Ei warum sterb’ i net,
Was tu i do?

Gestern isch Kirchweih g’wä,
Mi hot mer g’wis net g’seh,
Denn mir isch’s gar so weh,
I tanz ja net.

Laßt die drei Rose stehn,
Die an dem Kreuzle blühn:
Hent ihr das Mädle kennt,
Die drunter liegt?

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (Stollen 1), lines 1-2.  The first line begins with a vocal upbeat, rising to a descending melody that leaps down to the “dominant.”  The piano accompanies with simple block harmonies, but the progressions are modal, using archaic-sounding stepwise chordal motion.  The second line rises, then also falls to the “dominant” note.  The piano progression here also starts in a modal way but becomes more conventional at the end.  A half-cadence, moving to the true “dominant” with the otherwise-avoided “leading tone,” is the piano’s only motion independent of the voice, happening under the last vocal note.
0:12 [m. 5]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  The voice in these two lines is the same as in the first two, but it does not begin with an upbeat.  The third line has a repeated note on “warum” where line 1 had a single note on the second syllable of “Mueter.”  The fourth line, with only four syllables, merges two formerly repeated notes.  The piano harmonies have subtle, significant variations.  The third line ends on the “relative” major harmony instead of the home “tonic.”  The chords under the fourth line are adjusted to end on a full cadence instead of a half-close.  The piano quietly echoes this cadence in an added measure, with the hands moving outward an octave in each direction and adding fuller harmony.
0:28 [m. 1]--Stanza 2 (Stollen 2), lines 1-2.  The repeat sign is to the downbeat.  There is no upbeat for this verse, and the first line is set like line 3.  The second line shifts a repeated note from the first to the second beat.  The piano part, of course, is unvaried from stanza 1.
0:39 [m. 5]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4.  These lines are set as in stanza 1, with no changes of declamation.  The piano echo of the final cadence follows as before, leading in to stanza 3 (the “Abgesang”).
0:55 [m. 10]--Stanza 3 (Abgesang), lines 1-2.  These two lines provide the primary variation in the song, and although identical to each other, they are striking.  In each, the voice rises to its highest pitch, swelling to forte, then moves back down and recedes.  But more notable is that the first measure of each line uses A-minor harmony, and the second A major, the close succession bridged by the “subdominant” D minor.  For the second line, the harmony moves directly back to minor, then swells and recedes as before.
1:09 [m. 14]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4.  These lines return to the material of the first two stanzas, and the voice part is the same as the last two lines from those two verses at 0:12 and 0:39 [m. 5].  The harmonies are also the same, but there is some intensification in the piano’s setting.  Under line 3, the left hand adds a downward leaping octave against a single vocal note.  This allows the left hand to remain an octave lower for the remainder of the lines, even adding a lower A to the piano’s echo of the final cadence. 
1:32--END OF SONG [18 mm. ([9 x 2] +9)]

6. Heimkehr (Homecoming).  Text by Ludwig Uhland.  Allegro agitato.  Through-composed form.  B MINOR, 4/4 time.  (Middle key G minor, low key F-sharp minor).

German Text:
O brich nicht, Steg, du zitterst sehr!
O stürz’ nicht, Fels, du dräuest schwer!
Welt, geh’ nicht unter, Himmel, fall’ nicht ein,
Bis ich mag bei der Liebsten sein!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  The right hand begins with an upbeat, then plays a powerful rising gesture ending with a “dotted” (long-short) rhythm.  Under this, the left hand plays the low, thick chords in triplet rhythm that pervade the entire short song.  The rising gesture is played at a higher level, powerfully building in volume.  The motion is then arrested with three strong chords in the right hand and a downward inversion of the opening gesture in the left hand.  Another three chords, with another downward gesture in the left hand, lead to a pair of fermata holds on the chord and the subsequent rests before the vocal entry.
0:10 [m. 6]--Lines 1-2.  For each line, the voice has a rising gesture derived from the introduction, followed by a descent after the comma.  These remain relatively quiet.  The piano again begins its steady chord triplets, this time in the right hand.  The left-hand bass answers the voice with its own rising gesture under the first descent in line 1.  In line 2, this bass answer is turned downward at the end as both the voice and piano settle on the “dominant” harmony (F-sharp).
0:20 [m. 10]--Line 3.  Unlike the first two lines, it begins on a downbeat, using the same mildly arching shape for each of its two halves.  The two vocal gestures are imitated in the low bass, and the second builds in volume.  The steady triplets persist in the right hand.  The second half of the line (“Himmel fall’ nicht ein”) is repeated on a rising and dissonant “diminished seventh” harmony, leading back to the home key.  This “diminished seventh” then quickly descends in the left-hand bass.  The volume builds even more.
0:26 [m. 13]--Line 4.  The entire line is sung three times, beginning on an upbeat.  The first two statements are identical in the voice part, each having two short descents.  At the beginning, the volume quickly recedes, then builds again.  Under the first statement, the left hand also has triplet chords, but after that, it breaks and begins a series of its own similar descents, the second of which happens under the second statement and the third of which is the same as the first, following that second vocal statement.  The triplets in the right hand, though higher and thinner, are ever more excited.
0:32 [m. 17]--The final repetition of the last line adds an additional reiteration of “bis ich.”  That initial “bis ich” is held on the voice’s longest note thus far as the left hand plays a fourth descent that is like its second one, but without its long-short rhythm.  The whole line is then sung as the voice rises even higher and the ever-thicker piano triplets prepare the dramatic motion to the major.  This happens as the voice marches down to a held note on “Liebsten,” with the left hand joining the triplets on B-major harmony.  The voice confirms the cadence in major with its final note on “sein,” placed on the raised third (D-sharp).  The left hand continues the triplets after the cadence as chords in the right hand grandly rise to the conclusion.
0:50--END OF SONG [21 mm.]