EIGHT SONGS AND ROMANCES (LIEDER UND ROMANZEN) OP. 14
Recording: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449 633-2]
Published 1861.


Composed in 1858, this set is unique in Brahms’s early song output.  In contrast to the three early sets (Opp. 3, 6, and 7), which he gave the more formal title “Gesänge,” and all but two of which set German romantic poets, these eight “songs and romances” all lean heavily on the “folk” idiom.  Indeed, all but one of them are to genuine folk texts, most of which are associated with their own folk melodies.  Six of these are German folk song texts, and one is a translation of a Scottish border ballad.  The one text with an identifiable original poet (No. 4) is a translation of a thirteenth-century troubadour song, which is in many ways another version of folksong.  Brahms composed his own melodies for these texts.  Without sacrificing his compositional sophistication, which is especially evident in some of the harmonies, Brahms successfully imitates the style of folksong.  Years later, he added a piano part to the original folk melodies of Nos. 1 and 6 in the huge collection of folksong arrangements assembled near the end of his life, and also arranged both melodies for chorus.  (There are several other occasions where he both composed his own melody for and arranged the original melody of a folk song.)  There is a connection to the earlier groups through the last of them, Op. 7.  That group contains two similar idiomatic settings of folk texts (Nos. 4 and 5).  The use of the term “songs and romances” consciously sets the group apart.  The word “Romanzen” can also be translated as “ballads.”  Half of the songs are in a strophic form with an interesting variation used for one or more of the verses or stanzas.  The first three, as well as the fifth, follow this pattern.  Brahms, conscious of the text’s courtly origins, sets No. 4 more like an “art song” in three-part form.  The sixth and seventh songs are in a simple strophic form while No. 8 is a brief, eloquent through-composed setting. (Op. 7, which as noted has some kinship with both this group and with Opp. 3 and 6, also ends with a very short song.)  In addition to sharing a tone of chivalry and romance, the songs all deal with the theme of separation, in all cases except No. 3 (which deals with the murder of a beloved knight) a separation between lovers.  The saddest of all is No. 2, where that separation comes through death.  All eight are extremely elegant, enjoyable, and ingratiating to perform.  Strangely, Nos. 5-8 all share titles (but not texts) with songs from later groups (in the case of No. 6, the title of Op. 48, No. 1 [and Op. 31, No. 3] is not identical, but extremely similar).

Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily Ezust’s site at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.  For 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.  A link to the original English (Scottish) ballad text is included for No. 3, along with a literal English rendering of Herder’s poetic translation.

IMSLP WORK PAGE
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max Friedländer):
No. 1: Vor dem Fenster (in original key, G minor/major)
No. 1: Vor dem Fenster (in low key, F minor/major)
No. 2: Vom verwundeten Knaben (in original key, A minor)
No. 2: Vom verwundeten Knaben (in low key, G minor)
No. 3: Murrays Ermordung (in original key, E minor)
No. 3: Murrays Ermordung (in low key, D minor)
No. 4: Ein Sonett (in original key, A-flat major)
No. 4: Ein Sonett (in low key, F major)
No. 5: Trennung (in original key, F major)
No. 5: Trennung (in low key, D major)
No. 6: Gang zur Liebsten (in original key, E minor)
No. 6: Gang zur Liebsten (in low key, C minor)
No. 7: Ständchen (in original key, F major)
No. 7: Ständchen (in low key, D major)
No. 8: Sehnsucht (in original key, E minor)
No. 8: Sehnsucht (in low key, D minor)
Nos. 2-3, 5-6, 8 (original keys--higher resolution)


1. Vor dem Fenster (Before the Window).  Folksong from Karl Simrock’s Collection.  Andante.  Varied strophic form (AAABAB).  G MINOR/MAJOR, 3/8 time (Low key F minor/major).

German Text:
“Soll sich der Mond nicht heller scheinen,
Soll sich die Sonn nicht früh aufgehn,
So will ich diese Nacht gehn freien,
Wie ich zuvor auch hab getan.”

Als er wohl auf die Gasse trat,
Da fing er an ein Lied und sang,
Er sang aus schöner, aus heller Stimme,
Daß sein feins Lieb zum Bett aussprang.

“Steh still, steh still, mein feines Lieb,
Steh still, steh still und rühr dich nicht,
Sonst weckst du Vater, sonst weckst du Mutter,
Das ist uns beiden nicht wohlgetan.”

“Was frag ich nach Vater, was frag ich nach Mutter,
Vor deinem Schlaffenster muß ich stehn,
Ich will mein schönes Lieb anschauen,
Um das ich muß so ferne gehn.”

Da standen die zwei wohl bei einander
Mit ihren zarten Mündelein,
Der Wächter blies wohl in sein Hörnelein,
Ade, es muß geschieden sein.

Scheiden, Scheiden über Scheiden,
Scheiden tut meinem jungen Herzen weh,
Daß ich mein schön Herzlieb muß meiden,
Das vergeß ich nimmermehr.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--The mood and pattern is established by a brief two-bar introduction.  This sets up the long-short rhythm in the left hand that will pervade the entire song--a single low two-beat note followed by a higher two-note, one beat chord.
0:02 [m. 3]--Stanza 1.  The minor-key strophe that is used for four of the six verses.  The vocal line is leisurely paced, but two-bar breaks between the first and second, then between the third and fourth lines create a sense of anxiety or breathlessness.  The piano right hand doubles and harmonizes the vocal line except for the last line.  It continues with an echo in the first two-bar break and an anticipation in the second.  The left hand continues its steady long-short, low-high, one note-two note pattern.  The second line takes a brief harmonic detour.  The third syllable from the end is extended to five notes.  The strophe ends with a cadence on an unexpected major chord. 
0:30 [m. 23]--Five-bar interlude that overlaps with the major chord cadence and quickly reverts to minor for the next verse.  The pattern of the left and right hands continues from the previous music.
0:37 [m. 3]--Stanza 2.  Except for being approached by the five-bar interlude instead of the two-bar introduction, musically identical to stanza 1, and marked with repeat signs.  One note, the last on the word “trat” in line one, is sung through without the syllable it received in stanza 1.  Conversely, the two-syllable word “schöner” in line three is given two notes that were used for a single syllable in stanza 1.
1:04 [m. 23]--Five-bar interlude, as at 0:30.
1:11 [m. 3]--Stanza 3, to the same music with repeat signs.  The declamation is as in stanza 2, with the exception of one note being split into two repeated notes on the word “Beiden” in line four.
1:40 [m. 23]--Five-bar interlude, as at 0:30 and 1:04.
1:46 [m. 28]--Stanza 4.  The major-key variation of the strophe, or “B”, is introduced.  The boy at the window breaks the tension by leaping up an octave and singing a much brighter, much higher melody.  The piano now plays fragments of the original minor-key melody (shifted to major, of course) underneath the vocal line.  The left hand continues its pattern.  There is only one two-bar break, this time between the second and third lines.  There is also a two-bar break after the last line in lieu of the longer interlude.  It overlaps both the ending of this strophe and the beginning of stanza 5 and very quickly shifts to minor.
2:14 [m. 47]--Stanza 5.  Musically identical to stanzas 1-3.  The declamation is much different from any of these, however.  An extra vocal note is added to the word “Hörnelein” in line three, and even the five-note syllable extension at the end is omitted, Brahms repeating the word “Ade” instead.
2:42 [m. 68]--Five-bar interlude, as at 0:30, 1:04, and 1:40.
2:49 [m. 72]--Stanza 6.  It is set to the major-key variation, or “B” from stanza 4.  The declamation of the first two lines is radically different from that stanza.  Brahms adds the exclamation “Ach” at the beginning.  A note that was held in stanza 4 at the end of line two is now replaced by a third statement of the previous bar, which was only stated twice in stanza 4.  The held note is then shifted to overlap with the previous two-bar break between lines two and three.  Emphasis is on the repeated word “Scheiden” (“parting” or “separating”).
3:15 [m. 91]--Postlude.  It begins in overlap with the held last note of stanza 6.  It is a continued spinning out of the piano pattern for four more bars  The middle voice, which consists of longer held notes, includes three chromatic notes (lowered leading tones) that add some tension to the otherwise soothing harmony.  It is notable that this postlude remains in the major key of stanza 6 and does not shift back to the minor that dominates so much of the song.  The final two-bar chord is major.
3:33--END OF SONG [96 mm.]


2. Vom verwundeten Knaben (Of a Wounded Boy).  Folksong from Gottfried Herder’s Collection.  Andantino.  Varied strophic form (AAABB’A’A).  A MINOR, 2/4 time (Low key G minor).

German Text:
Es wollt ein Mädchen früh aufstehn
Und in den grünen Wald spazieren gehn.

Und als sie nun in den grünen Wald kam,
Da fand sie einen verwundten Knabn.

Der Knab, der war von Blut so rot,
Und als sie sich verwandt, war er schon tot.

Wo krieg ich nun zwei Leidfräulein,
Die mein feins Lieb zu Grabe weinn?

Wo krieg ich nun sechs Reuterknabn,
Die mein feins Lieb zu Grabe tragn?

Wie lang soll ich denn trauern gehn?
Bis alle Wasser zusammengehn?

Ja, alle Wasser gehn nicht zusammn,
So wird mein Trauern kein Ende han.

English Translation
 
0:00 [m. 1]--First couplet.  The voice enters on an upbeat before the piano.  The accompaniment consists of simple chords, suggestive of the balladic text.  The top line of the piano chords essentially follows the also ballad-like minor-key vocal line.  Two harmonically active chords intervene between the lines.  The last word is set to a questioning rising gesture that is one of the song’s most distinguishing features.  The piano echoes this gesture on more unstable harmony to lead into the next strophe (couplet).  The strophe is 13 bars long: four for the first line, one for the two intervening chords, six for the second line, and two for the echo.
0:15 [m. 1]--Second couplet, set to the same music marked with repeat signs.  The declamation adds two syllables to the first line, splitting one note (on “in den”) and using two notes (for “grünen”) that had previously been set to a single syllable (früh).  A syllable is subtracted from the second line, and a note from the first couplet is replaced by a rest (after “einen”).  Piano echo, as before.
0:31 [m. 1]--Third couplet, also set to the same repeated music.  Declamation is as in the first couplet.  The last chord of the piano echo is extended a bar.
0:48 [m. 15]--Fourth couplet, set to new music (B).  After the maiden discovers her dead lover, she calls on help from others in the fourth and fifth couplets, and the music changes accordingly.  It is more insistent and agitated, with no chords between the lines and reduced to nine bars.  It also shifts down to the new (major) key of G.
0:59 [m. 24]--Fifth couplet (B’).  The music is the same as the fourth couplet, but it is transposed yet another step down, to F (major), and is somewhat intensified in volume.
1:10 [m. 33]--Sixth couplet (A’).  It is very similar to the first three strophes, but it begins on D minor (related to the previous F major), and moves back to the home key of A minor in the second line.  The melody is also slightly changed in the first line, with the voice moving down on the word “denn” while the piano continues the original melody to the end of the line.  The second line includes the rest (after “Wasser”) used in the second strophe (couplet).
1:25 [m. 46]--Seventh couplet, set to the same music in the same key as the first three. An extra note in a dotted (long-short) rhythm is added for the first syllable of “zusamm’n.”  The rest (replacing a note) from strophes two and six is used after “Trauern.”  The chords of the piano echo are lengthened (to four bars total), and the harmony changed so that the last chord is a final tonic (home key) chord of A minor.
1:53--END OF SONG [60 mm.]


3. Murrays Ermordung (Murray’s Murder).  Text by Johann Gottfried Herder, translated from a Scottish border ballad (The Bonny Earl o’ Moray), and included in his folksong collection.  Con moto.  Varied strophic or ternary (ABA) form.  E MINOR, 2/4 time (Low key D minor).

German Text:
O Hochland und o Südland!
Was ist auf euch geschehn!
Erschlagen der edle Murray,
Werd nie ihn wiedersehn.

O Weh dir! Weh dir, Huntley,
So untreu, falsch und kühn,
Sollst ihn zurück uns bringen,
Ermordet hast du ihn.

Ein schöner Ritter war er,
In Wett- und Ringelauf;
Allzeit war unsres Murray
Die Krone obendrauf.

Ein schöner Ritter war er
Bei Waffenspiel und Ball;
Es war der edle Murray
Die Blume überall.

Ein schöner Ritter war er
In Tanz und Saitenspiel;
Ach, daß der edle Murray
Der Königin gefiel.

O, Königin, wirst lange
Sehn über Schlosses Wall,
Eh du den schönen Murray
Siehst reiten in dem Tal.

English Translation
Original English (Scottish) Text

A Section
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The music is dramatic and forceful, with many dotted (long-short) rhythms and a martial character.  The voice enters before the piano.  The chords in the piano are full and rich, with the bass in octaves.  Triplet rhythm (groups of three) is used for the third and fourth lines, echoed in the heavy octave piano bass.  The fourth line is emphatically repeated to close the stanza.
0:13 [m. 11]--The repetition of the last line leads to a very dramatic six-bar interlude in dotted rhythm.  The chords are thick, the bass octaves low and heavy.  The cadence of the interlude is elided (merged) with the beginning of the next verse (from m. 16 to the repetition of m. 1).
0:20 [m. 1]--Stanza 2.  Set to the same music as stanza 1, indicated with repeat signs.  The one-syllable word “ihn” in the third line is set to two notes used for two syllables of the word “erschlagen” in stanza 1.
0:32 [m. 11]--The interlude is heard, as before, but this time its cadence does not merge with the next verse, and it is extended with quieter transitional chords to nine bars.
B Section
0:44 [m. 20]--Stanza 3.  The middle section, setting the next three stanzas, is quieter.  The dotted rhythms are replaced by straight notes in the vocal line, and the piano plays slower chords, the bass still in octaves.  The strophe begins as if moving to G major (related to the home key of E minor), but ends a step higher, in A minor.  The last line is not repeated.  The same chords heard at the end of the preceding interlude lead to the next verse.  Including the chords, the stanza is ten bars long.
0:57 [m. 20]--Stanza 4.  Set to the same music as stanza 3, with identical declamation and marked with repeat signs.  Brahms does indicate that is supposed to be sung somewhat louder.
1:09 [m. 30]--Stanza 5.  Set to the same music as the last two stanzas, but notated separately, as the ending vocal line and chords are altered to move back to the home key of E minor.  Brahms indicates that it is to be sung slightly louder than stanza 4, creating a gradual increase of intensity from stanza 3 to stanza 5.
Abbreviated Reprise of A Section
1:23 [m. 40]--Stanza 6.  It is set to the same music as the first two stanzas, with declamation as in stanza 2.
1:36 [m. 50]--The interlude now becomes a postlude.  The music is the same as after the first two stanzas, but since it is neither merged with the next verse nor extended by chords, the length is now seven bars.
1:49--END OF SONG [56 mm.]


4. Ein Sonett (A Sonnet).  Text by Johann Gottfried Herder, after a thirteenth-century French text by Thibaut IV, Count of Champagne and King of Navarre.  Langsam, sehr innig (Slowly, very intimate).  Ternary form (ABA’).  A-FLAT MAJOR, 3/4 time, with two bars of Cut Time (2/2) at the end (Low key F major).

German Text:
Ach, könnt ich, könnte vergessen sie,
Ihr schönes, liebes, liebliches Wesen,
Den Blick, die freundliche Lippe die!
Vielleicht ich möchte genesen!

Doch ach, mein Herz, mein Herz kann es nie!
Und doch ists Wahnsinn, zu hoffen sie!
Und um sie schweben,
Gibt Mut und Leben,
Zu weichen nie.

Und denn, wie kann ich vergessen sie,
Ihr schönes, liebes, liebliches Wesen,
Den Blick, die freundliche Lippe die?
Viel lieber nimmer genesen!

English Translation (the original French text is unavailable on the site)

The poem is a medieval troubadour song, in the form of a 13-line Sonnet.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A).  The voice and piano begin together.  The vocal line is both gentle and sophisticated, like a courtly triple-meter dance.  The first two lines are sung against a very long descending scale line in the piano that reaches from the level of the melody (which is doubled in the top piano line) all the way down to the low bass, which “accepts” the scale from the higher register.  Each line is set to a four-bar phrase.  The “feminine” (stressed--unstressed) ending of the second line coincides with a directional change in the piano, leading to a one-bar “breath” before the next line.
0:17 [m. 10]--The third line is set to the same music as the first, but the descending scale line in the piano is now warmly harmonized in thirds.  The fourth line takes a different turn, becoming more insistent and reaching higher.  Also, the phrase for the line is only three bars, since the line only has three poetic feet.  Therefore, the descending piano line does not reach down quite as far.  It does change direction with the “feminine” ending, then arches back down in a two-bar bridge to the next stanza.
0:32 [m. 19]--Stanza 2 (B).  The second stanza is marked “Poco più animato.”  It is both dynamically and harmonically more active, the music having already changed keys in the previous interlude.  The first two lines are mainly in the “dominant” key of E-flat, both minor and major.  The vocal line becomes breathless and excited, rising to the song’s highest pitch.  The piano plays a line first in rising thirds and then in full chords at the end of the second line, which is the song’s climax.  The two lines are set to four-bar phrases. 
0:43 [m. 26]--At the cadence of the second line, where the rising chords reach their highest point and then turn around, a long bass pedal begins on the dominant note E-flat, preparing for the return.  This continues through the following two bar interlude and then through the last three lines.  The first two are combined for another four-bar phrase, and the last is extended through a long note and a downward slide to three bars, making the musical structure parallel to the first stanza despite the extra short line.  This is possible because the last three lines are so short.  Through this passage, the music builds again, the top line of the full chords doubling the wide-leaping vocal line over the continuing acceleration and low bass E-flat pedal.
0:57 [m. 36]--The full chords and bass pedal on E-flat continue through a three-bar interlude, the music suddenly becoming softer and slower for the reprise of the opening music in the last stanza.
1:02 [m. 39]--Stanza 3 (A’).  The opening tempo returns.  The first two lines are identical to those of stanza 1, and the text is also similar.  The one-bar “breath” before the third line is retained.
1:19 [m. 48]--The third line is again as in stanza 1, with the same text.  The fourth line, however, is completely changed, as the sentiment expressed in the text is the opposite.  The voice leaps dramatically upward, again to the song’s highest pitch.  The piano moves continuously, following and harmonizing the voice.  A beautiful vocal cadence is reached as longer notes on “genesen” stretch the phrase to five bars.
1:35 [m. 56]--A postlude begins with the last note of the cadence.  The piano plays the same harmonized downward line three times.  This line includes a foreign note, the lowered leading tone.  The solemn final cadence is of the “plagal” variety, which this foreign note helps facilitate.  The last repetition of the line is stretched out (significantly lengthening and stressing the “foreign“ lowered leading tone), broadening the final two bars, which break the persistent triple meter and are notated in 2/2. 
1:53--END OF SONG [59 mm.]


5. Trennung (Separation).  Folksong from the “Westphalia” section of the Kretzschmer-Zuccalmaglio collection.  Sehr schnell (Very fast).  Varied strophic form (AAAA’A).  F MAJOR, 6/8 time (Low key D major).
(The title Trennung is also used for Op. 97, No. 6.)

German Text:
Wach auf, wach auf, du junger Gesell,
Du hast so lang geschlafen.
Da draußen singen die Vögel hell,
Der Fuhrmann lärmt auf der Gassen!

Wach auf, wach auf, mit heller Stimm
Hub an der Wächter zu rufen,
Wo zwei Herzlieben beisammen sind,
Da müssen sie sein gar kluge.

Der Knabe war verschlafen gar,
Er schlief so lang, so süße,
Die Jungfrau aber weise war,
Weckt ihn durch ihre Küsse!

Das Scheiden, Scheiden tuet not,
Wie Tod ist es so harte,
Der scheidt auch manches Mündlein rot
Und manche Buhlen zarte.

Der Knabe auf sein Rößlein sprang
Und trabte schnell von dannen,
Die Jungfrau sah ihm lange nach,
Groß Leid tat sie umfangen!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The piano begins its breathless, galloping accompaniment, where right hand chords rapidly follow the steady left-hand bass beats.  This pattern continues throughout the song.  The vocal line is exuberant, with joyous upward leaps for “Wach auf.”  There is a chromatic tinge with a lowered leading tone in the descending third line.  The piano continues in a two-bar bridge to the next strophe.
0:13 [m. 2 (12)]--Stanza 2.  Except for the piano lead-in, the music is the same as stanza 1, with repeat signs.  There are three declamation differences: the first syllable of “heller” in the first line is set to two notes that each had a syllable in stanza 1, the word “Wächter” in the second line splits up the note that had been used for “lang,” and the last line splits one note and joins two for the correct accentuation.
0:24 [m. 2 (12)]--Stanza 3, again to the same music.  The declamation of line 1 is as in stanza 2, that of line 2 is as in stanza 1, the third line joins two notes for the first syllable of “aber,” and the fourth joins both pairs of repeated notes, each of which was used for one previous stanza.
0:36 [m. 12]--Stanza 4 (A
).  The only stanza with varied music, but it is essentially the same material.  It takes on a more subdued character as the theme of separation enters the song.  The first line eliminates the second upward leap.  The second line descends instead of remaining static, while the piano bass and right hand chords both slide down a chromatic scale fragment.  The third line is set a step lower, and the fourth unexpectedly makes a dramatic key change to D major.  The entire stanza is quieter, and the bass line is smoother, including more stepwise motion and fewer repeated notes.  Declamation most similar to stanza 3.
0:49 [m. 22]--Stanza 5. The preceding bridge having moved back to F major and back to the louder volume, the fifth stanza is again set to the same music as the first three.  The declamation is as in stanza 3.
1:01 [m. 31]--The second bar of the bridge passage moves the right hand down to the tenor register for a two-bar postlude.  This descent, and a marked slowing, are the only indication of the girl’s ‘great sorrow.”
The last bar emphasizes the slowing by leaving out a single off-beat right hand chord for the only time in the song.
1:10--END OF SONG [32 mm.]


6. Gang zur Liebsten (Visiting His Sweetheart).  Folksong from the “Lower Rhine” section of the Kretzschmer-Zuccalmaglio collection.  Andante, con espressione.  Simple strophic form.  E MINOR, 6/8 time (Low key C minor).
(The similar title Der Gang zum Liebchen is used for Op. 48, No. 1 and the quartet Op. 31, No. 3.)

Des Abends kann ich nicht schlafen gehn,
Zu meiner Herzliebsten muß ich gehn,
Zu meiner Herzliebsten muß ich gehn,
Und sollt ich an der Tür bleiben stehn,
Ganz heimelig!

»Wer ist denn da? Wer klopfet an,
Der mich so leis aufwecken kann?«
Das ist der Herzallerliebste dein,
mein Schatz, und laß mich ein,
Ganz heimelig!

Wenn alle Sterne Schreiber gut,
Und alle Wolken Papier dazu,
So sollten sie schreiben der Lieben mein,
Sie brächten die Lieb in den Brief nicht ein,
Ganz heimelig!

Ach, hätt ich Federn wie ein Hahn
Und könnt ich schwimmen wie ein Schwan,
So wollt ich schwimmen wohl über den Rhein,
Hin zu der Herzallerliebsten mein,
Ganz heimelig!

English Translation

Each of the five phrases is two bars, as is the piano postlude, for a total of 12 bars in each verse.  Each is sung to the same music with repeat signs.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The setting seems simple and straightforward, but there is an ambiguous wavering between related major and minor keys.  Voice and piano begin together on an upbeat.  The right hand doubles the voice in its expressive melody, while the left begins with a descending line harmonized in thirds.  The second line begins to establish the “rocking” motion that starts in earnest with the third line.
0:12 [m. 5]--Stanza 1, lines 3-5.  The left hand now establishes a hypnotic rocking pattern.  These lines are more quiet than the first two.  The voice part is identical in the third and fourth lines, but the piano harmonizes the third line in major and the fourth in minor.  Only the refrain-like fifth line finally confirms the minor key unambiguously.  It stretches out the first syllable of “heimelig” to three notes, with the voice reaching its highest notes and finally breaking free of the piano right-hand doubling.  A piano postlude follows that echoes the melody of the refrain, first in the middle register and then in the bass.
0:36 [m. 1]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2.  No two of the stanzas have identical declamation, as all of them have differing numbers of syllables in various lines.  Here, the first two lines have fewer syllables than in stanza 1, so a pair of repeated notes is joined in the first line, and another pair of notes sung to two syllables is now sung to one in the second line (“mich”).
0:48 [m. 5]--Stanza 2, lines 3-5.  Again, the accentuation of the text requires some joining of repeated notes from stanza 1 in both lines.  One note is actually added on the second syllable of “Herzallerliebste,” and this note is also retained in stanzas 3 and 4.  The fifth line refrain and piano postlude are as before.
1:11 [m. 1]--Stanza 3, lines 1-2.  The declamation is similar to that of stanza 2, but a the second syllable of “Wolken” in the second line is sung to a note that only has its own syllable in this verse.
1:23 [m. 5]--Stanza 3, lines 3-5.  This stanza has the most syllables of any in these lines, so more longer notes are “broken” into two repeated ones, especially in the fourth line.  Refrain and postlude as before.
1:47 [m. 1]--Stanza 4, lines 1-2.  The declamation is as in stanza 2.
2:00 [m. 5]--Stanza 4, lines 3-5.  These lines only have one less syllable than in stanza 3.  Two “broken” notes are re-joined, but on the second syllable of “über” in the third line, a note is split for the only time.  Refrain and postlude as before.
2:28--END OF SONG [12 mm. (x4)]


7. Ständchen (Serenade).  Folksong from the “Lower Rhine” section of the Kretzschmer-Zuccalmaglio collection.  Allegretto.  Simple strophic form.  F MAJOR, 3/4 time (Low key D major).
(The title Ständchen is also used for Op. 106, No. 1.)

German Text:
Gut Nacht, gut Nacht, mein liebster Schatz,
Gut Nacht, schlaf wohl, mein Kind!
Daß dich die Engel hüten all,
Die in dem Himmel sind!
Gut Nacht, gut Nacht, mein lieber Schatz,
Schlaf du, von nachten lind.

Schlaf wohl, schlaf wohl und träume von mir,
Träum von mir heute nacht!
Daß, wenn ich auch da schlafen tu,
Mein Herz um dich doch wacht;
Daß es in lauter Liebesglut
An dich derzeit gedacht.

Es singt im Busch die Nachtigall
Im klaren Mondenschein,
Der Mond scheint in das Fenster dir,
Guckt in dein Kämmerlein;
Der Mond schaut dich im Schlummer da,
Doch ich muß ziehn allein!

English Translation

All three stanzas have the same music and, with one exception, the same declamation.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  Voice and piano begin together on an upbeat.  The strumming accompaniment establishes a very repetitive rhythm.  The vocal melody is rather static by comparison and follows a large upward arch pattern.  The two lines are sung twice to the same vocal melody, but the harmony in the piano is more colorful and chromatic in the second statement, and is played more smoothly.  The first statement leads to C major, the second to the closely related A minor.
0:20 [m. 17]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  These two lines are sung and played to highly colorful harmonies suggesting a move back to F minor rather than F major.  The vocal line gradually descends downward and is somewhat mysterious.
0:30 [m. 25]--Stanza 1, lines 5-6.  These two lines add even more colorful harmonic motion, as F minor leads to its related major key, A-flat, for line 5, line 6 making a last-second shift back to the home key of F major.  The first two words of line 6 are reiterated. 
0:41 [m. 33]--Following the abrupt motion back to F major, the entire last line is repeated without the reiteration of the first two words, instead holding a longer high note on the second word, under which another key change back to A-flat is threatened, but does not succeed.  The long held note results in an irregular phrase length of five bars.
0:47 [m. 38]--An eight-bar piano postlude adds even more “strumming” effects in the left hand.  It leads seamlessly to the next stanza.
0:57 [m. 1]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2.  The hypnotic, regular, and repetitive rhythm of the accompaniment--along with the same music and declamation in all three stanzas and the heavy repetition of text--threatens to become monotonous.  The colorful harmonies and key changes are probably meant to add variety within the stanza to help avoid this.  The word “träume” is the only slight deviation in the entire song, placing two syllables on two notes that only set one syllable in the other two stanzas.
1:16 [m. 17]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4.
1:26 [m. 25]--Stanza 2, lines 5-6.
1:36 [m. 33]--Repetition of line 6.
1:42 [m. 38]--Piano postlude.
1:52 [m. 1]--Stanza 3, lines 1-2.
2:12 [m. 17]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4.
2:21 [m. 25]--Stanza 3, lines 5-6.
2:33 [m. 33]--Repetition of line 6.
2:38 [m. 38]--Piano postlude.  Not leading to another stanza, and simply ending with the last strummed chord, it sounds rather inconclusive, since the keynote is not on the top of the chord.  The inconclusiveness of this very repetitive song underscores the continuing theme of separation and longing in the set.
2:54--END OF SONG [45 mm. (x3)]


8. Sehnsucht (Longing).  Folksong from the “Tyrol” section of the Kretzschmer-Zuccalmaglio collection, text somewhat altered by Brahms. Andante.  Through composed form, with the second stanza sung twice to nearly identical music.  E MINOR, 3/4 time, with one bar of 4/4 (Low key D minor).
(The title Sehnsucht is also used for Op. 49, No. 3 and the quartet Op. 112, No. 1.)

German Text:
Mein Schatz ist nicht da,
Ist weit überm See,
Und sooft ich dran denk,
Tut mirs Herz so weh!

Schön blau ist der See,
Und mein Herz tut mir weh,
Und mein Herz wird nicht gsund,
Bis mein Schatz wiederkommt.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The piano plays the chord of the home key as a simple, plaintive introduction.  After this opening chord, the piano takes a definite subordinate role, simply doubling and harmonizing the melody.  Despite traversing the length of the scale twice, Brahms avoids the leading tone in the voice, which is only heard in the accompaniment at the cadence.  This lends the melody a somewhat archaic character.  The emotional expression is direct and stark.
0:18 [m. 11]--Stanza 2.  For this stanza, the melody builds, both in volume and pitch, reaching the song’s highest notes at the top of the crescendo, where Brahms writes forte for the only time.  While continuing to double the voice, the piano line begins earlier in longer notes before the last three lines.  The volume diminishes quickly as the music for the last line rapidly descends.  Brahms also directs a slowing here.
0:33 [m. 19]--Stanza 2, repeated.  The melody is essentially the same, but on both statements of the word “Herz,” the pitch is shifted upward to add intensity.  Only a couple of isolated pitches are raised.  After the top of the intensification at the high notes, Brahms emphasizes the slowing at the descent even more by lengthening the actual notes on “bis mein,” making the third measure from the end (m. 24) a 4/4 bar, which rather disconcertingly breaks the triple time.  The song ends with the vocal cadence.  There is no postlude.
0:53--END OF SONG [26 mm.]
END OF SET


BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME