Recording: Amadeus Quartet (Norbert Brainin, 1st Violin; Siegmund Nissel, 2nd violin; Peter Schidlof, viola; Martin Lovett, cello) with Cecil Aronowitz, 2nd Viola [DG 419 875-2]

Published 1883.

The string quintet was the last mainstream chamber music genre to which Brahms contributed.  An earlier abortive attempt to write a quintet with two cellos (the “Schubert” quintet ensemble) eventually led to the Piano Quintet, Op. 34.  When again embarking on a string quintet in the spring of 1882, he opted for the more common “Mozart” ensemble of two violins, two violas, and cello.  After straining his medium in the three string quartets, the quintet allowed him more freedom along the lines of the earlier sextets that preceded them.  The F-major quintet is a special work in many ways.  It is the only chamber work outside of the sonatas for solo instrument and piano that is in three movements instead of four.  The extremely complex structure of the second movement, which combines the functions of slow movement and scherzo, reaches back to the composer’s early years.  The movement uses as its source material two of a series of neo-baroque keyboard dances that he wrote in the 1850s but never published, specifically a sarabande and a gavotte, both in A major.  They are completely translated into the string idiom.  A similar structure on a smaller scale would later be used in the A-major Violin Sonata (Op. 100), a work that, like this one, has a brief finale.  The first movement is gloriously melodious and pastoral while presenting a tightly argued form.  The combination of fugue and sonata form used in the finale seems directly inspired by the finale of Beethoven’s third “Rasumovsky” Quartet (Op. 59, No. 3).  Another prominent feature of this satisfying but rarely performed work is the ubiquitous use of an unusual secondary key, A major, in all three movements.  The second themes of the outer movements are both in this key (not the expected “dominant,” but the “mediant” to F major), as well as the contrasting sections of the second movement.  That movement even ends in A major instead of its nominal “home” key of C-sharp (which vacillates between major and minor throughout the slower sections).  The finale is often criticized as being too brief to balance the other two movements, but Brahms tended steadily toward short finales in his later chamber music.

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)

1st Movement: Allegro non troppo ma con brio (Sonata-Allegro form).  F MAJOR, 4/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1.  All instruments except second violin begin with an extremely pastoral tune, richly harmonized between first violin and first viola.  The open fifths in the cello and second viola add to the pastoral flavor.  At the second phrase, the second violin enters, presenting the tune an octave higher.  The end of this phrase takes a harmonic detour toward D major.
0:17 [m. 9]--A contrasting phrase begins in D major, again without second violin.  That instrument enters after two bars, again an octave above the first violin.  The music then begins to build, with scale fragments and off-beat accents.  The syncopation in all instruments becomes quite heavy as the key moves back to F major.  The main tune then emerges at full volume with lush harmony.  It is brought to a satisfying cadence.
0:44 [m. 22]--Transition.  It begins with an echo of the cadence an octave lower.  Then the violins begin to play in detached dotted rhythm (long-short).  The cadence is echoed again, and then the violins, now joined by the second viola, begin an extended passage of dotted rhythm.  First viola and cello provide solid accompaniment in straight notes.  The instruments arrive at a half-cadence in A major (the key of Theme 2).
0:56 [m. 28]--The second violin, accompanied by first viola, plays a jaunty phrase in the dotted rhythm.  The rest of the strings join in a powerful response.  The “jaunty phrase” is repeated again a third higher, on C.  The powerful response is extended, breaking into a downward scale from the violins in dotted rhythm.
1:07 [m. 34]--A somewhat more static melody begins in A minor, with syncopated accompaniment from the violas and cello.  The pattern of statement and response continues, with the second “response” being more elaborate.  This minor-key melody is spun out somewhat, becomes quieter, and reaches an arrival point, but the apparent cadence in A minor is cut off right before that arrival.
1:34 [m. 46]--Theme 2.  An animated theme played by the first viola in a rocking triplet rhythm.  The second violin and cello are plucked.  The first violin and second viola accompany, the former in faster note values, the latter with a distinct countermelody.  All instruments except the second violin play in “straight” rhythm clashing with the first viola’s triplet melody (A major). 
1:42 [m. 50]--Halfway through the tune, the first viola abandons the triplets and the melody becomes more halting and breathless.  The other instruments, all bowed, accompany together on short groups of two repeated notes.  The volume suddenly rises, and the first viola melody soars toward its conclusion.  The accompanying figures of the other instruments are less short and less together under this. 
1:55 [m. 58]--The first violin takes over the Theme 2 melody from the first viola, repeating the opening section with triplets.  The second violin plays the countermelody formerly played by the second viola.  The lower three instruments are all plucked, the violas playing arpeggios and the cello providing a steady bass.
2:02 [m. 62]--The first violin continues with the “halting, breathless” portion of Theme 2, but it has reached higher than the viola statement did.  The lower three instruments play the short repeated notes, but the second violin joins the first in harmony on the “breathless” music after two bars.  The following smooth, high-reaching lines are extended and become very quiet, including some echoes of the note B-flat from the “home” key of F.  These lines settle down to the final cadence gestures.
2:20 [m. 73]--The first violin leads the final cadence gestures (there is no real “closing theme”), in pure A major.  The first gesture is echoed by the violas in harmony, the cello providing a solid bass.  The first violin then reiterates its cadence an octave lower to close the exposition.  The violas then seem to bring their response up an octave from where it was, but the harmony shifts and leads back to F major for the repeat of the exposition.  The first violin melody in the transitional bar [m. 77] confirms this motion.
2:35 [m. 1]---Theme 1, as at the beginning.
2:51 [m. 9]--Contrasting phrase, syncopation, return of main melody, and cadence, as at 0:17.
3:18 [m. 22]--Transition.  Echo, dotted rhythm, and half-cadence in A major, as at 0:44.
3:30 [m. 28]--Jaunty phrase with powerful responses, as at 0:56.
3:41 [m. 34]--Melody and arrival point in A minor, as at 1:07.
4:07 [m. 46]--Theme 2.  Viola in triplets, as at 1:34.
4:15 [m. 50]--”Halting, breathless” melody and soaring response, as at 1:42.
4:28 [m. 58]--Theme 2 from first violin in triplets, as at 1:55.
4:35 [m. 62]--”Halting, breathless” melody, high-reaching lines, and arrival at cadence gestures, as at 2:02.
4:53 [m. 73]--Cadence gestures, as at 2:20.  The transitional bars are altered in a second ending leading to the development.  In m. 76, the first violin plays the modulating response formerly taken by the viola, but the other instruments are the same.  The measure with the violin melody leading back to the exposition (m. 77) is replaced by the first measure of the development (which is also counted as m. 77).
5:02 [m. 77]--The development begins with very quiet, almost mysterious echoes of Theme 1 fragments.  These move to C-sharp minor (a prominent key in the second movement).  The violas play the fragments in octaves, and the other instruments play slow, syncopated chords.  These become more detached, and the second viola passes its line to the cello before the next section based on the minor-key transition melody.
5:15 [m. 83]--The first violin begins a statement of the minor-key melody from 1:07 [m. 34] in C-sharp minor.  The other instruments vacillate between a new counterpoint in fast triplets and straight harmony with the melody.  The first violin itself takes up the triplets as the second violin and viola take over the melody.  The triplets even creep into the cello part.  They make a powerful motion toward G-sharp minor, but this is arrested by an unexpected “deceptive” shift to E major.
5:26 [m. 89]--The instruments suddenly become very quiet, and the preceding powerful triplets are given a brief, but serene moment in E major, led by first viola and first violin.  This does not last, as E major quickly shifts to E minor, the volume dramatically increases, and the transition melody is further developed in E minor along with the triplets.
5:37 [m. 95]--A cadence in E minor is immediately followed by a shift to B minor and further development of the transition melody and triplets.  The instruments suddenly come together.
5:46 [m. 100]--In a similar shift to that at 5:26 [m. 89], the harmony moves to G major and the instruments have another similar “serene” moment led by the first viola and first violin.  This is unexpectedly extended in a change of key to C major.  This is the “dominant” of the home key of F, and raises expectations that the home key, and the recapitulation, are at hand.
5:59 [m. 106]--The home key of F does in fact arrive, and the volume dramatically swells.  The violas continue with the fast triplets, but the violins break into leaping syncopations, expanding into double-stops (harmony with two strings on one instrument).  This music continues to build, anticipating a huge arrival on Theme 1.  This would, however, result in an unusually brief development section.
6:09 [m. 111]-- Although the opening melody of Theme 1 does arrive in the home key, there is a huge diminishing right before this, something that would not be expected at a recapitulation.  Indeed, the development has not ended.  The Theme 1 material, with the second violin on top, has an immediate response from the first violin and first viola.  This response is on the “jaunty” melody from 0:56 [m. 28] in the transition.  A second statement of Theme 1 material is followed by another response of the “jaunty” melody that is much more biting and chromatic.  The volume level is very soft in a transitional bar.
6:23 [m. 118]--A third, minor-tinged statement of the Theme 1 material is given yet another response from the “jaunty” melody in the “chromatic” version.  This is now further developed and extended, passed from first violin to first viola to second violin, then back to first viola, and finally back to first violin.  These exchanges are all over a very soft harmonic background.  The harmony is very unstable, moving through keys on the “flat” side, D-flat, E-flat, and A-flat.
6:34 [m. 124]--The second violin joins the first violin in harmony on the continuing development of the “jaunty” melody.  The harmony is later joined by the first viola.  There is an extended, gradual, and dramatic crescendo.  The music moves from A-flat to the “dominant” chord of the home key of F major.  This time, there is no doubt that the recapitulation is coming, as the approach is extremely powerful.
6:43 [m. 129]--Re-transition.  The cello leads a dramatic preparation of Theme 1 beginning on the “dominant” chord and including minor-key and chromatic tinges.  The other instruments respond to the cello.  The tension is built to the breaking point as the instruments come together in unison, still with notes from the minor key.  Then there are two chromatic chords that ratchet up the expectation even more, so that the arrival at the recapitulation is a truly glorious moment.
7:00 [m. 137]--Theme 1.  It is given in a much more full and brilliant presentation than before, with sonorous triplet fifths in the cello and second viola and full doubling in sixths of the melody from both violins, the first viola providing additional harmonies in triplets.  The second violin part becomes more independent after two bars, but the rich scoring continues throughout.
7:15 [m. 145]--The full, rich scoring with low fifths in triplets continues through the contrasting phrase beginning in D major.
7:26 [m. 150]--Transition.  The heavy syncopation from the end of Theme 1 and the dotted rhythms from the beginning of the transition are combined and abbreviated.  The restatement of the main melody and full cadence are skipped.  The passage is short, but intense, and ends up where it began, in F major.  The dotted rhythms are heard mainly from second violin and first viola.
7:39 [m. 157]--The “jaunty” melody from the transition at 0:56 [m. 28], which had such a large role in the development section, now begins as it had in the exposition, but in F major instead of A.  This portion, however, is also abbreviated.  The “powerful response” is extended by a bar, but then the second statement of the “jaunty” melody is completely skipped, and the music emerges into the “downward scale” in dotted rhythm from the violins, now with new syncopations in the first viola.
7:47 [m. 161]--The “static” melody from 1:07 [m. 34] begins, and is surprisingly in the “wrong” key.  Since Brahms had avoided the cadence of Theme 1 in F major in order to have part of the transition appear there, and since the home key normally dominates in the recapitulation, the setting of this melody in the “relative” minor key (D minor) instead of the “home” minor key (F minor) is unexpected.  The passage itself is unabbreviated from the exposition, and the only changes are in scoring.  At the opening, the second violin and first viola reverse their parts from before, for example, as do the second viola and cello.  At the end, an expected cadence in D minor is cut off, as was the A-minor one in the exposition.
8:13 [m. 173]--Theme 2.  It is scored exactly as in the exposition, but it is now in D major.  This seems unusual, as the second theme is normally in the “home” key in the recapitulation, but the typical relationship between keys of the second theme in the exposition and recapitulation is actually preserved.  Since the second theme in the exposition was not in the expected “dominant” key, its appearance in D major here follows the same pattern that an F-major appearance would have had if the exposition second theme had been in the expected C-major key instead of A major.
8:20 [m. 177]--At the very last minute, the previous music makes a shift to the “correct” key of F major.  The “halting, breathless” portion of the theme from 1:42 [m. 50] follows in that key.  The only substantive difference (other than key) between here and the exposition presentation is that the second violin does not play with the others on the first three bars of the “short repeated note” groups and the second viola adds some double stops there.  The volume rises and the viola melody soars, as before.
8:32 [m. 185]--First violin statement of the Theme 2 melody, as at 1:55 [m. 58], now in F major.  From here, that key will remain in force until the end of the movement.  It is scored as it was in the exposition.
8:39 [m. 189]--The first violin moves to the “halting, breathless” portion, as at 2:02 [m. 62].  Smooth, high-reaching lines become quiet, with some chromatic notes (G-flat replacing the former B-flat), and settle toward the cadence gestures, as in the exposition.  The scoring is mostly the same, with some minor alterations to account for instrument range in the home key.
8:57 [m. 200]--Cadence gestures.  They are more similar to the second ending at 4:53 [m. 73] than the first at 2:20.  The first gesture is echoed by the violas in harmony.  The second gesture is begun by the second violin instead of the first violin, and it is not an octave lower.  The transitional response to this second gesture is played by the first violin instead of the first viola, as at the second ending, without key change.
9:06 [m. 204]--The coda begins with the first violin holding a high C.  The second viola also holds a long note.  The second violin and first viola extend the cadence gestures under this, gradually descending, with some chromatic notes.  The first violin and second viola move down as well, with slower notes, some held over bar lines.  The cello provides a steady bass, slowly moving with the harmony of the upper instruments.  The volume level begins at a quiet level and becomes even more quiet.
9:17 [m. 209]--Brahms indicates a slower tempo with “Più moderato.”  The two violins lead a transformed version of the minor-key melody originally heard at 1:07 [m. 34], now serenely and beautifully in major.  The lower instruments provide static harmonies, then gradually start to become more active.  There is a strong buildup to a louder level for a repetition of the “transformed” melody, now an octave higher and with more active lower instruments.  There are some chromatic notes and minor-key vestiges, but they are only shadows of the formerly melancholy melody.
9:37 [m. 217]--Echoes of the “transfigured” melody continue as the music quiets down again gradually and steadily becomes even slower.  The first violin then reaches very high and “stretches” out the music.  The other instruments remain in the ranges where they have been.  They all reach a point of quiet suspension.
9:52 [m. 222]--As the previous passage reaches an extremely quiet low keynote in the cello, the main Allegro tempo suddenly returns, as does a strong volume, as if to “wake up” the players.  A flourish of a broken F-major chord in triplets is followed by three closing chords, the last one sustained.
10:07--END OF MOVEMENT [224 mm.]

2nd Movement: Grave ed appassionato - Allegretto vivace - Tempo I - Presto - Tempo I (ABA’B’A” form, alternating slow and fast sections).  C-SHARP MAJOR/MINOR--A MAJOR, 3/4, 6/8, and Cut [2/2] time.
A Section--Grave ed appassionato, C-sharp major/minor, 3/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--The material of the A sections is derived from the early A-major piano sarabande, transposed to C-sharp.  The beautiful, melancholy theme, which includes some passionate triplets,  is presented as a duet between first violin and cello, mostly in thirds, with the cello playing the melody above the violin harmony.  The other instruments provide more static harmony.  The first phrase is in a clear C-sharp major.
0:16 [m. 5]--The duet is passed to the two violas, playing in sixths, the cello moving to its normal bass role.  Their presentation is in C-sharp minor instead of major, and most of the following music will remain in minor.  After two bars, the first violin takes over from the violas, who continue in a flowing counterpoint.  This phrase builds with a motion toward the “dominant” harmony, G-sharp.
0:30 [m. 9]--The upper instruments expand the passionate triplet rhythm.  The cello enters with a low trill and a fast upward arpeggio.  This happens twice in an ascending sequence, passing over A major (a very important key in this movement) before moving back to C-sharp.
0:43 [m. 13]--In a transitional passage, the upper instruments become more hesitant and halting, playing after the beat.  The second violin drops out here.  The cello has the main line, a steadily descending bridge that touches on F-sharp minor.  It passes this line to the second violin, who enters after two bars, as it moves to a smooth bass harmony.  The music becomes steadily quieter.  The other three instruments continue their after-beat notes before a triplet leads to the next theme statement.
0:58 [m. 17]--The theme is again stated in C-sharp minor, with the duet between the first violin and first viola, the first violin playing the melody and the viola playing a third below.  It is now much quieter than before.  The second violin has a counterpoint line including triplets and the second viola plays steady and detached triplet arpeggios, the cello providing a slow-moving bass.  The melody builds, expanding itself higher than before, the first viola lagging a bit behind the first violin.  The phrase is extended by a bar.
1:17 [m. 22]--The last statement of the theme (still in minor), is given by second violin and first viola, the first viola moving above for the melody and the second violin taking the viola’s previous lower third line.  The first violin plays a prominent counterpoint.  The second viola and cello continue their previous roles.  The theme expands higher again, the first violin counterpoint taking a leading role before all instruments except the first viola break into triplets.  The statement builds and recedes.
1:32 [m. 26]--The music arrives at a series of slow cadence gestures in short-long rhythm, the second viola retaining two vestiges of the triplet rhythm.  They include dissonances such as an “augmented” chord.  These cadence gestures gradually recede.  After four bars of cadence gestures, the lower three instruments arrive on an octave C-sharp, the second violin providing a weak harmony a fifth above.  This is followed by two bare, detached C-sharp octaves from first viola and cello, closing the section in a stark manner.
B Section--Allegretto vivace, A major, 6/8 time.
1:57 [m. 32]--The first part of the new section pivots abruptly, but gently to A major and a rocking 6/8 meter.  The opening dotted (long-short) rhythm, often, but not always followed by a longer syncopated note held across a strong beat, is the main characteristic of the section.  The style is that of a leisurely baroque gigue.  The leading violin lines are decorated by short trills in the first three bars.  The second viola and cello are plucked at the beginning, and the first viola only enters after two bars.  The dynamic is very quiet.
2:06 [m. 37]--The second phrase begins after five bars.  It emphasizes the syncopations more heavily, stressing them and holding them over bar lines.  It also makes a wistful turn to the minor key and back.  Like the first phrase, it is an irregular five bars.  The second violin takes the dotted rhythm to lead into a repeat of the first two phrases.
2:16 [m. 32]--Repetition of the first phrase.
2:25 [m. 37]--Repetition of the second phrase, with varied last bar to lead into the following developmental passage.
2:35 [m. 42]--The heavy syncopation of the second phrase is developed with somewhat more intensity.  A three-bar sequence is varied beginning a step lower.  The two statements move toward the related keys of D major and B minor.
2:47 [m. 48]--The arrival point of the last phrases is interrupted by the sudden entry of the cello in the dotted rhythm with the decorative short trill.  The cello moves up a half-step on the syncopated note following the rhythm.  The first violin responds with a descending line using both syncopation and the dotted rhythm.  The other instruments support the violin responses.  There are four of these exchanges.  The cello only uses the trill on the first two.  Between the first three exchanges, there are octave or near-octave leaps in both the cello and the violin.  The music becomes steadily quieter and more gentle.
2:55 [m. 52]--An echo of the syncopation in the violins leads seamlessly into a full restatement of the first phrase, now shifted up to D major.  The second violin now stays together with the first violin on the dotted rhythm throughout the phrase, and the first viola line is different, adding a syncopated note to the first two bars.
3:06 [m. 58]--The second phrase is also given at the new pitch level.  It is expanded at the fifth bar, with the dotted rhythm being passed twice from the second to the first violin and back.  The second violin statements begin with A, and the first violin statements with E.  The second viola is plucked during this extension.
3:22 [m. 66]--The syncopation again becomes very heavy and held over bar lines, with emphasis on the descending version.  The figures are passed between the two violins, with each stating four of them and gradually moving down, the two instruments separated by an octave.  The lower three instruments provide vital, but unobtrusive support.  Again, the second viola is plucked.
3:30 [m. 70]--The opening gestures return as the key turns back to A major.  The first viola and cello alternate with the two violins  The first viola has the short trill on its first and third gestures.  The figures step, skip, and leap, both up and down, but stick to the opening dotted rhythm with syncopation.  The second viola drops out briefly during these four bars.
3:37 [m. 74]--As A major completely arrives, the dotted rhythm with syncopation continues to be passed between instruments, but now the second viola enters and plays with the first viola and second violin.  These now alternate with the first violin and cello.  These “outer instruments” cut off without holding notes over bar lines.  After two exchanges, the second viola and cello drop out of the last two, moving to plucked notes on strong beats.  The first violin line leads to the short final chord of the section and a general pause.  The entire last passage moves again away from A and suggests D major again.
A’ Section--Tempo I, C-sharp major/minor, 3/4 time
3:48 [m. 80]--The sarabande material and the key of C-sharp return in a striking harmonic shift from the previous music.  The initial phrase is played in C-sharp major, as it was in the first A section, but this time the first violin has the melody instead of the cello, and the harmony in thirds is provided by the second violin.  The harmony is given more fullness by the addition of another parallel line in the first viola that moves in the same rhythm, but not the same direction as the violins.  The second viola and cello provide bass support that includes repeated-note triplets.  The statement is gentle and quiet.
4:04 [m. 84]--The second violin holds a note over and very quietly echoes the closing gesture of the phrase, accompanied by the two violas and turning toward the minor key.  The first violin, initially playing alone, repeats and abbreviates the echo with light, but sharp accompaniment entering from other instruments.  Then the cello introduces an inversion of the figure, turning it upside down.  The first viola follows with the original version.  This begins a rapid and powerful dynamic buildup culminating with the entry of the first violin on the inverted version accompanied by all other instruments in syncopation
4:25 [m. 90]--A new, highly dramatic and active developmental passage begins, with the violins playing triplet octaves with syncopated notes, the cello and the two violas continuing to develop the main material in straight rhythm.  The volume suddenly quiets again in preparation for a slower, steady buildup.  The original main melody begins to emerge in the first viola.  The violins remain on octaves of the note G-sharp.
4:37 [m. 94]--As the triplets continue, the violas and cello take over.  Mixing triplet rhythm and straight rhythm, the first viola plays a version of the second phrase from the first A section (0:16 [m. 5), which has been delayed by the new insertions.  After one bar, the violins abandon their syncopated G-sharp octaves and begin to provide breathless responses after the beat, resting on the first notes of triplet groups to preserve the syncopated feel.  In this rhythm, the first violin makes the connection to 0:16 [m. 5] clear by embedding its original notes from that passage.  This becomes even more explicit at the point where triplets entered the original first violin line.  The agitated buildup continues.
4:40 [m. 98]--At a dramatic arrival point, the music emerges into a virtually exact repetition of the expansion with cello trills and arpeggios from 0:30 [m. 9].
5:02 [m. 102]--The virtual repetition continues with the music from 0:43 [m. 13], the diminishing transitional passage.  The parts of the two violins are exchanged, which has minimal aural effect.  The first viola also exchanges some notes with the violin parts.  The second viola and cello lines are identical.
5:17 [m. 106]--The passage from 0:58 [m. 17] is skipped, and the instruments continue with the  last statement from 1:17 [m. 22].  This is again virtually identical, with some minor differences in the first bar.  The second viola begins its “steady triplets” here.
5:31 [m. 110]--The cadence gestures from 1:32 [m. 26] are highly varied, yet still recognizable.  The instruments play in a gentle syncopation, compressing the material of two bars into one and preserving the structure through repetition and variation, with some new chords and major-key hints.  The closing octave C-sharps are decorated by falls from a third above.  The harmony a fifth above is also preserved.  These are expanded from two bars to three bars, the third bar finally settling on C-sharp alone.  All are stated by the lower three instruments except for a brief persistence by the first violin in the first of the three bars.
B’ Section--Presto, A major, Cut [2/2] time
Although this section follows the structure and harmony of the earlier gigue-like B section closely and seems to be a “variation” in a new meter and tempo, it is also an almost direct transcription of the early A-major piano gavotte.  This means that B is in fact a “variation” of B’, and not the other way around.
6:01 [m. 117]--The first violin plays the vigorous gavotte theme, with sharp punctuations from the other instruments.  The second violin and first viola pluck their accompaniments.  All are played in a hushed, almost secretive manner.  The five-bar phrase corresponds closely with 1:57 [m. 32].
6:06 [m. 122]--The second five-bar phrase brings back the syncopations from the first B section in the new tempo and meter, also turning to the minor key and back.  The second violin and first viola are now bowed, the former joining the first violin on the syncopation.  The other instruments play on strong beats.  The phrase corresponds to 2:06 [m. 37], but begins at a louder level and quiets quickly toward the end.  The first violin leads to the repetition of the first two phrases.
6:12 [m. 117]--Repetition of the first phrase.
6:18 [m. 122]--Repetition of the second phrase, with the last bar replacing the first violin lead-in to the repeat with the beginning of the following syncopations
6:24 [m. 127]--As at 2:35 [m. 42], the heavy syncopation of the second phrase is developed, but now with much more vigor and stark contrast between loud and soft.  Partly to accommodate the new meter and tempo, the passage is lengthened from six to eight bars.  A four-bar sequence (instead of three)  is varied beginning a step lower.  The two statements still move toward D major and B minor.
6:34 [m. 135]--The cello/violin exchanges of 2:47 [m. 48] are replaced in the analogous passage with skittish leaping figures passed between the instruments and harmonized, beginning with the two violas, who continue with harmony when the violins enter.  When the cello comes in with the violins, it provides a slower-leaping solid bass support.  This bridge passage is doubled in length from the B section, expanded from four to eight bars.  Also, that passage became quieter, while this one begins quietly and lightly, but builds steadily and powerfully as the main gavotte theme emerges.  As in B, the motion is to D major here.
6:44 [m. 143]--At full volume, two preliminary gestures precede the full gavotte theme in D major.  A new counterpoint is added in the second violin at first, then it joins the churning chords of the violas  The cello plays first a hollow drone, then joins the churning in the last two bars.  The “preliminary” gestures are analogous to the “echo of the syncopation” at 2:55 [m. 52], and the statement in D major is analogous to the succeeding music.
6:51 [m. 150]--The second phrase with the syncopations is given at the new pitch level, analogous to 3:06 [m. 58].  It begins at full volume and speed.  Suddenly, a new internal and mysteriously quiet phrase is given in A minor.  Then a second loud statement of the syncopations occurs (also with the quiet internal response, which now suggests F major).  This replaces the extension in the B section.  Then follows, in a departure from the B section, the turn to (D) minor from the original phrase.  It diminishes more and moves toward A major, suddenly pausing after four detached chords.  The section ends here, considerably abbreviating the original B.
A” Section--Tempo I, A major--C-sharp minor/major, 3/4 time
7:12 [m. 164]--The initial phrase of the sarabande melody is now played for the first time in A major instead of C-sharp major.  The harmony in thirds is between the two violins, as in A’, but the accompaniment from the lower instruments is less active, similar to the first A.  There is slightly more motion in the lower instruments at the end of the phrase than there was in A.
7:28 [m. 168]--The second phrase is played in A minor by the first viola, as it was in C-sharp minor in the initial A section.  This time, it is a solo line, without the harmonization in sixths from the second viola.  The first violin takes over after two bars, as it had in A.  There is the same build toward “dominant” harmony, which in this case is E.
7:42 [m. 172]--The expansion with triplets and cello trills is very similar to 0:30 [m. 9] and 4:40 [m. 98], but it is not exactly analogous.  The large leap and descent after the first bar of triplets is much wider and descends initially by skips instead of steps.  This happens again in the second sequence, and more notes are added to the ascending cello arpeggio.  The alterations help facilitate a motion away from A major, not yet to the supposed “home” key of the movement, C-sharp, but to its “dominant,” G-sharp.
7:56 [m. 176]--The passage is analogous to the transitional passage at 0:43 [m. 13] and 5:02 [m. 102].  The cello has the initial descending line, as in both places, but this time the continuation is from the first viola rather than either of the violins.  The after-beat notes are heard as before, but the first violin rests under the first viola’s continuation, resulting in a thinner texture.  The music is moving toward C-sharp minor.
8:11 [m. 180]--A new extension to the transitional passage places the main line high in the first violin and inverts it, so that it is moving up instead of down.  The second violin has a downward motion against it.  The after-beat notes continue, but the music builds and after two bars, all instruments except first violin and cello break into a large descent in two-note groups, the volume diminishing after the climax.  There is finally a clear arrival on C-sharp minor.
8:27 [m. 184]--Where a statement of the original sarabande melody would be expected, Brahms surprises by turning to the previously unused second half of the piano sarabande, with its florid melody (which briefly turns to E major) played by the first violin.  The cello enters with a bass line and the other instruments continue their two-note descents.  The cello joins the moving harmony under the C-sharp minor cadence.  The cadence itself is echoed an octave lower by the second violin (the first violin dropping out) extending the phrase to five bars.
8:48 [m. 189]--The first viola begins a statement of the sarabande melody with its new decorations.  The second violin repeats this an octave higher after one bar, the first viola harmonizing directly in sixths.  In a third sequence, the first violin enters at an even higher distance, an octave plus a fifth, and the second violin harmonizes directly in sixths.  The other instruments continue in block harmony.  This last statement is expanded, as the violins separate more widely and the first violin reaches very high with the florid decorations.  This builds to another climax and culminates in triplet descents.
9:09 [m. 194]--In a transition to the final cadence gestures, the cello plays its descent last heard at 7:56 [m. 176].  The second violin has triplets on a C-sharp major chord, and the minor version of that key will not appear again.  The volume rapidly diminishes.  The first violin and violas hold long notes.
9:17 [m. 196]--The final cadence gestures are greatly altered from their previous appearances.  The C-sharp chords are now all major.  The dissonance from the previous appearances (the “augmented” chord) is altered to a pure A-major chord, and these are juxtaposed directly against the C-sharp chords, creating an entirely different sound, but using the same basic notes between the two chords.  The other chords from the previous gestures, D major and a G-sharp dominant chord, remain the same.  Two full four-chord sequences are played at a very quiet level.
9:36 [m. 200]--The chords are now slowed to a full bar length, and the pulse itself slows greatly.  C-sharp and A-major chords alternate twice.  Then, in a great surprise, the harmony moves to D minor, where the first violin plays an arpeggio.  This leads, through a plagal cadence, to an A-major chord, punctuated twice by shorter notes in the lower instruments before the last chord.  Thus, the movement ends in A major, the key of the B sections (and the first part of the A” section) instead of in the expected C-sharp.  Brahms would frequently make his final cadences and arrivals work hard in such a manner as this.
10:27--END OF MOVEMENT [208 mm.]

3rd Movement: Allegro energico - Presto (Combination of Fugue and Sonata-Allegro form).  F MAJOR, 3/2 and 9/8 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1 (Fugue subject and exposition).  All instruments play two sharp, descending hammer-like chords.  These will punctuate the entrances of the subject.  The first viola then presents the vigorous three-bar subject, which is characterized by steady, straight rhythm, large upward leaps, and downward motion including both scale descents and more winding descents.  The 3/2 bars create a sense of breadth.
0:07 [m. 5]--The two punctuating chords are heard again in an altered form to change the harmonic movement.  The second violin then plays the subject in the “subdominant” key of B-flat while the first viola continues with a “countersubject,” an important melody with a very prominent dotted (long-short) rhythm and a jagged figure leaping up an octave from two short downward-skipping notes.
0:14 [m. 9]--Only the first violin, second viola, and cello are left to play the weakened chords, albeit in their original harmonic form.  The first violin then plays the subject in the home key of F while the second violin continues with the countersubject.  The first viola continues with new counterpoint consisting of three isolated gestures with wide upward and downward leaps.
0:20 [m. 13]--With only the second viola and cello remaining to play the chords (in their “altered” form), they are both given quadruple and triple stops to do this.  They then together play the final “bass” entry of the subject an octave apart in B-flat.  The first violin plays the countersubject.  The second violin and first viola pass short figures between them.  These are derived from the subject and include wide leaps.
0:27 [m. 17]--The “bass” subject is extended.  The second viola and cello continue their “subject” patterns in running rhythm while the first violin joins the second violin and first viola on short, detached figures.  The harmonies are very active and the volume steadily increases.  At the climax, the opening chords emerge in a very powerful form.  The first chord is of D minor (the “relative” minor) rather than F major and the two chords are separated by a longer rest.  The second chord creates great tension and expectancy.
0:34 [m. 22]--A unison scale in three octaves from all instruments leads to an exuberant and strong “Theme 1” derived from the fugue subject and the countersubject, particularly emphasizing the dotted rhythm.  The first violin leaps up and the cello leaps down so that they play the “theme” in unison four octaves apart (except for a few notes where the cello deviates because of range and other factors).  The first violin soars above the texture.  The middle three instruments play counterpoint clearly derived from both themes.  At the midpoint of the “theme,” a strong F-major cadence is followed by a decisive motion to A minor.
0:46 [m. 29]--Transition (A minor).  All instruments except the second viola drop out, and that instrument suddenly becomes hushed, playing double stops in dotted rhythm.  The cello then enters quietly below, and the other three instruments hesitantly play light figures derived from the subject.  The viola then plays its double stops again.  These are also followed by the responses, but at a higher level in all the instruments.  Finally, the second viola moves up, and all instruments arrive smoothly on A major for the second theme.
0:56 [m. 35]--Theme 2.  The first violin plays a broad, songful melody that eventually breaks into a wide triplet rhythm.  Against this, the first viola plays a version of the original fugue subject, thus maintaining the blur between fugue and sonata form.  The cello is plucked before dropping out under the triplets, and the other two instruments play longer-held notes (A major).
1:03 [m. 39]--The music has moved to E major, where the second violin takes the new version of the fugue subject.  The first violin drops out.  The lower three instruments (the cello bowed again) hesitantly hint at Theme 2 before the first viola breaks out into its broad triplets.  The first violin, entering again, takes over the triplets as the second violin continues on an extension of the fugue subject.  The harmony moves back to A, but it is now minor again.
1:11 [m. 44]--All instruments except the second violin play “surging” short-long motion, with a mild increase in intensity.  The second violin continues its steady and faster motion.  Suddenly, the harmony veers toward an unexpected C major.  The second violin finally breaks, and the faster “subject” motion is taken over by the first violin, second viola, and cello.  The second violin and first viola play the “surging” figures.  The faster motion stops, but hints at the subject persist.  The patterns following the “surges” are extended, passing through C-sharp minor.  The first violin, reaching high, gently leads back to A major.
1:30 [m. 55]--At the A-major cadence, the second violin begins to play the “head” of the fugue subject.  The first viola, then the second viola follow with imitative responses.  The first violin and later the cello, continue with “surging” figures.  The fugue responses are passed back up to first viola and second violin.  For now, the music remains in A major.
1:37 [m. 60]--The first violin joins the second violin in harmony (sixths), and then the violas enter against them in thirds, the cello providing a slow bass.  The volume swells from the hushed level to a forte.  The violins cascade downward, punctuated by chords from the lower instruments.  These join in the downward motion.  The arpeggio is A major, but that chord has now taken a “dominant” function leading to the main key of the development section, D minor.
1:43 [m. 64]--The music becomes quiet again, and the second violin plays the broad triplets from Theme 2 in D minor.  The other instruments accompany with slower lines of counterpoint.  The cello only enters at the very end with two low plucked notes.  Motion to A minor.
1:51 [m. 68]--The first violin takes over the triplets, which now begin in A minor.  The pattern of the other instruments is similar to the second violin statement, but the cello plays (bowed) from the outset.  Motion back to D minor.
1:57 [m. 72]--The first viola begins another statement of the triplet rhythm, but soon the first violin also joins the triplet rhythm, and the two instruments alternate.  The intensity gradually increases.  The second violin also joins the triplets, leaving the harmonic support to second viola and cello (which is plucked throughout the passage).  At the climax, the second viola joins the triplet rhythm, creating a dense web of counterpoint.  The very active harmony has arrived at B-flat minor.
2:11 [m. 81]--An extended passage of counterpoint based on the fugue subject begins in B-flat minor.  The second violin leads, followed at short distance by the first violin and bowed cello, who enter together a tenth apart, then diverge.  The violas, at some distance, enter together a tenth apart.  The first viola briefly plays in octaves with the first violin.  The volume and intensity are strong throughout.  The counterpoint continues at length in B-flat minor before an arrival point on F minor.
2:23 [m. 88]--The arrival on F heralds the impending recapitulation.  The counterpoint continues in F minor, now incorporating the dotted rhythm of the countersubject.  The first viola and cello rest briefly before their respective entries.
2:28 [m. 91]--Re-transition.  The instruments are suddenly quiet as the first violin reaches a high point.  That instrument gradually descends in a winding motion in dotted rhythm.  The cello holds a low C.  The second violin and first viola pass smooth lines between each other.  After resting for two bars, the second viola joins the low cello note in harmony.  The volume increases at the second viola entry.  The harmony moves to C major.  Suddenly, the instruments all break into fast, highly syncopated arpeggios and chords.  These arrive at the home key of F major (with a prominent D-flat from F minor) over a powerful crescendo.
2:41 [m. 98]--Theme 1.  At full volume, the instruments superimpose the fugue subject and countersubject.  The violins and first viola play the countersubject, the second viola and cello the subject.  After one bar, the first violin switches to the subject, but all other instruments have moved to the countersubject.  The “jagged” leaping figure from the countersubject then takes over, passed from bottom to top and back again.  It serves to propel the key once more to A major.
2:47 [m. 102]--Mass statement of the subject and countersubject, this time with the violins taking the subject and the lower instruments the countersubject.  The second viola and cello take over the subject after one bar, the violins moving with the first viola to the countersubject.  As before, the “jagged” figure takes over, this time moving from top to bottom and back.  This passage is the last appearance of A major, the key that has had such importance throughout the quintet.  Motion back to F major.
2:56 [m. 107]--Suddenly, the instruments emerge into the “extension” from 0:27 [m. 17].  The only major difference is that the second viola and cello begin their running motion an octave lower than in the exposition.  The first viola moves up to the original octave after three bars, the cello at the very end.  The “climactic” chords are heard at the end in the same form, again creating tension and expectancy.
3:03 [m. 112]--The “exuberant and strong” theme from 0:34 [m. 22] emerges.  After four bars, it is varied and extended by a bar, so that the decisive arrival is in D minor rather than A minor.  At the point of deviation, the first violin leaps down so that it is separated from the cello by three octaves instead of four.
3:17 [m. 120]--Transition.  It is similar to 0:46 [m. 29], with some important differences.  Most importantly, the double stops previously played by second viola are now split between the two violas.  Because of that, the first responses of the second violin (who had entered last) and first viola are reversed.  The second series of responses are altered to create a motion from D minor to F major (where previously it was simply a change from minor to major on the same keynote), the violas rearranging their previous material.
3:27 [m. 126]--Theme 2.  Broad melody in the first violin with triplets, subject in the first viola, and plucked cello notes.  Essentially a direct transposition to the home key of F major from 0:56 [m. 35].
3:34 [m. 130]--First violin drops out, second violin takes fugue subject beginning in C major, and triplets from first viola, then first violin.  Directly analogous to 1:03 [m. 39].  Motion to F minor.
3:42 [m. 135]--Surging figures and continuing “subject” extensions.  Essentially, this is a direct transposition of 1:11 [m. 44], with the expected analogous motions to A-flat major and A minor.  The major difference is that the cello does not play the fast “subject” material at the corresponding point, and the second viola compensates by playing much material an octave lower.  The cello simply plays plucked C’s in that spot, then moves to its corresponding line.  The upbeats from the second violin that led into the development section are omitted.  The transition into the new tempo and meter of the coda is very abrupt.
CODA--Presto, 9/8 time
4:01 [m. 146]--The shift to 9/8 time retains the basic triple meter, but moves to a subdivision of beats into three instead of two (in this piece usually four) parts.  The speed is also increased.  It begins with a light, but somewhat uneasy upward chromatic motion from the first violin, supported by the second violin and first viola.  The other two instruments provide light bass punctuation until the cello breaks into an echo of music from Theme 2 in a clashing duple rhythm.  The top three instruments continue to move steadily, now mostly in descending lines.
4:08 [m. 152]--The first violin begins another chromatic ascent, then itself emerges into the Theme 2 echo.  It stays in the basic rhythm, however, repeating notes when necessary to maintain the constant motion.  As the first violin reaches ever higher and the lower two instruments join in the steady, constant 9/8 motion, the volume increases dramatically from a very quiet, secretive level to a large climax at the top.
4:17 [m. 160]--The climax arrives with a large series of descending unison scales passed between the instruments from high to low.  These gradually obtain harmony and arch back upward before the violins begin another descent.  The instruments then emerge into a series of strong syncopations in full chord harmony as the lower instruments continue to descend.
4:24 [m. 166]--There is a sudden drop in volume and a more skittish descent begins with repeated notes, still in full harmony.  The second viola and cello begin equally skittish chromatic ascents.  The violins begin to leap widely, including several octave jumps, but they do not move in unison.  Another huge crescendo leads to a sudden arrest of the motion on five strong, expectant chords.
4:33 [m. 174]--At a large arrival point, the theme from 0:34 [m. 22] and 3:03 [m. 112] is adapted to the new 9/8 meter and played at a very powerful level.  At first, the cello doubles the first violin four octaves lower as before,  but after four bars, it joins the harmony and light counterpoint of the other instruments.  The constant motion in groups of three continues in at least two instruments throughout the passage.  Descending arpeggios are heard in the inner instruments, and then they culminate in a unison descent.
4:44 [m. 182]--The final cadence gestures include sharp chords from the outer instruments against continuing motion in the other three.  When the first violin and cello finally join the motion, they quickly lead to the last four emphatic F-major chords, the last of which is briefly held.
4:55--END OF MOVEMENT [185 mm.]