FIVE SONGS (GESÄNGE), OP. 71
This group contains some of the most popular songs
in the four sets published between the first two symphonies, at
the pinnacle of the “high maturity.” In contrast to Op. 70,
the set has a generally positive and optimistic mood. While
the first two songs do have a twinge of pain, and the first one
even irony, a serene sense or exuberance and excitement for love
current, rather than love lost, pervades the set. The
opening song sets a text by Heine that ironically parodies folk
poetry. Brahms’s delightful setting engages in some word
painting, especially with the approach of the young man on the
horse. Heine actually revised the second stanza of the
poem. Brahms disliked the second version of the first line
and the first version of the third line, so he compromised, which
eliminated the rhyme. The second song, “An den Mond,” is
highly evocative, its character derived from constant
three-measure phrases and effectively contrasted material.
“Geheimnis,” in third position, manages to be both restrained and
excited at the same time. The song virtually floats through
its many text repetitions, slowing almost imperceptibly to its
contended close. There follows one of Brahms’s most erotic
songs, a serenade from the inside, as it were. The restless
accompaniment sets a passionate mood. In each verse, the
refrain for the titular question momentarily reins things
in. The set closes with the deceptively simple and exquisite
“Minnelied,” to a text by Hölty, a poet who always brought out
eloquent utterances from the composer. It is a
straightforward, untroubled love song whose beauty is
effortless. The piano postlude is especially sophisticated
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [449
Note: Links to English translations of the
texts are from Emily Ezust's site at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.
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
FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel
Sämtliche Werke--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max
Es liebt sich so lieblich im Lenze (in original key, D major)
1: Es liebt sich so lieblich im Lenze (in
middle key, B-flat major)
1: Es liebt sich so lieblich im Lenze (in low key, A
An den Mond (in original key, B minor)
2: An den Mond (in middle key, G minor)
2: An den Mond (in low key, F-sharp minor)
3: Geheimnis (in original key, G major)
3: Geheimnis (in middle key, E-flat major)
3: Geheimnis (in low key, D major)
4: Willst du, daß ich geh’? (in original key, D minor)
4: Willst du, daß ich geh’? (in
low key, C minor)
5: Minnelied (in original [middle] key, C major)
Minnelied (in high key, D major)
5: Minnelied (in low key, B-flat major)
1. Es liebt sich so lieblich im Lenze (Love is so
Lovely in Spring). T
ext by Heinrich Heine. Anmutig bewegt (With graceful
motion). Four-part modified strophic form (AA’BA”). D
MAJOR, 4/4 time (Middle key B-flat major, low key A major).
Die Wellen blinken und fließen dahin,
Es liebt sich so lieblich im Lenze!
Am Flusse sitzet die Schäferin
Und windet die zärtlichsten Kränze.
Das knospet und quillt und duftet und blüht,
es liebt sich so lieblich im Lenze!
Die Schäferin seufzt aus tiefer Brust:
»Wem geb’ ich meine Kränze?«
Ein Reiter reitet den Fluß entlang,
er grüßet so blühenden Mutes,
die Schäferin schaut ihm nach so bang,
fern flattert die Feder des Hutes.
Sie weint und wirft in den gleitenden Fluß
die schönen Blumenkränze.
Die Nachtigall singt von Lieb’ und Kuß,
es liebt sich so lieblich im Lenze!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A).
Lines 1-2. The very brief piano introduction is marked dolce.
It begins with a leisurely descending line in octaves.
This is repeated with the distance between the hands expanded to
two octaves. The singer enters on the upbeat of this
repetition. For the first line, the voice gently arches up
and back down. The accompaniment continues underneath it,
with the right hand repeating the introduction figure while the
left moves away from the octaves and provides a wide-ranging,
active bass. After the first measure, the right hand
continues with similar arching lines. The second vocal
line, the song’s refrain and title, hovers for a bit, then leaps
high on “Lenze.” The piano right hand winds downward in
0:10 [m. 7]--Lines 3-4. On the third line, which
describes the protagonist, the vocal melody consists of two
descending lines. The accompaniment is more halting, with
the right hand moving to off-beat harmonies while the left plays
rising arpeggios. The stanza’s last line makes a turn
toward the “dominant” harmony. It literally “winds” around
the word “windet,” then leaps up. Then the words “windet
die zärtlichsten” are repeated to a similar line, but the upward
leap is a step higher. The piano pattern again changes,
with the right hand providing a counterpoint to the bass and the
voice. The off-beat harmonies move to a middle voice in
the left hand. The last word, “Kränze,” not heard before
the repetition, leaps down to a full cadence, moving from the
“dominant.” A rising bass arpeggio leads into the next
0:20 [m. 12]--Stanza 2 (A’). Lines
1-2. Other than the extra syllable in the first line,
which is accommodated by splitting a note into two shorter
notes, the vocal melody and the accompaniment for these lines
are the same as in stanza 1, including the introduction.
0:30 [m. 18]--Lines 3-4. The vocal melody for line
3 is largely the same as in stanza 1, with an added dotted
(long-short) rhythm on “Schäferin” to accommodate the
declamation. The accompaniment is subtly altered, with
slight changes to the left hand arpeggios and new descending
lines in thirds added to the right hand. Line 4 begins as
it had in stanza 1, but at the second measure, there is an
insertion. The last gesture of the first measure is
repeated for the word “Kränze,” completing the line. This
gesture includes a biting piano dissonance not used in stanza
1. Then the entire line (including “Kränze”) is repeated,
following the pattern from stanza 1. But the insertion
shifts the repetition forward half a measure. The vocal
cadence is now incomplete. The transitional arpeggio is
expanded by four rising thirds alternating between hands.
0:44 [m. 25]--Stanza 3 (B). Lines 1-2.
The key abruptly shifts up a third, to F-sharp major.
There, the piano begins an animato accompaniment in
triplet rhythm. The left hand plays galloping figures with
downward octave leaps. The right generally leaps down to a
harmonic third, with a rest on the second part of the
triplet. The forceful vocal line twice states a strong
downward gesture in line 1. Line 2, by contrast, includes
a graceful upward leap and a gentle descent. Under this
line, the figures in the left and right hands briefly
alternate. The line ends on a half-close. It is then
unexpectedly repeated, replacing “er grüßet” with a reiteration
of “blühenden,” and placing “so” at the beginning.
0:54 [m. 31]--Lines 3-4. For these lines, as the
young man rides away from the shepherdess on his horse, the key
is inflected to F-sharp minor. The vocal line
becomes more sinuous and chromatic. The accompaniment
pattern changes. The right hand is still in triplet
rhythm, but the galloping figures are replaced by smoothly
flowing ones. These follow the contour of the figures that
had “galloped” in the left hand in the first two lines.
The left hand itself changes to slower quarter notes gradually
moving up and back down. At line 4, the singer floats
upward as the feather in the young man’s hat flutters. At
the same time, the introduction melody, in “straight rhythm” and
on its original pitches, sneaks into the left hand
1:01 [m. 35]--The words “die Feder des Hutes” are
repeated to the same notes, but with doubled length. This
same descending pattern is concealed in the right hand triplet
figures as well. The introduction melody, just heard in
the left hand, is heard again an octave lower. Under the
lengthened “Hutes,” the introduction melody moves to the right
hand in a high register, where it is heard twice over rising
left hand triplet-rhythm arpeggios. The key is bridged
from F-sharp minor over B minor back home to D major as
1:06 [m. 38]--Stanza 4 (A”). Lines
1-2. The vocal melody for line 1 is the same as that used
for the first two stanzas, but with a poignant minor-key
inflection on “gleitenden.” This is also present in the
accompaniment. Marked animato, it continues the
preceding pattern of a “straight rhythm” right hand based on the
introduction (which is heard one last time under the line)
against rising triplet arpeggios in the left hand. The
second line is completely new, since this time it is not the
refrain line. It is built on yearning stepwise descents or
“sigh” figures. The right hand joins in the triplet
arpeggios here, then it plays the sigh figures in a long-short
pattern, trailing and echoing the voice. In a single
“bridge” measure, the harmony veers to the “subdominant,” G
1:16 [m. 43]--Line 3. This line is also new,
although it resembles the third lines of the first two
stanzas. The excitement suddenly recedes, and the vocal
line, in the “subdominant” key of G, gently arches down and back
up in buoyant arpeggios. The piano continues to use the
triplet rhythm, with the right hand reaching high as the top
notes of its triplets form a rising line. The left hand
plays isolated broken octaves.
1:21 [m. 46]--Line 4. With the refrain line as the
last line of the stanza, Brahms returns to the phrase he used
for that line in the first two stanzas. Here, back home in
D, it is introduced by a rapid rising arpeggio. The
triplets are finally abandoned in favor of joyous sixteenth
notes, used in the accompaniment for the first time. The
singer presents the line with renewed strength after the gentle
interlude of the third line. The sixteenth-note arpeggios
leap up and down the keyboard in the right hand against
syncopated broken octaves in the left. The line is
repeated a third higher, with the rapid arpeggios moving to the
left hand and the right hand playing supporting chords.
The end of the line is changed to leap down to a full cadence.
1:29 [m. 50]--Postlude. After the vocal cadence,
the sixteenth-note arpeggios continue in the left hand, arching
up and back down. The right hand plays isolated “sigh”
figures beginning off the beat and leaning into the weak
beats. These gradually descend and subside. The last
“sigh” figure is lengthened and supported by a harmony with a
minor-key inflection, slightly darkening the serene mood of the
ending, but it resolves into a warm, full, and rich rolled
1:47--END OF SONG [52 mm.]
2. An den Mond (To the Moon). Text by Karl
Simrock. Nicht zu langsam und mit Anmut (Not too slowly and
with grace). Through-composed form (two sections of six
lines each, then partial return of each section with two lines
each). B MINOR, 2/4 time (Middle key G minor, low key
Silbermond mit bleichen Strahlen
pflegst du Wald und Feld zu malen,
gibst den Bergen, gibst den Talen
der Empfindung Seufzer ein.
Sei Vertrauter meiner Schmerzen,
Segler in der Lüfte See:
Sag’ ihr, die ich trag’ im Herzen,
wie mich tötet Liebesweh.
Sag’ ihr, über tausend Meilen
sehne sich mein Herz nach ihr.
»Keine Ferne kann es heilen,
nur ein holder Blick von dir.«
Sag’ ihr, daß zu Tod getroffen
diese Hülle bald zerfällt;
nur ein schmeichlerisches Hoffen
sei’s, das sie zusammenhält.
First Section--Stanza 1 and Stanza 2, lines 1-2
0:00 [m. 1]--The song uses three-bar units until the last
vocal phrase. That already begins in the introduction, which
presents the undulating harmonized triplet rhythm that will also
dominate the piece. This rhythm is in the right hand,
harmonized in thirds and sixths, against low bass notes leaping up
to rolled chords in the left hand. The mood is quiet, but
0:08 [m. 4]--Stanza 1. Although the first section
extends beyond the first stanza, these four lines form a
two-phrase pair. The singer enters with the undulating
triplet rhythm presented in the introduction. This rhythm is
characterized by a long note leaning into three triplet figures,
followed by one straight two-note punctuation in quarter
notes. This three-bar pattern is used for the first three
lines. The fourth places the long note after the first
triplet. The piano accompaniment also remains constant and
in straight rhythm against the triplets. Low bass octaves at
the beginning and end of each measure are offset by tenor-range
chords on the middle beats. The first two lines reach a
half-close, the third line reaches higher, touching on D
major/minor, and the fourth closes with a full cadence in B minor
on a “sighing” gesture.
0:32 [m. 16]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2. A three-bar
interlude resembles the introduction, but more closely follows the
vocal phrase used for the first line of stanza 1. Then the
first sung line is musically identical to line 2 of stanza
1. Another introduction-like interlude begins
similarly to line 3 of stanza 1, but it turns downward at the end
where the previous sung line did not, more fully moving toward
D. The second sung line does not follow line 4 of stanza
1. It begins like the line just heard between the two
interludes (line 1), but it makes another downward turn, toward
the “dominant” key of F-sharp (here minor).
Second Section--Stanza 2, lines 3-4 and Stanza 3
0:55 [m. 28]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4. The character
completely changes here to a secretive dolce. The
key remains on F-sharp, but immediately changes to major.
The vocal line lightly bounces up and down in straight rhythm,
lingering over the bar line between the first two measures of each
line. The piano also has gentle undulating motion, with the
left hand in the low bass and the right hand remaining in the
tenor register, where it has been for all of the sung lines.
The right hand is more continuous than the vocal line, but is
usually in contrary motion to it. It continues past the
incomplete cadence at the end of line 2, which has a mildly
dissonant minor-key inflection reflecting the word “Liebesweh”
(“yearning for love”).
1:07 [m. 34]--Stanza 3, lines 1-2. The vocal line is
the same as in the last phrase at 0:55 [m. 28], but the right hand
of the piano part is an octave higher, reaching up into the treble
1:17 [m. 40]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4. The key makes a
sudden and highly colorful change down a third to D major
(“relative” to the home key of B minor). Just as suddenly,
the singer becomes more forceful. The rhythm is the same as
in the last two phrases, but the contour of both lines is a more
solid descent. This is also reflected in the piano, where
the right hand, still harmonized in thirds and sixths, has a more
continuous downward plunge, bridging the two lines with a mild
syncopation. The left hand changes to widely arching
arpeggios, moving up and down under each line. The piano
follows another incomplete cadence (now in D) with a bridging
measure that smoothly leads into the return of the opening.
Third Section (Partial return with material from both
1:28 [m. 46]--Introduction in B minor, as at the beginning.
1:34 [m. 49]--Lines 1-2. Musically identical to
stanza 1, lines 1-2, as at 0:08 [m. 4]. Only the first
phrase covering the first two lines is given a reprise.
1:46 [m. 55]--Lines 3-4. The key change here is
similar to that at 1:17 [m. 40], down a third to G major.
The musical material, however, is essentially a transposed version
(up a half-step) of lines 1-2 from stanza 3 at 1:07 [m. 34].
This is a very sophisticated and deft shift from Section 1 music
to Section 2 music.
1:57 [m. 61]--The key changes back to B, with a subtly
altered bridge passage. The last two lines are repeated to
the music from 1:17 [m. 40], but with the harmony and key
approached from the opposite direction as they were there.
Because this passage was major before, it is major here, but now
it is used to assert the home major key, which has thus
far not appeared. Brahms marks it poco forte,
indicating an even more forceful presentation. The
repetition of line 3 is completely analogous to the earlier
passage, but line 4 is expanded, beginning a third higher and
holding notes over bar lines. The piano descent is more
richly harmonized. The line is also marked sostenuto,
underscoring its gravity. The emphatic full cadence in B
major arrives a measure “too late,” marking the only departure
from the three-measure units.
2:08 [m. 67]--Postlude. It begins with the vocal
cadence, and is a warmly expressive, beautifully expanded version
of the introduction material with triplet rhythms, completely in
the home major key. The first two measures have wide leaps
to rolled chords in the left hand, with the chords in the middle
of measures, similar to the left hand patterns in the first
section. After two measures, the right hand leaps
down. The first measure at the lower level seems to be the
last of one three-bar unit and the first of another, subtly
restoring the structure after the disruption of the final vocal
2:20 [m. 72]--The last undulations form a three-measure
unit that continues the rich, mildly chromatic harmony but settles
down in volume. The left hand gradually becomes less
active. One last three-measure unit slows things down even
more, abandoning the triplets, lengthening notes, and culminating
in the quiet, but warm final rolled B-major chord.
2:48--END OF SONG [77 mm.]
3. Geheimnis (Secret). Text by Karl
Candidus. Belebt und heimlich (Lively and
secretively). Two-part through-composed form. G MAJOR,
6/4 time (Middle key E-flat major, low key D major).
O laues, lindes Weh’n,
Ihr Blütenbäume, sprecht, was tut
ihr so zusammensteh’n?
Vertraut ihr das Geheimnis euch
Von uns’rer Liebe süß?
Was flüstert ihr einander zu
Von uns’rer Liebe süß?
0:00 [m. 1]--The piano has a two-bar introduction in which
the right hand follows the left in gently arching arpeggios.
The left hand is in the low treble range, so the whole texture
seems to float. It also sustains the lowest initial notes of
the arpeggios. In both hands, there are syncopated off-beat
notes that are emphasized and resolve downward. Those in the
right hand are more concealed. Brahms marks the
accompaniment mezza voce.
0:06 [m. 3]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2. The voice enters on
the upbeat to the third measure, sotto voce. The
melody is simple and tender, moving effortlessly through the two
lines in a lilting long-short rhythm. The piano continues
its patterns established in the short prelude, repeating the same
ones under the first line. The accompaniment gradually moves
downward in the second line, and briefly, the low note, now in the
bass, resolves down. After the second line is completed, it
is repeated. Brahms marks both the voice and piano pianissimo,
so the repetition should be even quieter. The piano is an
octave lower under the repetition. It bridges to the next
line with a rapid buildup in volume.
0:20 [m. 9]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4. These lines are
more exuberant, with more swaying rhythms. The harmony makes
a turn to the “dominant” key of D. Under line 3, the
accompaniment patterns are similar to what has gone before, but
the right hand loses its concealed downward resolutions. The
word “sprecht” (the imperative for “speak”) is repeated a sixth
higher after a pause. The remainder of line 3 and all of
line 4 are set to a downward-swooping line that is reflected, at a
faster pace, in new piano arpeggios supported by solid left hand
harmonies. These words, including “was tut,” are repeated to
similar patterns. The harmony turns back to the home key as
the word “tut” is sustained. The repetition ends on a
0:35 [m. 15]--The half-close at the end of stanza 1
coincides with an intensified version of the two-bar introduction
in the piano. It begins forte, but then rapidly
diminishes. It closes with a new descent.
0:41 [m. 17]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2. The voice enters
on an upbeat, again sotto voce. The melody is an
intensified version of that used for the first two lines of stanza
1. The long-short rhythms are replaced by continuous motion,
and chromatic inflections are added. The piano part is
similar to that used in stanza 1, but it also adds chromatic
notes. Line 2 returns to the long-short rhythm, but adds
chromatic “filling” notes. It is followed by a new
descending bridge in the piano right hand. The line is
repeated, as in stanza 1, but it is a step higher. Brahms
marks the repetition allmählich langsamer (gradually
slower). The descending bridge after the repetition is
also a step higher (a third higher on the last two notes).
1:00 [m. 23]--Stanza 2, line 3. Brahms has indicated
a steady and gradual slowing and diminishing of volume. Line
3 is set to two soaring arches, again with chromatic notes.
The first of these arches reaches the song’s highest pitch.
The piano part under this line is richly harmonized in parallel
descending chords with octave doubling. There is a
syncopated chord in the middle of each of the two measures.
The left hand undulates over a pedal point D.
1:07 [m. 25]--Stanza 2, line 4. Line 4 is the same as
line 2. Its first statement is at the level of the second
statement of line 2, but it does not complete with the word “süß,”
cutting off after “von unsrer Liebe.” Under this statement,
the piano plays long right hand chords and the pedal point D moves
to the low bass, becoming syncopated. The voice breaks off,
and the piano has another new descending line in the right hand,
this time an arpeggio with no stepwise motion. The words
“unsrer Liebe,” without the initial “von,” are then repeated a
step lower, at the level of line 2’s first
statement. The chords and the following piano arpeggio are
also a step lower, but the syncopated bass remains on a low
“dominant” pedal point.
1:23 [m. 29]--The full line is finally stated. Brahms
marks it langsam (slow), and indicates that it
should slow even more. Piano and voice are very quiet.
The vocal line floats up and back down. The piano returns to
figures similar to the familiar patterns from stanza 1.
These are lower than before. The word “Liebe” is sustained
over three notes, the second one syncopated and sustained.
The word closes with a fermata before resolving to the
last word, “süß.”
1:36 [m. 31]--The word “süß” arrives on the third scale
degree, an incomplete cadence. The tempo has slowed greatly,
and the last word coincides with a sudden flourish in the piano to
close the song. This is marked poco stringendo,
indicating a brief acceleration. The ecstatic tension of the
song is released here, almost like an exhalation. Rising
arpeggios overlap between the hands and continue to shoot upward
until reaching quite high. Brahms puts the brakes on the
last arpeggio before the final held chord.
1:55--END OF SONG [33 mm.]
4. Willst du, daß ich geh’? (Do You Wish Me to Go?).
Text by Karl Lemcke. Sehr lebhaft (Very lively).
Varied strophic form. D MINOR, 4/4 time (Low key C minor).
Auf der Heide weht der Wind -
Herzig Kind, herzig Kind -
Willst du, daß trotz Sturm und Graus
In die Nacht ich muß hinaus -
Willst du, daß ich geh’?
Auf der Heid’ zu Bergeshöh’
Treibt der Schnee, treibt der Schnee;
Feget Straßen, Schlucht und Teich
Mit den weißen Flügeln gleich.
Willst du, daß ich geh’?
Horch, wie klingt’s herauf vom See
Wild und weh, wild und weh!
An den Weiden sitzt die Fei
Und mein Weg geht dort vorbei -
Willst du, daß ich geh’?
Wie ist’s hier in deinem Arm
Traut und warm, traut und warm;
Ach, wie oft hab’ ich gedacht:
So bei dir nur eine Nacht -
Willst du, daß ich geh’?
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1. The brief introduction
establishes the rhythm of the accompaniment. The left hand
plays on the beat or half-beat, followed by the right hand.
The mood is stormy and agitated. Both hands cascade
downward, usually, but not always on the same pitch levels.
The right hand begins in octaves. The left hand has some
chords at the end of the first measure. It takes over the
octaves from the right hand. The hands solidly play together
in three octaves on the last two beats of the second measure.
0:05 [m. 3]--The piano now settles into its surging
accompaniment. It begins with a “pedal point” D in the bass
with chords or two-note harmonies in both hands. After the
first beat, the singer enters with a forceful rising scale, which
sets the first line. The right hand of the piano roughly
follows and supports the vocal melody. A dotted (long-short)
rhythm is heard in a leaping motion at the end of the line.
This is used for the repeated “herzig Kind” in the second line,
which is set to two descending arpeggios. The pedal point is
abandoned under the second line as the bass plays low broken
octaves. A rising arpeggio in the bass, still with right
hand harmonies after the beat or half-beat, bridges to the next
line with another surge of volume.
0:11 [m. 6]--Line 3 is almost breathless. It uses the
dotted rhythm with narrow motion. The left hand again
settles on a pedal-like bass. Under line 4, the bass again
has leaping figures and broken octaves under full right hand
chords. The vocal line is stretched out, with slower rhythms
and a long syncopation on “muß.” The harmony moves to the
“dominant” minor key on A. Adding to the tension, “ich muß”
is repeated twice after the first “hinaus,” both times with “muß”
on a syncopated note. Finally, “hinaus” is again stated on a
plunging cadence to the “dominant” note.
0:18 [m. 10]--At the vocal cadence, the piano suddenly
settles down. It now has a “pedal point” on the “dominant”
note A, heard in both hands. Brahms indicates that the mood
should gradually become more tranquil. In the brief
interlude, the right hand begins with octaves on A while the left
hand harmonizes the pedal point. The right hand then
imitates the left hand in canon, harmonizing its pedal
point below. The lines of the canon are very chromatic and
anticipate the refrain. The key center moves back home to D.
0:23 [m. 12]--The voice enters with the refrain line.
It is set to a distinctive pleading gesture in major. The
left hand retains its pedal point on A, but the right hand
after-beat chords shadow, then echo the voice’s questioning
figure. The refrain line is sung again, with an extra
interjection of “willst du,” to a longer questioning gesture,
doubled by the top left hand voice. The bass pedal point
moves to D. After one more echo, the right hand also
establishes a high pedal point on D. The piano then trails
the voice, becoming slower and quieter. Three modified
echoes of the questioning gesture are concealed beneath the “pedal
point.” Then one last halting gesture with the hands in
contrary motion leads into the next stanza (after m. 15).
0:34 [m. 1]--Stanza 2. It is marked with a repeat
sign. Restatement of introduction, as at the beginning.
0:38 [m. 3]--Lines 1 and 2 are set as in the first stanza
at 0:05. The repeated words on the descending arpeggios are
“treibt der Schnee,” replacing “herzig Kind.”
0:43 [m. 6]--Lines 3 and 4, set as at 0:11. The
repetition in line 4 is different. In the first statement,
the long syncopation is on “Flügeln.” Then the entire line,
except for the initial “mit,” is repeated. In the
repetition, “weißen,” then again “Flügeln,” are set to syncopated
0:51 [m. 10]--Piano interlude with canon, as at 0:18.
0:55 [m. 12]--Refrain and bridge, as at 0:23.
1:07 [m. 16]--Stanza 3. The outlines of the other
stanzas are retained, but the character is very different.
The new version of the introduction still has the right hand
following the left, but the left hand is now at a higher level,
harmonizing the right. The lines are smooth and legato,
and most significantly, the stormy turbulence is replaced by a
hushed chromatic intensity. The vestiges of the original can
be seen, especially in the last two beats, which still have bass
octaves, but the right hand following in mid-range thirds.
1:12 [m. 18]--As in the other stanzas, the piano begins its
pedal point before the voice enters. Brahms marks the entry
sempre piano. The rising scale for the first line is
inflected toward the key of G minor. This is even more
explicit in the descending arpeggios for the second line (where
the repeated words are “wild und weh”). The first of these
is transposed up a third, the second up a fourth. The
accompaniment is changed as well. The right hand now plays
continuously, with legato lines, punctuated by a pedal
point D, then with broken fifths and octaves. These lines
are generally in contrary motion to the voice. The left hand
quickly moves from the pedal D to arching low arpeggios in
octaves. A scale descent trails after the second line with
the repeated text.
1:18 [m. 21]--Line 3 is again breathless, now even sotto
voce, and with narrow motion. The right hand of the
piano now plays undulating thirds alternating with lower notes
above a throbbing bass. Line 4 is also similar to the
previous setting, but the harmonic motion is now from G minor
toward its “relative” major key of B-flat. There is a new
skip up to the long syncopation, now on “dort.” Both the
left and right hands leap up and down in octaves, with the right
hand playing full chords and again following the left. The
line in B-flat major is riddled with chromatic and minor-key
inflections. As in stanza 2, the whole line except the first
“und,” is repeated with syncopation on “Weg” and then again on
1:26 [m. 25]--The tranquil interlude arrives as before,
with a pedal point on B-flat (as expected from the previous
harmony), but only in the left hand and not in octaves. The
right hand has its own brief pedal point on D, with an upper voice
that quickly moves in the same way the canon melody did
before. The left hand pedal point then drops a half-step to
A (which functions as a preparatory “dominant” in a motion back
home to D), and its upper voice also moves, but not in direct
imitation to the right hand line. Instead, the imitation is
“telescoped,” skipping notes until the left hand leads in rhythm,
but follows closely in pitch.
1:31 [m. 27]--Almost magically, back home in D, and in the
major key, the refrain and bridge return unaltered from their
previous presentations at 0:23 and 0:55 [m. 12].
1:43 [m. 31]--Stanza 4. Now Brahms actually changes
the key signature to D major for this hopeful verse. The
stanza follows the outlines of stanzas 1 and 2 quite closely in a
major-key version, but there are some important variances.
The introduction is dispensed with. The opening scale and
its surging accompaniment used for line 1 are essentially the same
as in stanza 1. The descending arpeggios for the repeated
interjection of line 2, however, are subtly altered beyond the
major key. The second one is a step higher, set as part of a
strong harmonic motion along the circle of fifths. The
repeated text is “traut und warm.”
1:48 [m. 34]--The vocal melody of line 3 is changed so that
it does not move downward. It is thus even narrower than
before. The accompaniment replaces the previous pedal-like
bass with broken octaves, and the right hand chords are
richer. The most eloquent change of the major-key version is
in line 4. The previous rising half-steps are replaced by
descending whole steps. After the long syncopation (on
“eine”), the voice joyously leaps up a fifth and descends before
the repetition. The text repetition is as in stanzas 2 and
3, the whole line without the first word. The
syncopation is on “dir” and again on “eine.” After the
second of these, there is another upward leap, now a seventh, to
the song’s highest pitch. The repetition is then lengthened
with extra statement of “eine,” which leaps to a cadence on the
“dominant,” A major.
1:56 [m. 39]--The tranquil interlude is greatly
abbreviated. Like the one for stanzas 1 and 2, it uses the
pedal point on A, with the right hand beginning in octaves, and
has a similar imitation in canon, but the imitation is closer, and
it is curtailed by the early arrival of the refrain. The
first pleading gesture is heard on its original pitches, but a
pause, indicated by a fermata, is placed on the last
note. Under this, the accompaniment continues in the manner
of the interlude, but without the imitation, the left hand
stubbornly holding to the “dominant” pedal A. The piano also
slows to a pause after echoing the refrain.
2:04 [m. 41]--The pause on the “dominant” harmony is very
expectant. It is resolved by a final jubilant flourish with
a new setting of the refrain’s repetition (still including an
extra “willst du”). It is introduced by a glorious
combination and convergence of the descent from the introduction
in the right hand and, leading it, the rising accompaniment to the
first vocal line in the left. The voice enters after half a
measure, shouting out “willst du” on two-note slurs before leaping
up to “daß” and finally to “geh” as the hands come together.
The last note is the third scale degree in the high vocal
octave. Its arrival is punctuated by three short D-major
chords. The first leaps up to the second, and then there is
a brief pause before the third, which leaps down to the final held
chord in the bass.
2:17--END OF SONG [44 mm.]
5. Minnelied (Love Song). Text by Ludwig
Heinrich Christoph Hölty. Sehr innig, doch nicht zu langsam
(Very heartfelt, but not too slowly). Varied strophic form
(AABA’). C MAJOR, 3/4 time (High key D major, low key B-flat
(The title Minnelied is also used for the women’s chorus
Op. 44, No. 1.)
Holder klingt der Vogelsang,
Wenn die Engelreine,
Die mein Jünglingsherz bezwang
Wandelt durch die Haine.
Röter blühen Tal und Au,
Grüner wird der Wasen,
Wo die Finger meiner Frau
Ohne sie ist alles tot,
Welk sind Blüt’ und Kräuter;
Und kein Frühlingsabendrot
Dünkt mir schön und heiter.
Traute, minnigliche Frau,
Wollest nimmer fliehen;
Daß mein Herz, gleich dieser Au,
Mög’ in Wonne blühen!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). A four-bar
introduction sets up the mood and the basic rhythm, with long
notes at the beginning of measures and shorter ones as
upbeats. The left hand plays widely arching arpeggios with a
sustained “pedal point” on a low C. The lilting right hand
melody is supported by full harmonies.
0:10 [m. 5]-- Lines 1-2. The piano introduction
continues into the downbeat of the fifth measure, and the voice
enters on the second beat. The first two lines continue the
lilting character of the introduction, with soaring leaps and
floating descents. Longer notes prevail on the downbeats, as
do upbeats with multiple shorter notes. The melody is based
on a popular waltz tune. The accompaniment in the piano
remains attached to the pedal point C, an octave higher in the
first two measures. The left hand arpeggios are now more
undulating. The right hand melody is set in gentle
counterpoint with the voice, with contrasting rhythm
throughout. The last word of the second line, “reine,” is
held over the bar line before it resolves.
0:18 [m. 9]--Lines 3-4. The third line also begins on
the second beat, immediately after the second line resolves.
It begins like the first line, but does not float downward.
A word is again held over the bar line in the fourth line, but
this time it is the first word, “wandelt.” The line soars up
even higher before reaching a beautifully sighing cadence on the
downbeat (of m. 13). The piano accompaniment abandons the
pedal point in the bass, which now has slow-moving octaves, and
the harmonies become much more chromatic, especially in the bridge
between the two lines. The right hand undulates more
0:26 [m. 13]--Stanza 2 (A). The sighing vocal
cadence is elided, or merged, with the full return of the
0:34 [m. 17]--Lines 1-2. Presented as in stanza 1 at
0:10 [m. 5]. The word “Wasen” is held over the bar line.
0:43 [m. 21]--Lines 3-4. Musically identical to 0:18
[m. 9] in stanza 1. The first syllable of “Maienblumen” is
held over the bar line. The sighing cadence coincides with
the first measure of the introduction, which returns as before in
m. 25. But the remainder of the introduction is replaced by
a single measure that moves the key to the “dominant,” G
major. This continues to the following downbeat.
0:56 [m. 27]--Stanza 3 (B). Lines 1-2.
The stanza has rhythmic similarities to the first two, but the
vocal line is set in a significantly lower register. The
entire stanza is bound to a syncopated bass pedal point on
G. The first line sinks down. Bridging the first and
second lines, the piano starts to oscillate, and actually
anticipates the melodically static, but rhythmically active vocal
melody for line 2, which then follows in imitation. The line
itself, and the bridge, also begin with the closing notes of line
1. There are mild minor-key inflections. The end of
the line is not held across the bar line. The darker mood
reflects the text here.
1:03 [m. 31]--Lines 3-4. In the piano bass, the
syncopated pedal G and its held lower octave remain in
force. The third line descends from a higher level than did
the first line. There is a similar piano bridge between the
lines that both echoes the end of line 3 and anticipates the
beginning of line 4. There are still minor-key
inflections. The fourth line ends on a half-close, again
with no notes held over a bar line or extended into the next
phrase. But Brahms reacts to this by adding a measure that
bridges back to the original musical material for stanza 4.
It moves back home to C, but still retains the bass pedal point G.
1:15 [m. 36]--Stanza 4 (A’). Lines 1-2.
The text begins on the second beat, as in stanzas 1 and 2, but in
this first “upbeat” measure, the syncopated bass pedal point on G
lingers. Only in the second measure does the original
accompaniment return, and it is slightly altered, with the left
hand in the lower octave coming out of the G pedal and the descent
in the right hand given fuller harmony. From the third
measure, the piano matches stanzas 1 and 2 as at 0:10 [m. 5] and
0:34 [m. 17]. The vocal line is the same, with the word
“fliehen” held over the bar line.
1:24 [m. 40]--Lines 3-4. Musically identical to 0:18
[m. 9] and 0:43 [m. 21]. The word “mög” is held over the bar
line. At the sighing cadence, the piano part is changed to
facilitate the repetition of the last line.
1:33 [m. 44]--The sighing cadence is marked by a
continuation in the piano, rather than a return to the
introduction. The second note of that cadence is suddenly
abbreviated, and beginning on a syncopated note, the whole of line
4 is repeated in an expanded and ecstatic vocal climax. The
voice shoots up to its highest pitch on “Wonne.” This word
as well as “blühen” are lengthened. The latter delays the
arrival of an extremely satisfying final vocal cadence.
Under the repetition, the piano is unobtrusive, mainly playing in
thirds over broken octaves on the “dominant” note G.
1:41 [m. 47]--Postlude. At the vocal cadence, music
resembling the introduction begins in the piano, settling down
from the heartfelt arrival, but the direction of the initial
gesture is reversed so that it descends to the familiar long note
and short upbeat notes. The gesture is cut off before the
1:46 [m. 49]--The second phrase of the postlude is
masterfully constructed. The right hand reaches up in a
manner vaguely reminiscent of the final vocal gesture, but it
slows down. The top note is held over a bar line before
descending. Against the rising line, the bass introduces a
mild “hemiola,” or cross-grouping of two three-note units.
The bass then has a wide rising arpeggio against the right hand
descent. A bass chord is held over the next bar line as the
right hand completes the last “sighing” cadence. Two quiet,
lower C-major chords, almost like heartbeats, close the intimately
2:14--END OF SONG [54 mm.]
END OF SET
BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME