PIANO QUARTET NO. 2 in A MAJOR, OP.
Recording: Emanuel Ax, piano; Isaac Stern, violin; Jaime
Laredo, viola; Yo-Yo Ma, cello [Sony S2K 45846]
1863. Dedicated to Dr. Elisabeth Rösing.
The G-minor piano
quartet, Op. 25, is more extroverted and virtuosic than its
A-major companion, but the latter is more expansive. It
is, in fact, not only Brahms’s longest piece of chamber music,
but of all instrumental music. At over fifty minutes,
its performance time is longer than any of the symphonies or
concertos, although the First Symphony (with its exposition
repeat taken) and Second Piano Concerto come close.
Among all the works with opus numbers, only the German
Requiem and the Magelone Romances take
longer to perform. All four movements last over ten
minutes, and all are rich in content. Coupled with tempo
markings that are rarely very fast (except for the end of the
finale), this results in a work that, more than any other,
calls to mind another earlier master, Franz Schubert.
The huge thematic paragraphs and the extended forms are
hallmarks of Schubertian “heavenly length,” as are the
leisurely melodies themselves. But Brahms also did not
forget the “gypsy” idioms that played such a large role in the
G-minor piece, especially in the slow movement and
finale. The first movement slowly grows out of its
opening oscillation. Unlike the corresponding movement
of Op. 25, it is a conventional sonata form, and it even
includes an exposition repeat. The slow movement, which
uses muted strings and the aforementioned “gypsy” coloration
(including distinctive unmeasured piano arpeggios), is
beautiful and radiant. Its expanded ternary form
includes a highly unusual return of the middle section in an
unrelated key. The third movement is explicitly called a
scherzo, but while it builds to a great climax, it is
unhurried, and has the character of a minuet or waltz.
It is by far Brahms’s largest example of a scherzo or
scherzo-type movement. The main scherzo is in a full
sonata form that goes beyond the usual “rounded binary”
construction. The more austere central “trio” section
uses some elements from the main section, which is then given
a full reprise. The finale has a very predominant and
distinctive main theme that is typical of a rondo, but Brahms
constructs another full sonata form, albeit one with vestiges
of the rondo, primarily a statement of the main theme at the
outset of the development (as in the first movement of the
G-minor quartet). This main theme is exuberant, but the
subsidiary ideas are again very restrained. Brahms
compensates with a joyous “animato” conclusion.
FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)--Note that the penultimate page of
the finale displays upside down!
SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition in later
printing from Russian State
Library--includes string parts in the order viola, violin, cello)
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)
Movement: Allegro non troppo (Sonata-Allegro form). A MAJOR,
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1. The piano begins with the
distinctive opening gesture, a downbeat chord followed by an
oscillating, harmonized neighbor-note motion, supported by
left hand arpeggios. The oscillating motion is in
triplet rhythm. The upward pattern that follows in the
next measure, also in full chords, is in “straight”
non-triplet rhythm. This two-measure alternation is then
restated with new harmonies on the first and last chords of
the oscillation. The response also reaches higher with a
brief motion to B minor.
0:13 [m. 5]--The cello joins the piano, playing a
leisurely winding, mildly chromatic line against rolled
chords. It also includes a triplet rhythm in the third
measure. In the last measure of this statement, the
upper two strings join the cello in a rising approach to their
statement of the opening gesture.
0:22 [m. 9]--The strings without piano now present the
opening idea, with frequent double and triple stops in all
three instruments. The cello takes the bass
arpeggios. The harmonies are the same except for the
last chord of the second upward response to the triplets,
which diverts from B minor toward D major.
0:31 [m. 13]--The response previously played by the
cello is now taken by the piano in octaves, beginning a fifth
higher than the cello did. The strings accompany with
gentle chords on the first and second beats of each
measure. The piano spins the winding, chromatic line
further, expanding it and adding more harmonic movement.
After six measures, Brahms disrupts the meter with a hemiola,
grouping the descending figures in an implied 2/4 rather than
the prevailing 3/4. The cello plays a low note on the
second beats of these implied duple groupings.
0:51 [m. 22]--The 3/4 pulse is restored as the harmony
moves to the “relative” minor key, F-sharp. The piano
continues to play in octaves, rising in a chromatic
line. The cello subtly inserts the oscillating triplet
rhythm from the opening. Then all strings play it as the
piano rests. The piano line is repeated an octave higher
in both hands. This time, the viola and cello enter
against it on the triplet rhythm, and the response is taken by
the piano left hand in octaves. Suddenly forceful, the
three string instruments echo the piano bass, also in octaves,
preparing for the powerful restatement of the main theme.
1:01 [m. 27]--Transition. It begins with a strong
statement of theme in the piano. The strings add support
in broken octaves at the second triplet gesture. At the
point where the winding chromatic line would be expected, the
triplets are extended. They become even more
agitated. The strings continue in broken octaves, nearly
in unison, before the cello and piano bass move to a “pedal
point” fifth that veers the harmony toward D major.
After four more measures of triplets, the piano breaks into an
ecstatic sequence of syncopated chords that move down the keyboard, with the strings supporting these
and the pedal bass. The lower piano bass note finally
moves down chromatically.
1:18 [m. 37]--The piano breaks off on a chord
suggesting a motion to E major, the expected key of the second
theme. The strings play a dissonant two-note unison
slurred descent (interval of a “diminished seventh”) in
response. The piano bass moves up, and the strings play
another such slur at a lower level. The piano then
begins a chordal descent on a syncopated upbeat. The
strings answer against this, still in unison, with a vigorous
figure that begins with two short notes, then ascends.
The piano takes up this vigorous figure in octaves as the
strings repeat the dissonant slurs. The strings take the
vigorous unison figure a second time as the piano plays
another chordal descent. All of this continues to
suggest E major.
1:32 [m. 45]--The strings, continuing in unison, now
play rising chromatic lines followed by the same dissonant
slurred descents, the whole texture steadily moving
down. The piano plays chords against this in a broad
short-long rhythm with octaves in the bass. After two
bars, the viola drops out and the cello shifts up an
octave. The string lines smooth out after two more
measures, becoming quieter. The violin and cello are now
no longer in unison and the piano bass, in octaves, harmonizes
with them. The music diminishes further in volume, the
viola re-enters an octave above the cello, and all four
instruments use the chromatic lines, now rising and falling,
to lead to a long-delayed cadence in E major and the second
1:48 [m. 53]--Theme 2. The piano plays halting,
expressive rising figures in octaves, decorated by rolled
chords and appoggiaturas. In the cello, under pizzicato
chords from the upper strings, is a last vestige of Theme
1. The piano melody then broadens and the strings begin
independent lines, the violin introducing triplets (E major).
1:56 [m. 57]--Suddenly building, the piano unexpectedly
breaks into a long-short rhythm in sixths while the triplets
are passed down from top to bottom in the strings. They
key makes a diversion to B major, the “dominant” of E major,
the principal key of the second theme (and itself the
“dominant” of the home key, A major). As a small climax
is reached, the viola continues the triplets while the other
instruments join the piano in the main “straight” rhythm.
2:04 [m. 61]--Still in B major, the theme drops again
to a quiet volume. The piano, in octaves and sixths,
plays a downward-arching, sweetly winding chromatic
melody. The strings harmonize and decorate this melody,
the violin turning again to the bouncing and clashing triplet
rhythm. The melody comes to a pause on an expectant
dissonance. It then slides up into a varied repetition
in triplet rhythm, which the piano takes over from the
violin. The viola plays a counterpoint in “straight”
rhythm. The piano bass and cello now provide a more
solid foundation. The same expectant dissonance is
reached, leaning into an incomplete cadence in B. At the
same time, in syncopation, the viola and cello echo the rising
lines from the theme’s opening, turning abruptly back to E.
2:20 [m. 69]--The rising figures from the opening of
the theme are played in a decorated version with triplets in
the piano right hand against straight-rhythm harmonies in the
left. The viola and cello add brief descending
lines. The original harmonies are subtly altered so that
when the broad melody begins, the key has changed to G major,
which is the “relative” key of E minor. The
broad melody is also transferred to the violin as the piano
continues its two-against-three patterns.
2:28 [m. 73]--The long-short rhythm from 1:56 [m. 57]
is heard in the violin. The cello accompanies it with
longer notes, and the piano moves to a series of smoothly
arching triplet arpeggios and occasional rolled chords.
The melody is clearly the same, but it is not harmonized in
sixths and it does not build in volume. The contour does not
match exactly, and the underlying harmony suggests a
continuation of G major. This is smoothly diverted back
to E, but now E minor, as the piano left hand moves back to
2:36 [m. 77]--The material from 2:04 [m. 61] begins
again, now in E minor. The violin plays the
downward-arching, winding chromatic melody. After two
bars, it is harmonized by the viola. The piano again
plays smooth triplet arpeggios, now against a solid bass line,
and the cello is absent. This time, the pausing
dissonances are omitted and the winding lines continue.
They build in volume after four measures. The cello
enters in the fifth measure, doubling the piano bass, and the
instruments come to a half-close in E minor.
2:45 [m. 82]--After the half-close, the piano, in
octaves, plays a rising figure similar to the opening of the
theme. In a suddenly quiet volume, the strings cut off
this figure and repeat the approach to the half-close.
The piano figure follows again, with subtly raised notes that
suggest a return to major. The strings again play the
approach to the half-close, now with a clear change to E major
2:54 [m. 86]--The following passage is an extended
transitional series of two-note neighbor-tone slurs. The
piano begins, quietly in octaves, with repeated descending
slurs. The strings follow in harmony, the violin first
mirroring the piano’s direction, rising from below to its
pitches (C-sharp—B), then echoing the original piano notes
while the other two strings harmonize (the cello using leaps
of a fifth). The pattern is then repeated a fourth
higher. The piano attempts another sequence up another
fourth, but the strings stall on their previous pitches,
alternating with the piano three times in brief three-note
3:12 [m. 95]--Closing section, Part 1. The piano
drops out as the strings begin a new theme. The violin
and viola harmonize on a sweetly expressive (espressivo
and dolce) downward chromatic line, while the cello
plucks detached broken descending octaves. The line of
the upper strings introduces triplet-rhythm upbeats, first in
the viola, then in both instruments. They reach a
cadence (E major).
3:19 [m. 99]--The piano joins the strings on an upbeat,
playing a decorative pattern of ascending arpeggios in the
right hand and low ascending broken octaves in the left.
The arpeggios shadow the theme. The violin repeats its
descending line with the viola harmony. The cello, now
bowed, has a more static line of octaves, allowing the piano
bass to provide the main support, but it later adds syncopated
rhythms. The line is extended with repetition, a shift
up an octave, and an expanded cadence. At this
extension, the viola triplets shift from the upbeat to the
downbeat, providing a more active counterpoint to the violin
line. The expanded cadence provides great delayed
satisfaction as the cello joins the viola triplets in harmony.
3:33 [m. 106]--Closing section, Part 2. The piano
drops out at the cadence. The strings play a final theme
based on the long-short rhythm from Theme 2 as heard at 1:56
[m. 57] and 2:28 [m. 73]. The violin and viola play this
gentle, melodious theme in harmony while the cello plays a
solid bass in triplet rhythm, beginning each measure with an
arpeggio, then settling on a repeated note, either the home
“tonic” note E, its “leading tone,” D-sharp, or its
preparatory “dominant,” B. As the cadence is approached,
the violin introduces a lower neighbor-note figure in dotted
rhythm that will become important in the first part of the
development section. The piano enters to support the
cadence in the last two bars.
3:49 [m. 114]--The piano takes the final theme in
essentially the same form as the strings played it, but with
fuller harmony and without the pulsing triplets from the
cello. The cello itself adds rapid decorative arpeggios
while the viola plays isolated plucked chords on the upbeats
and downbeats. The violin drops out for this statement
of the final theme.
4:00 [m. 120a]--First ending. At the point where
the violin had introduced the dotted lower-neighbor figure,
the piano right hand plays it in octaves. The left hand
plays rapid upward figures with leaping octaves. Instead
of coming to a cadence, the piano expands the neighbor-note
figure upward as the strings, including the now-entering
violin, add smooth rising chromatic lines. The volume
builds, and the key moves back to A major for the repeat of
the long exposition.
4:07 [m. 124a (m. 1)]--Theme 1. The last measure
of the first ending is equivalent to the first measure of the
movement. The first beat is a more powerful, widely
spaced chord that includes the full strings. From the
second beat, the material returns to the opening, and the
repeat goes back to the second measure. Piano
presentation of the theme with alternating triplet and
4:17 [m. 5]--Entry of cello on winding line against
rolled chords, then other strings, as at 0:13.
4:25 [m. 9]--String presentation of opening idea, as at
4:34 [m. 13]--Winding line in piano with extension and
hemiola, as at 0:31.
4:53 [m. 22]--Rising chromatic piano lines in F-sharp
minor with thematic echoes in unison triplets of the strings,
as at 0:51.
5:03 [m. 27]--Transition. Strong statement of
theme and powerful extension in triplets, as at 1:01.
5:20 [m. 37]--Motion to E major under slurred descents
and vigorous unison figures, as at 1:18.
5:35 [m. 45]--Rising chromatic lines and slurred
descents in unison, followed by instruments becoming
independent, getting quieter, and settling to cadence in E
major, as at 1:32.
5:51 [m. 53]--Theme 2. Expressive rising figures
with last vestige of Theme 1, as at 1:48.
5:59 [m. 57]--Long-short rhythm and motion to B major,
as at 1:56.
6:06 [m. 61]--Downward-arching melody, expectant
dissonances, and motion back to E, as at 2:04.
6:23 [m. 69]--Opening of theme with triplet
decorations, moving to G major, as at 2:20.
6:30 [m. 73]--Long-short rhythm in violin and motion to
E minor, as at 2:28.
6:38 [m. 77]--Downward-arching melody in violin and
half-close in E minor, as at 2:36.
6:48 [m. 82]--Rising figures, reiteration of
half-close, and change to E major, as at 2:45.
6:57 [m. 86]--Transitional series of neighbor-tone
slurs, as at 2:54.
7:15 [m. 95]--Closing section, Part 1. Descending
chromatic line in strings, as at 3:12.
7:22 [m. 99]--Decoration, extension, and cadence of
chromatic line, as at 3:19.
7:36 [m. 106]--Closing section, Part 2. Final
theme with long-short rhythms in strings, as at 3:33.
7:52 [m. 114]--Piano statement of final theme with
cello arpeggios, as at 3:49.
8:03 [m. 120b]--Second ending. It begins with the
dotted lower-neighbor figure in the piano, as did the first
ending. At the end of the second measure, it deviates,
rapidly changing harmony, and building in all instruments to
an emphatic descending cadence in the new key of C major.
8:10 [m. 124b]--The long-short, or dotted neighbor-note
figure dominates the first section of the development.
The cello and violin pass an expanded version of the figure to
each other. The cello begins expressively and quietly,
suggesting a motion to A minor (relative key to C
major). When the violin enters, it moves quickly back
toward C major, and the cello entries that follow it actually
imitate it in the lower octave. This is unexpected since
the cello made the first entry. The viola rests through
this passage. Under the two string instruments, the
piano plays undulating arpeggios and bass notes that confirm
the harmonic motion. In addition to A minor and C major,
hints are also made at F major as the volume builds.
8:23 [m. 132]--After three violin-cello exchanges, the
piano takes the lead on the neighbor-note figure, playing it
in full harmony and shifting the wide arpeggios to the
bass. The viola joins the violin in unison, with the
cello a third below, and they imitate the piano figures.
The volume and intensity steadily build. The dissonant
note D-flat is prominent. It seems to point to F minor,
but this is never confirmed. The C harmony in the bass
arpeggios, seeming to function as a preparatory “dominant” to
F minor or major, remains remarkably persistent. The
piano figures tighten, reaching up while the strings begin to
march downward. It is gradually revealed that the goal
is not F minor, but C minor, which is forcefully confirmed as
the cello leaps down to join the unison upper strings in a
8:37 [m. 140]--The piano suddenly erupts into the main
triplet element of Theme 1 in a dark C-minor version.
The viola and cello cut this off with a quieter unison
statement. The piano plays it again with new harmony,
and the hushed string response, now including violin, is also
in harmony, leading to a full C-minor cadence. This is
followed by an extended meditation on the figure in the
strings, who “straighten” out its rhythm, eliminating the
triplets. The piano, however, keeps them alive in an
active chordal accompaniment. The key wanders to E-flat,
the “relative” major key to C minor, but then back again.
9:00 [m. 152]--The violin and viola play a rising scale
figure in triplets on an upbeat, leading to more elaboration
of Theme 1. Expressively, still in C minor, the piano
plays thematic figures alternating between triplet and
straight rhythm, exploiting this major rhythmic characteristic
of the theme. The left hand plays wide, detached
descending arpeggios. The strings respond after the beat
with short triplet rhythms that dovetail with the piano
figures. After four bars, the cello begins a steady,
detached triplet rhythm as the piano right hand changes to
slurred and off-beat chords. The steady triplets are
passed first to the violin alone, then to the viola and cello
, then to violin and viola, then back to viola and
cello. The volume steadily builds over these
exchanges. Finally, all three strings join together as
they approach a climax.
9:21 [m. 162]--Still in C minor, the climax is reached
with a varied restatement of the preceding material from 9:00
[m. 152]. The piano forcefully plays the thematic
figures with thundering octaves. The strings, also
forceful, add brief off-beat responses in triplets. New
chromatic harmonies are introduced, and the intensity builds
even more. Another high point is reached, and the piano
begins to play sweeping triplet arpeggios in contrary
motion. The string responses are now in unison.
They play a measure of steady triplets as another huge C-minor
cadence is approached. After this cadence, the piano
continues the triplet arpeggios in contrary motion, the unison
strings continue to build, and a series of chromatic chords
leads to another arrival, this time on C major, the
change made explicit by a new key signature.
9:46 [m. 176]--Brahms continues to ratchet up the
dynamic and tonal intensity in this transitional, unstable
passage. Chromatic lines in the prevailing triplet
rhythm are passed between the strings in unison and the piano
bass in octaves. Against the low octaves, the strings
break from their unison and play sighing, slurred chords that
fail to establish a central harmony. Finally, the piano
plays these chords, which are syncopated in the right hand and
slurred to resolutions in the left. The strings, who
finally abandon their unison playing, then join the chords
while the right hand takes over the chromatic triplet lines in
octaves. The key of A minor (relative to C major) is
established before the entry of closing theme material.
9:59 [m. 184]--The piano begins to play the descending
chromatic theme from the first part of the closing section,
now in a passionate and vigorous A-minor version, with triplet
arpeggios in the left hand and dissonant “diminished seventh”
harmonies. After two bars, the strings take this over,
and the piano moves to the rapid arpeggios and bass octaves
from 3:19 and 7:22 [m. 99]. The viola, with the violin,
introduces the triplet upbeats familiar from the theme.
The presentation after the strings take over roughly follows
the pattern from the exposition at these points, but with far
greater intensity. The extended, forceful cadence
emphatically confirms A minor.
10:16 [m. 193]--At the cadence, the piano begins a
presentation of material from the second part of the
closing section, the final theme with prominent long-short
rhythms. Brahms marks the passage appassionato.
The right hand plays the short-long rhythms in leaping octaves
while the left plays wide arpeggios. The lower strings,
in harmony, echo the piano rhythms. The violin soon
joins them. The piano rhythms reach high and introduce
10:27 [m. 199]--Re-transition. The piano right
hand briefly plays the neighbor-note figure that ended the
exposition and provided material for the beginning of the
development. This expands into an arching, cadence-like
gesture. The strings immediately take this up in unison,
prominently changing it from A minor to A major, heralding the
return of the home key for the recapitulation. The left
hand continues its wide, rolling arpeggios. The piano
takes the arching figure from the strings, immediately
changing it back to minor. The string-piano exchange is
repeated, again moving to major and back to minor.
Finally, the violin imitates the piano’s minor key version as
the volume rapidly diminishes. The piano drops out, and
the viola, then the cello, imitate the violin in lower
octaves. The strings then melt into the major key for
the yearning chords that lead into the recapitulation.
10:48 [m. 209]--Theme 1. The piano takes over the
string cadence and begins the theme, more subdued and an
octave lower than at the beginning, with the right hand in the
tenor register. The harmonies and the alternation
between triplet and straight rhythm are the same, however.
10:58 [m. 213]--The cello entry is as at 0:13 and 4:17
[m. 5], along with the later entry of the other strings.
The piano harmonies, however, remain in the lower register
where the beginning of the theme was just played, and the
chords are not rolled.
11:07 [m. 217]--String presentation of the opening idea
at the original volume level, as at 0:22 and 4:25 [m. 9].
11:16 [m. 221]--The piano response in octaves begins as
at 0:31 and 4:34 [m. 13]. In the fourth measure, a very
subtle alteration begins. The piano reaches up higher
and the chords are changed, introducing a minor-key
flavor. These subtle alterations continue for the next
two measures. When the hemiola arrives, it
begins a fourth higher and introduces skips at the end of each
downward pattern. The key artfully shifts down to G
major. The viola joins the cello in harmony on the
second beats of the implied duple (2/4) groupings.
11:36 [m. 230]--The chromatic lines from 0:51 and 4:53
[m. 22], are also subtly altered and move the key again.
The lines “back up” a step in the middle, allowing a change to
C major. In that key, the cello, then the other strings,
quietly state the opening triplet figures, as expected.
The line is then stated an octave higher, also as
expected. Instead of the piano bass, however, the violin
and viola play the triplet response in octaves. Then an
entirely new measure is inserted, a higher, harmonized
statement of the opening rhythm in the piano. A measure
late, the forceful string statement in octaves, now in C,
leads to the transition.
11:48 [m. 236]--Transition. This passage is
similar to, and the same length as the strong statement of the
theme and its extension from 1:01 and 5:03 [m. 27], but the
harmonies and destination are entirely different. First
of all, the expected arrival on C at the outset is
harmonically diverted. In the fourth bar, the piano
right hand changes to strong syncopated chords while the left
hand maintains the triplet rhythm. Most strikingly, the
strings cling stubbornly to notes of the unison triplet
statement that introduced the transition, maintaining a
connection to C while the piano harmonies rove to other keys
like D major or E minor. Finally, approaching the eighth
bar, the strings begin to move, as do new off-beat piano
chords. Leaping octaves replace the pedal point and the
broken octaves. The goal of all this is the home key of
12:06 [m. 246]--From this point, the recapitulation is
a transposition of the exposition, with many subtle changes in
instrumentation. The slurred descents and vigorous
unison figures from 1:18 and 5:20 [m. 37] are played with A
major as the goal. Most of the parts are raised up a
fifth, but some low piano bass octaves are moved down a
12:20 [m. 254]--Rising chromatic lines and slurred
downward leaps in unison strings, then motion toward a cadence
in A major, analogous to 1:32 and 5:35 [m. 45]. The
viola does not enter at the end.
12:36 [m. 262]--Theme 2. The strings and piano
reverse their roles from the exposition at 1:48 and 5:51 [m.
53]. The violin and cello play the expressive rising
figures in octaves, while the piano takes the chordal
harmonies and, in its bass, the vestige of the triplet rhythm
from Theme 1. The viola continues its long
absence. The violin and cello broaden the melody and, in
a continuation of the role reversal, the piano introduces the
triplet rhythms, doubled in octaves between the hands (A
12:44 [m. 266]--The long-short rhythm is introduced,
analogous to 1:56 and 5:59 [m. 57]. The piano and
strings continue to reverse roles. The violin and cello
play the long-short rhythm while the piano plays the
now-harmonized sequence of descending triplets. The
viola finally enters after a 12-bar absence to add harmony to
the small climax. In an almost ironic analogous motion,
the key makes a diversion to E major, where the main part of
Theme 2 lay in the exposition. The piano takes most of
the material formerly played by the strings, the bass taking
the former cello part, but it reverses the direction of the
viola’s triplet rhythms from the approach to the climax.
12:51 [m.270]--The violin, harmonized by the other
strings, takes the downward-arching melody played by the piano
at 2:04 and 6:06 [m. 61]. The piano plays the triplet
rhythm, but in constant descents rather than the previous
bouncing motion in the violin. The expectant dissonances
are heard as expected. Perhaps to make up for its
twelve-bar rest, the viola is given the decorated repetition
of the melody in triplets while the piano takes a variation of
the viola’s former line in straight rhythm. The cello
has, at this point, returned to its role as in the
exposition. After the second expectant dissonance, the
violin and cello (rather than viola and cello) play the
syncopated return of the rising figures from the theme’s
opening (the viola being occupied with the dissonances and
cadence). The key turns back home to A.
13:09 [m. 278]--At this point, the instruments return
to their exposition roles. Opening of theme with triplet
decorations, analogous to 2:20 and 6:23 [m. 69]. The
analogous harmonic motion is to C major.
13:16 [m. 282]--Long-short rhythm in violin with
arching triplets in the piano, analogous to 2:28 and 6:30 [m.
73]. The analogous motion is to A minor, the home minor
key, again establishing A as the tonal center for the second
theme group in the recapitulation.
13:24 [m. 286]--Downward-arching melody in violin,
later harmonized by viola, with triplets and bass in the
piano, analogous to 2:36 and 6:38 [m. 77]. A half-close
in A minor is reached.
13:34 [m. 291]--Rising figures, reiteration of
half-close in strings, and change to major (A major),
analogous to 2:45 and 6:48 [m. 82].
13:43 [m. 295]--Transitional series of neighbor-tone
slurs, analogous to 2:54 and 6:57 [m. 86]. The
instrumentation is as in the exposition.
14:01 [m. 304]--Closing section, Part 1.
Expressive descending line in strings with plucked cello,
analogous to 3:12 and 7:15 [m. 95].
14:08 [m. 308]--Decoration of descending line with
piano arpeggios. Extension and cadence, but the violin
shift up an octave is a couple of notes later than in the
exposition. Analogous to 3:10 and 7:22 [m. 99].
14:22 [m. 315]--Closing section, Part 2. Final
theme with long-short rhythms in the violin and viola over the
pulsating cello. Analogous to 3:33 and 7:36 [m. 106].
14:37 [m. 323]--The piano statement of the final theme
from 3:49 and 7:52 [m. 114] is significantly changed and
expanded into a transition to the coda. The rapid
arpeggios are in the piano left hand, not the cello. The
right hand plays the long-short rhythm in octaves. The
viola and cello respond in harmony, adding plaintive
dissonance. The passage is spun out significantly,
making harmonic detours through C-sharp major and F major,
where the violin joins the plaintive responses. The
dotted lower-neighbor figure that played such a large role in
the development is gradually introduced as the key slowly
makes its way back to A major. The strings are held over
bar lines. The entire passage builds in intensity and
15:01 [m. 335]--The strings drop out, and the piano
alone plays the last part of the transition into the
coda. The rapid arpeggios continue in the left hand
while the right hand plays descending chords that settle down
and come to a highly anticipatory half-close.
15:12 [m. 340]--The piano gently enters with a sequence
of ingratiating triplet fragments from the first theme,
harmonized in thirds with octave doubling between the
hands. The strings imitate the piano figures one beat
later and a fifth below, the violin and viola an octave apart
and the cello a third below the viola. The figures work
down over three measures. Then the piano harmonies
introduce colorful chromatic inflections, still moving
downward. The string figures, now a bit shorter, also
continue to move down. Both piano and strings slow down
at the end of the phrase, coming to a very expressive
15:29 [m. 348]--The preceding passage is varied, with
the strings and piano reversing positions. The two hands
of the piano are in octaves, but maintain the harmony in
thirds (further separated by an octave) between them.
The first three measures are a direct exchange in roles.
At the point where the chromatic inflections are introduced,
there is more variation, especially in the string
harmonies. The piano triplets closely follow where the
strings had gone, adding an upward motion on the third beat of
the measure. The harmony adds more “flat” notes,
however. The prior approach to the half-close is
expanded by four measures, with the piano octaves meandering
further downward and the string harmonies stalling on a
half-step sequence. After the strings and piano escape
upward, a rapturous full cadence leads to the next phrase.
15:55 [m. 360]--The triplets are now in the low piano
bass. The strings gently play the “straightened” version
of the oscillating motion as heard in the development section
around 8:37 [m. 140]. They gradually descend. The
piano right hand, which plays long-short octaves, moves down
by octaves over four measures, eventually displacing the low
triplets. Finally, the strings come to a pause on an
unusual dissonance. A colorful “diminished seventh”
chord is held over a pedal point A (which is also supported by
the piano bass). The damper pedal sustains this A while
both hands in octaves play a mysterious arpeggio in waves over
the same “diminished seventh” chord. The piano octaves
emerge into a gentle final descent to A, supported by the
A-major chord in the strings.
16:16 [m. 369]--The “straightened” version of the
motion from the main theme, beginning on an upbeat, is passed
between the piano, harmonized in thirds again, and the
strings. The violin and cello play in harmony, but the
viola has an expressive independent line prominently featuring
the foreign note F-natural. The piano comes to a rest on
the low bass “dominant” note E. The violin and cello
play chords held over the bar line, creating an implied 3/2
measure over the piano bass. At the same time, the viola
line becomes more active, still using chromatic motion at the
end. It comes to rest with the other instruments.
Then, with a sudden flourish, the movement ends with a cadence
featuring loud chords in the piano and a final emphatic
statement of the main oscillating triplet motion from Theme 1,
harmonized in thirds in the strings.
16:46--END OF MOVEMENT [375 mm.]
2nd Movement: Poco
Adagio (Expanded ternary form--ABA’[B’]A’). E MAJOR, 4/4
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1 (a). The piano
presents a melody that arches yearningly upward, then
introduces isolated upbeat triplet rhythms on its downward
side. These are played against the regular duple
groupings in the left hand, which rocks up and down in broken
octaves. The strings, playing with mutes, “shadow” the
piano melody with gently rocking harmonized two-note
slurs. The viola doubles the violin at first, then
breaks free as the piano reaches up again. The piano
reaches a high point that is soothingly echoed by the violin
at a lower level while the lower strings and piano bass
continue their rocking motion.
0:26 [m. 6]--The answering phrase begins similarly to
the first phrase, but at a lower level and with lower bass
octaves in the piano, suggesting the “relative” key of C-sharp
minor. The second triplet figure in the piano, however,
leaps up, breaking into a trill at the high point. The
piano then descends as in the first phrase, this time to a
full cadence in E major. The strings trail behind as the
piano bass establishes its rocking motion on an octave E.
0:53 [m. 11]--The expected five-bar phrase to match the
first one is extended by an additional four bars. The
piano right hand plays a lower descending line to a cadence,
and the rocking bass moves down an octave to the very low
register. The strings trail again, as the piano right
hand drops out. The cello also drops out, having
gradually abandoned the rocking motion. Finally, the
piano bass also stops, leaving the strings to play their
rocking cadence figures on their own. The cello,
rejoining, plays the octave E’s. Finally, the violin and
viola drop out, and the cello alone plays the rocking figure
on the whole step E—F-sharp, fading away to almost
nothing. The exposed whole-step motion of the cello will
1:15 [m. 15]--Part 2 (b). The next section
is based on sweeping, nearly unmeasured piano arpeggios.
The first three of these are on the same mysterious
“diminished seventh” chord. The pianist is instructed to
play with the una corda, or soft pedal
depressed. The arpeggios take up the first halves of
these three measures. The first one is followed by a
repetition of the last rocking whole-step figure in the cello
on E—F-sharp. The second reaches a third higher, but has
fewer notes, as it begins with a leaping octave. This
one is followed by the cello, now joined by the viola, on a
rocking minor third instead of a whole step, suggesting that
the music has changed to E minor. The third arpeggio is
the longest and reaches an octave higher than the first
two. All three strings, in unison, use their upbeats to
build in volume and reach upward.
1:29 [m. 18]--The piano enters forcefully, releasing
the soft pedal, with a new arpeggio on G minor, where the
unison strings, who continue to reach upward, now move.
The arpeggio reaches up to the same high G as the last one,
but the harmony below it has obviously changed. It
quiets down as it descends, then it turns back around on the
last beat as the strings make an octave descent. The
soft pedal is again depressed. In the next measure, the
cello drops out, the two upper strings come together on the
note A, and the piano plays a brief, very quiet rising
arpeggio on D major. The cello re-enters to close off
the measure, alone and almost inaudibly, with a new rocking
whole-step figure, beginning a step lower than before, on D
1:40 [m. 20]--The four previous measures are restated a
step lower. The first measure of b, which was
transitional, is omitted. The D—E whole step figure in
the cello at the end of the last measure takes the place of
the E—F-sharp figure at the end of the first measure.
The first two arpeggios, matching the second and third above,
are on a new “diminished seventh” chord. The first is
followed by a rocking minor third in viola and cello on
D—F. The second is followed again by the unison strings
reaching upward and building. The arpeggio matching the
first one at 1:29 [m. 18], is on F minor. In the last
measure, the brief piano arpeggio is on C major, as would be
expected, but the cello does not drop out at the beginning,
the strings move to G a beat later than they did to A, and the
cello does not play its last rocking whole-step figure.
2:01 [m. 24]--Part 3 (a’). The violin
holds the G from the end of the b section. It
slides up to G-sharp, creating an elegant pivot back home to E
major A highly varied form of the opening melody
is played. In this first phrase, the violin takes the
previous piano melody for the first two measures. It
decorates it with chromatic passing notes and leaning appoggiaturas,
but the distinctive triplet rhythms are maintained. The
piano plays two arpeggios using triplet rhythm in the first
measure, then changes to broken octaves with groups of six in
the right hand against groups of four in the left. The
viola maintains a vestige of the “shadowing” two-note
slurs. The cello adds off-beat plucked chords
2:11 [m. 26]--The cello takes over the melody while the
violin joins the viola on the two-note slurs. The piano
maintains its rhythmic mixture, and the left hand continues to
play broken octaves, but the six-note groups in the right hand
become narrower, working down from broken sevenths to broken
thirds. The violin “echo” at the end of the five-bar
phrase is maintained, even though the cello, rather than the
piano, leads into it.
2:26 [m. 29]--Answering phrase, analogous to 0:26 [m.
6]. The viola plays an arpeggio to begin an ornamented
version of the melody. The cello and the violin follow
in quasi-imitation. The violin takes over the triplet
rhythm from the viola. The piano right hand, still in
groups of six, winds up to another measure of broken
octaves. In the second measure, the melody passes to the
violin, which plays the trill. The cello follows
it. The six-note piano groups become wave-like
arpeggios. The violin leads down from the trill, while
the viola plays an arpeggio in triplets. The trailing
lines are played by viola and cello. The piano continues
to play its six-against-four rhythm.
2:52 [m. 34]--Extension, analogous to 0:53 [m.
11]. The violin leads the other strings in the
extension, and the lower strings follow with the trailing
lines. The piano moves to broken octaves on E in both
hands, still maintaining its clashing motion. The left
hand drops out as the violin and viola play the rocking
motion. The right hand again decorates its octaves
before dropping out. Finally matching the previous
statement in instrumentation, the cello alone plays the
rocking E—F-sharp whole step.
3:11 [m. 38]--Transition to B section.
The piano enters against the cello on the last beat, in the
middle range, with the same decorated broken octaves.
The violin and viola play their rocking figures again,
inflecting them to minor. The cello is again left alone,
this time for a full measure, on the rocking E—F-sharp.
In the third measure, the violin and viola, becoming even
quieter, move the minor-inflected rocking figures to B.
The piano plays fragments of its broken octave figures.
The cello plays two beats of the E—F-sharp motion alone before
the last measure. This is essentially a repetition of
the previous one, with rocking figures on B and a piano entry,
but the cello now leads its slurred groups downward,
anticipating an arrival on the new key of B minor for the
B Section--B minor/major
3:35 [m. 42]--The piano, suddenly forte,
abruptly cuts off the cello with a passionate, richly
harmonized descending melody. The left hand plays widely
arching harmonized figures in groups of six (triplet rhythm),
clashing with the “straight” rhythm of the passionate
descending melody. The melody itself adapts to the
triplet rhythm with longer notes after two bars, but at that
point, the strings enter in unison, playing the familiar
rocking figures from the main section, then reaching
upward. They are also marked forte, although
they still play with mutes. They help round off the
first phrase of the melody.
3:52 [m. 46]--The piano begins the next phrase under
the strings. It is a restatement of the previous phrase
a fourth higher, still beginning in B minor. Halfway
through, a subtle alteration helps to shift the key toward D
minor, a third higher, which is supported by the harmony and
by the unison strings when they enter with the rocking figures
and their upward rise.
4:08 [m. 50]--The melody is now intensified in a series
of three climactic waves. They begin like the previous
phrases of the theme, but are half as long, and the unison
strings enter with the rising lines, not the rocking
figures. The piano left hand continues its six-note
arching harmonized arpeggios. The first two phrases
shift the harmony up from D minor to E minor.
4:25 [m. 54]--The third “wave” follows suit, moving to
F-sharp minor (indicating a pull back to B minor), but it is
spun out further to a four-bar phrase, continuing the descent,
and rapidly diminishing in volume. Brahms even marks the
last two bars dolce. In this third “wave,” the
cello abandons the other two strings, who still play in
unison, to add a new bass line. At the end of the
phrase, the viola also becomes independent and the piano left
hand loses its harmony. All instruments settle down to a
subdued half-close in B minor.
4:44 [m. 58]--The piano drops out, and the strings,
changing to B major, play a trio passage. The violin
leads with a poignantly beautiful upward leap. The
instruments all have independent lines. Two more leaping
gestures from the violin increase in intensity. Then,
with descending syncopated leaps, the volume recedes
again. Finally, another swell, with the lower two
instruments moving to a brief pulsation, leads to a cadence
gesture with a satisfying “turn” ornament in the violin.
5:22 [m. 66]--The cello cuts off the cadence with a new
triplet rhythm, which it passes to the violin on the weak
beats. The piano enters at this point with a highly
chromatic melody, in treble octaves, derived from the previous
string trio passage and played in “straight” rhythm against
the string triplets. After two bars, the viola joins the
violin in the triplet rhythm, the cello still playing on the
strong beats. The music gradually builds in
excitement. After four bars, the piano, still in
octaves, also joins in the triplet rhythm, playing
continuously flowing lines with many chromatic notes and
reaching to the upper register. The volume is suddenly
5:50 [m. 73]--The high piano triplets gradually become
excited and almost joyous. The string texture changes,
with the cello now playing on all the beats while the violin
and viola answer with two offbeat notes, the viola always in
double stops. The string rhythm is still in triplets
between the cello and the violin/viola answers. The
first measure of this pattern is repeated. Then there
are two more bars of breathless anticipation. A small
climax is reached, in which the piano, still in treble octaves
between the hands but now harmonized in sixths in both hands,
changes to “straight rhythm” in a descent.
6:08 [m. 78]--Re-transition. A cadence in B major
is greatly anticipated, but cruelly avoided. The piano
changes to full chords, still with octave doubling between the
hands. The chromatic chords slow to longer rhythms,
including chords held across bar lines, creating three bars of
syncopation. The strings keep the basic meter
intact by continuing their patterns with the cello on the
beats and the other two off of them, still in triplet
rhythm. The excitement quickly abates, and the key
gradually moves back toward E major.
6:20 [m. 81]--The string texture changes once again,
with the upper two answering the cello in an arching pattern
on the first two beats, then returning to the previous pattern
in the second half of the measure. The piano, meanwhile,
changes to its own arching figure after the the beat.
The key has moved back to E, but minor-key inflections appear
with the note C-natural in the cello. This measure is
repeated. Then the piano’s arching figure is slightly
altered, and the strings drop out. Throughout the
re-transition, the piano has remained in octave doubling, in
force since the entry at 5:22 [m. 66]. This continues in
a slow descent. It is quite chromatic, and avoids a
complete confirmation of E major, saving this for the moment
6:45 [m. 86]--Part 1 (a). The texture from
the opening is reversed, and the strings mark the return of
the main material by removing their mutes. The violin
and cello play the original melody together, two octaves
apart, while the piano, in both hands, takes the “shadowing”
two-note slurs, playing in full harmony and incorporating the
rocking motion. The viola enters in the fifth measure to
take the echoing line previously played by the violin.
7:10 [m. 91]--Analogous to 0:26 [m. 6]. The viola
drops out again after playing its echoing line. The
violin and cello continue the melody two octaves apart.
Both play the trill at the high point. In the closing
descent after the trill, the cello moves into a new harmony in
sixths (plus an octave) with the violin, which continues the
melody. The piano bass begins to establish the original
rocking motion. The violin completes the melody, and the
trailing motion in harmony is taken by the two lower strings
(the viola entering again) and the piano right hand.
7:35 [m. 96]--Analogous to 0:53 [m. 11]. The
cello drops out at the extension. The first descending
line is played by the violin, now joined in unison by the
viola. The piano right hand, now in the tenor range,
continues its harmonies, slurred in two-note groups. The
left hand has established the rocking motion. It moves
to the very low octave, as expected, after the melodic
descent. The right hand then takes the following
trailing figure previously played by violin and viola.
These instruments take over in the next bar, finally finding
their original lines and notes. The rocking piano bass
replaces the cello, which had entered here. The cello
makes a “cold” entry on its exposed solo rocking figure on
7:56 [m. 100]--Part 2 (b). Analogous to
1:15 [m. 15]. Here, the music is virtually identical to
its original presentation. The only difference is in the
first arpeggio, which has fewer notes and is similar to the
second one, as it begins with the leaping octave. It
differs from this second arpeggio only in the lower top note
as heard in the original. Also, the strings remain without mutes.
8:11 [m. 103]--Analogous and virtually identical to
1:29 [m. 18].
8:22 [m. 105]--Analogous and virtually identical to
1:40 [m. 20]. At the very end, the viola and cello hold
their low C rather than moving to G with the violin. The
violin cuts off its note a bit earlier than before,
anticipating the B’ section, which is about to intrude
into the middle of the A’ section. The key of F
minor, strongly suggested before at this point, is now firmly
established, a much easier move than the sliding motion back
to E major.
B’ Section (inserted into A’ section)--F minor
8:45 [m. 109]--The return of this music from the middle
section in a distant key, interrupting the reprise of a
ternary form, is highly unusual, but only the first half of
the B section, before the major-key portion, is
heard. The first phrase is analogous to 3:35 [m.
42]. The passionate melody is played by the strings
instead of the piano right hand. The violin and viola
are in octaves, and the cello harmonizes. The figures in
groups of six are replaced by rapid upward arpeggios in 32nd
notes, continuing the texture from the b portion of
the A’ section. The strings continue with the
melody on the long notes, and the rocking figures formerly
played by the strings are taken by the piano bass, the rapid
arpeggios continuing in the right hand.
9:03 [m. 113]--Analogous to 3:52 [m. 46]. The
instrumentation from the preceding phrase is maintained, and
that phrase is stated a fourth higher, as expected. The
harmonic shift in the middle is to A-flat minor, confirmed by
the piano bass octaves on the rocking figures and upward rise.
9:20 [m. 117]--Analogous to 4:08 [m. 50]. The
strings maintain the melodic lead in the first two “waves” of
intensification. The piano continues its rapid
arpeggios. The rising lines at the end of each wave are
still transferred from the strings to the piano, but now it is
the right hand, in high octaves, rather than the left hand in
the bass, that plays them. The cello counters with a new
descending line that mirrors this motion at the same
time. The first wave makes an expected harmonic motion
to B-flat minor.
9:38 [m. 121]--Analogous to 4:25 [m. 54]. In the
third wave, the same texture remains in force, violin and
viola in unison, with the cello harmonizing them and the piano
playing rapid upward arpeggios. It turns to C minor,
indicating the pull back toward F minor. As before, the
wave is extended, spun out to a four-bar phrase, continuing to
descend and diminishing in volume. The violin and viola
remain in octaves until the half-close in F minor, the cello
continuing to harmonize with them. The piano arpeggios
slow down to six-note groups as this half-close is approached.
9:57 [m. 125]--Re-transition. The violin repeats
and stretches out its notes for the half-close, but the viola,
finally dropping its octaves with the violin, adds new
harmonies along with the cello. The piano also finally
abandons its arpeggios and moves to the familiar two-note
rocking figures, played in low bass octaves and moving by
half-step. These are used to slowly wind the music
downward and to move it back home to E major via E
minor. The viola and cello play one more descent that
also helps with that motion. The low piano bass octaves
on the rocking figures reach the note B, which serves as a
preparatory “dominant” to pivot back to E
A’ Section (resumed)
10:08 [m. 127]--Part 3 (a’). Analogous to
2:01 [m. 24]. The version of the melody played here is
very similar to that of the previous a’ version, but
it is even more decorated. The “sliding” motion in the
violin is replaced by a straight entry, since E major was
reached in the previous transition. The violin and viola
use new triplet rhythms to shoot up an octave higher for the
second measure of the melody. The piano is more
active. A faster arpeggio also places its right-hand
broken octaves in the higher register. These are now in
sixteenth notes, replacing groups of six with groups of eight
and removing the clashing rhythms. Only the left hand
broken octaves and the plucked cello chords and notes are
10:18 [m. 129]--Analogous to 2:11 [m. 26]. As
before, the cello takes the melody at this point. The
broken octaves in the piano bass also remain unchanged.
But the upper strings and the piano right hand are highly
varied. The piano right hand plays descending arpeggios
in the sixteenth-note rhythm already established. In the
last measure of the phrase, these include a wide leap down and
back up. The violin plays undulating six-note groups in
the first two measures, taking that rhythm from the earlier
piano part. The viola plays wide straight rhythms
against this. The violin again takes the “echo” in the
last measure, but it is an octave higher with an added note
leaning down into it. The six-note groups pass to the
viola at that point. The cello adds two new plucked
10:32 [m. 132]--Answering phrase, analogous to 2:26 [m.
29]. The passage again closely follows its model with
more embellishment. For one measure, the piano left hand
briefly breaks from its original broken octaves to join the
faster sixteenth-note arpeggios, now rising, with the right
hand. It then returns to the broken octaves. The
violin now has the melody from the outset and retains it up to
the trill and beyond. The viola and cello add more
decorative lines, including plucked cello chords and triplet
arpeggios. The piano right hand continues in
sixteenth-note motion with broken octaves and arpeggios.
The viola and cello gradually return to their original
patterns, finally reaching them on the trailing lines.
10:57 [m. 137]--Extension, analogous to 2:52 [m.
34]. The embellished version continues. The violin
has its original line throughout. The viola and cello
reach a bit higher. The piano bass is as before.
The right hand of the piano is most altered, as it maintains
its arpeggios and descending broken lines in sixteenth notes
where it previously moved to octave E’s. It finally does
reach those, still in sixteenth notes, against the trailing
viola and cello, which return to their original pitches.
The violin and viola play the rocking motion where
expected. The right hand unexpectedly drops out
immediately at that point, and the left hand octaves are
extended halfway through the bar before that hand also drops
out, leaving the upper strings alone. The cello, with
the mute replaced, is totally exposed for the measure of
rocking E—F-sharp motion.
11:17 [m. 141]--The violin and viola also replace their
mutes. They begin an epilogue-like meditation, in
harmony, on the rocking figures. The cello adds a line
with groups of repeated notes, moving down chromatically, in
clashing triplet rhythm. The piano begins with bare low
octaves and broad long-short rhythms on E. After two
measures, it flowers into a fully harmonized rising line, as
do the upper strings. The cello and piano bass plunge
down, the former abandoning its triplets. The upper
strings take over in a descending approach to an expected
11:38 [m. 145]-- The expected cadence is
averted. The same passage is varied, with the piano
right hand now taking the lead on the rocking figures, the
violin contributing harmony. The viola and cello both
take the repeated notes in triplets, but they remain
static. The descending chromatic motion is played by the
piano bass. The two upper strings join the piano on the
rising line, which now reaches higher. This time, the
cello persists with its triplets during the rising line.
The piano and upper strings also take the descent toward the
cadence, which is now from a higher level., the cello
continuing in triplets.
11:59 [m. 149]--This time, the cadence arrives.
The violin uses it to break into a gentle trill on the keynote
E. Under it, the two lower strings and the piano play an
arching line derived from the rocking figures, harmonized in
thirds, then descending and expanding. The piano bass
reaches a pedal point on a low octave E. The violin
trill breaks twice to slide up an octave with a quick scale,
spreading the trill over three successively higher E’s.
Under the third and highest trill, the viola leaves the
rocking figures to the cello and piano. Then the piano
stops and the violin stops its trill, holding the note.
The cello is exposed again on its now familiar solo rocking
figures on E—F-sharp, taking up a measure with it, as usual.
12:20 [m. 153]--The movement ends with a reminiscence
of the mysterious, nearly unmeasured piano arpeggios from the
middle portion of the main section (b). The
violin holds its octave, and the piano plays the familiar
version of this arpeggio on the first two beats. Then
its bass, rather than the cello, plays the rocking
E—F-sharp. Against this, the viola and cello enter on
the same “diminished seventh” as the arpeggio, played as a
held chord. With a very elegant alteration, the piano
changes a second arpeggio from the diminished seventh to the
E-major chord. The viola and cello change their harmony
accordingly. The rocking figure in the piano bass is
inverted into a leading tone figure, moving to the last,
12:51--END OF MOVEMENT [155 mm.]
Movement: Scherzo – Poco Allegro (Sonata-form Scherzo with
Trio). A MAJOR, 3/4 time.
Part 1 (Exposition)
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1. Beginning with an upbeat,
the strings, in dolce unison, play the winding,
minuet-like theme. It consists of two four-bar
units. They are nearly identical. The first, after
introducing its only shorter eighth-note rhythm, leads into
the second. The second unit diverges after the shorter
notes, continuing downward and suddenly veering to the
“subdominant” key of D major.
0:09 [m. 9]--The piano, in octaves between the hands,
states the theme. As it does, the strings extend their
downward line to confirm an arrival on D. But the piano
statement immediately moves back home to A. Against this
statement, the strings, in groups of two in all possible
pairings, in unison and in harmony, play leaning upbeat
figures. The second four-bar unit diverges earlier,
introducing the note D-sharp and veering to the “dominant”
key, E major, rather than to D major. At this point, the
volume also begins to build.
0:18 [m. 17]--The piano statement is extended. It
continues to reach further upward, building in intensity and
confirming E major. The “leaning” string figures
continue in groups of two instruments. After three bars,
the piano breaks into chords, along with octaves, reaching forte.
The strings come together with these chords. After
emphatically suggesting an arrival on E major, the harmony
suddenly seems to move back to A again in figures passed
between piano and strings. But in a powerful cadence
gesture with strong low bass octaves, this motion back is
rejected, and E is strongly confirmed once again.
0:27 [m. 25]--Transition. Suddenly hushed, the
piano plays a lightly skipping rising figure in sixths and
thirds, with the hands again doubled in octaves. The
left hand is in the treble range. The viola dovetails
with its own non-harmonized version. A second figure,
strongly suggesting an E-major cadence, is interrupted by
another viola figure. The cello plays a note on each
downbeat. For the second half of the phrase, the piano
moves to block chords on the downbeats, and the lightly
skipping rising figures are passed from violin and viola in
harmony to the cello. Against the cello statements, the
violin and viola continue with “sighing” gestures. The
second of these finally leads to a firm, unambiguous cadence
0:37 [m. 33]--Theme 2. The E-major cadence
overlaps with the beginning of the theme. The piano
plays the first statement alone. It is a more active
melody with expressive leaps and dotted (long-short)
rhythms. The left hand plays two note harmonies
alternating with higher single notes. These are played
with the light, detached touch heard in the transition and
move from the tenor to the treble range. Two two-measure
units are followed by two shorter one-bar units. A final
two-bar unit seems to approach a cadence, but a dissonant
chord delays the resolution before the string repetition of
0:45 [m. 41]--The violin and cello now play the theme
in octaves. The viola is absent, but the piano now has a
thicker accompaniment. Bass chords on the beats are
followed by right-hand chords after them, in roughly the same
pattern as the previous, lighter accompaniment. The
first two two-measure units and the two one-measure units
follow the melodic pattern from the piano statement. But
the final phrase is cut off, leading into an extension that
shifts the emphasis from the upbeat to the downbeat. The
violin and cello are now in harmony, breaking out of their
octaves. The extension also introduces chromatic notes
and half-step motion. After four bars, a full cadence is
reached, but the violin immediately undermines it by leaping
downward, suggesting the shape of Theme 1. The piano, in
octaves, echoes the violin.
0:57 [m. 53]--In a very brief transition, the violin
and cello, again in octaves, play another gesture suggesting
Theme 1. This time, it is more dissonant, introducing
the note F-natural, foreign to both A and E major. The
piano, in octaves, echoes it. This is the first ending
(m. 54a). The strings, including the long-absent viola,
re-interpret F-natural as E-sharp, using it to create a more
urgent leaning upbeat into the repetition of Part 1, or the
exposition. After this inflected upbeat, the repeat
begins with the first downbeat.
Part 1 (Exposition) Repeated
1:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1. Initial unison statement in
strings following inflected upbeat.
1:09 [m. 9]--Piano statement of Theme 1 moving toward E
major, as at 0:09.
1:18 [m. 17]--Extension of piano statement with forte
chords and confirmation of E major, as at 0:18.
1:27 [m. 25]--Transition with light, skipping rising
figures, as at 0:27.
1:37 [m. 33]--Theme 2. Piano statement, as at
1:45 [m. 41]--Violin and cello statement with extension
and cadence, as at 0:45.
1:58 [m. 53]--Transition, as at 0:57. The upbeat
in the second ending is now the original note from the
beginning, E-natural, but, in a wonderful twist, it leans into
a half-step, just like the first ending. The note on the
following downbeat, which begins the development section at
the outset of Part 2, is changed from F-sharp to
F-natural. This results in a simple restatement of the
“dissonant” transition figures.
Part 2, First Section (Development)
2:01 [m. 55]--The strings play the first half of the
main melody in unison at the same level as the opening, but
with the notes specific to A major removed. What results
could be interpreted as A minor, were it not for the piano
chords that are now heard underneath. These place the
theme in C major, the “relative” key to A minor. The
piano immediately states the second half of the theme a fourth
higher, in right hand octaves with a bass pedal point.
The key of this phrase is F major, supported by the static
string harmonies stated against it. This key will remain
in force for much of the following material.
2:09 [m. 63]--The last turn of the theme becomes the
basis for a meditation in F major. The figure is passed
from strings to high piano octaves and back, and then
fragmented. The viola roves between unison playing with
the violin and harmony with the cello, which plays an
independent leaping line. The piano bass plays long
broken octaves. At the eighth bar, a chromatic line is
introduced in the piano bass, as are colorful chromatic notes
in the strings and right hand, which moves to chords.
The entire ten-measure phrase swells somewhat in intensity
before slightly receding at the end.
2:21 [m. 73]--The piano, in octaves, introduces a rapid
descending line with repeated notes, played staccato.
It is based on an inversion of the skipping figures from the
transition. The strings are reduced to two-note upward
cadence figures. The piano line and the string slurs
steadily work upward, beginning in F major. The volume
then rapidly builds. The piano line and the string
figures are fragmented and grouped into a cross-meter
suggesting a 3/2 measure across two 3/4 bars. Then the
piano adds an upper octave to the right hand, and the strings
add a loud upbeat chord. This produces an emphatic
cadence on A minor.
2:29 [m. 80]--At the cadence, the piano transfers the
rapid line with repeated notes to loud bass octaves, turning
it upside down so that it is now a rising line. The
original descending shape is given to the stings. The
two versions alternate. Meanwhile the piano right hand
plays a transformed version, in octaves, of the opening
gesture from the main scherzo theme. The motion is from
A minor to E minor and back. The parts are then
re-arranged. The piano right hand plays the rapid
descending line in harmony, the violin takes the gesture from
the scherzo theme, and the two lower strings the ascending
repeated-note shape in unison. The harmonic cycle
between A minor and E minor plays out again.
2:38 [m. 88]--The development reaches its climax.
All three strings in unison forcefully play the ascending
shape. The piano right hand continues with the
descending shape, alternating with the strings. In
powerful octaves, the piano bass plays the theme
fragment. The harmony begins to move through the circle
of fifths in minor keys. Halfway through the phrase, the
piano bass and unison strings reverse material, placing the
strings on the thematic figure and the piano bass on the
rising line, which it had first presented.
2:46 [m. 96]--The phrase ends on F, bringing the key
full circle since the unstable activity began at 2:21 [m.
73]. Now the climax is rounded off with pounding chords
in the piano and violin, the left hand playing strong octaves,
and the two lower strings continuing with fragments of the
rising line with repeated notes. The harmonies of the
leaping chords in violin and piano move directly upward by
step, landing on C-sharp in the fifth measure of the
phrase. Then everything is suddenly quiet. The
left hand drops out of the piano, whose right hand begins to
meander and circle around the note F-sharp. The C-sharp
chord thus functions as a “dominant” chord leading into
F-sharp minor (the “relative” minor key to the home key of A
major). The strings, with the cello following the other
two in imitation, also meander in a back-and-forth motion.
2:54 [m. 104]--Re-transition. The piano bass
enters with a long-held pedal C-sharp, and the right hand
expands its circling figuration to include broken
octaves. The cello is exposed and completes its
imitation, at the same time beginning a variation of the main
theme in F-sharp minor. Its phrase is extended to an
irregular five bars through another cross-meter and implied
3:00 [m. 109]--The violin and viola enter with the
meandering motion in harmony. The piano bass drops out,
and its right hand continues in broken octaves. The
meandering motion gradually shifts up by half-step, the viola
once again providing a continuous unison voice while the
violin and cello alternate in two-bar units. The piano,
still without bass, moves back to its more narrow circular
motion, shifting up with the harmony. The volume builds
slightly, although the passage is mysterious. At the
very end, the piano left hand enters, doubling the
cello. The cello itself reaches the original two pitches
of the main theme, and seamlessly leads into the theme itself,
paralleling its passage at 2:54 [m. 104], now back home in A
Part 2, Second Section (Recapitulation or Rounding)
3:11 [m. 119]--Theme 1. For the first four bars,
the viola joins the cello, maintaining the unison character of
the theme. The piano bass holds a low E. The piano
right hand plays a decorative line with varied leaps and
directions. The violin also plays shorter,
non-continuous decorations. In the second four-bar unit,
the cello plays the theme alone. The viola moves to the
shorter figures the violin had played, and the violin joins
the continuous piano line, playing an octave below the right hand.
3:20 [m. 127]--Second statement of theme, analogous to
0:09 and 1:09 [m. 9]. It begins with the harmonic
arrival on D, as before, but it is now stated by violin and
viola in unison instead of the piano. The cello drops
out for the statement. Against it, the piano introduces
new shorter downward-skipping upbeat figures, played in
octaves between the hands, with three notes leaning into the
downbeat. The volume builds, and the harmony veers
toward E, as it had in the exposition.
3:28 [m. 135]--The extension of the theme as heard at
0:18 and 1:18 [m. 17] is half as long. The continuing
rise of the theme that confirmed E major is cut completely,
and the theme instead moves directly to the forte
chords and reiterations of the last gestures. As before,
these are passed between piano and strings, but this time,
given the reversal in the presentation of the preceding
statement of the theme, their positions are reversed.
They do come together, as before, over the low bass
octaves. Because the upward continuation of the theme
was eliminated, the cadence gesture now reiterates the home
key of A major rather than E major, accomplishing the
necessary alteration to allow the reprise to end there.
3:33 [m. 139]--Transition, analogous to 0:27 and 1:27
[m. 25]. Besides being set in A instead of E, the
instrumentation is altered from the exposition. The solo
responses are now all played by the viola (instead of just the
first two). The two initial skipping figures in harmony,
each followed by a viola response, are played by the violin
and cello with the piano providing block chords. In the
second half of the phrase, the piano takes the harmonies (it
had previously played them in the first half), and the violin
and cello take the block chords. The viola replaces the
cello in the responses. The A-major cadence overlaps
with Theme 2.
3:42 [m. 147]--Theme 2. First statement,
analogous to 0:37 and 1:37 [m. 33]. In a complete
reversal, the first phrase is played by strings without piano
instead of piano alone. The viola plays the melody in
the richest part of its register, while the violin and cello
provide an ingenious re-scoring of the light, detached figures
previously played by the left hand, including the lower
two-note harmonies alternating with higher single notes.
3:52 [m. 155]--Second statement with extension and
cadence, analogous to 0:45 and 1:45 [m. 41]. Continuing
the basic reversal, the piano right hand plays the theme in
octaves. The skipping accompaniment alternates between
the violin/cello pair and the piano left hand. The viola
plays what appears to be a smooth new legato line, but
is really the top line from the skipping accompaniment, spun
into its own separate voice. The strings in unison echo
the piano cadence and its undermining downward leap formerly
played by the violin.
4:04 [m. 167]--Brief transition, analogous to 0:57 and
1:58 [m. 53]. The piano and strings are reversed, with
the piano taking the first dissonant gesture (now introducing
B-flat), and the strings the second. Otherwise, the
pattern of notes is the same. The continuation follows
the pattern of the first ending, re-spelling B-flat
as A-sharp and leaning into the theme. The strings
continue their own statement rather than taking over for the
piano. The previous motion was from E to A, so the
parallel motion here is from A to D. The coda begins in
Part 2, Third Section (Coda)
4:07 [m. 169]--While the note pattern followed the
first ending, the music that follows is taken from what
happens after the second ending, and the first passage
of the coda resembles the first statement in the development
from 2:01 [m. 55]. The two phrases are even a fourth
apart, as there. The difference is in the orientation of
the melody in relationship to the bass. The phrases are
in D, then G major, but the last note of each phrase is the
more unstable third, rather than the “tonic” keynote. As
in the model passage, the first phrase is played by unison
strings (this time without cello) with piano chords. The
second is played by the piano right hand with string
chords. A low bass “dominant” note is held through both
4:16 [m. 177]--Two more quiet gestures in G major
follow. The violin echoes the last turn of the theme in
the first, over static viola and piano harmony. The
other strings actively harmonize with the violin in the
second. Then the piano, in bass octaves between the
hands, becomes active, playing three-note descents beginning
on upbeats. The strings add harmonies to these piano
bass motions. The violin plays static chords while the
viola and cello move with the piano. The harmony becomes
active, shifting gradually toward another arrival back home on
A. The volume also builds rapidly after four bars.
After four more bars of intensification, the piano descents
change from three notes to two for two measures, creating
rhythmic instability. The implied harmony here is an
unstable “diminished seventh.”
4:33 [m. 191]--A major arrives via this dissonant
harmony. The half-step approach in the melody mirrors
the repeat of the exposition. Brahms marks the last part
of the coda “animato.” The volume throughout is also forte.
The strings, in harmony, play descending lines derived from
the theme. The piano right hand adds decorative figures,
largely arching up and working down. After two measures,
these speed up to a triplet rhythm. The “straight”
rhythm returns for the first two measures of the second
descent, but then the triplets return until the end of the
scherzo. The left hand holds a steady “dominant” pedal
point in the bass.
4:40 [m. 199]--The speed and volume continue to
increase, and more foreign notes borrowed from E minor, D
minor, and A minor are used. After one longer descent,
the groups are shortened again to three notes beginning on the
upbeat. The bass pedal moves from the “dominant” note E
to the home keynote A. The triplets now begin to range
up and down the keyboard. The violin adds a series of
prominent syncopated interjections on A as the viola and cello
play another long descent.
4:48 [m. 207]--The piano bass makes a syncopated
descent over a D-minor arpeggio. The violin imitates
this descent in double stops. The cello reduces its
descents to two notes, disrupting the rhythm. The viola
plays double-stop harmonies with the cello rhythms. At
the point of maximum harmonic and rhythmic intensity, the
strings land on an A-major chord, and the piano triplets
outline the same chord. The bass, arriving again on A,
leaps up to two rolled chords. The right hand, leading
up in its rapid triplets, joins the second of these, closing
off this unusually long and developmental scherzo section.
TRIO (D minor/major)
4:53 [m. 213]--Theme 1. The scherzo actually ends
with m. 211. The trio begins on the upbeat of m. 212,
the first two beats of which are rests. The hint of D
minor at the end of the scherzo foreshadows it as the main key
of the trio section. The main theme of the trio is a
stark unison variation on the skipping figures from the
transition passage of the scherzo. The piano, playing in
octaves, is strictly imitated in canon at the distance
of one measure by the strings, which also play in unison
octaves. After the first upbeat, the piano emphasizes
the downbeat by adding a chord. This also happens at the
halfway point of the phrase. The theme is played in a
strong fortissimo by all instruments. It begins
with a descent. Each active figure is followed by a long
note, sustained while the strings imitate or the piano
continues. There are harsh crashing grace notes (appoggiaturas).
The phrase is 12 bars long, turning toward A minor in the
middle and ending with a sharp ascent. The piano pauses
for the string completion, so the total number of measures is
5:07 [m. 226]--The imitation continues in a second
phrase, this one eight measures long. The piano begins
with another upbeat, this time with two notes. The first
gesture is the same, but the continuation turns to C major,
gradually descends, quiets down, and reaches a gentle stopping
point with a descending octave leap.
5:16 [m. 234]--Theme 2. The imitation ends with
the octave leap in the strings. The piano plays the leap
again, changing it to a fifth and thus moving the key to F
major, the “relative” key to D minor. Against this, the
strings begin the second theme in a warm harmony. Tender
and smooth, it is clearly related to the main theme of the scherzo
section! The contours and directions have differences,
but the rhythm and accentuation leave no doubt. After
the string statement, the piano takes its turn. But the
strings add new harmonies. While the cello plays its
part from the string statement an octave lower, the violin and
viola sustain the foreign note E-flat, disrupting the sense of
F major as a key center.
5:25 [m. 242]--In an epilogue to the new theme, the
strings add an arching variant of the closing gesture passing
it immediately to the piano. The piano, although using a
colorful “diminished seventh” chord, reconfirms F major.
The string/piano alternation is repeated.
Part 1 Repeated
5:29 [m. 246a (m. 213)]--Theme 1. The upbeat is
now given to the strings, which use it to forcefully pivot
back to D minor with a preparatory “dominant” chord. All
three string instruments use multiple strings to play a strong
D-minor chord on the downbeat of m. 246a (which precedes the
repeat sign and corresponds to m. 213). The piano begins
the repeat of the imitative canon section on this downbeat,
including the chordal emphasis. The repeat sign then
leads back to the second measure (m. 214) and continues as at
4:53. The string upbeat is not indicated in m. 246a, but
it is typically played as in m. 213.
5:43 [m. 226]--Continuation of imitation turning to C
major, as at 5:07.
5:52 [m. 234]--Theme 2 in F major, as at 5:16.
6:01 [m. 242]--Epilogue, as at 5:25.
6:06 [m. 246b]--A variant of the piano gesture from the
epilogue is added, first in strings, then piano. This
variant adds a note in the harmony that belongs to F minor,
D-flat. The piano bass then plays a stark, ominous
variant of Theme 2 in octaves. This confirms the change
of mode to F minor. After two bars, the viola and cello,
in octaves, imitate the piano bass a fifth above. The
violin follows with another imitation two octaves above the
original piano bass pitches, creating a fugue-like
texture. Finally, the piano right hand enters, also in
octaves, playing two octaves above the cello/viola line and
completing the brief fugue exposition. All instruments
continue in counterpoint. The right hand adds a brief
harmony at the end.
6:21 [m. 258]--An extended, hushed meditation on Theme
2 follows over very unstable harmony. Violin and cello
first take the lead, with the piano right hand reaching up and
the bass playing upward leaps in octaves. The key moves
from F major to D-flat as the piano takes the lead and the
viola reaches upward. D-flat becomes minor, eventually
spelling itself as C-sharp, in another alternation of the same
6:30 [m. 266]--The harmony becomes more unstable,
circling around D, the eventual goal. The piano right
hand now plays together with the violin and viola, and the
cello moves to the upward-rising figures, plucking instead of
bowing. The piano bass continues its upward leaps.
D arrives definitively with another metric disruption.
The rising figures are reduced to two beats, placing three
implied 2/4 measures within two 3/4 measures. This
so-called hemiola is played three times in a mixture
of D major and minor. First the piano right hand plays
it with violin and viola, then the violin and viola play it
alone, and finally the piano takes it alone. On this
last piano statement, minor wins out over major and the cello
6:44 [m. 278]--Re-transition. The strings, now in
unison, appear to begin another statement of the two-beat
figure, but they are cut off on the second beat by the
piano. With both hands in octave unison, covering four
octaves in all, the piano reaches upward, quickly building
over four two-beat gestures and landing confidently upon the
return of material from Part 1 (another “reprise” or
6:47 [m. 281]--The 13-bar imitation passage from the
beginning of the trio section returns in full. There are
some changes at the beginning. Because the piano is
approaching from below, the strings add the first upbeat (now
an octave A) and play a chord against the piano downbeat, as
they did with the repetition at 5:29. The violin and
viola also add new chords to their first imitative
entry. From there, the passage proceeds unchanged.
7:00 [m. 294]--D major is now explicitly indicated with
a key signature change, but the harmony does not settle there,
veering instead to E minor and B minor. The exuberant
phrase is a 14-measure hybrid. The first six measures
resemble the beginning of the main phrase that has just been
restated. The primary difference is that the left hand
does not play in octaves with the right and does not
participate in the imitation. Instead, it plays a
solid descending chromatic line in low octaves. The
right hand plays full chords instead of octaves on its
full-measure held notes. The last eight measures are
close in character to the phrase heard at 5:07 and 5:43 [m.
226]. They establish D major and remain there,
continuing the canon. The volume diminishes. The
phrase ends with the downward octave leaps as the left hand
7:15 [m. 308]--Theme 2 in D major, following the
pattern of 5:16 and 5:52 [m. 234]. The epilogue from
5:25 and 6:01 [m. 242] does not follow. It is replaced
by the extended transition back to the scherzo.
7:25 [m. 316]--Transition to scherzo reprise. The
piano right hand introduces gentle triplet rhythms. The
volume is expressive, and the pace restrained. The top
notes of the piano triplets, along with the violin an octave
higher, begin another statement of Theme 2, but it quickly
melts into a chromatic descent. The viola and cello add
double-stop harmonies. The piano left
hand introduces upward octave leaps and syncopated repetitions
of higher notes. After the descent, the melody is
fragmented to just the yearning rise and fall at the
end. More dissonant chromatic notes are introduced in
the bass and elsewhere. The piano right hand and violin
separate and begin to play the melodic fragment in imitation.
7:35 [m. 323]--The violin drops out, and the piano
reduces the fragment to the two-beat rise, creating another
cross-rhythm implying 2/4 measures. The bass syncopation
stretches to the full measure. The viola and cello
harmonies die away. The bass finally moves down to E,
the preparatory “dominant” to the scherzo’s key of A
major. For most of the transition, A has served as a
“dominant” for the trio’s home key of D. The right hand
melodic fragment is reduced to two notes. The last
two-note group is at the beginning of a measure (m. 326), the
third beat of which will be the original upbeat to the
Part 1 (Exposition)
7:40 [m. 1]--Theme 1. Initial unison statement in
strings with original upbeat, as at the beginning (and at
1:00, where the upbeat was inflected up a half-step).
7:50 [m. 9]--Piano statement of Theme 1 moving toward E
major, as at 0:09 and 1:09.
7:59 [m. 17]--Extension of piano statement with forte
chords and confirmation of E major, as at 0:18 and 1:18.
8:08 [m. 25]--Transition with light, skipping rising
figures, as at 0:27 and 1:27.
8:17 [m. 33]--Theme 2. Piano statement, as at
0:37 and 1:37.
8:26 [m. 41]--Violin and cello statement with extension
and cadence, as at 0:45 and 1:45.
8:39 [m. 53]--Transition, as at 0:57, and as at 1:58,
leading into the second ending. Part 1 is not repeated
in the reprise.
Part 2, First Section (Development)
8:41 [m. 55]--Main theme in C major, then F major, as
8:50 [m. 63]--Meditation in F major over last turn of
theme, as at 2:09.
9:02 [m. 73]--Descending lines with repeated notes in
piano, and two-note slurs in strings, building to cadence in A
minor, as at 2:21.
9:10 [m. 80]--Loud rising bass octaves with skipping
descending line and opening gesture from Theme 1 in octaves,
all three elements passed among the instruments, as at
2:29. Cycle between A minor and E minor.
9:18 [m. 88]--Climax of development using these same
elements, moving through circle of fifths, as at 2:38.
9:27 [m. 96]--Pounding chords and fragments of rising
line arriving on “dominant” of F-sharp minor, then quieter
circling around F-sharp, as at 2:46.
9:35 [m. 104]--Re-transition with cello line in F-sharp
minor, as at 2:54.
9:40 [m. 109]--Mysterious, meandering motion back to A
major, as at 3:00.
Part 2, Second Section (Recapitulation or Rounding)
9:51 [m. 119]--Theme 1 with decorations, as at 3:11.
10:00 [m. 127]--Analogous to 7:50 [or 0:09 and 1:09--m.
9], as at 3:20. New upbeat figures.
10:08 [m. 135]--Abbreviated extension of theme,
analogous to 7:59 [or 0:18 and 1:18--m. 17], as at 3:28.
10:13 [m. 139]--Transition, analogous to 8:08 [or 0:27
and 1:27--m. 25], as at 3:33.
10:22 [m. 147]--Theme 2, string statement, analogous to
8:17 [or 0:37 and 1:37--m. 33], as at 3:42.
10:31 [m. 155]--Second statement with extension,
analogous to 8:26 [or 0:45 and 1:45--m. 41], as at 3:52.
10:44 [m. 167]--Brief transition into coda, analogous
to 8:39 [or 0:57 and 1:58--m. 53], as at 4:04.
Part 2, Third Section (Coda)
10:47 [m. 169]--Thematic statements in D and G major,
as at 4:07.
10:56 [m. 177]--Figures in G major, then three-note
bass descents and buildup toward arrival on A, as at 4:16.
11:13 [m. 191]--“Animato” arrival of A major,
descending lines, and decorative piano figuration speeding up
to triplet rhythm over “dominant” pedal point, as at 4:33.
11:20 [m. 199]--Increase in intensity, foreign notes
borrowed from minor keys, and change to shorter descents as
bass pedal point moves to A, the violin adding syncopation, as
11:28 [m. 207]--Imitation on syncopated descent over D
minor, then final A-major arrival, as at 4:48. The
scherzo, and therefore the movement, end with m. 211.
The rests at the beginning of m. 212 before the opening upbeat
of the trio are not counted as part of the scherzo section in
11:39--END OF MOVEMENT [326 (+211) mm.]
Movement: Finale – Allegro (Varied Sonata-Allegro form with
Rondo elements). A MAJOR, Cut time [2/2].
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1. The jaunty, but leisurely
theme is presented by the violin and cello in octaves.
It opens with a leaping upbeat, places prominent syncopated
accents on repeated notes that fall on the second beat of the
measure, includes prominent grace notes (appoggiaturas),
and repeats most ideas twice in succession. The piano
adds chords, first in the second half of the measure, then
with all the main beats. The viola only plays four
off-beat octaves in the first half. The melody begins to
emphasize a short-short-long rhythm in its second half, again
placing strong accents on the second beats of measures.
This half turns to the “dominant” key, E major, and its
“relative” minor key, C-sharp. At the end, the unison
strings, including viola, slide into the following piano
statement in the home key.
0:19 [m. 17]--The piano restates the entire theme,
beginning in octaves. The strings add counterpoint based
on the opening gesture, which the violin plays in its original
upward pattern and the cello inverts. The viola adds the
off-beat chords originally played by the piano. At the
theme’s second half, the strings join the piano’s own block
harmonies and low bass octaves in accompaniment. In the
last four measures, the violin joins the piano on the melodic
line. All instruments participate in the slide at the
end, which shifts the harmony from C-sharp minor to E major.
0:37 [m. 33]--In an E-major bridge passage, the strings
play gentle harmonized descents (mostly in thirds) which
briefly disrupt the meter by grouping notes in threes.
The piano enters and takes over, playing in thirds with both
hands. The strings double the piano, but separate each
original note into two rapidly repeated ones. After four
bars, the violin is left alone with these repeated notes.
0:47 [m. 41]--The descending line is converted into a
yearning figure that turns around and reaches down. It
is played with full harmony by the strings, then passed to the
piano. As with most of the theme, the pattern is
repeated. It is then reduced to the two-beat descent and
again passed twice from strings to piano.
0:55 [m. 47]--Moving back toward A, the opening
three-beat gesture of the theme is played three times with
sudden vigor by the violin and cello, followed each time by
two piano chords with contracting harmonies and a steady
bass. This results in a five-beat unit that disrupts the
meter and the sense of the bar line. Then the gesture is
reduced to two beats, the piano chords are played on the weak
beats, and the rhythmic order is restored. Building
rapidly, these upward gestures lead to a louder, almost
climactic statement of the theme as A major arrives.
Only the first half is given in its original form. All
three string instruments play it in unison while the piano
plays off-beat responses with the opening gesture and full
chords. After five bars, the piano plays on the
1:10 [m. 61]--The second half of the theme is replaced
by a hybrid transitional passage. The short-short-long
rhythm is omitted, and is replaced by two bars of
extension. These work downward, including more appoggiaturas.
Then unexpectedly, the bridge passage with harmonized descents
from 0:37 [m. 33] returns. It appears first in the
violin and cello, with the piano adding upward gestures
derived from the opening of the theme, then a plunging
arpeggio. The viola adds a trill to the end of the first
sequence. Then all strings play the version with rapidly
repeated notes, quasi-tremolo. The piano right
hand doubles this line with a variant, alternating upper
thirds with lower notes while the left hand continues with the
upward gestures. Suddenly, an upward scale in violin and
piano right hand leads into the actual transition.
1:22 [m. 71]--Transition, Part 1. The intensity
and energy of the preceding passage erupts into an exuberant
syncopated A-minor line in the piano and violin. The
other strings add leaping bass support. The syncopated
line circles around the same notes before suddenly breaking
into the prominent short-short-long rhythm that was omitted
from the last statement of the theme when it was cut
off. This rhythm works downward for four measures,
shifting the harmony from the home minor key to the “dominant”
key of E. Another two bars of exuberant leaping
figuration lead to a huge scale in contrary motion, the
violin, viola, and piano right hand moving down while the
piano bass and cello move up. The scale cuts off,
anticipating a full arrival on E major or minor before two
half-measures of rests.
1:39 [m. 84]--Transition, Part 2. The entire
extended passage is mysterious and ambiguous in key. The
violin and cello play in stark unison octaves. After the
opening downward leap, all the arching lines that follow only
include the notes E and G. Given the previous
preparation, the key would appear to be E minor, but the
piano, which plays similar arching lines, also in octaves and
in quasi-imitation with the two strings, uses the notes C and
B-flat. These notes together outline the preparatory
“dominant seventh” chord in F major, an unrelated, never
confirmed key. Breaking from the quasi-imitation, the
hands of the piano expand outward, and an artful upward slide
in the left hand leads to a gentle turn of phrase. The
suggested key is now G major (“relative” to E minor), where
the unison violin and cello play a graceful turn figure.
1:54 [m. 96]--The two strings appear to reach a
half-close in G major, but the piano octaves beneath them
undermine this. Again, they seem to move toward the key
of E minor. The chromatic descents that follow in both
piano and unison strings (now including the viola) also
suggest this key. But then the note B-flat is introduced
again in both piano and strings, again suggesting the
“dominant” harmony in F major. The piano moves from
octaves to harmonies in thirds and sixths, but the strings
continue to play in unison, the piano leading in another
quasi-imitation. The rhythm becomes faster and the
harmony more active. F major seems to lead to C major
until all pause on another ambiguous “dominant seventh” chord.
2:07 [m. 106]--Theme 2. Another artful shift
converts the ambiguous chord into a preparatory harmony of E
major, where the entire ensemble, including the bass, almost
too easily slides. The theme itself, led by the piano,
is bright and broad. The left hand plays wide arpeggios,
and the strings follow in harmony with the violin imitating
the octaves of the right hand. After another smooth,
sliding chromatic harmony and its resolution, the piano breaks
into a leaping chord pattern with a long-short rhythm.
The strings punctuate the longer chords, supporting their
harmonies. This finally reaches a full cadence (E
2:17 [m. 114]--Beginning halfway through the bar after
the cadence, the viola now leads an elaboration on this
long-short rhythm in fugue-like counterpoint. The piano
introduces a broad triplet rhythm in quarter notes, with the
right hand following the bass and forming arpeggios. The
violin imitates the viola on the leaping rhythm while the
latter moves to a continuation with a smooth descending
line. The cello and piano bass (in octaves) together
play the next imitation. The triplets continue in the
piano right hand, and the upper strings harmonize on the
descending line. Finally, the right hand in octaves,
with the viola, plays the leaping long-short rhythm as the
left hand, cello, and violin play the descending line.
2:26 [m. 122]--The piano right hand now takes the
descending continuation, still in octaves. It extends
this line while the left hand stalls on long notes held over
bar lines and the strings add supporting harmonies. In
the viola and cello, these include repeated chords in the
broad triplet rhythm, which they re-introduce, the piano
having abandoned it when the right hand imitated
the leaping rhythm. Some chromatic notes are introduced
as the line is spun out.
2:37 [m. 130]--The violin and viola re-introduce the
leaping rhythm, the main subject of this fugue section,
followed, as usual, by the smooth descending line, the
countersubject. The cello now has the triplet rhythm,
first in repeated notes, then with a downward leap on the
second note of each group. As the violin and viola move
to the descending line, the piano right hand once again takes
the leaping rhythm. It is then passed to the cello and
piano bass. They continue with it while the right hand
and the two upper strings abbreviate and intensify the
descending lines in harmony. All four instruments build
to a half-close, which is abruptly cut off. A
full-measure general pause follows.
2:51 [m. 143]--Closing section. Following the
pause, the piano and the two lower strings introduce an
entirely new theme beginning in C major. It is unusually
static, beginning with two full-measure chords. It is
also highly chromatic, with many dissonant passing
motions. In the more active measures, the piano plays in
sixths and thirds. Despite the many foreign notes, the
theme remains in C major until the end of the third phrase and
the entry of the violin. There, in a striking, highly
evocative change, similar to the one at 2:07 [m. 106], it
moves back to E major, where the piano trails down to a
half-close that is cut off.
3:12 [m. 159]--The entire four-phrase melody is
repeated with different instrumental orientation, again
beginning in C major. It is played more quietly.
The strings and piano reverse roles, and the cello takes the
melodic lead, playing above the viola. The violin enters
at the second phrase, first with a new line of counterpoint,
and then joining the cello on the melodic lead, playing an
octave above it. The viola plays in harmony, as does the
piano on its late-entering chords. The strings take the
lead in the change to E major, including the trailing downward
line. This is changed to make it more emphatic. It
is also extended by one beat, and comes to a full close on the
downbeat, overlapping with the next epilogue-like phrase.
3:33 [m. 175]--The epilogue-like phrase begins in the
piano, and is taken over halfway through by the strings, who
reach a gentle cadence. The phrase is repeated an octave
higher in the strings and piano right hand, but the piano bass
does not move up. The string cadence is averted by
an extension, which uses the last bar to lead into a
continuous descent in the strings. The cello takes over
an arching figure previously played by the piano bass.
The piano bass itself remains reiterates the note B as a
“dominant” pedal point and the right
hand rests. The descent is closed off by a questioning
gesture in the violin, twice reiterated, but avoiding a
cadence. The first of these includes a mild minor-key
inflection in the cello line.
3:59 [m. 195]--Re-transition. The piano bass
finally moves to E, but it is not a cadence in E major as
expected. Instead, the violin repeats the questioning
gesture two more times, inflecting it to use D-natural instead
of D-sharp. This converts the bass E into a “dominant”
anticipating the return of the home key, A major. Then
the piano, in wide octaves, joins the cello on the arching
figure. The violin appears to begin another questioning
gesture, but it cuts off after one measure. With the
viola, the violin joins the cello and piano on the arching
figures, with all instruments in unison. This rises and
builds over three measures. The instruments diverge as
the piano octaves break into a rapid descending scale,
speeding up from groups of four to groups of six, and the two
lower strings invoke the unmistakable opening gesture of the
4:11 [m. 205]--Theme 1. The return of A major and
the main theme here, in the context of a finale movement,
seems almost to imply a return in a Rondo form. Because
a full sonata exposition has just been heard, it could more
logically imply an exposition repeat. In reality, the
return is similar to the corresponding passage in the first
movement of the preceding G-minor Piano Quartet (Op. 25), and
a precursor to a similar technique in the finale of the First
Symphony (or, with a different later course, the first
movement of the Fourth Symphony). The development
section simply begins with a single statement of the main
theme in the home key, as at the opening of the
movement. It is identical, except that the piano
completes its downward scale on the opening upbeat and
participates in the “sliding” motion at the end.
4:30 [m. 221]--The second statement of the theme is
dispensed with, and the music moves directly to the bridge
passage corresponding to 0:37 [m. 33]. The first
measures are played by the piano, however, not the strings,
and it is given not in E major, but in that key’s “relative”
minor key, C-sharp minor. The phrase is still mostly
harmonized in thirds, and the left hand takes a line similar
to the cello’s original line. Because of the unexpected
minor key, Brahms extends the phrase from four measures to
six, reiterating the sliding motion twice as the strings
4:37 [m. 227]--The second half of the “bridge” is
presented with similar instrumentation as before, but with
different figuration. It is back in its original key, E
major. The strings play in straight notes without the
pulsing repetitions, but the piano breaks its thirds apart in
both hands, creating a rippling effect with the alternation of
notes. At the end of the phrase, the right hand plays a
straight descending arpeggio.
4:42 [m. 231]--The passage of “yearning” gestures from
0:47 [m. 41] is played in its entirety, but the leading lines
are all taken by the strings. The piano adds a new
supporting accompaniment, partially doubling the melodic
lines, based on the “broken thirds” and the closing arpeggio
of the last passage, with the hands in contrary motion.
It is extremely light and gentle, even marked dolce.
4:49 [m. 237]--The transitional passage from 0:55 [m.
47], with the opening gesture from the theme and the motion
back to A, is played as it was there, with the same scoring,
including the metric disruption and restoration. As
expected, the passage builds up to a loud statement of the
theme (described below), but here, that statement of the theme
is the beginning of the actual development, with no analogous
passage in the exposition.
4:56 [m. 243]--The piano plays the opening upbeat of
the theme and launches into the first real developmental
statement. It is in A minor, not major, and this is even
indicated with a key signature change. The hands play in
octaves, creating a stark, austere presentation. Against
the piano, the strings, playing in unison, introduces a new
counter-melody (or countersubject). It is vigorous and
active, beginning with a turning figure and leaping up to a
descending line. The repetition of the initial thematic
gesture up a step helps to place the next measures, with appoggiaturas,
in the “relative” major key, C major.
5:06 [m. 251]--A simple change from C major to C minor
results in a new full statement of the minor-key theme and its
counter-melody, but with the scoring reversed. The
strings now have the theme and the piano, still in octaves,
the counter-melody. It begins in C minor, then, in an
analogous motion, moves toward E-flat major (“relative” to C
5:15 [m. 259]--Another pattern begins in E-flat minor,
with the piano on the theme and the strings on the
counter-melody. A subtle alteration in the string parts
changes the destination, however. The repetition of the
first gesture reverses the scoring, and the strings take over
the theme. Instead of C-flat, which would have been
expected, the alteration causes the music to land on C major,
much closer to A minor, where the sequence began. The
piano lands emphatically on a C-major chord, and hammers home
four cadences there. Meanwhile, the strings reiterate
the first gesture from the counter-melody. The piano and
strings then make hints at F major before almost joyously
confirming C major again.
5:29 [m. 271]--At a suddenly quiet level, the piano
establishes a continuous short-long-short syncopation in high
chords. The violin twice passes a light patten based on
the active part of the theme to the cello. It moves up
from C major to D minor. Then, up one more step in E
minor, the violin takes over, spinning out the pattern over
eight bars while the piano continues its syncopated
chords. The harmony circles around E minor and A minor.
The volume remains hushed.
5:44 [m. 283]--On the ninth bar of the pattern, the key
of D major is strongly suggested. After this measure,
the violin finally breaks on a D-major cadence. The
cello enters, plucking the strings on wide arching
patterns. The piano right hand and viola, which enters
after a long absence, pass the pattern to each other.
The harmony moves very quickly from D major to D minor, and
from there back to A minor, the main key of the development
section. The entire three-bar pattern, beginning with
the violin measure suggesting D major, is then repeated.
5:50 [m. 289]--Suddenly loud, the violin and cello, in
unison octaves, break into a broad triplet rhythm derived from
the main theme, vacillating between A major and A minor over
three bars. The piano plays full chords, alternating the
left and right hands, and the viola reinforces the weak
beats. After an A-minor cadence, the descending bridge
passage, heard previously in the development at 4:30 [m. 221],
is quietly presented by the piano in that key with light
support from the cello.
5:59 [m. 296]--The strings appear to repeat the A-minor
version of the bridge passage, with the piano providing the
rippling broken harmonies heard at 4:37 [m. 227] as an
accompaniment. But the key is suddenly wrenched from A
minor to B-flat major, a most unexpected key that creates an
almost otherworldly effect. The piano, with viola
support, extends the B-flat-major diversion in two tinkling
bars of high broken harmonies.
6:06 [m. 302]--Re-transition. Led by the violin,
the descending patterns continue. The key of B-flat
attempts to further assert itself, but it is undermined by
viola and cello notes that pull back toward A minor. The
piano arpeggios and bass notes then fall in line with this
motion. The viola and cello take over the leading
role. The piano establishes a low pedal point on E,
providing the “dominant” preparation for a major arrival on
A. The right hand plays a scale pattern. The
gestures from the bridge passage pass back to the piano as the
violin and cello take the scale pattern. This scale
sequence is repeated with the piano right hand an octave
6:15 [m. 309]--A third repetition of the scale sequence
appears to begin, but the alternation does not happen, and the
piano plays the scale pattern twice in the higher
octave. The viola is also added to the string
texture. Doubled by the violin, the piano adds one more
scale pattern beginning a third higher and leading directly to
the tremendous arrival on A minor as the viola and cello add
one more vestige of bridge material. Although A minor
has dominated the development section, its strong arrival here
is still a powerful signal for the recapitulation, in large
part due to the strange B-flat diversion.
6:18 [m. 312]-- Transition, Part 1. The last
scale leading into this moment of return is very similar to
the one that preceded the exposition transition at 1:22 [m.
71], except that this one is already in minor, and the arrival
of this A-minor passage is therefore somewhat more
prepared. Since it is the moment of recapitulation, this
is appropriate. Theme 1 was presented in the home key at
the outset of the development, and it provided much of the
developmental material, so it does not return here. At
first, this A-minor eruption is very similar to its first
presentation, except that the violin is an octave lower and
the viola plays its repeated octaves faster. But the
short-short-long rhythm persists for only three measures, a
bar shorter than before, and against the descending scale, the
piano bass holds steady rather than moving in contrary motion,
while the cello plays a slow arpeggio. On the scale, the
piano is a sixth above, rather than in unison with the upper
strings. The arrival point now remains in A, landing on
the “dominant” chord.
6:33 [m. 324]--Transition, Part 2. Analogous to
1:39 [m. 84]. The ambiguous key relationships are
similar to the first statement of this passage, which is a
fourth higher than before. The viola now participates in
the unison string lines, which continue to suggest A
minor. The piano, in quasi-imitation, suggests B-flat
major. Correspondingly, the graceful string turn after
the upward slide in the piano bass suggests C major.
6:49 [m. 336]--Analogous to 1:54 [m. 96]. The
chromatic descents follow as expected, as does more
quasi-imitation and ambiguous harmony. The strings
remain in unison while the piano introduces doubled thirds and
sixths. This time, B-flat major seems to move toward F
major before the passage concludes on the “dominant seventh”
chord in B-flat.
7:01 [m. 346]--Theme 2. Analogous to 2:07 [m.
106]. The broad, bright theme, including the wide bass
arpeggios and then the leaping chords, is played in the home
key (A major). Brahms finally re-introduces the
three-sharp key signature of A major here after a very long
7:12 [m. 354]--Analogous to 2:17 [1:14]. The
fugal counterpoint is presented as before, along with the
broad triplet-rhythm accompaniment, but there is a significant
change in the instrumentation. The first statement of
the bouncing long-short rhythm is played by the cello, not the
viola, and the cello continues with the counterpoint formerly
played by the viola. The violin plays in the same place
it had before, but the bass entry is of necessity played by
the piano left hand alone, and not doubled by the cello, which
is continuing the former viola line. The viola, in fact,
is absent for this entire passage, including the statement of
the bouncing line in the piano right hand, which it had
7:22 [m. 362]--Analogous to 2:26 [m. 122]. The
viola finally enters here, and the pattern, especially in the
piano’s descending right hand octave lines, follows more
closely its presentation in the exposition. The string
harmonies are subtly different. There are repeated-note
triplets in some places where they were not previously
present, and the violin participates in two of these triplet
repetitions toward phrase’s conclusion.
7:32 [m. 370]--Analogous to 2:37 [m. 130]. In
this continuation of the fugal counterpoint of Theme 2, there
are again subtle differences in instrumentation from the
exposition. The cello and viola parts are reversed for
the first four measures, so the viola has the triplet rhythm
here. When the piano bass enters with the leaping
rhythm, the cello joins it again, and the viola takes over the
doubling role with the violin, which the cello had done for
those first four bars Also, the piano bass in the first
two measures plays full harmonies where it had previously
played octaves. As expected, everything builds to a
half-close that is abruptly cut off and followed by a full
7:47 [m. 383]--Closing section. Analogous to 2:51
[m. 143]. Following the harmonic pattern, the static
theme begins in F major and makes the evocative change back to
A major after the third phrase. It is set a fourth
higher than in the exposition, and the violin participates in
the presentation throughout. Because of this, the viola
and cello play fewer double stops. The piano right hand
has thicker harmonies in the second phrase. At the
change to A major, corresponding to the point where the violin
had made its entrance before, its line is given to the cello,
and the following notes before the half-close are
redistributed from viola and cello to violin and viola.
8:09 [m. 399]--Analogous to 3:12 [m. 159]. Here,
the scoring is similar to the exposition statement, with the
cello taking the initial melodic lead and the violin entering
on the second phrase. But at the violin entry, the viola
and cello essentially reverse roles until the approach to the
last overlapping A-major cadence.
8:30 [m. 415]--Analogous to 3:33 [m. 175]. The
epilogue-like phrases and the extension are essentially a
literal transposition in all instruments. The only
difference is that at the end of the exposition, the piano
bass had foreshadowed its “dominant” pedal earlier, under the
first string entrance. Here, the piano, including the
bass, rests through the first string entrance.
8:57 [m. 435]--Transition to coda. Analogous
to 3:59 [m. 195]. This transition also holds
closely to its counterpart, with the piano bass moving to the
current home keynote (now A), and the inflection of the
questioning gesture, now replacing G-sharp with G-natural
(which implies a further harmonic motion to D, away from the
home key, something that in fact does occur). The major
difference is that the entire passage remains quiet.
During the three measures of rising unison figures, the viola
drops out, perhaps to avoid the previous sense of
buildup. The correspondence ends after these three
measures, and the rapid descending scales leading into Theme 1
do not occur. The quieter volume precludes this.
The coda follows directly.
9:09 [m. 443]--Section 1. The violin begins an
extreme, but still recognizable transformation of the main
theme in D major. It is played in a broad triplet rhythm
with wide arching leaps, but the key elements of the melody
are still prominent. It is also played dolce and
tranquillo, in an almost transfigured manner. The
piano adds quiet left hand arpeggios and right hand chords off
the beat. The viola and cello add very isolated
alternating pizzicato notes. The piano right
hand becomes more active after five bars. The
presentation of the altered theme continues through its eighth
bar, before what would correspond to the short-short-long
9:22 [m. 451]--The viola, taking the bow, imitates the
previous violin figure at a lower level, cutting off the
altered theme. The violin follows again, and the two
instruments pass this leisurely triplet rhythm back and forth
three times, gradually working downward, the viola introducing
a mild minor-key inflection on its second statement.
Underneath this, the cello, still plucked, and the piano bass
establish a “pedal point” on A, now functioning as the
“dominant” of D major. The piano right hand plays
undulating chords. After the last violin/viola
alternation, the violin appears to continue, but with the
piano right hand, it shifts the key decisively back to A
major, and the bass “pedal point” now underlies the arrival of
the home key. The piano right hand directly imitates the
violin as the cello, now bowed, joins the viola on a sustained
9:38 [m. 460]--The piano left hand abandons the pedal
point, joining the right hand on its harmonies. The
pedal point is given to cello and viola, both now plucking
again on broken octaves. The violin, over those piano
harmonies, plays a fragmented version of its last figure, now
in straight rhythm, helping to confirm the arrival on A.
The piano right hand echoes this with dolce
harmonies. One last, even shorter violin fragment is
followed by two piano echoes in the middle range with a
dissonant bass note (F-sharp). The cello plays a last
pair of isolated broken octaves, and the music trails
off. The resulting tension is answered by the following
9:53 [m. 467]--Section 2. The piano appears to
begin a last echo, but it suddenly launches into a new
section, marked “Animato,” a highly effective transition out
of the hushed first section. The violin and viola in
unison begin a grand elaboration of the main theme, focusing
on its opening measures, while the piano right hand plays an
running figures that gradually work upward from the middle
range to the treble. The piano bass establishes a new
pedal point on E, the “dominant” note. After four bars,
the cello enters with a new running line, and the violin
separates from the viola. The three string instruments
and the piano right hand, playing in octaves, now have
independent lines. The violin and piano emphasize the
syncopated accents of the theme while the viola and cello take
over the running lines. This continues for ten more
measures, building up to a passionate intensity over the bass
10:08 [m. 481]--All instruments reach a brief
transition, consolidating their strength. The violin and
viola play long chords, holding some over bar lines between
pairs of measures. The cello continues its last rapid
arpeggio, then breaks into accented staccato
leaps. The piano left hand first plays chords with the
upper strings, then joins the cello on the detached
leaps. The right hand plays a tremolo-like
oscillation, first in triplet rhythm, then in faster straight
rhythm. This transition builds up to the following
triumphant statement of the theme.
10:14 [m. 487]--The violin and piano present a very
grand and joyous statement of the main theme in its entirety
at the new faster speed. It begins in D major so that
the key change in the second half, with the short-short-long
rhythm, will end at home in A. The viola provides
harmony while the cello and piano bass add punctuating chords
off the beat. At the decorative appoggiaturas,
these bass lines become more solid and constant. At the
previous point of completion, where the “sliding” figures had
always cut off the theme, it is instead exuberantly extended,
reaching to the heights and falling back. An expected
analogous turn to the “relative” minor key, F-sharp, is thus
quickly reversed. Then the piano and strings pass
frenzied gestures back and forth, reaching back up. Two
longer such gestures are followed by a shorter one.
10:38 [m. 511]--The piano appears to begin another
alternation on the shorter gesture, but it leads into the
concluding flourish. Rapid repeated chords in the upper
strings and tremolo motion in the piano right hand,
all over syncopated bass notes, bring about this cadence,
which moves from the chords of C-sharp minor and E major to a
final confirmation of A. Then the strings take over the
syncopation as the piano reiterates the final cadence in sharp
chords, the right hand moving higher and the left hand
descending. The instruments come together on the last
three A-major chords, which leap down to the final held
10:55--END OF MOVEMENT [519 mm.]
END OF QUARTET
BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME