SIX SONGS (LIEDER), OP. 97
Op. 97 concludes the first group of song sets from
the late period. It continues the pattern where the even
numbered groups, Opp. 94 and 96, are generally more serious and
profound in nature while the odd-numbered groups, this set and Op. 95, consist of somewhat lighter
songs. While this is perhaps contradicted by the melancholy
No. 1 and the dramatic No. 3, the charming tone-painting of the
former and the balladic nature of the latter somewhat mitigate the
contrast. Nos. 1, 2, and 5 are genuine “art songs,” Nos. 4
and 6 are settings of folk or quasi-folk texts, and No. 3 is a
stylized ballad, but the group somehow seems unified in
character. There is a sense of wistful, but accepting
melancholy throughout. Only No. 4 is truly joyous, but its
quasi-folk source connects it to No. 6. No. 2 is exuberant,
but takes a longing turn at the end. Nos. 1 and 2 are
Brahms’s first settings of Christian Reinhold, a poet close to his
circle. No. 1 is a perfect gem of a song, and contains some
of his most effective tone painting. Incredibly, the melody
was apparently originally intended for another Reinhold text, “Ein
Wanderer,” which he would set to a completely different melody in
Op. 106. No. 2 also uses
tone-painting effects, and is notable for its rapid tempo.
The quasi-balladic text for No. 3, to which Brahms and his circle
often referred as “Lady Judith,” seems somewhat distasteful today,
but was of a type beloved by nineteenth-century romantics.
The minor-key strophic setting is imaginative and exciting.
No. 5, which intervenes between the two folk songs, sets a
salutary text by Klaus Groth, a man much admired by Brahms.
Its gentle character creates a smooth bridge to No. 6, which has a
similar mood. Nos. 4 and 6 both come from the
Kretzschmer-Zuccalmaglio folk song collection. Brahms
provided piano accompaniments to the “original melodies” of both
texts in his large collection of folk song
arrangements from 1894 and also arranged them for chorus. The settings of such
texts to his own melodies can also be seen in examples from Op. 14 and Op. 84.
In both songs, Brahms’s composed melodies show some similarity to
the “folk melodies,” and in the case of No. 6, he even used the
same interlude music in both settings (the composition and the
arrangement). Sadly, his source was dubious, and both the
text and the “original melody” to No. 4 were shown to be
fabrications created by Zuccalmaglio (as were those of Op. 84, Nos. 4 and 5). When made
aware of this, Brahms did not seem too bothered by it. No. 6
seems to be an authentic Swabian folksong. The notable
brevity of all six songs is unusual. Brahms would typically
balance a group of short songs with one or two longer ones, but
not in this case.
Recording: Jessye Norman, soprano (No. 4); Dietrich
Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily
Ezust’s site at http://www.lieder.net.
the most part, the translations are line-by-line, except where the
difference between German and English syntax requires slight
alterations to the contents of certain lines. The German
texts (included here) are also visible in the translation links.
FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut
Lübeck--original keys and lower keys both included. Lower
keys match Peters middle-key edition [Nos.
1, 4-5] and low-key edition [Nos. 2-3]. The
E-flat key given here for No. 6 was not
included in Peters.)
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max
1: Nachtigall (in original key, F minor/major)
1: Nachtigall (in middle key, D minor/major)
Nachtigall (in low key, C minor/major)
2: Auf dem Schiffe (in original key, A major)
2: Auf dem Schiffe (in low key, F major)
3: Entführung (in original key, D minor)
3: Entführung (in low key, C minor)
4: Dort in den Weiden (in original key, D major)
4: Dort in den Weiden (in middle key, B-flat major)
Dort in den Weiden (in low key, A-flat major)
5: Komm bald (in original key, A major)
5: Komm bald (in middle key, G major)
Komm bald (in low key, F major)
6: Trennung (in original [middle] key, F major)
6: Trennung (in high key, A-flat major)
Trennung (in low key, D major--low key given as E-flat major in
original Simrock edition linked above)
1. Nachtigall (Nightingale). Text by
Christian Reinhold. Langsam (Slowly). Through-composed
form with partial return. F MINOR/MAJOR, 2/4 time (Middle
key D minor/major, low key C minor/major).
dein süßer Schall,
er dringet mir durch Mark und Bein.
Nein, trauter Vogel, nein!
was in mir schafft so süße Pein,
das ist nicht dein,
das ist von andern, himmelschönen,
nun längst für mich verklungenen Tönen
in deinem Lied ein leiser Widerhall!
0:00 [m. 1]--Beginning
with an upbeat, the piano, with both hands playing above middle C
throughout, presents a plaintive, evocative introduction in F
minor. As he had done before in such songs as
“Lerchengesang” (Op. 70, No. 2), Brahms imitates birdsong in his
piano introduction to a song about that topic. Biting
dissonances and grace notes (appogiaturas)
characterize the three-note figures. Two statements of the
opening pattern are followed by a sequence of two patterns that
begin with a rising octave.
0:14 [m. 5]--Lines
1-3. The voice enters singing the piano melody from the
introduction. The piano also plays that melody again, but
both hands are moved down an octave, and the rhythm is altered to
a halting pattern with the right hand entering off the
beats. The grace notes are retained in the piano.
Lines 1-2 are sung to the opening pattern, line 3 to the rising
0:26 [m. 9]--A piano
interlude with four more bird calls and new harmonies (including
the distinctive “Neapolitan” chord on the second three-note group)
leads, through a lower echo of the last bird call and a reiterated
single note, to the new section and to the major key.
0:37 [m. 12]--Lines
4-6. In the major key, the next lines are set to more gently
flowing music with a slight increase in volume toward the highest
note on the word “dein.” The piano plays steady
chords. The singer adds a somewhat hesitant rest before the
second statement of the word “nein” in line 4.
0:51 [m. 18]--Lines
7-8. The piano chords slow to twice their length, as do the
notes in the voice. At the word “andern,” the piano breaks
into rising arpeggios. Further steady building leads to the
climax in line 8, with the word “längst” set to the song’s highest
note. The piano is arrested at this moment, and the music
slows. At the end of the line, the singer makes a strong
turn back toward the minor.
1:17 [m. 25]--Line
9. After a break, the piano enters with the songs’s opening
gesture, while the voice sings a new, more melancholy line.
As the singer continues, the piano repeats the pattern in the
“halting” version heard at 0:14 [m. 5]. As the line ends,
the piano plays three more bird calls, the second an octave lower
than the first and third, and the second and third again using the
“Neapolitan” chord heard at 0:26 [m. 9].
1:36 [m. 30]--Unexpectedly,
the music shifts to major again for a repetition of the last three
words. The piano is especially colorful here, entering with
a two-note descending figure (derived from the grace notes of the
bird calls) that is heard in the middle and high registers and
then, after the singer ends, in the low bass. The vocal line
itself is embellished, but very gentle. A quiet rolled chord
ends the song.
2:11--END OF SONG [33 mm.]
2. Auf dem Schiffe (On the Ship). Text by
Christian Reinhold. Lebhaft und rasch (Lively and
brisk). Free form--Two strophes, then
through-composed. A MAJOR, 3/8 time (Low key F major).
Fliegt über den Rhein
Und wiegt die Flügel
Und grüne Flut
In goldner Glut. -
Wie wohl das tut,
So hoch erhoben
Beim Vöglein droben,
O, wär’ ich auch!
0:00 [m. 1]--Piano
introduction. The rapid figures (triplets with their last
notes “cut off”) illustrating the flapping of the bird’s wings are
introduced. They are in an inner piano line. The left
hand and the top line of the right hand punctuate the rhythm with
slower chords. The boisterous introduction culminates in a
downward cascading series of the “flapping figures.”
0:07 [m. 9]--Lines 1-4
(“Strophe 1”). The singer enters to a soaring, joyous line
over the continued “flapping” figures in the piano. The left
hand continues to play isolated chords. An echo of
“flapping” figures creates a bridge to the next lines.
0:14 [m. 19]--Lines 5-7
(“Strophe 2”). These lines are set to the same music as the
first four, with the seventh line repeated to the music of the
fourth. The differences in declamation are minor, with one
“split” note, one “joined” repeated note, and the setting of the
first “Glut” to two previously syllabic notes.
0:22 [m. 29]--From here,
the song is through-composed. The eighth line is set twice
as the “flapping” figures are abandoned in favor of sweeping
arpeggios. The second statement of the line, which is twice
as long, shifts the harmony to C major as the right hand holds a
0:27 [m. 35]--Lines 9-10
are set to a passage of downward swaying two-note figures.
The piano plays rising arpeggios split between the hands.
Line 10, which is more widely spaced, moves back to A major.
Three more rising piano arpeggios bridge to the final lines.
0:35 [m. 45]--The
“flapping” figures make a joyous return for the last two lines
(11-12). Under the word “droben,” the harmony moves suddenly
to a surprising D major instead of the expected E, toward which
the similar music from the two “strophes” had led. The
“flapping” figures are abandoned for the last line, which reaches
a full cadence in D and is followed by a flowing piano bridge.
0:42 [m. 54]--The last
line is repeated, with an extra statement of the words “wär’
ich.” The piano takes its only brief break under “O.”
Smoother versions of the “flapping” figures accompany the line,
which pivots back to the cadence in the home key of A. Two
downward arching piano arpeggios lead to one soft chord, then a
loud rolled chord and an octave A to end the song.
0:56--END OF SONG [63 mm.]
3. Entführung (Abduction). Text by
Willibald Alexis. Schnell (Fast). Simple strophic form
with slightly elongated third strophe. D MINOR, 4/4 time,
but the accompaniment is mostly in triplets, suggesting 12/8 (Low
key C minor).
O Lady Judith, spröder Schatz,
Drückt dich zu fest mein Arm?
Je zwei zu Pferd haben schlechten Platz
Und Winternacht weht nicht warm.
Hart ist der Sitz und knapp und schmal,
Und kalt mein Kleid von Erz,
Doch kälter und härter als Sattel und Stahl
War gegen mich dein Herz.
Sechs Nächte lag ich in Sumpf und Moor
Und hab’ um dich gewacht,
Doch weicher, bei Sankt Görg ich’s schwor,
Schlaf’ ich die siebente Nacht!
0:00 [m. 1]--A
fanfare-like passage in octaves, followed by two soft mid-range
chords, serves as an introduction and will also bridge between
stanzas and close the song. It begins with an upbeat.
0:04 [m. 3]--Stanza 1,
lines 1-2. The vocal line is mostly in straight duple
division, going against the triplets of the accompaniment.
The accompaniment establishes a galloping effect with the
triplets, a low bass octave placed on the second part of each
one. Only on the second syllable of “Lady” does the singer
include a triplet figure. The huge leap (a tenth) between
“fest” and “mein” in the second line is remarkable.
0:11 [m. 7]--Stanza 1,
lines 3-4. The third line twice repeats the same narrow
figure. The accompaniment pattern continues until the end of
the descending fourth line, where a distinctive downward motion in
the bass briefly breaks the triplets. The last word of the
fourth line is elongated over this. The entire line is then
emphatically repeated at a higher level as the piano right hand
also reaches its highest level in both pitch and volume. The
piano merges into a reprise of the fanfare, completing a strophe
of 12 bars.
0:24 [m. 3]--Stanza 2,
lines 1-2. Musical repetition of stanza 1, with identical
declamation. The vocal triplet is on “der” and the huge leap
is between “Kleid” and “von.”
0:31 [m. 7]--Stanza 2,
lines 3-4. Some changes in declamation, with two notes split
to accommodate the extra syllables in line three. Two
repeated notes are joined for the first syllable of “gegen,” as
line four has one less syllable. Repeat of line 4 and
reprise of fanfare, as before.
0:45 [m. 15]--Stanza 3,
lines 1-2. Brahms writes out the third stanza rather than
using repeat signs. The music for the first two lines is the
same, apart from splitting one note for an extra syllable in line
one. The vocal triplet is on the second syllable of
“Nächte,” and the leap is between “dich” and “gewacht.”
0:51 [m. 19]--Stanza 3,
lines 3-4. Line three has fewer syllables (8) than in the
first two stanzas (9 and 11), so there are fewer short repeated
notes. Line four has the same number of syllables as in
stanza 1, but the accentuation is different, so the short repeated
notes are on the last two syllables of “siebente,” the only time
this note is “split.” The repetition of the line is
elongated by one bar, lengthening the notes on “ich” and the first
syllable of “siebente.” This requires an alteration and
intensification of the accompaniment. The fanfare is
repeated at the end, but two final loud chords are added to close
off the song.
1:14--END OF SONG [28 mm.]
4. Dort in den Weiden (There in the Willows).
Allegedly a folk text from the lower Rhine, but really written by
the compiler, Anton Wilhelm Florentin von Zuccalmaglio.
Lebhaft und anmutig (Lively and gracefully). Simple strophic
form, with slight alterations to the piano part of the last
strophe. D MAJOR, 2/4 time, with two inserted 3/4 bars in
each strophe (Middle key B-flat major, low key A-flat major).
Dort in den Weiden steht ein Haus,
da schaut die Magd zum Fenster ’naus!
Sie schaut stromauf, sie schaut stromab:
ist noch nicht da mein Herzensknab’?
Der schönste Bursch am ganzen Rhein,
den nenn’ ich mein, den nenn’ ich mein!
Des Morgens fährt er auf dem Fluß,
und singt herüber seinen Gruß,
des Abends, wenn’s Glühwürmchen fliegt,
sein Nachen an das Ufer wiegt,
da kann ich mit dem Burschen mein
beisammen sein, beisammen sein!
Die Nachtigall im Fliederstrauch,
was sie da singt, versteh’ ich auch;
sie saget: übers Jahr ist Fest,
hab’ ich, mein Lieber, auch ein Nest,
wo ich dann mit dem Burschen mein
die Froh’st’ am Rhein, die Froh’st’ am Rhein!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. The voice and piano begin together. The graceful,
happy melody is mostly doubled in the top line of the simple
accompaniment. The end of the second line is elongated
through Brahms’s insertion of a 3/4 bar (m. 4) that includes light
syncopation. The third and fourth lines are set to the same
music as the first two, but with different harmonies in the 3/4
bar (m. 8) to lead into the last two lines.
0:15 [m. 9]--For the last
two lines of the stanza, Brahms adds activity and excitement to
both the voice and piano parts. The last line of the poem
already includes two statements of the same phrase, but the joyous
leaps of the singer spill into a third emphatic and elongated
statement added by Brahms. The piano part has rolling
arpeggios in the fifth line, with a marching bass line and
after-beat chords in the sixth. An exuberant interlude has
the left hand leaping widely between low bass notes and
punctuating chords. The interlude suggests the opening
melody. A quiet rolled chord leads to the next
strophe. The strophe with interlude is 18 total bars long.
0:31 [m. 1]--Stanza 2,
lines 1-4. Musically identical to stanza 1, including text
declamation, and marked with repeat signs.
0:45 [m. 9]--The last two
lines are also as in stanza 1, with the added third repetition of
the last phrase. Interlude, as before, leading to the last
1:00 [m. 19]--Stanza 3,
lines 1-4. Brahms writes out this stanza, but the first four
lines are only altered by the rolling of a piano octave between
the two lines of each pair. The 3/4 bars are m. 22 and m.
1:15 [m. 27]--While the
voice part is unaltered for the last two lines, including the
added third statement of the final phrase, the accompaniment is
changed, with the arpeggios continuing through line six in the
right hand, replacing the after-beat chords to the marching bass
line. Brahms also indicates a pause on the last statement of
the word “Froh’st’,” where chords are added to the piano left
hand. The interlude is now altered to create a
postlude. The chords move higher and the ending is more
emphatic. The omission of the transitional chord makes it
one bar shorter.
1:33--END OF SONG [35 mm.]
5. Komm bald (Come Soon). Text by
Klaus Groth. Zart bewegt (With gentle motion). Varied
strophic form (AABA’). A MAJOR, 3/4 time (Middle key G
major, low key F major).
Warum denn warten
von Tag zu Tag?
Es blüht im Garten,
was blühen mag.
Wer kommt und zählt es,
was blüht so schön?
An Augen fehlt es,
Die meinen wandern
vom Strauch zum Baum;
mir scheint, auch andern
wär’s wie ein Traum.
Und von den Lieben,
die mir getreu
und mir geblieben,
wär’st du dabei!
Translation (the four stanzas are here combined into two)
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
sets up the mood of the song, and will serve as an interlude
between the stanzas. It is characterized by wide-spaced
chords with an interior melody in the piano’s middle range.
0:09 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A). Two elegant, but
widely spaced four-bar phrases, one for each two lines of
text. The rhythm is the same for both phrases, with the
second moving to the “dominant” key of E. The rhythm of the
interior melody from the introduction pervades the
accompaniment. The cadence of the second phrase (on “mag”)
merges with a reprise of the introduction. Since the last
bar of the second phrase is the first of the reprised
introduction, the strophe, with the introduction reprise, is 11
0:30 [m. 5]--Stanza 2 (A). Musically identical
to stanza 1, with introduction reprise. Marked with repeat
signs from m. 14 back to m. 4
0:51 [m. 16]--Stanza 3 (B). The “lead-in” bar,
m. 15, is a slightly altered version of m. 4 This varied
strophe, unlike the first two, begins on an upbeat. The
interior melody from the introduction now moves from the
accompaniment to the vocal line. The accompaniment is
reduced to largely off-beat chords. The vocal melody is not
entirely unlike that of the A
verses, and has the same basic contour. It is more active,
however, moving toward C major for the second phrase by a higher
statement of the line.
1:06 [m. 24]--The last two
lines are repeated to a new, but derivative vocal phrase.
Very slight alterations to the previous (C major) phrase serve to
further move the harmony to a clear F major. The words
“wär’s wie ein Traum” are expanded through a hemiola (doubling
note lengths to carry the second one over a bar line and
superimposing a longer metrical structure). As a result, the
phrase is expanded to five bars. Under the lengthened notes,
the harmony effortlessly moves back to the home key for the
1:25 [m. 32]--Stanza 4 (A’). Begins as had the first
two stanzas, but the second phrase immediately reaches for a
higher note at the third line, generating new harmonies suggesting
D major. The fourth line is rhythmically altered (still
within the second phrase) to begin on the second beat of the bar
and is lengthened by one bar. The phrase ends
inconclusively, and the piano follows with a repetition of the
high-reaching melody from the third line, extending the phrase yet
one more bar for a total of six.
1:46 [m. 42]--The last
line is repeated, with a further reiteration of “wär’st du.”
The piano becomes active under this closing phrase, with sonorous
thirds in the right hand. An upward arpeggio in thirds after
the final vocal cadence brings the song to a close.
2:08--END OF SONG [46 mm.]
6. Trennung (Separation). Swabian
folk song from the Kretzschmer-Zuccalmaglio collection.
Anmutig bewegt (With graceful motion). Simple strophic
form. F MAJOR, 3/4 time (High key A-flat major, low key D
major [Peters] or E-flat major [Simrock]).
(The title Trennung is
also used for Op. 14, No. 5, another
text stemming from the Kretzschmer-Zuccalmaglio source.)
German Text (Swabian
Da unten im Tale
Läuft’s Wasser so trüb,
Und i kann dir’s net sagen,
I hab’ di so lieb.
Sprichst allweil von Liebe,
Sprichst allweil von Treu’,
Und a bissele Falschheit
Is auch wohl dabei.
Und wenn i dir’s zehnmal sag,
Daß i di lieb und mag,
Und du willst nit verstehn,
Muß i halt weitergehn.
Für die Zeit, wo du gliebt mi hast,
Da dank i dir schön,
Und i wünsch, daß dir’s anderswo
Besser mag gehn.
The interlude heard between verses (strophes) is the same as that
used for Brahms’s arrangement of the original folk melody
associated with this text (found in the large
1894 collection of folk song arrangements).
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
with an upbeat, it establishes the gentle, wistful mood of the
0:08 [m. 5]--Stanza
(strophe) 1. Also beginning on an upbeat, the melody
establishes its mood through dotted (long-short) rhythms on the
first two beats of most bars. The piano provides an
undulating, but very harmonious accompaniment. The strophe
is expanded by the repetition of both the second and the fourth
lines, the former as a dark, subdued echo, the latter as an
emphatic closing phrase reaching the highest vocal pitch. An
interlude clearly based on the introduction, but with more motion,
begins in overlap as the last vocal phrase ends. The 12-bar
strophe thus has three bars added through the interlude for a
total of 15.
0:32 [m. 5]--Stanza
(strophe) 2. Brahms indicates a repetition back to measure 4
from measure 18. Measure 4 is the last bar of both the
introduction and the interlude. The music of stanza 2 is the
same as that of stanza 1, including identical declamation.
0:57 [m. 20]--Stanza
(strophe) 3. Although the music is the same for stanzas 3
and 4 as for the first two verses, Brahms notates them separately
because of differences in declamation. Thus, bar 4 is
reprinted as bar 19 and the stanza begins with the upbeat to bar
20. The extra syllables in lines 1, 2, and 4 in this third
verse are accommodated by adding shorter dotted rhythms to the
melody on new repeated notes. The repetition of line 2 cuts
off the first two words and stretches “lieb” to two notes to avoid
1:22 [m. 20]--Stanza
(strophe) 4. Indicated with repeat signs to stanza 3 (from
m. 33 back to m. 19). Line 1 adds an extra dotted-rhythm
repeated note, as in stanza 3, but also splits the first upbeat
note since the line has two extra syllables. Lines 2, 3, and
4 are set as in the first two stanzas. The extra syllable in
line 3 is compensated by the missing syllable in line 4. The
repetition of line 4 adds the intensifying interjection “ja” to
compensate for the missing syllable. The interlude is
extended to a postlude through a wistful cadence.
1:59--END OF SONG [36 mm.]
END OF SET
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