NÄNIE FOR CHORUS AND ORCHESTRA, OP. 82
Brahms’s last two works for chorus and orchestra are
one-movement pieces reminiscent of the Alto Rhapsody, Op.
53 and the Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny), Op.
54. The two are connected both to each other and to the
earlier Schicksalslied, both musically and
thematically. For them, Brahms turned to the two great
German classical poets. While the Gesang der Parzen (Song
of the Fates), Op. 89, to words of Goethe, takes an even
grimmer view of fate than does the Schicksalslied, the Nänie
is a more hopeful elegy, almost like a much shorter and secular
version of the German Requiem. It is one of only two
settings by Brahms of Friedrich Schiller, the poet whose “Ode to
Joy” was set by Beethoven in his Ninth Sympony (the other is the
vocal quartet Op. 64, No. 2). “Nänie” is a Germanized
version of the Latin “nenia,” meaning a funeral ode.
Schiller’s words make references to three stories from classical
mythology: Orpheus and Eurydice, Venus (Aphrodite) and Adonis, and
the death of Achilles, in that order. Brahms’s setting was a
response to the death of his friend, the painter Anselm Feuerbach,
at age 50. Feuerbach’s subjects were often based on
Greco-Roman myths. It is dedicated to the painter’s
stepmother. The piece is exceedingly beautiful, with a lush
choral and instrumental sound. Brahms found Schiller’s long
hexameters difficult to set, and typically split the lines into
two poetic phrases. The 6/4 meter of the main sections fits
the text well, and the possibility for cross-rhythm, particularly
for cadences at the ends of lines, is exploited. The middle
section, beginning with the description of Thetis and the Nereids
rising from the sea to mourn Achilles, is in the remote and warm
key of F-sharp major, in a slower 4/4 meter. The return is
abbreviated, focusing on the hopeful penultimate line and its last
word, “herrlich” (“glorious”). The orchestration is rather
unique. While Brahms takes full advantage of the harp, which
he only used here and in the German Requiem as an
orchestral instrument, and pulls in three trombones along with
timpani, he curiously omits trumpets. The oboe is the
leading voice in the extended orchestral introduction.
Recording: Berlin Radio Chorus (Chorus Master: Dietrich Knothe);
Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Claudio Abbado [DG 435 683-2]
Dedicated to Councilwoman Henriette Feuerbach.
Note: The link to the English translation of the text is from
Emily Ezust's site at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.
the most part, the translation is line-by-line, except where the
difference between German and English syntax requires slight
alterations to the contents of certain lines. The German
text (included here) is also visible in the translation link.
SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut
Lübeck--Note that soprano, alto, and tenor clefs are used in the
voice parts. Includes English text.)
SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition [monochrome] from Debrecen
University, Hungary--see above notes)
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche
Nänie (Elegy). Text by Friedrich von
Schiller. Andante – Più sostenuto – Tempo primo. Large
ternary form with abbreviated return. D MAJOR, 6/4 and 4/4
Auch das Schöne muß sterben! Das Menschen und Götter bezwinget,
Nicht die eherne Brust rührt es des stygischen Zeus.
Einmal nur erweichte die Liebe den Schattenbeherrscher,
Und an der Schwelle noch, streng, rief er zurück sein Geschenk.
Nicht stillt Aphrodite dem schönen Knaben die Wunde,
die in den zierlichen Leib grausam der Eber geritzt.
Nicht erretet den göttlichen Held die unsterbliche Mutter,
Wenn er, am skäischen Tor fallend, sein Schicksal erfüllt.
Aber sie steigt aus dem Meer mit allen Töchtern des Nereus,
Und die Klage hebt an um den verherrlichten Sohn.
Siehe, da weinen die Götter, es weinen die Göttinnin alle,
Daß das Schöne vergeht, daß das Vollkommene stirbt.
Auch ein Klaglied zu sein im Mund der Geliebten, ist Herrlich,
Denn das Gemeine geht klanglos zum Orkus hinab.
First Section (A). Andante, D major, 6/4;
0:00 [m. 1]--INTRODUCTION. The principal oboe begins
its long, beautiful melody, dolce espressivo, with three
descending notes supported by plucked strings, flutes, and
horns. These notes recall Beethoven’s “Lebewohl”
(“Farewell”) motive from the Piano Sonata, Op. 81a. It then
begins its yearning, winding line against a responsive
counterpoint from the two clarinets in pleasing harmonies.
The melody retains a 6/4 flow with two groups of three beats per
measure. As the melody unfolds, the other woodwinds add
0:25 [m. 7]--The violins and violas tentatively enter with
descending lines as the oboe melody briefly pauses. The
melody then continues with mild minor-key inflections. All
the woodwinds join in two measures of gently bouncing harmonies
that swell briefly in volume. Plucked string chords add
support in the second of these measures. The oboe, still the
leading voice, holds its note over the bar line. The
harmonies are sweetly chromatic.
0:40 [m. 10]--The strings drop out, and the oboe once again
becomes intensely lyrical. The melody now features long
half-measure notes followed by yearning, reaching upbeats.
The most prominent counterpoint here is provided by the horns
(supported by bassoons), which take the responsive role. The
clarinets also subtly sneak in a response. After three
measures, the oboe continues in its established metric flow while
the clarinets, bassoons, and horns add chords in a two-beat cross
1:00 [m. 15]--The plucked strings enter again, under
another set of gently bouncing woodwind chords. Twice, a
group of bouncing chords becomes more halting in the following
measure, with added rests. The harmonies again are again
sweetly chromatic, with a brief hint of G major.
1:17 [m. 19]--The oboe, beginning off the downbeat, begins
the closing passage of the introduction with more of the yearning,
reaching motion in arpeggios, still supported by the other winds
(minus the flutes here). After two measures, the lower
strings (all but violins), take up their bows for an imitative
response in unison. Finally, the trombones make an extremely
quiet, but dramatic entrance with chords that build intense
anticipation and expectation. The oboe trails and slows
down, its last long notes ending on the leading tone over a
plucked low string beat.
1:41 [m. 25]--LINES 1-2. Brahms makes the most of the
opening line’s first half, the exclamation that articulates the
poem’s thesis. The sopranos begin, gently reaching upward
before breaking into a winding, reaching motion that subtly begins
to resemble the oboe melody from the introduction. The
sopranos are supported by strings, bassoons, and horns in
syncopated octaves. They sing at a constant piano
level, with no increase in volume.
1:59 [m. 29]--The altos enter in imitation before the
sopranos finish their extended embellishment of the word
“sterben,” beginning against a syncopated soprano note held over
the bar line They begin a fifth lower than the sopranos, but
the line is similar. Bassoons and horns drop out, as do the
cellos, so only violins and violas accompany here. The
sopranos continue in counterpoint with another statement of the
line, beginning on a syncopated upbeat. Both parts end up
moving on another widely embellished statement of “sterben.”
2:16 [m. 33]--The tenors and basses now enter, the basses
following the tenors at a distance of a half-bar. Their
imitation is essentially a much closer version of what the
sopranos and altos have just sung. The two female parts then
pass shorter interjections of the word “sterben” between
themselves three times, with the altos leading. These
interjections are syncopated, beginning on weak beats with held
notes. The volume builds, and clarinets, bassoons, cellos,
and basses join in the accompaniment. Before the basses
finish the word “sterben,” the tenors begin another widely
reaching statement of the word. The altos, after the three
syncopated interjections of the word, return to the beginning of
the line, again on a syncopated upbeat.
2:37 [m. 38]--The repeated statements of the opening
exclamation reach their climax. Oboes, then flutes join the
accompaniment. The sopranos, who have briefly paused, begin
their final statement on another syncopated upbeat, forte.
The other voices also reach that level. The basses, after
finally finishing their first statement, launch right into another
full one. The altos, who have already started, add two
repetitions of “das Schöne.” Finally, the tenors do not
state the whole line again. They follow their first long
repetition of “sterben” with another one. Syncopation and
leaping octaves now appear in the orchestra. All four parts
come together for a powerful conclusion of “sterben” on the
anticipatory “dominant” harmony.
2:49 [m. 41]--The choir, still forte, finally comes
together on an upbeat to complete the first line. Brahms
creates a direct enjambment with the entire second line referring
to the god of the underworld. The entire statement is a
cappella except for brief lingering horn calls at the outset
and again at the end. While the voices begin together, the
men pause, then follow the women. There is no text
repetition in any of the voices, despite their overlap. At
the end, at the reference to the “Stygian Zeus,” there is a
regrouping of the 6/4 bar into three groups of two beats (implied
3/2), or hemiola. The horn calls support this.
As the choir forcefully reaches the word “Zeus” on the “dominant”
harmony, the strings: cellos, violas, then first violins, play a
softly rising arpeggio as a lead-in to the next passage.
3:15 [m. 47]--LINE 3. This line is treated like the
initial exclamation, with much repetition and overlapping
entries. It is first stated by the basses, beginning piano.
The statement starts with the arpeggio just heard from the
strings. It then begins to wind and reach, as did the melody
for the opening exclamation as well as the oboe line from the
introduction. The line, which refers to Orpheus in the
underworld, is treated very tenderly. Clarinets, bassoons,
and all strings accompany the basses.
3:33 [m. 51]--The sopranos and altos, in close succession,
imitate the bass statement of the line before it fully
completes. The sopranos lead, and their statement is a fifth
higher than the alto one, which in turn is exactly the same as the
bass statement, but an octave higher. The soprano statement
is on the “dominant” level. As the women enter, the basses
continue their line with a repetition of “den Schattenbeherrscher”
that plunges downward. The accompanying winds are now flute
and clarinet. Finally, the tenors enter shortly after the
altos with a descending arpeggio that inverts the opening gesture
of the other voices. Their line pauses after “erweichte die
Liebe,” and repeats the word “erweichte.”
3:49 [m. 55]--Here, the volume begins to build while the
remaining woodwinds and horns join. Before the altos finish
their full statement of the line, the basses enter again with the
words “die Liebe den Schattenbeherrscher,” sung to a line that
works upward, then slowly descends on the last word. The
altos immediately follow their statement with a repetition of “den
Schattenbeherrscher. The tenors, who have briefly paused,
make a brief entry on “die Liebe.” Finally, the sopranos,
after a longer pause, sing “den Schattenbeherrscher” at the
climax. They are followed by all the other voices on these
words, tenors, then altos and basses. Only the basses do not
pause before this last repetition of “den
Schattenbeherrscher.” With this climax comes prominent
syncopation in the orchestra, with octave leaps in the violins.
4:06 [m. 59]--LINE 4. The altos and basses reach the
conclusion of the last line on the downbeat, overlapping with the
beginning of this line in the sopranos and tenors. This
“mixed” downbeat is a strong “dominant” chord, after which the
orchestra drops out for the entire line. The entries on this
line are staggered, and the repetition varies between parts.
All state it forcefully, with the same basic rhythm. The
basses, then the altos, follow the sopranos and tenors.
These latter parts only repeat “der Schwelle.” The tenors
repeat a bit more, “an der Schelle noch,” and the sopranos are the
same, but add a second statement of the word “streng.” The
staggered timing and varied repetition allow the two male parts to
reach the second part of the line, beginning with “rief,” as the
women hold out the word “Schwelle.”
4:18 [m. 62]--The line before now has borne resemblance to
the passage at 2:49 [m. 41], but the correspondence becomes more
explicit from this point. The sopranos and altos catch up to
the tenors and basses in the last part of the line, as the basses
hold a long note over a bar line and the tenors repeat the words
“rief er zurück.” The word “rief” is always set in
syncopation, with a stress on a weak beat. All the voices
come together on the last words, “sein Geschenk.” The line
concludes in a very severe manner, with a forceful 3/2 grouping as
previously heard at “stygischen Zeus.” As in the previous
passage, the arrival is marked by a softly rising arpeggio as a
lead-in, but now it is played by strings and winds.
4:32 [m. 65]--LINE 5. The rising arpeggio makes a
sudden pivot in a dramatic change of key and character. It
veers to the unexpected key of F major, where an instrument vital
to the work’s character, the harp, is introduced. It is
paired with clarinets in thirds and plucked strings. The
tenors and basses, with a subtle cross-rhythm, intone the vision
of Aphrodite and the wounded Adonis. They rise with the
clarinets, and are overlapped by the sopranos and altos, who
imitate their lines directly, doubled by the bassoons. At
this point, the harp moves from block chords to a rippling texture
with arpeggios and repeated pedal points. The soprano/alto
imitation follows the tenor/bass pattern exactly until the end,
where there is a detour.
4:55 [m. 71]--LINE 6. The setting of this line has
similarities to 2:49 [m. 41] as well as line 4 at 4:06 [m. 59],
but whereas those passages were forceful, this one is very gentle
and even marked dolce. All four voices, with a
syncopated anticipation from the tenors, tenderly oscillate on the
words describing the attack of the boar. The harp continues
its rippling arpeggios, and the woodwinds, led by clarinets, join
the oscillation. The key moves away from F major, first to G
and then back toward the “dominant” harmony in the home key of
D. A very similar hemiola to those at the end of the
previous passages is used for the last two words, and as in
those passages, it ends on the “dominant” harmony in the home key.
5:08 [m. 74]--LINE 7. As line 6 is completed, there
is a sudden, dramatic buildup and key change, beginning with a
timpani roll. The strings reach upward in figures beginning
off the beat. The key pivots from the “dominant” A-major
harmony to the related F-sharp minor. With a powerful crescendo,
the men lead the women in the depiction of Thetis and her
inability to save Achilles. The forceful vocal lines are
supported by the winds while the strings continue their off-beat
interjections. The harp now plays full block chords.
The trombones also enter here. The sopranos and altos trail
after the tenors and basses. With leaping octaves in the
violins, there is a brief hint back at the home key of D.
5:25 [m. 79]--LINE 8. The tenors and basses begin
this line on a weak syncopated beat as the sopranos and altos are
finishing the previous line. The women follow closely
thereafter. Most wind instruments briefly drop out.
The strings continue to play leaping figures. While the
tenors and basses leap up and down, adding a reiteration of “wenn
er,” the women, in unison, move upward and re-establish F-sharp
minor. All voices come together in a strong syncopation on
“fallend.” This is repeated at a higher level before the
completion of the line as the wind instruments re-enter. The
last two words are set to another hemiola like those that
ended lines 2, 4, and 6. At that point, the harmony
brightens dramatically to F-sharp major, the key of the
middle section. A timpani roll, then rich harp chords and
descending strings mark this arrival.
Second Section (B). Più sostenuto, F-sharp
major, 4/4; Lines 9-12
5:52 [m. 85]--LINE 9. The change in meter is marked
by throbbing timpani beats and harp arpeggios in triplet rhythm,
along plucked upper strings in “straight” rhythm. The
voices, supported by woodwinds, rise in a very dramatic unison to
describe Thetis and her sisters rising from the sea to mourn
Achilles. At the word “Meer,” the choir breaks into block
harmonies and the trombones enter. The 4/4 meter assists in
this more opulent and emphatic presentation.
6:10 [m. 90]--LINE 10. The characteristic syncopation
from the first part is retained here, and all voices use it
here. The sopranos begin, followed by altos and tenors
together, then basses. Still, they do not diverge much, and
there is no text repetition. The plucked arpeggios in the
harp and strings continue. The winds still support the vocal
parts, and again the trombones punctuate the end of the
line. The line closes with a strong arrival on the
“dominant” harmony in F-sharp major. The woodwinds, in
unison, then play a winding upward arpeggio as a transition into
the change of mood for the next lines. This arpeggio is
passed to the strings on the last beat.
6:36 [m. 97]--LINE 11. Suddenly hushed, the choir
intones this most vivid image of Schiller’s poem, that of the
weeping gods. The basses enter a measure after the other
voices. The sopranos have a striking octave leap on
“weinen.” The line is punctuated by brief rising arpeggios
from both strings and woodwinds in alternation. The volume
rapidly builds for the second half of the line, and all voices
speed up. The sopranos have another octave leap, and the
basses have one on “Götter.” The words are stretched out
differently in the voices, so that the two female parts repeat
“die Göttinnen alle,” the tenors only “alle,” and the basses
nothing. The string figures become narrower, and the winds
plunge downward. The key makes a detour to A major, ending
on its “dominant” harmony.
7:08 [m. 104]--After the climax and the end of the line,
the voices and winds drop out, and the strings alone play a
rapidly diminishing transition. The cellos and basses are in
straight rhythm, but the violins and violas are syncopated.
All of them settle into a gentle oscillation. The key moves
back to F-sharp, but it now has a minor flavor.
7:24 [m. 107]--LINE 12. The clinching line of the
lament begins with a hushed a cappella setting. The
interlude ended on the “dominant” of F-sharp minor. The key
now makes a full pivot there, actually changing to C-sharp
major. In that key, and in full harmony, the voices intone
the first phrase of the line, reaching a full cadence.
7:34 [m. 109]--As the voices reach their cadence, the low
strings and winds enter. The winds gently descend as the
voices begin the completion of the line, still in C-sharp
major. The lower three voices begin a full two measures
before the sopranos. The upper strings subtly join in, and
the winds drop out. There is a great deal of text
repetition. The altos and tenors repeat the entire phrase as
the late-entering sopranos finish their first statement. The
tenors omit the initial “daß” in their repetition (the first two
words are homophones). The basses, meanwhile, have a pause
when the sopranos enter, then they begin a full repetition, and
are in the middle of the word “Vollkommene” as the upper voices
reach a cadence.
8:00 [m. 115]--At this cadence, the winds enter again, the
basses leap up an octave, and all three upper voices
complete another repetition of “das Vollkommene stirbt,” with the
basses simply finishing their full repetition. Another full
cadence on C-sharp major is expected, but as the voices reach
“stirbt,” this is dramatically thwarted with an sudden lurch back
to F-sharp via a dissonant “diminished seventh” chord. The
trombones mark this striking moment with a forceful entry, then
the strings quietly descend in a syncopated arpeggio.
8:18 [m. 119]--LINE 11 REPEATED. Line 11 is repeated
in its entirety to the same lush music used for line 9 at 5:52 [m.
85]. The sopranos have virtually the same line as they did
there, but the lower voices are more active, particularly the
basses, who have prominent octave leaps on the words for “gods’
and “goddesses.” This rising line had previously been in
unison, and now it is harmonized with dynamic lower parts.
The plucked string arpeggios are also more active, being played in
triplet rhythm. They thus reverse rhythms with the harp,
whose previous arpeggios were in triplets and are now replaced by
chords and lower notes in straight rhythm. The timpani beats
are again present, but drop out sooner.
8:37 [m. 124]--LINE 12 REPEATED. This corresponds to
the statement of line 10 from 6:10 [m. 90]. The vocal parts
match that line through the first phrase. The reversal of
rhythms between plucked strings and harp continues, although the
triplet-rhythm strings now play oscillating leaping figures
instead of arpeggios. The second phrase (to the same music
that had been used for the second phrase of line 10) is subtly
altered, especially in the soprano and bass vocal parts, so that
it ends on the home “tonic” harmony in F-sharp major instead of on
its “dominant” chord. The ensuing wind arpeggio, again taken
up by the strings at the end, is also altered in pitch.
Instead of leading directly into the mysterious statement of line
11, the arpeggio turns downward in syncopation, as before 8:18 [m.
119], and toward the home key of D.
9:14 [m. 133]--The voices now repeat line 12 for a third
time. The first phrase is mostly a cappella, and
mysterious, although the trombones support the beginning.
The tenors and basses, beginning on a syncopated upbeat, are
followed closely by altos, then sopranos, but there is no text
repetition, only faster declamation in the upper parts with the
sopranos omitting the initial “daß.” While it is chromatic
and mysterious, the passage is clearly in the home key of the
piece, D major, not the key of the B section.
Another slow, syncopated downward string arpeggio (matching the
one before 8:18 [m. 119]) leads back to F-sharp minor, the B
section’s key. It is colored by trombones.
9:37 [m. 137]--This is the quietest, most otherworldly
passage in the piece, reserved for the final statement of line
12’s pivotal second phrase. Other than the trombones, who
linger for a measure, it is entirely a cappella and pianissimo.
Although is is in F-sharp major, pointing toward a cadence there,
it is extremely chromatic, especially the rising soprano
line. The expected transfigured cadence in F-sharp does not
arrive, however. The last word, “stirbt,” makes a
magnificently “deceptive” motion to the home key of D major,
juxtaposed exactly with the return of 6/4 meter and the music of
the introduction for the third section.
Third Section (A’). Tempo primo, D major, 6/4;
10:01 [m. 141]--The last section is introduced by a
considerably abbreviated version of the introduction. The
winds, including the leading oboe line, follow the first four
measures exactly. After the plucked string figures that
support the opening “Lebewohl” motive, Brahms adds brief rising
arpeggios in the cellos that were not present in the original
introduction. After the first four measures, the next four
are new and conflate the remainder of the introduction. At
the beginning of these measures, the strings add another plucked
“Lebewohl” figure. The oboe still leads the new lead-in to
the choral entry.
10:37 [m. 149]--LINE 13. The entire line is presented
in a similar manner to the first half of line 1, beginning at 1:41
[m. 25]. As they had there, the sopranos present the line
alone at first, to the same long-breathed, winding melody.
The accompaniment is different, now being given to woodwinds, with
violins joining at the very end of the statement. The
declamation is also altered, as several syllables are now set to
the notes that were used originally for the elongated presentation
of “sterben.” This line is a parallel counterpart to line 1
in textual as well as musical ways, providing comfort and
10:55 [m. 153]--The other three voices all enter as the
sopranos are finishing the pivotal word “herrlich.” The
previous contrapuntal entries are thus also dispensed with in
another abbreviation. The altos enter on the upbeat,
followed immediately by tenors and basses. The altos and
tenors, along with the continuing sopranos, simply reiterate “ist
herrlich” three times to the winding melody, which now harmonizes
the soprano line (the altos adding an extra “herrlich”).
There is some imitation between altos and tenors. The
basses, however, sing the entire line to a transposition of the
soprano melody. Full strings and woodwinds accompany, and
the volume rapidly builds to a climax, marked by triumphant chords
and a timpani roll.
11:19 [m. 158]--LINE 14. Brahms does not focus on the
rather negative final line, only stating it once in all voices in
a subdued manner. The timpani roll quickly fades, and the
voices state the line to a quiet, slowly descending pattern that
reflects the “descent” of the text. All voices state “denn”
together, then the women lead the men on the remainder.
Other than a brief trailing string line at the outset, it is a
cappella. The harmonies have minor-key tinges.
At the cadence, the women use a stretched-out cross rhythm similar
to those seen before, but the men do not. The basses finish
early, and their return to line 13 overlaps with the last syllable
in the other three parts.
11:40 [m. 162]--LINE 13 REPEATED. Brahms ends with an
extended repetition of the hopeful and pivotal penultimate
line. The instrumentation is solemn. A throbbing
timpani pedal point on D begins, supported by trombones, horns,
and plucked low strings, which join the timpani (but twice as
slowly) in the throbbing pedal point. The basses begin in
quiet solemnity, followed by the altos and tenors. The two
inner voices complete a full statement of the first half (ending
with “sein”), but the basses stretch out “Klaglied” and then
repeat “ein Klaglied.” The harmony is mildly chromatic.
12:00 [m. 166]--As the sopranos enter, the altos and tenors
finish the first half of the line, and the woodwind instruments
make their entry. The violins are still silent. The
basses finish their own statement of the words while the inner
parts repeat the entire text under a long soprano note. The
low strings and timpani continue to thump the pedal point D, and
the volume steadily builds. When the inner parts reach
“Klaglied” on their repeated statement, the harmony is a pungently
dissonant “diminished seventh” chord, but this quickly
resolves. The upper three parts reach “sein” together, as
the basses have ended early.
12:17 [m. 170]--The instruments all suddenly drop out, and
the voices erupt into a glorious a cappella peroration on
“im Mund der Geliebten,” repeating the words three times in a
joyfully swaying motion. The inner voices enter early on a
longer upbeat. The tenors only repeat “der Geliebten” once,
and continue in front of the other parts with “ist
herrlich.” On the third statement, the sopranos reach a
jubilant high A and use the familiar 3/2 cross-rhythm. Then
all the voices, with divided basses and trailing tenors, complete
the line on a warm, rich “herrlich,” reaching a full D-major
cadence. Horns enter at the end, trailed by oboes in a
12:52 [m. 176]--The final bars are devoted to the word
“herrlich.” The tenors start on a syncopated upbeat,
followed by altos and basses, then sopranos. The tenors,
altos, and sopranos sing a descending line in succession.
Plucked strings punctuate the warm and gentle repetitions, and
then the harp enters with its own rolled chords, supported by
timpani beats. The active accompaniment is provided by
woodwinds. All voices except sopranos sing the word twice
13:12 [m. 179]--The voices reach an incomplete
cadence. The low strings take their bows and play a slow
rising arpeggio, which is then taken by the harp in a faster
statement. The winds now hold long chords. All four
parts sing one last transfigured “herrlich” as the violins finally
join the rising arpeggio. The last chord, in which the
sopranos sing on the third, F-sharp, rather than the home “tonic”
of D, is punctuated by a harp arpeggio, a timpani roll, and a held
chord in all winds and strings.
13:58--END OF WORK [181 mm.] (Runoff after chord ends at
BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME