SIX SONGS (GESÄNGE), OP. 3
Norman, soprano (No. 1); Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone;
Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449 633-2]
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.
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.
SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from
Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original keys. Includes
only original version of No. 2)
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
1: Liebestreu (original key)
1: Liebestreu (in middle key, C minor. Includes
front matter to middle voice edition)
1: Liebestreu (in low key, B minor. Includes front matter to low voice edition, vol. 1)
2: Liebe und Frühling I (original key, revised
2: Liebe und Frühling I (in
low key, G major, revised version. Includes front matter to low voice edition,
3: Liebe und Frühling II (original key)
3: Liebe und Frühling
II (in low key, G major)
4: Lied [aus dem Gedicht “Ivan
”] (original key)
4: Lied [aus dem Gedicht “Ivan”] (in low
key, C minor)
5: In der Fremde
No. 5: In
der Fremde (in
low key, D
(in low key, F
matter to high
voice edition, vol.
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).
»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.
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
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).
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.
*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
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
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).
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.
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
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).
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!
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
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).
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.
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).
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
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
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
1:48--END OF SONG [43 mm.]
END OF SET
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