SIX SONGS (GESÄNGE), OP. 3
Recording: Jessye Norman, soprano (No. 1); Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449 633-2]
Published 1854.  Dedicated to Bettina von Arnim.

Along with the early piano pieces, Brahms also showed the Schumanns some of his earliest song settings for voice and piano.  Many of these were published as the opus numbers 3, 6, and 7.  Op. 3 was a natural choice for his first set of songs, following the two piano sonatas and providing a contrast before more piano music in Opp. 4-5.  The Op. 3 set does not necessarily contain all of the earliest songs, but his choice of “Liebestreu” to introduce himself as a song composer was a wise move, since it is in every respect an excellent and highly effective dialogue song, possibly the best out of the first three groups.  As a complete set, Op. 6 is probably superior to Op. 3, however.  The two “Liebe und Frühling” settings are subtly sophisticated, nearly on the level of “Liebestreu,” but the last three songs are not quite as good.  No. 4, while exciting, seems to stretch its material a bit too far.  “In der Fremde,” while an early example of Brahms's great proficiency in subtly altering musical details between mostly similar strophic stanzas, stands in the shadow of a great setting by Schumann of the same text.  And No. 6 (along with No. 4, the only two songs that Brahms ever simply titled “Lied,” outside of those, usually making up a complete set, that have no titles and are typically known by their first lines) is perhaps a better song than most scholars give it credit, although its central section certainly contains one of the most unusual passages in the entire song output.  All told, he would compose 196 songs in opus-numbered groups (this counts the song cycle Op. 33, the quasi-duets Op. 84, and the songs with viola Op. 91).  These six are a very solid introduction to this body of his work, and “Liebestreu” at least is worthy of standing with the best of the later ones.  Brahms produced a revised version of No. 2 in 1882 in which the vocal/piano doubling was altered in two places and climactic dissonances were made more mild.

Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily Ezust’s site at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.  For the most part, the translations are line-by-line, except where the difference between German and English syntax requires slight alterations to the contents of certain lines.  The German texts (included here) are also visible in the translation links.

IMSLP WORK PAGE
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original keys.  Includes only original version of No. 2)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (
From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke--original keys.  Includes both versions of No. 2)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max Friedländer):
No. 1: Liebestreu (in original key, E-flat minor)
No. 1: Liebestreu (in middle key, C minor.  Includes front matter to middle voice edition)
No. 1: Liebestreu (in low key, B minor.  Includes front matter to low voice edition, vol. 1)
No. 2: Liebe und Frühling I (in original key, B major, revised version)
No. 2: Liebe und Frühling I (in low key, G major, revised version.  Includes front matter to low voice edition, vol. 3)
No. 3: Liebe und Frühling II (in original key, B major)
No. 3: Liebe und Frühling II (in low key, G major)
No. 4: Lied [aus dem Gedicht “Ivan
”] (in original key, E-flat minor)
No. 4: Lied [aus dem Gedicht
“Ivan”] (in low key, C minor)
No. 5: In der Fremde (in original key, F-sharp minor)
No. 5: In der Fremde (in low key, D minor)
No. 6: Lied (in original key, A major)
No. 6: Lied (in low key, F major)
Nos. 2-6 (original keys--higher resolution.  Includes front matter to high voice edition, vol. 3)


1. Liebestreu (Constancy).  Text by Robert Reinick.  Sehr langsam (Very slowly).  Modified strophic form (Dialogue song).  E-FLAT MINOR, 4/4 time (Middle key C minor, low key B minor)
.

German Text:
»O versenk’, o versenk’ dein Leid,
mein Kind, in die See, in die tiefe See!«
Ein Stein wohl bleibt auf des Meeres Grund,
mein Leid kommt stets in die Höh’.

»Und die Lieb’, die du im Herzen trägst,
brich sie ab, brich sie ab, mein Kind!«
Ob die Blum’ auch stirbt, wenn man sie bricht,
treue Lieb’ nicht so geschwind.

»Und die Treu’, und die Treu’,
’s war nur ein Wort, in den Wind damit hinaus.«
O Mutter und splittert der Fels auch im Wind,
meine Treue, die hält ihn aus.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--The piano sets up a quietly agitated, restless mood with repeated chords in groups of six.  A rising three-note figure in the bass, clashing rhythmically with the triplet chords, anticipates the main motive in the vocal line.  Stanza 1 begins with the mother’s imperative to the daughter to sink her sorrow in the sea.  Her line, marked “con espressione,” follows the constant bass figure, which now reaches even lower on the keyboard.  After reaching a high point on “Leid,” she sinks back down as the piano rests on the “dominant” harmony.
0:21 [m. 6]--The daughter’s more tender response is marked “träumerisch” (“dreamy”).  The low piano bass drops out, and the left hand jumps up to double the singer.  The repeated right hand chords continue in triplet rhythms.  After touching on the related major key of G-flat, the singer leaps to a floating high note, also on “Leid.”  The piano left hand becomes independent and adds descending arpeggios.  The singer then slides up chromatically, moving to C-flat major at the end of the line.  The piano chords descend and lead back to the introduction.
0:43 [m. 11]--The descending chords lead back to the bass figure and the repeated chords in E-flat minor.  Stanza 2 begins with the mother’s second imperative.  It is musically the same as her first one, but Brahms increases the intensity with a faster speed, marking the mother’s line “Poco più mosso.”  At the end, she slows back down and becomes quieter in anticipation of the daughter’s response.
0:58 [m. 16]--The daughter’s response is once again tender and dreamy, returning explicitly to the opening tempo.  This is a clear illustration of the “constancy” in the title.  The descending piano chords are now marked “ancora più mosso agitato,” indicating that the increase in tempo and agitation is to be greater than it was before.
1:20 [m. 21]--Stanza 3.  The mother uses the same musical material once again, but now her line is marked forte, and she reaches a passionate intensity which bridges into the daughter’s last response, adding another bass figure.
1:34 [m. 26]--The daughter’s last response now resembles the mother’s music, maintaining the bass figures, which now leap up and down to lower and higher octaves.  But she does not submit to the mother’s entreaties.  Instead, she breaks into a rapturous climax, moving strongly to the home major key and reaching her highest note on the clinching word “Treue” (“fidelity”).  The climax subsides even faster than it arose.  The descending line after the high note quickly moves back to minor, and the chords following the singer’s half-close steadily slow down and diminish in volume.  The bass becomes static, moving slowly up by half-step.
1:51 [m. 31]--The singer repeats the last words of her line as a coda.  She repeats “die hält” twice and then “ihn aus” once.  As she does this, she moves down part of the E-flat-minor scale from C-flat down to the tonic keynote (a sixth).  The piano chords, with the static bass, continue.  The bass leaps down on the second “die halt.”  As the singer reaches the cadence, she slows and settles down.  Following her cadence, the piano repeats the E-flat-minor chord for two measures while the original bass figures return.  The last of these has doubled note values, increasing the sense of slowing.  It turns back down for the last note, a low E-flat that has not been used before, coinciding with the final chord.
2:25--END OF SONG [35 mm.]


2. Liebe und Frühling I (Love and Spring I).  Text by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben.  Moderato ma non troppo.  Binary through-composed form (variations) with coda.  B MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key G major).

German Text:
Wie sich Rebenranken schwingen
In der linden Lüfte Hauch,
Wie sich weiße Winden schlingen
Luftig um den Rosenstrauch:

Also schmiegen sich und ranken
Frühlingsselig, still und mild,
Meine Tag- und Nachtgedanken
Um ein trautes, liebes Bild.

English Translation
 
*Note: The revised version of the song is used here.  I am unaware of any recording of the earlier version.  Despite the fact that the revised version was made to make the canons between voice and piano clearer when the song is sung by a woman, and the fact that the first version is probably more suited to a male singer, Fischer-Dieskau sings the revised version.  This is probably because the first version seems to be unavailable in a low key edition.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The first two lines are presented in unison and octaves by the singer and both hands of the piano.  The melodic line arches rather simply up, down, then back up again, but the last ascent includes chromatic notes to increase the questioning nature of the phrase.  Brahms marks the unassuming line “dolce, espressivo e sempre legato.”  Such detailed markings were typical of the younger Brahms.
0:11 [m. 5]--The two hands of the piano begin the same melodic line, but the right hand follows the left in canon (imitation) two beats later, depicting the entwining vines.  The singer enters with the last two lines of the stanza, doubling the right hand.  In the original version, the singer entered earlier and doubled the left hand.  Because a male singer will be in the low octave, he is an octave lower than the right hand voice he is doubling.  If he were doubling the left hand, he would be in unison with it.  At “den Rosenstrauch” the canon breaks and the voice breaks away from doubling the piano line.  More chromatic notes are introduced, along with a triplet rhythm, first taken by the voice, then the piano right hand, reaching high.  The singer holds a long note as the piano slows down, and both come to a pause on an expectant “dominant” chord.
0:31 [m. 12]--Stanza 2.  A new melody is introduced that moves in contrary motion to the melody from stanza 1.  It is an expressive line that is placed in the voice and the piano right hand against the original stanza 1 melody in the left hand.  Brahms made it to resemble Zerlina’s aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  In the first version of the song, the voice doubled the left hand on the original melody for the first line of the stanza, leaving the new melodic line in the right hand alone.  The piano introduces a middle voice with off-beat notes.  In the second line, the voice and the piano right hand flower into a heartfelt upward reach with rich harmonies.  The piano left hand continues the original stanza 1 melody, but it leaps down to a lower octave.
0:40 [m. 16]--For the last two lines, the voice has an intensified version of the new melody, beginning a third higher.  The beginning of the third line of the stanza is the climax of the song, and the piano right hand continues to enrich the “Zerlina” melody with expressive harmonies and off-beat notes.  The left hand is also given harmonies and a lower octave doubling, but it still plays the original melody from stanza 1.  The melody is now doubled down yet another octave, reaching the lower end of the keyboard.  The voice holds “Bild,” and the piano adds another measure of chromatic harmonies, the right hand reaching high.  This measure serves as a bridge that settles down to the song’s coda, which will repeat these two lines.
0:55 [m. 21]--Brahms marks the coda “Poco più lento.”  The singer repeats the last two lines of text to an augmented version of the original melody (doubled note values).  The piano right hand plays the new “Zerlina” melody introduced with stanza 2, completing it under the first repeated line.  It is placed in a high register, supplied with lower harmonies (beginning in thirds) and the now familiar off-beat notes.  The left hand plays long octaves that still reflect aspects of the opening melody, whose apparent simplicity has been revealed to enclose great possibilities for counterpoint, imitation,and manipulation.  The last line breaks away from the augmented melody and reaches closure after an extremely expressive turn figure.
1:19 [m. 28]--The piano postlude begins with the voice’s arrival on its final note after resolving an aching suspended dissonance.  It is an elaboration on fragments of the main melody in low octaves of the left hand, with the right hand playing slowly descending chromatic thirds in the tenor register.  It gradually slows down, diminishes, and descends to the end.
1:50--END OF SONG [33 mm.]


3. Liebe und Frühling II (Love and Spring II).  Text by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben.  Vivace con fuoco.  Ternary/modified strophic form (ABB’A’).  B MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key G major).

German Text:
Ich muß hinaus, ich muß zu dir,
Ich muß es selbst dir sagen:
Du bist mein Frühling, du nur mir
In diesen lichten Tagen.

Ich will die Rosen nicht mehr sehn
Nicht mehr die grünen Matten;
Ich will nicht mehr zu Walde gehn,
Nach Duft und Klang und Schatten.

Ich will nicht mehr der Lüfte Zug,
Nicht mehr der Wellen Rauschen,
Ich will nicht mehr der Vögel Flug
Und ihrem Liede lauschen.

Ich will hinaus, ich will zu dir,
Ich will es selbst dir sagen:
Du bist mein Frühling, du nur mir
In diesen lichten Tagen.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A), lines 1-2.  The piano sets off an anxious, breathless mood with its opening notes in a dotted rhythm.  The first single note stays solid while lower notes are added, first a minor second, then a major second below.  When the voice enters, the right hand breaks into a tremolo whose lower notes continue to gradually descend through the stanza.  The top notes are more static and only descend very gradually.  The excited vocal line shoots upward, with a dissonance resolving at the end.  The piano left hand enters at the end of the first line with a descending figure that seems to mirror the voice.  This descending figure is then directly copied by the singer at the beginning of the second line, which reaches a half-close.  Against the second line, the left hand also establishes a descending line in the tenor range.
0:09 [m. 6]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  Line 3 is set to the same vocal phrase as line 1, but without the upbeat.  It is apparent that the descents in the piano’s inner voices are meant to mirror this rising vocal line.  Before the last line, the piano bass rises chromatically.  This last line is suddenly sustained, reaching yearningly upward before descending, as if exhaling, to its cadence.  At this point, the descent in the inner voices of the piano is complete.  In an interlude, the tremolos, now in the middle register, become wider.  The singer’s descent is echoed in longer notes first in the tenor, then the bass range of the piano.
0:22 [m. 12]--Stanza 2 (B), lines 1-2.  Although the opening rhythm returns in the piano to introduce it, the verse is much more contemplative and expressive as the singer refers to what is no longer desired.  The first line seems to shift its key a third higher, to D major, but the second line moves to the related B minor.  In both lines, the voice introduces an expressive rising figure that reaches up a sixth, then falls in a prolonged resolution.  The piano, meanwhile, plays the dotted rhythms and narrow harmonies from the first bar.
0:33 [m. 17]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4.  A slightly more agitated mood returns, and the voice now has a descending line which, along with the piano bass a third lower, mirrors the rising lines from stanza 1.  This line is similar to the “Zerlina” melody from the previous song.  An inner voice in the right hand introduces off-beat harmonies.  The same descending line is used for both lines of text, and the verse ends on a half-close in B minor, the home minor key.
0:40 [m. 21]--Stanza 3 (B’), lines 1-2.  Brahms marks the stanza “sehr zart und innig” (“very tenderly and intimately”).  The music is extremely similar to stanza 2, but it is artfully shifted down a half-step, to D-flat major and B-flat minor.  Brahms extends the note values on “Lüfte Zug” and “Wellen Rauschen” to increase the latent tension.  Under these words, the piano right hand plays the shape of the line twice each  in the original faster rhythm.  These shapes are wider than the vocal line, and the second is a sixth higher.
0:53 [m. 27]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4.  The music for these lines is mostly a simple shift down a half-step of the corresponding lines from stanza 2, but the last word, “lauschen,” is dramatically extended with rich chromatic harmonies and anxious syncopation.  A crescendo and a sustaining are indicated here.  The line, and the stanza, end on the extremely expectant “dominant” of the home key.
1:07 [m. 33]--Stanza 4 (A’), lines 1-2.  The piano introduces the stanza, as at the beginning.  The two lines are essentially identical to stanza 1, but Brahms significantly marks that the right hand tremolo is more rapid and inexact, as opposed to the precise sixteenth notes in stanza 1.  This reflects the more urgent nature of the text, with the change from “muß” to “will” indicating that compulsion is now desire.
1:15 [m. 38]--Stanza 4, lines 3-4.  Again, most of the music matches stanza 1.  The inexact, breathless tremolo continues.  The major change is in the yearning high note on “lichten,” which is extended by a full bar and sustained for five and a half beats (as opposed to a beat and a half).  Under the sustained note, the “dominant” harmony is prolonged and intensified with “diminished seventh” chords.  The piano tremolo comes to a halt on a fermata, after which the voice finally makes its “exhaling” descent and cadence.  The piano postlude matches the interlude after stanza 1, the tremolo moving back to sixteenth notes.
1:38--END OF SONG [45 mm.]


4. Lied [aus dem Gedicht “Ivan]  (Song [from the poem “Ivan”]).  Text by Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt.  Mit feurigem Schwung (With fiery energy).  Simple strophic form with slight expansion at the end of the third stanza.  E-FLAT MINOR, 4/4 time with one 3/2 measure (Low key C minor).

German Text:
Weit über das Feld durch die Lüfte hoch
Nach Beute ein mächtiger Geier flog.
Am Stromesrande im frischen Gras
Eine junge weißflüglige Taube saß;
O verstecke dich, Täubchen, im grünen Wald!
Sonst verschlingt dich der lüsterne Geier bald!

Eine Möwe hoch über der Wolga fliegt,
Und Beute spähend im Kreis sich wiegt.
O halte dich, Fischlein, im Wasser versteckt,
Daß dich nicht die spähende Möwe entdeckt!
Und steigst du hinauf, so steigt sie herab
Und macht dich zur Beute und führt dich zum Grab.

Ach, du grünende feuchte Erde du!
Tu dich auf, leg mein stürmisches Herz zur Ruh'!
Blaues Himmelstuch mit der Sternlein Zier,
O trockne vom Auge die Träne mir!
Hilf, Himmel, der armen, der duldenden Maid!
Es bricht mir das Herz vor Weh und Leid!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The heroic opening line, without introduction, leaps up the chord of the home key with full chordal accompaniment in triplet rhythm.  The second line is more subdued and descends in a stepwise direction, still with triplet rhythm, to a full cadence.  The piano also has descending triplets in double thirds which are heard on strong beats while the voice holds longer notes.
0:08 [m. 5]--Stanza 1, lines 3-6.  A strong, harmonized triplet upbeat in the piano shoots up like a call to attention.  Then the volume drops again.  The singer now abandons the triplet rhythm in a very agitated line that steadily builds to the warning.  The piano plays light staccato notes after the beats as it holds longer chords.  At the fifth line of the stanza, the harmony briefly moves to major for the climax.  The singer and piano then descend quickly, moving back to minor and receding. 
0:24 [m. 13]--A stark four-bar interlude in broken octaves follows the vocal cadence.  It repeats the cadence three times in successively lower octaves, slowing, then breaking off before the last note of the third repetition.
0:32 [m. 17]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2.  The music is the same as in stanza 1, but the declamation is slightly different, with added repeated notes that still fit the prevailing triplet rhythm.
0:41 [m. 21]--Stanza 2, lines 3-6.  Again, the music is as in stanza 1 for the introductory triplet upbeat, then the agitated passage and climax in straight rhythm.  Again, there are changes for declamation involving added repeated notes and joined notes, all of which fit the rhythm.  Note the textual correspondence of the verses.  The dove and the fish are told to hide, respectively, from the vulture and the seagull, to the same agitated music after the predators are introduced with the more heroic musical language.
0:57 [m. 29]--Four-bar piano interlude, as at 0:24 [m. 13].
1:04 [m. 33]--Stanza 3, lines 1-2.  The musical substance is the same as the preceding stanzas, again with slight alterations for declamation.  Interestingly, the first measure is sort of a combination of the declamation from the first two stanzas.  The added repeated note in the upbeat at “Tu dich auf” is new.
1:13 [m. 37]--Stanza 3, lines 3-6.  Most of the stanza is the same as the other two, up to the last measure, where it is extended.  After the triplet upbeat, the third line adds another new repeated note to the upbeat on “Blaues Himmelstuch.”  At the climax on the fifth line with the shift to major, Brahms directs that the singer and pianist are to become much more agitated and intense.
1:27 [m. 44]--From this point, the musical substance is varied from the previous stanzas.  The volume and intensity increase, and Brahms uses repetition of each half of the final line to build energy and reach to a higher top note than before as the stanza moves back to minor.  At the first “Weh und Leid,” he inserts a 3/2 measure (m. 45).  This is the climax,marked by powerful piano chords, and the music slows and subdues itself for the repetition of those words.  Although twice as slow, the final vocal cadence is as in the other two stanzas.  The piano harmony of the cadence is notable, as it includes a dissonant “augmented” chord and then two open fifths, rather than full chords, on the last two notes.  There is no postlude.
1:44--END OF SONG [48 mm.]


5. In der Fremde  (Far From home or In a Distant Land).  Text by Josef Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff.  Poco agitato.  Modified strophic form.  F-SHARP MINOR, 4/4 time (Low key D minor).

German Text:
Aus der Heimat hinter den Blitzen rot
Da kommen die Wolken her,
Aber Vater und Mutter sind lange tot,
Es kennt mich dort keiner mehr.

Wie bald, ach wie bald kommt die stille Zeit,
Da ruhe ich auch, und über mir
Rauscht die schöne Waldeinsamkeit,
Und keiner kennt mich mehr hier.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Piano introduction, seting up the accompaniment pattern.  It is a rocking, constant motion with alternating repeated after-beat notes below the melody.  It begins on an upbeat.  The left hand harmonizes below with the line that will be taken by the voice.  There is slight slowing before the vocal entry.
0:12 [m. 5]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The piano pattern remains constant, but is more richly harmonized.  The top lines of both hands mostly double the vocal line.  The mood is wistful and melancholy.  The singer follows the basic rhythm of the established piano pattern.  After the second line, the top line of the piano accompaniment prominently imitates the last three notes on “Wolken her,” extending the phrase.
0:25 [m. 9]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  Because of the piano echo of the preceding phrase, it is extended into the next bar.  Line 3 begins with a subtle syncopation on the second beat of that same bar, preserving the expected phrase structure.  The intensity builds for the last line, which reaches the highest vocal pitch.  The line, without the word “es,” is repeated on a static pitch (A) while the piano right hand twice echoes the notes from “keiner mehr” in the first statement.  These notes and their associated harmonies bring about a strong motion to D major at the end of the stanza.  The voice and the piano diminish in volume and slow down.  Only the “rocking” notes remain in the last, bridging measure.  These two notes are common to D major and F-sharp minor, and are used to move back to the home key.
0:47 [m. 17]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2.  The first three measures are as in stanza 1.  The alteration and extension  in the fourth bar (and the following fifth bar) are wonderfully sophisticated.  At “über mir,” the singer leaps a third higher than the expected note and holds it for the full bar, replacing the piano echo of stanza 1.  Under the held note, the piano anticipates the vocal descent of the remaining syllables, which follows in the next measure, extending the phrase by a bar.  This device reflects the poetic structure, which has no punctuation between the second and third lines (so-called “enjambment”).  Thus, the word “über” (“over”) literally bridges the two phrases.  The vocal descent leads back to the expected pitch from stanza 1.
1:02 [m. 22]--Stanza 2, line 3.  The later beginning of the line is compensated by the three fewer syllables in it.  Brahms followed Schumann in changing “rauschet” to “rauscht,” which shortened the line even more than it would have been.  It begins immediately after the previous line, on the last beat of the bar, with “rauscht” held across the bar line, heightening the syncopation already heard in stanza 1.  After the word “rauscht,” the line has “caught up” and proceeds as in stanza 1.
1:09 [m. 24]--Stanza 2, line 4.  A new break is added before the line.  The piano imitates the last three notes of line 3 over a shift to the major key in the harmony.  Line 4 follows after the one-bar delay, now parallel to stanza 1, but with reversed direction on the last note.  It is repeated as expected, but now with a new descending line from above as the harmony again shifts to major, where it remains to the end.  Slowing and quieting, the song closes on a major chord with the voice, questioningly, ending on the “dominant” note.
1:37--END OF SONG [28 mm.]


6. Lied  (Song).  Text by Josef Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff.  Poco allegretto.  Ternary/modified strophic form (AABA’).  A MAJOR, 9/8 time (Low key F Major).

German Text:
Lindes Rauschen in den Wipfeln,
Vöglein, die ihr fernab fliegt,
Bronnen von den stillen Gipfeln,
Sagt, wo meine Heimat liegt?

Heut im Traum sah ich sie wieder,
Und von allen Bergen ging
Solches Grüßen zu mir nieder,
Daß ich an zu weinen fing.

Ach! hier auf den fremden Gipfeln:
Menschen, Quellen, Fels und Baum -
[Wirres Rauschen in den Wipfeln]*
Alles ist mir wie ein Traum!

Muntre Vögel in den Wipfeln,
Ihr Gesellen dort im Tal,
Grüßt mir von den fremden Gipfeln
Meine Heimat tausendmal!

*Not set by Brahms

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A), lines 1-2.  The piano begins with a measured trill, marked leggiero, to represent the “rustling” in the treetops. The vocal setting, beginning on the last part of the first measure, is rich with expressive upward-moving dissonances (appogiaturas).  The voice is initially harmonized a third below by the left hand.  The trill figures gradually expand to wider intervals in the same “rustling” rhythm, which continues uninterrupted through the first two stanzas.  The second line makes a brief turn to the “dominant” key (E major).
0:10 [m. 6]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  The third line begins like the first, but an effective harmonic digression occurs at “stillen Gipfeln,” which is marked sostenuto.  From there and through the first statement of line 4, the harmony turns toward the realm of F major, perhaps in preparation for that key’s larger role later.  Line 4 is sung again, turning back to the home key and the main melody, and retaining the dissonant upward-moving appogiaturas as well as the harmonization a third below.  The stanza ends on a suspended dissonance that is only resolved with the beginning of the next verse.
0:24 [m. 12]--Stanza 2 (A), lines 1-2.  Aside from the first note, which approaches from above rather than below after resolving the preceding dissonance, and the wider-spaced rustling right-hand figures under “Heut im Traum,” the setting is identical to that of the first stanza.
0:33 [m. 16]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4.  The setting, including the harmonic digression, is identical to the first stanza.  At the last dissonance on “fing,” the pitches are the same, but their notation is changed, B-flat instead of A-sharp and G-natural instead of F-double sharp.  This facilitates the motion to F major in the next stanza.
0:47 [m. 22]--Stanza 3 (B), lines 1-2.  This is a highly unusual verse, one of the strangest in all of Brahms’s songs.  For the setting of this stanza, Brahms veers off to F Major and away from the constant trill figuration in the piano for a dreamy, leisurely setting.  The expressive upward-moving appogiaturas are still present in the voice, however.  The piano accompaniment moves to slower, undulating arpeggios.
0:58 [m. 26]--Stanza 3, line 3 (4).  Here things suddenly become very odd.  Brahms seemingly inexplicably omits a line of text from the poem and replaces it with a very abrupt horn-call figure in the piano.  He follows this with the next line, “Alles ist mir wie ein Traum!” set to the horn-call figure.  The horn call begins a third time at a lower pitch, and then the last three words are repeated softly on a low note (E in the original key) as the music modulates back to A Major and fades in anticipation.  The horn call—and the setting of the dream line, which would have fit the music immediately preceding it—is quite strange.  It does make sense in the context of the novella for which Eichendorff originally wrote the poem.
1:19 [m. 32]--Stanza 4 (A’), lines 1-2.  Marked “Poco animato,” the rustling figures abruptly wake us from the dream.  They are an octave higher than at the beginning.  They introduce the last verse.  The vocal line is the same as in the first two verses, although louder, but the accompaniment is varied, the top notes of the rustling figures remaining in the higher octave.  In the second line, the figures move to even wider intervals than they did before.
1:28 [m. 37]--Stanza 4, lines 3-4.  This is the major point of diversion from the first two verses.  The pattern, diverging at some point in the last stanza of a strophic setting, is very typical of early Brahms songs (see no. 4 of this opus for another example).  The point of harmonic diversion in the first two stanzas is replaced by a stronger upward striving, remaining in the home key, to a similar text (“fremden Gipfeln”),  which moves to the song’s highest pitches.  After the climax on “Heimat,” the final line is stretched out with longer note values as the voice and piano quickly descend, and as a consequence, only the last word, rather than the whole line, is repeated, gently slowing, quieting, and descending to the depths.  The song dies away to the “rustling” music, which has moved down to the tenor range of the piano.  Brahms provided an alternative to the last setting of “tausendmal” that remains on the same pitch (the fifth of the scale, recalling “wie ein Traum” at the end of stanza 3) rather than descending to the third.
1:48--END OF SONG [43 mm.]
END OF SET


BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME