SIX SONGS (GESÄNGE), OP. 7
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.
Recording: Jessye Norman, soprano (No. 5); Dietrich
Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449
Dedicated to Albert Dietrich.
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily
Ezust’s site at http://www.lieder.net.
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.
IMSLP WORK PAGE
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From
Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max
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)
Volkslied (in low
key, C-sharp minor)
No. 5: Die Trauernde (in
original key, A
low key, G
middle key, G
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).
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!
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
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
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
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
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).
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!«
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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?
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
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!
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
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.]
END OF SET
BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME