NINE SONGS (LIEDER UND GESÄNGE) TO TEXTS BY PLATEN AND
DAUMER, OP. 32
This is the first of the large sets of eight or nine
songs that would carry the heading “Lieder und Gesänge,” using
both German words for “song.” It is often compared with the
contemporary “Magelone” songs, Op. 33,
but a more apt comparison would be with the Op.
57 set, a group completely devoted to Daumer’s poetry and
whose songs also do not have titles. Op.
63, another group of nine that sets multiple songs by three
(rather than two) poets is also somewhat similar. At any
rate, Op. 32, composed in Baden-Württemberg, Germany in 1864, is a
large advance on the earlier songs, and represents the composer’s
first mature group of works for solo voice. The piano parts
are full of character, the rhythms full of complexity. It
was the first time that a group was unified by the poets used and,
very significantly, it contains his first settings of Georg
Friedrich Daumer, the poet of the Liebeslieder waltzes, whose
words Brahms would set more than any other poet (for more on
Daumer, see Op. 57). In this
case, Daumer is paired with the excellent poet August von Platen
(of whose homosexuality Brahms was probably not aware). The
first song is by Platen, the second by Daumer, then follow four
more Platen settings and three more of Daumer. The
last three Daumer songs are all adaptations of the classical
Persian poet Hafis and are the only three songs in the set that
are in major keys. None of the songs has a title, and they are
known by their first lines. The first song, to a Platen
text, is a great masterpiece of drama and concentration, one of
his best songs to date. The second, his first Daumer setting
of all, is quiet, dark and brooding. The four succeeding
Platen songs are all excellent, intense, full of regret, and
rather concise, especially the exceedingly melancholy and bitter
No. 6. No. 5, the only fast song in the set, is the most
hopeful. The three final Daumer songs in major keys, Nos.
7-9, have hints of melancholy, but are mostly optimistic. Of them,
No. 9 is the most famous, and is one of the most familiar of all
Brahms songs, despite the highly problematic declamation in its
first lines. It set a standard for similar intensely lyrical
settings that would follow. The texts all describe some sort
of spiritual or emotional separation between lovers. The set
as a whole is as emotionally balanced and unified as a group can
be without being an actual “cycle.” The true cycle would
come with the next opus number.
Recording: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim,
piano [DG 449 633-2]
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily
Ezust’s site at http://www.lieder.net.
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 (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel
Sämtliche Werke--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters,
edited by Max Friedländer):
Wie rafft’ ich mich
auf in der Nacht (in original key, F minor)
Wie rafft’ ich mich
auf in der Nacht (in low key, E-flat minor)
Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen (in original key, D minor)
Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen (in high key, F minor)
umher, betrübt und stumm (in original key, D minor)
Ich schleich’ umher, betrübt und stumm (in high key, F-sharp minor)
Der Strom, der neben mir verrauschte (in original key, C-sharp
Der Strom, der neben mir verrauschte (in high key, E minor)
Wehe, so willst du mich wieder (in original key, B minor)
Wehe, so willst du mich wieder (in low key, G minor)
Du sprichst, daß ich mich täuschte (in original key, C minor)
Du sprichst, daß ich mich täuschte (in low key, A minor)
Bitteres zu sagen denkst du (in original
key, F major)
Bitteres zu sagen denkst du (in low key, D major)
So stehn wir, ich und meine Weide (in original key, A-flat major)
So stehn wir, ich und meine Weide (in low key, G major)
Wie bist du, meine Königin (in original key, E-flat major)
Wie bist du, meine Königin (in low key, D-flat major)
6-8 (high keys [Nos. 1, 6-8
original keys]--higher resolution)
1. “Wie rafft’ ich mich auf in der Nacht” (“How I roused myself in
the night”). Text by August von Platen. Andante.
Highly varied ternary form with two-verse middle section
(ABB’A’). F MINOR, 4/4 time (Low key E-flat minor).
Wie rafft’ ich mich auf in der Nacht, in der Nacht,
Und fühlte mich fürder gezogen,
Die Gassen verließ ich vom Wächter bewacht,
In der Nacht, in der Nacht,
Das Tor mit dem gotischen Bogen.
Der Mühlbach rauschte durch felsigen Schacht,
Ich lehnte mich über die Brücke,
Tief unter mir nahm ich der Wogen in Acht,
Die wallten so sacht,
In der Nacht, in der Nacht,
Doch wallte nicht eine zurücke.
Es drehte sich oben, unzählig entfacht
Melodischer Wandel der Sterne,
Mit ihnen der Mond in beruhigter Pracht,
Sie funkelten sacht
In der Nacht, in der Nacht,
Durch täuschend entlegene Ferne.
Ich blickte hinauf in der Nacht, in der Nacht,
Und blickte hinunter aufs neue:
O wehe, wie hast du die Tage verbracht,
Nun stille du sacht
In der Nacht, in der Nacht,
Im pochenden Herzen die Reue!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). Two descending
thirds in the piano bass octaves set the song in motion. The
voice enters, and the piano bass follows the vocal line, with its
prominent dotted (long-short) rhythms. The vocal line itself
is quite ominous. The right hand enters after the first “in
der Nacht,” creating harmony with the bass octaves. Brahms
scrupulously observes the repetitions of “in der Nacht” included
in the poem. Here, the repetition introduces a slow
buildup. The dotted rhythms in the piano lead into the next
0:16 [m. 5]--The second
line continues the buildup and introduces biting
dissonances. The piano continues its dotted rhythms,
somewhat shadowing the voice. Brahms introduces his own
repetition of “mich fürder,” then repeats the entire line (without
“und”) as the buildup reaches its climax. The vocal descent
on the repetition also brings back the volume so that the next
line enters quietly.
0:28 [m. 9]--The rhythm of
both the accompaniment and the voice changes notably at the third
line, which briefly moves to C minor. The piano plays in a
triplet rhythm, with repeated chords alternating with thumping
bass notes. The vocal line is less angular, and arches
smoothly up and down, its straight rhythm creating a
two-against-three clash with the triplets in the piano. The
next two lines have bare repeated octaves in the piano, doubling
the vocal notes but still retaining the clashing triplet
rhythm. The fifth line of all stanzas is a repeated “in der
Nacht,” always given special notice by Brahms. The last line
restores the triplet chords in the right hand while the voice
widely arches up and down. The first syllable of “Bogen” is
stretched out on a long held note before a cadence in F minor.
0:47 [m. 15]--The cadence
introduces a dramatic interlude whose main melody is in the piano
bass. It winds up and down, first slowly, then somewhat more
actively. The right hand continues its clashing triplet
chords against the bass melody, which is in straight rhythm.
The interlude heavily features a harmony on G-flat major, a
half-step above the home key. This striking harmony is known
as the “Neapolitan” chord.
1:02 [m. 19]--Stanza 2 (B). The voice moves to a
higher pitch for this stanza. The right hand continues to
play triplet rhythms, but the repeated chords are replaced by a
more flowing line with static, repeated patterns of mostly
ascending arpeggios depicting the rushing stream. The piano
bass is directly imported from the vocal melody of stanza 1, its
dotted rhythm in octaves continuously clashing with the right hand
triplets. It helps to retain the dark mood, as the vocal
line is more gentle here, wistful rather than ominous.
1:14 [m. 23]--The third
line introduces another slow buildup. As in stanza 1, it
moves toward C minor. The piano bass retains the pattern of
the stanza 1 melody. At the fifth line, the repeated “in der
Nacht” sounds full of desperation. The last line has a
similar arching pattern to the third line of stanza 1 and reaches
the top of the buildup. It is echoed by the top line of the
piano. The line is then repeated on a descent as the music
settles back down. The second syllable of “zurücke” is on a
long held note. The stanza finishes and cadences in C minor,
and the triplet arpeggios continue that key in a brief rising
1:45 [m. 33]--Stanza 3 (B’). Sliding easily back
to F minor to begin, the vocal line in the entire stanza is
identical to that of stanza 2. The piano part is greatly
altered. The material from the stanza 1 melody moves to the
right hand in the piano’s high register, depicting the shining
stars and moon. In the first line, the stanza 1 melody is
harmonized in sixths. The piano left hand, now in the middle
range, has the triplet motion in an oscillating, undulating
pattern. In the second line, the right hand joins the
1:58 [m. 37]--The right
hand goes back to the stanza 1 melody under the third line.
In the fourth line, and continuing through the repeated “in der
Nacht,” it joins the left hand on the triplet rhythm. The
piano echo of the last line’s first statement is an octave higher
than it was in stanza 2. The descent on the line’s
repetition retains a delicate character in the right hand.
The long held note is on the first syllable of “Ferne” before
another cadence in C minor. The bridge essentially reverses
the rise after stanza 2 to a descent.
2:27 [m. 47]--Stanza 4 (A’). The music makes a
gradual transition back to the mood of stanza 1. The triplet
rhythm continues in both hands of the piano as the voice enters
with the stanza 1 melody, albeit a fifth higher than at the
beginning, remaining in C minor. The dotted rhythm in
octaves returns, only in the right hand, before the repetition of
“in der Nacht.” The undulating triplets continue in the left
2:37 [m. 50]--In the
stanza’s second line, the voice returns to the pitch level of
stanza 1. The only real difference is a more urgent
statement of “hinunter,” a word that is repeated in an analogy to
“mich fürder” in stanza 1. The whole line is then
repeated. The right hand is similar here to its part in
stanza 1, but it is an octave higher. The left hand
continues in the triplet motion. The repetition does not
diminish in volume, as it did in stanza 1, instead continuing the
very slow, steady buildup.
2:46 [m. 54]--The third
line is now the climax. The voice begins in a similar manner
to its pattern in stanza 1, but it continues to rise on “die Tage
verbracht.” The right hand now plays mostly in straight
sixths and the left hand triplets now are thumping responses to
low bass octaves. Instead of moving to C minor, where the
stanza already was at the beginning, the line moves to D-flat
minor. Then, unexpectedly, the line is repeated, which it
was not in stanza 1. The repetition is notated in G-flat
minor (the minor-key version of the “Neapolitan” harmony heard
earlier). Strongly accented chords emphasize the striking
3:01 [m. 58]--At a
suddenly quiet level (unlike the continuing quiet level in stanza
1), the bare octaves heard under the fourth and fifth lines in
stanza 1 are here heard again, along with the dark vocal melody
heard over these octaves (including the repeated “in der
Nacht”). They are, however, a half-step higher than they
were in stanza 1, remaining on the G-flat minor harmony.
Even the last line stays at this level at first, only sliding back
down to F minor at the very end. The first syllable of the
last word, “Reue,” is on the long held note. The cadence
matches that at the end of stanza 1.
3:18 [m. 62]--The piano
postlude uses the same material as the interlude after stanza
1. The melody has been transferred to the right hand, which
plays in full harmony, including the pervasive sixths. The
left hand has the triplets, which again are thumping responses to
low bass notes. As in the previous interlude, the
“Neapolitan” harmony of G-flat major, just heard in its minor
version at the end of stanza 4, is prevalent. The postlude
is louder than the interlude, and reaches a rich final cadence in
the home key, with three descending F-minor chords over the
continuing triplets and a bare low fifth after the last chord.
3:55--END OF SONG [67 mm.]
2. “Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen” (“To visit you no longer”).
Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer, adapted from a Czech folk
poem. Langsam (Slowly). Ternary form (ABA). D
MINOR, 3/2 time (High key F minor).
Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen
Beschloß ich und beschwor ich,
Und gehe jeden Abend,
Denn jede Kraft und jeden Halt verlor ich.
Ich möchte nicht mehr leben,
Möcht’ augenblicks verderben,
Und möchte doch auch leben
Für dich, mit dir, und nimmer, nimmer sterben.
Ach, rede, sprich ein Wort nur,
Ein einziges, ein klares;
Gib Leben oder Tod mir,
Nur dein Gefühl enthülle mir, dein wahres!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). The piano begins
playing in low octaves a beat before the voice haltingly enters on
its rising line, moving with the bass octaves. It leaps down
to a two-note “sigh” figure on “gehen.” There, the right
hand enters in the middle range on a three-note turn figure as the
voice pauses, illustrating the hesitancy described in the
text. The second line is set to this figure, alternating
with the piano. The word “und” is isolated, then the piano
plays the figure again in the right hand’s lower harmony.
The words “beschwor ich” reach higher. The piano’s low
octaves very slowly descend under the second line.
0:16 [m. 4]--The third
line is similar to the first, but is set a third higher and makes
a narrower leap to the “sigh” figure, which moves to G
minor. The setting of the fourth line is more than twice the
length of that of the second. This is because the text is
much longer and the words “denn jede Kraft” are repeated.
The vocal statements of the three-note figure alternate with the
piano again, but are followed by two-note “sighs.” Both
statements of “denn jede Kraft” as well as “und jeden Halt” are
isolated in this way in a long, slow descent moving back to D
minor. The last words, “verlor ich,” sink to a D-minor
cadence. A two-bar interlude based on lines 1 and 3 follows.
0:50 [m. 11]--Stanza 2 (B). The second stanza is
more animated and begins in the related major key of F. The
piano bass still mostly plays low, slow octaves, but the right
hand becomes very excited, introducing a triplet rhythm passed
between its low and high parts. It also rises for the first
time out of the middle range. The voice, beginning with a
descent that seems to turn the opening ascent of stanza 1 upside
down, is less halting and hesitant. Only the word
“Augenblicks” is repeated. Much of the piano right hand
nearly doubles the vocal line, but the differing rhythms always
offset them somewhat.
1:01 [m. 15]--The third
and fourth lines rise even higher. The third rapidly rises
in volume to the first forte
marking, the only one until the postlude. It leads directly
into the fourth line, the harmony becoming very unstable and
agitated. The repeated word “nimmer” suddenly arrests the
motion on “sigh” figures and descends to “sterben,” which is
dramatically lengthened. The left hand abandons its octaves
and introduces half-step “sigh” figures, but the right hand does
continue the triplet rhythm, albeit more haltingly.
1:16 [m. 20]--This
interlude is based on the music used to set “nimmer
sterben.” The right hand continues the halting triplets and
gradually descends back to the middle range. The speed and
volume both decrease, the mood darkens considerably, and the
return of the A material
for stanza 3 is prepared with a pause on the “dominant” chord
leading to D minor.
1:28 [m. 23]--Stanza 3 (A). The music is
essentially the same as stanza 1, but it is indicated to be sung
and played more quietly. The right hand provides another
octave doubling and harmony under line 1 that had not been there
before, but then the piano part is exactly reprised. The
word “einziges,” which alters the declamation of the isolated
fragment, is given a varied setting with a dotted rhythm and a
higher reach, and the isolated note used for “und” in stanza 1 is
omitted in compensation.
1:44 [m. 26]--The third
and fourth lines exactly reprise the music of 0:16 [m. 4].
The words “nur dein Gefühl” are repeated, and “dein wahres”
descends to the cadence. The two bars of the interlude
following stanza 1 are heard.
2:19 [m. 33]--The
interlude is extended as a postlude. The right hand begins a
similar statement of the opening line, but continues rising
upward. There is a dramatic rise in volume as well, and a
loud high chord descends in a “sigh” motion. This “sigh” is
repeated an octave lower. Under the “sighs,” the left hand
leaps to the middle range and begins a descending arpeggio, mostly
in octaves, that dramatically sinks down to the piano’s very low
register. The volume also descends to the final quiet chord.
2:47--END OF SONG [36 mm.]
3. “Ich schleich’ umher betrübt und stumm” (“I creep about, sad
and mute”). Text by August von Platen. Mäßig
(Moderately or Measured). Simple strophic form. D
MINOR, 3/4 time (High key F-sharp minor).
Ich schleich’ umher
Betrübt und stumm,
Du fragst, o frage
Mich nicht, warum?
Das Herz erschüttert
So manche Pein!
Und könnt’ ich je
Zu düster sein?
Der Baum verdorrt,
Der Duft vergeht,
Die Blätter liegen
So gelb im Beet,
Es stürmt ein Schauer
Mit Macht herein,
Und könnt’ ich je
Zu düster sein?
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
(strophe) 1. There is no introduction, and the melody begins
with an upbeat. The first two lines very narrowly wind
upward. The right hand of the piano doubles and harmonizes
the melody. The left hand has descending figures, in scales
with one internal skip, that illustrate the “creeping about” of
the text. The third and fourth lines descend, with a
half-step motion on “frage mich.” The left hand moves to
wider, more halting descents. The upward turn on the
question word “warum” is echoed by the piano.
0:18 [m. 10]--The fifth
line soars upward and rises in volume. The left hand moves
to a triplet rhythm, initially in broken octaves off the beat,
then in a wider arpeggio. This left hand pattern is given
again under the sixth line, which rises to a poignant dissonance
on “Pein” (“pain”). The B-flat minor arpeggio under this
word is foreign to both D minor and its related major key of F,
where the music had briefly moved.
0:25 [m. 14]--The last two
lines arch upward and back down, the left hand arpeggios now also
arching with reiteration of the descents. The end of the
last line, “zu düster sein,” turns back upward, avoiding a
cadence. Then the piano, in a sharp syncopation, begins an
abbreviated version of the phrase used to set the two lines.
The last line is repeated in the manner of a refrain, now
resignedly descending to the cadence.
0:38 [m. 21, first ending]--The
descent has settled the music down, and the piano left hand slows
to a straight rhythm in a last four-note descent. This leads
to the repetition for the second verse.
0:40 [m. 1]--Stanza
(strophe) 2. The first four lines are set to the same
music. The text is not quite as perfectly matched to the
music, but it does fit very well, with the fallen leaves set to
the half-step descent before the upward turn and piano echo.
1:01 [m. 10]--The fifth
and sixth lines are matched quite well to the music heard
initially at 0:18, with the dramatic upward rise depicting the
“storming shower,” but the dissonance on the second syllable of
“herein” is not as apt as it was on “Pein.”
1:08 [m. 14]--The last two
lines are an exact repetition of the music and text heard at 0:25,
with the refrain on “zu düster sein.”
1:22 [m. 21, second ending]--As
0:38, the left hand slows to a straight rhythm, but the last two
notes are doubled in length to lead to the final chord that
follows. It is played in the middle range with a low octave.
1:37--END OF SONG [22 mm.]
4. “Der Strom, der neben mir verrauschte” (“The stream that
rushed past me”). Text by August von Platen. Moderato,
ma agitato. Through-composed form with partial return.
C-SHARP MINOR, 4/4 time, with four 3/2 measures (High key E
Der Strom, der neben mir verrauschte, wo ist er nun?
Der Vogel, dessen Lied ich lauschte, wo ist er nun?
Wo ist die Rose, die die Freundin am Herzen trug?
Und jener Kuß, der mich berauschte, wo ist er nun?
Und jener Mensch, der ich gewesen, und den ich längst
Mit einem andern Ich vertauschte, wo ist er nun?
0:00 [m. 1]--Line 1.
An octave and a bass response in the piano are like a call to
attention before the extreme agitation of the song begins.
The piano plays triplet rhythms in both hands, beginning in the
bass, but these triplets initially have breaks between them.
Against this, the singer presents the assertive vocal melody in
straight dotted rhythm. When the voice arrives at the
refrain, “wo ist er nun?”, it shoots upward and holds the last
note. At that point, the piano triplets become
continuous. The piano bass roughly imitates and expands the
vocal ascent in straight rhythm against the right hand’s
undulating triplets. The refrain is lengthened by a 3/2
bar. The entire line builds to the high held note, then
recedes in the 3/2 bar.
0:13 [m. 6]--Line 2.
The pattern of line 1 is presented again, this time beginning a
fifth higher, in G-sharp minor. It is varied, however, as
the voice plunges downward on “Lied ich lauschte” instead of
making another stepwise ascent, as the analogous “mir verrauschte”
had done in line 1. This allows the harmony to make a
different shift, toward the related major key of E. Again, a
3/2 bar follows the refrain.
0:23 [m. 10]--Lines 3 and
4. These lines are run together, emphasizing the fact that
line 3 does not have the refrain. The piano triplets now
leap upward and again have breaks between them. The voice
sings the familiar assertive dotted rhythm, but the lines are
largely in the keys of E major and A major. The piano
triplets undulate again under line 4. The lines begin
gently, but rapidly build to the refrain.
0:34 [m. 15]--The refrain
is expanded by adding two aggressive descending statements of “wo
ist” before the line ascends to the held note as before.
These aggressive statements help to re-establish a minor key,
temporarily on A, before the ascent moves back to the home key of
C-sharp minor. This ascent is passed to the piano, which
plays it in thunderous bass octaves. The piano bridge is
expanded by a bar before the expected 3/2 bar, and the piano’s
entire ascent is repeated an octave higher.
0:44 [m. 19]--Lines 5 and
6. These lines are also run together in an even more direct
manner, since line 5 not only lacks the refrain, but also breaks
in mid-sentence. Because the preceding piano bridge did not
recede, the presentation begins strongly. Brahms includes
the marking “Più agitato.” The bass in the piano triplets is
heavier, and the patterns resemble those of lines 3 and 4.
The vocal line seems to begin with the music of line 1 and then
move to that of line 4, so there is a sense of an aborted partial
return. Before the refrain, the music arrives at an A-major
chord, and the piano breaks its triplets into groups of two in a
huge ascent. This creates an extremely unsettled effect and
an even greater sense of buildup.
0:53 [m. 24]--As after
line 4, the refrain is preceded by two aggressive statements of
“wo ist.” This time, they leap more strongly and widely
downward, creating an even more desperate effect. The music,
including the vocal ascent, is temporarily in D minor. It
turns out that each of the four vocal ascents on the refrain has
been a step higher than the last one. As after line 4, the
piano’s ascent is extended with an added bar before the 3/2
measure. The piano brings the harmony home to C-sharp
minor. In the 3/2 bar itself, the voice sings a last
statement of the refrain in longer notes as the music begins to
1:04 [m. 28]--As the voice
reaches its top note in the longer refrain, three 4/4 bars serve
as postlude. The piano purely imitates this last refrain in
full right-hand harmony while the left hand descends in sonorous
octaves. The final vocal note is not the keynote, but the
third above it, emphasizing the question of the refrain.
When the piano arrives at the top of its statement, the volume
recedes again as the piano triplets undulate in the middle of the
texture. Further slowing and quieting lead to the last
chord, played under the held final top note of the piano imitation
and thus retaining the questioning uncertainty to the end.
1:25--END OF SONG [31 mm.]
5. “Wehe, so willst du mich wieder” (“Alas, so you would
again [imprison] me”--German syntax here necessitates reaching to
the second line for a sensible English translation of the first,
which includes the German word for “me” but lacks the one for
“imprison” ). Text by August von Platen.
Allegro. Simple strophic form with postlude. B MINOR,
9/8 time (Low key G minor).
Wehe, so willst du mich wieder,
Hemmende Fessel, umfangen?
Auf, und hinaus in die Luft!
Ströme der Seele Verlangen,
Ström’ es in brausende Lieder,
Saugend ätherischen Duft!
Strebe dem Wind nur entgegen
Daß er die Wange dir kühle,
Grüße den Himmel mit Lust!
Werden sich bange Gefühle
Im Unermeßlichen regen?
Atme den Feind aus der Brust!
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
9/8 motion is established with repeated left hand notes. A
descending pattern is followed by a leap in the right hand.
The pattern is given twice, the second time an octave higher.
0:03 [m. 3]--Stanza
(strophe) 1. The repeated chords move to the right
hand. The singer enters with a melody derived from the
introduction pattern. After the first line, the piano
bass is given the same melodic line. The second line shoots
upward and reaches a half-cadence. The piano then continues
in an interlude where the bass takes the prevalent downward
arching pattern three times in succession, giving heavy emphasis
to the “dominant” key (F-sharp) under right hand repeated chords
and accented syncopations.
0:12 [m. 9]--The third
line begins on an upbeat that is held into the next bar. It
dovetails with the last left-hand pattern on the main melodic
line. The line is joyously set twice in succession, first in
the home major key (B major), and then in the “dominant”
(F-sharp), where it reaches a cadence. The grouping of beats
here obscures the 9/8 meter and seems more like 6/8. The
heavy piano bass always moves under the held vocal notes.
Both the voice and the piano bass move to duple groupings right
before the cadence after the second statement, clashing with the
right hand chords and further obscuring the 9/8 meter.
0:19 [m. 13]--The cadence
leads into a short interlude that moves to a new key center,
notated as A-flat minor (a key closely related to B major when
notated as G-sharp minor). The volume diminishes, but the
piano bass continues to play arpeggios in the clashing duple
0:22 [m. 15]--The fourth
and fifth lines use a winding melody in A-flat minor and A-flat
major respectively, and are very similar except for the shift of
mode. The quiet intensity is maintained by the piano bass,
which continues to play in the duple rhythm, this time on a strong
descent. The right hand, which maintains the triple 9/8
grouping, has moved to an oscillating instead of repeated-chord
motion. The fifth vocal line takes up the duple rhythm at
the very end, right before another left hand descent in the
0:28 [m. 19]--The last
line begins on another upbeat that is held into the next
bar. It steadily builds, repeating the word “saugend” before
continuing. The left hand continues its duple rhythm lines
until it reaches longer notes under “ätherischen Duft.” The
key center moves to D-flat major (which seems more closely related
to the home key if notated as C-sharp).
0:34 [m. 23]--The last
line is repeated in a very exuberant manner, again repeating
“saugend,” leaping an octave on the second statement of the
word. At this point, the vocal line joins the duple grouping
of the left hand, which already started again under the first
“saugend.” Also, the key center moves dramatically back home
to B, but it is B major,
and the voice reaches an ecstatic cadence, remaining in this major
key and returning to the triple 9/8 motion after the long-held
second syllable of “ätherischen.”
0:41 [m. 27]--While the
voice remains in major, at the cadence, the piano violently shifts
things back to minor, entering with the introduction music under
the last vocal note on “Duft.” The second bar of the
introduction is the first of the notated repeat (m. 2).
0:44 [m. 3]--Stanza
(strophe) 2. Lines 1 and 2 are set as in strophe 1 at 0:03,
followed by the interlude.
0:52 [m. 9]--Line 3 set
twice, in B major and F-sharp major, obscuring the 9/8 meter as at
0:59 [m. 13]--Interlude
moving to A-flat minor with piano bass in duple rhythm, as at
1:02 [m. 15]--Lines 4 and
5 in A-flat minor and A-flat major, as at 0:22. Here, line 5
is given a somewhat different vocal line because the text in this
strophe is declaimed and accented differently. Instead of
being highly similar to line 4, the new line begins with an upbeat
and is in duple rhythm throughout. From the last two
syllables of “Unermeßlichen” (which were already in duple rhythm
in strophe 1), the line is as in strophe 1. The piano part
1:08 [m. 19]--The first
statement of the last line, as at 0:28. Note that the
repeated word, “atme” (“exhale”) is a near opposite of the
corresponding word in strophe 1 (“saugend”=“inhaling”).
Motion to D-flat major.
1:14 [m. 23]--Repetition
of the last line with motion back to B major, as at 0:34.
“Atme” is again repeated. The long-held note is on a single
word, the highly appropriate “Feind” (“enemy”).
1:21 [m. 27]--As before,
the piano moves violently back to minor with a repeat of the
introduction music (m. 28 is identical to m. 2). This time,
the introduction leads into a rather dark postlude, which remains
in minor until the very end. The bass moves back to triple
motion and introduces a sinister-sounding, winding descending line
that reaches to the low bass and quiets dramatically under
accented cross groupings. Three last cadence gestures retain
the 9/8 pulsations, which slow to duple rhythm again before the
last grim chord.
1:43--END OF SONG [34 mm.]
6. “Du sprichst, daß ich mich täuschte” (“You say that I
deluded myself”). Text by August von Platen. Andante
con moto. Highly varied strophic form. C MINOR, 4/4
time (Low key A minor).
Du sprichst, daß ich mich täuschte,
Beschworst es hoch und hehr,
Ich weiß ja doch, du liebtest,
Allein du liebst nicht mehr!
Dein schönes Auge brannte,
Die Küsse brannten sehr,
Du liebtest mich, bekenn es,
Allein du liebst nicht mehr!
Ich zähle nicht auf neue,
Gesteh nur, daß du liebtest,
Und liebe mich nicht mehr!
0:00 [m. 1]--The
introduction sets up the melancholy mood. The right hand
melody in long-short rhythm, beautifully harmonized with thirds
and sixths, is played over a persistent off-beat broken octave in
the bass. Halfway through, the bottom voice of the right
hand becomes independent, moving in a memorable way that includes
isolated triplet groups.
0:16 [m. 5]--Stanza
(strophe) 1. The first two lines continue the rhythm of the
introduction. The accompaniment, which continues the rhythm
of the introduction’s broken octaves, is completely in the low and
middle register and is richly harmonized, giving it an ominous
effect. The bass notes slowly descend by half-steps,
reaching into the piano’s lowest register.
0:31 [m. 9]--The last two
lines become more insistent. The voice has three descending
lines, each one beginning higher and increasing in
intensity. The piano bass alternates between upper harmonies
(largely thirds and fourths) and lower bass notes. The right
hand harmonizes the voice. After a rest, it enters as a
bridge between the first and second descending lines and, after a
shorter rest, speeds up under the last and highest descent, an
impassioned climax. There, it is played in powerful parallel
sixths. The last descent repeats the final line, without
“allein” and with an added statement of “du liebest.” The
last notes are lengthened as they approach the cadence and recede
in volume. The left hand rises to an anguished dissonance on
an arpeggio in triplet rhythm.
0:51 [m. 14]-At the
cadence, the introduction is played again.
1:06 [m. 18]--Stanza
(strophe) 2. The first two lines have the same rhythm as in
stanza 1, but the melody is changed. It becomes suddenly
brighter, moving gradually to E-flat, the “relative” major key to
C minor. It also incorporates larger leaps. The piano,
rather than using only the ominous rhythm from the bass of the
introduction, continues with the independent inner voice heard at
the end of the introduction, the memorable line including triplet
1:21 [m. 22]--The last two
lines emerge to their original melody as heard in stanza 1 at 0:31
[m. 9]. The piano, however, takes some time to catch up,
indulging in major-key harmonies for a bit, but utilizing the same
rhythm and texture as before. It arrives at its original
harmonies under the second descent. The climax on the third
descent is as before, culminating on the left hand triplet
arpeggio and dissonance. The text is the same here as in
stanza 1, with the same repetition.
1:41 [m. 27]--The
introduction is played for a third time, as after stanza 1.
1:56 [m. 31]--Stanza
(strophe) 3. As in stanza 2, the memorable internal line
with triplet rhythms continues here. It is played over a
persistent bass pedal point on C and works its way downward to the
low register. The right hand plays slower chords that
suggest F minor, and the ominous off-beat rhythm is completely
absent. The vocal line itself is narrower and more subdued
than in stanza 2, but it has the same rhythm.
2:12 [m. 35]--The last two
lines are greatly altered, reflecting the change of text from an
assertion to a challenge directed at the former lover. The
right hand is harmonized mostly in sixths. It retains the
rest pattern of the other two stanzas, but doubles the vocal line
more directly. The left hand retains its pedal point on
C under the first descent (which begins lower than in the
first two stanzas), but moves to F under the second descent,
confirming a complete motion to F minor. Instead of moving
directly to the expected third descent and text repetition, the
line breaks off, leaving the piano to play another brief bridge.
2:25 [m. 39]--The final
descent is more assertive. It repeats the whole line, giving
emphasis through lengthening to two statements of the now
imperative word “liebe.” The piano plays thirds that
resemble the sixths heard under the last descent in the first two
stanzas. The intensity increases and does not relent as the
music moves back to the home key of C. Somewhat strangely,
it is C major, but the major key has an assertive rather than a
comforting effect. As the voice rises on the last three
words, the memorable internal melody with triplets returns along
with the ominous off-beat rhythm on octaves and fifths.
Neither the voice not the top line of the piano ends on the
keynote (rather the “dominant” note a fifth above), but the
internal melody and the final bass arpeggio (which reaches very
low) do end there in a powerful manner.
3:01--END OF SONG [43 mm.]
7. “Bitteres zu sagen denkst du” (“You are thinking of
something bitter to say”). Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer,
adapted from the Persian by Hafis. Con moto, espressivo ma
grazioso. Highly varied strophic form. F MAJOR, 4/4
time (Low key D major).
Bitteres zu sagen denkst du;
Aber nun und nimmer kränkst du,
Ob du noch so böse bist.
Deine herben Redetaten
Scheitern an korall’ner Klippe,
Werden all zu reinen Gnaden,
Denn sie müssen, um zu schaden,
Schiffen über eine Lippe,
Die die Süße selber ist.
Section 1--Lines 1-5.
0:00 [m. 1]--A two-bar
introduction anticipates the vocal melody of the first line.
It also establishes the accompaniment pattern with flowing left
hand notes in groups of seven beginning just off the beat.
The melody gently arches with mild long-short groups. The
left hand groups wind upward and leap back down.
0:07 [m. 3]--Lines
1-3. The voice enters, exactly repeating the piano’s
introductory melody. The piano itself repeats the
introduction, doubling the voice as it will for most of the
song. The second and third lines introduce some notes from
the minor key with wide leaps up in the second line and down in
the third. The piano right hand plays chords supporting the
melodic doubling (which briefly breaks under the word “nimmer” as
the piano repeats the previous bar a third lower). The left
hand patterns remain similar until the end, where they are broken
into rising three-note groups. The piano echoes “böse bist”
as a bridge.
0:26 [m. 10]--Lines
4-5. These lines are set to two statements of the same
arching line. Line 5 is a third higher than line 4.
The piano left hand groups now wind upward, alternating between
pairs of three-note groups and the longer seven-note groups.
Each line has one alternation. Line 4 seems to move to
A-flat major (related to F minor) and line 5 seems to move to C
0:36 [m. 14]--Line 5 is
repeated, continuing the sequence a third higher and
re-establishing F major. It begins off the downbeat,
separating “scheitern” from the rest of the line with a
rest. The longer vocal notes break from the rhythm of the
right hand, which retains the long-short rhythm, although the
piano’s top voice still doubles the pitches of the vocal
line. There is a broad rise in volume as the highest note is
reached, then a diminishing as the voice arches back down.
The piano moves faster than the voice here, anticipating the vocal
descent. In the left hand, four three-note groups are
followed by a seven-note rising group, then two four-note descents
under “Klippe.” There, the right hand remains static as the
voice “catches up” to it.
Section 2--Lines 6-9
0:47 [m. 18]--A piano
interlude arches up and down in the dotted rhythm, introducing
three-note leaping descents (still beginning off the beat) in the
0:53 [m. 20]--Lines
6-7. Line 6 is set to the same music as line 1. Line 7
is nearly the same as line 2, but the voice now joins the piano on
the sequential repetition. In line 2, the voice had briefly
broken from the piano at that point under “nimmer,” leaping back
upward before coming together with the piano again.
1:04 [m. 24]--Lines
8-9. Line 8 begins as had line 3, but diverges strongly at
the words “eine Lippe.” Line 3 had come to a pause and a
break at that point, but here, line 8 continues the sequential
arching lines, flowing directly into line 9. The end of line
8 and the beginning of line 9 essentially condense the music of
lines 4 and 5 from 0:26 [m. 10] with new harmonies of G minor and
B-flat major. The left hand groups do break into three-note
units at the same point where they did in line 3, here under “eine
Lippe.” These continue until line 9 rises to a long high
note on “selber,” where the left hand moves back to a seven-note
group (the long high note is similar to the one in the line 5
repetition). The piano breaks its vocal doubling here,
“filling in” a leaping descent from the top vocal note.
1:16 [m. 28]--Line 9 is
repeated immediately after it is completed, beginning on a
syncopated long note after the downbeat. It makes a wide
leap up and back down on longer notes. Another upward leap
on “selber” then jumps back down to the cadence. This shape
actually recalls the interlude from 0:47 [m. 18]. The right
hand still doubles the voice here, but the voice delays the last
syllable of “selber” before the cadence. In the left hand,
two seven-note groups are followed by a pair of three-note groups
1:23 [m. 31]--With the
vocal cadence, the piano begins a postlude. It begins with
the two bars of the introduction. The descent of the second
bar is then stretched out in longer notes. Under the last of
these longer notes, the left-hand plays a rising arpeggio, still
in a seven-note group. This arpeggio slows and
diminishes. The right hand reiterates its final harmony (a
third) in a wistful manner to close the song.
1:47--END OF SONG [35 mm.]
8. “So stehn wir, ich und meine Weide” (“So we
stand, I and my mistress”). Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer,
adapted from the Persian by Hafis. In gehender Bewegung
(With steady motion). Through-composed form with partial
return. A-FLAT MAJOR, Cut time [2/2] (Low
key G major).
So stehn wir, ich und meine Weide,
So leider miteinander beide.
Nie kann ich ihr was tun zu Liebe,
Nie kann sie mir was tun zu Leide.
Sie kränket es, wenn ich die Stirn ihr
Mit einem Diadem bekleide;
Ich danke selbst, wie für ein Lächeln
Der Huld, für ihre Zornbescheide.
0:00 [m. 1]--Lines
1-2. The voice begins with no introduction. It
outlines a descending chord in F minor on “So stehn wir.”
The right hand begins to play ascending groups of two notes in
triplet rhythm with a rest on the first part of each triplet
group. After three of them, the second note of
each group is harmonized with another note. As the voice
continues with the line, the bass imitates the descending broken
chord, first a third lower, than a fifth. The vocal line
itself is in straight duple rhythm, clashing with the right hand
off-beat triplets. The continuing melody seems to want to
confirm A-flat major despite the opening F-minor outline.
The word “Beide” is lengthened, and the right hand plays an
arpeggio as a bridge.
0:15 [m. 8]--Line 3.
The long middle section begins here. The musical phrases all
begin with an ascending four-note group starting with a
long-short-short rhythm. In this line, the four-note ascent
is followed by a downward arpeggio and an upward leap to a delayed
downward resolution on “Liebe.” The piano left hand
continues to play repeated two-note harmonies in triplet rhythm,
holding notes over the strong beats and clashing with the vocal
rhythm. The harmony turns toward E-flat on the resolving
0:19 [m. 11]--Line
4. In this line, the four-note ascent begins a fifth lower
and is followed by a further ascent, at the top of which is the
word “Leide.” It is given a greatly extended descent on four
longer notes, the second of which is syncopated.
The volume swells to the first note of “Leide,” then
recedes. The left hand triplets now play flowing arpeggios,
arching descents at first, and then ascents under “Leide.”
They still avoid the downbeats until “Leide,” where the arpeggio
actually begins with a low note on the downbeat, but this only
occurs once. The descent on “Leide” moves strongly toward C
minor, but the cadence diverts the expectation to a C major chord. At that
cadence, the piano echoes the “Leide” descent a fourth lower.
0:29 [m. 17]--Lines
5-6. Here two lines are combined into a longer phrase.
After the initial four-note ascent, the voice meanders down and
back up, finally reaching a high note on “Diadem.” The
triplets now move to the right hand in repeated harmonies, still
avoiding the downbeat of each bar. The phrase vacillates
between F minor and C minor/major. The buildup to the top
note here is particularly arduous, and is rewarded by another
climax and a downbeat on the triplet group under the second
syllable of “bekleide.” This is also reflected in the
piano’s following echo a third lower.
0:41 [m. 25]--Lines
7-8. This phrase begins in a similar manner to the previous
one, but with altered notes and intervals. The triplets have
now moved to an internal voice, and they now include the
downbeats. On the words “für ihre,” the voice sings a strong
ascent, and uses the triplet rhythm for the only time before
turning around on “Zornbescheide.” Here, the harmony and key
are clearly in F major, then F minor. The piano echoes the
triplet ascent and decorates the descent with a higher note and
faster internal notes. The descending broken chord that
opened the song enters in the bass under both the vocal and piano
0:53 [m. 32]--At the end
of the piano descent, the triplets move to the piano bass under
the delayed resolution. They again omit the first
beats. They are played on octave C’s, moving up one octave
after two of them, and then up a second octave in preparation for
the return of the opening vocal melody.
0:58 [m. 35]--The first
two lines are repeated in a partial return. The first line
is stated as at the opening. The second line begins as
before, but at “einander,” it makes an unexpected
turnaround. It seems to lose its way and haltingly repeats
“so leider” before breaking off. Meanwhile, the bass adds
two more statements of the descending broken chord, one outlining
C minor, and another outlining B-flat minor (a chord that played a
large role in the middle section).
1:14 [m. 43]--The text of
the line is completed with “mit einander Beide,” sliding up very
secretively and quietly on half-steps and becoming steadily
slower. Under this, two of the descending broken chords are
heard in the bass, one on C minor and another on A-flat
major. The music struggles to decide upon which one to
settle. The indecision reflects the state between the
irreconcilable couple depicted in the ironic text.
1:23 [m. 47]--The same
line is echoed by the piano in the postlude, with the same two
broken chords in the bass. The note that was used for
“Beide” is lengthened by a bar, which allows the A-flat harmony to
be prolonged and to finally win out, as confirmed by the final
chord. Only then do we really know the “home key” of this
harmonically ambiguous song. The entire postlude gradually
1:47--END OF SONG [51 mm.]
9. “Wie bist du, meine Königin” (“How
[blissful] you are, my queen”). Text by Georg Friedrich
Daumer, adapted from the Persian by Hafis. Adagio.
Varied strophic form. E-FLAT MAJOR, 3/8 time (Low key D-flat
Wie bist du, meine Königin,
Durch sanfte Güte wonnevoll!
Du lächle nur, Lenzdüfte wehn
Durch mein Gemüte wonnevoll!
Frisch aufgeblühter Rosen Glanz,
Vergleich ich ihn dem deinigen?
Ach, über alles, was da blüht,
Ist deine Blüte, wonnevoll!
Durch tote Wüsten wandle hin,
Und grüne Schatten breiten sich,
Ob fürchterliche Schwüle dort
Ohn Ende brüte, wonnevoll!
Laß mich vergehn in deinem Arm!
Es ist in ihm ja selbst der Tod,
Ob auch die herbste Todesqual
Die Brust durchwüte, wonnevoll!
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
hand spins out a melody in two lines of counterpoint, both
beginning with a descending line. The bottom voice begins,
then the top voice enters over it in the second bar. Both
lines include isolated dotted rhythms. The expressive
counterpoint is gentle and melodious. The left hand plays
wide, rich arpeggios beginning off the beat. In the fifth
and last bar, the arpeggio begins on the beat.
0:16 [m. 6]--Stanza
1. The first two lines are each set to three-bar
phrases. The melody is derived from the introduction’s
opening descent. The second line reverses the
direction. The left hand arpeggios are more flowing and
undulating, and a second voice is added to the left hand.
The right hand loosely doubles the vocal line and bridges the
phrases. The accentuation of the text in these lines
(emphasis on the last syllables of “Königin” and “wonnevoll”) is
problematic and has resulted in some criticism of this famous
song. An ascending left hand arpeggio leads into the next
0:33 [m. 12]--The third
line and most of the fourth line (excluding the last “wonnevoll,”
which will function as a refrain) are combined in a gently winding
four-bar phrase. It begins with a very mild harmonic
diversion that emphasizes the key of A-flat. Here, some of
the arpeggios in the left hand again begin off the beat, and the
right hand is more independent of the voice.
0:45 [m. 16]--The piano
leads in the refrain on “wonnevoll,” playing the gently leaping
descent before it is taken by the voice. The piano descends
again as the word is completed, and the singer repeats the word in
a very satisfying, wide cadence.
0:58 [m. 20]--Overlapping
with the cadence, the piano begins a repetition of the
1:13 [m. 25]--Stanza
2. The first two lines are largely the same as in stanza 1,
including the piano part. The declamation and rhythm are
significantly changed at the end of the second line, placing a
syncopation and emphasis on the first syllable of
1:29 [m. 31]--The third
line and all of the fourth line except “wonnevoll” are set as in
1:40 [m. 35]--The refrain
on “wonnevoll” is again given with the piano leading, as in stanza
1:51 [m. 39]--The cadence
overlaps with another full repetition of the introduction.
2:05 [m. 44]--Stanza
3. This stanza is highly varied. The first two lines
are still set to three-bar phrases, but the first line begins with
an ascent. The melody begins in the home minor key (E-flat
minor). Under the first line, the hands are doubled in
octaves on an undulation. An arpeggio leads to the second
line. It has the same contour as in the other stanzas, but
is shifted up a half-step to E major. The accompaniment is
at a lower pitch and more richly harmonized than in the first two
2:22 [m. 50]--The third
and fourth lines (as always, without “wonnevoll”) are again highly
varied. The piano has the first heavy accents in the song,
with syncopated thirds above ominous two-note descents. The
vocal line begins in a similar manner to the other stanzas, but it
is in a minor key (E minor). It also reiterates lower notes
instead of making a graceful leap at the end of the third
line. There is a leap to a syncopation at the fourth line,
which is augmented to longer notes. Here the music shifts
back down a half-step to E-flat, but remains in minor. The
strong syncopations and accents continue in the piano and extend a
bar beyond the vocal line. The extension and lengthening
create a six-bar phrase.
2:38 [m. 56]--The voice
now leads the refrain on “wonnevoll.” The piano plays
inward-converging arpeggios as the word is sung in the striking
key of C-flat major. The piano arpeggios bridge to the
expected repetition. The singer here presents the first two
syllables twice so that the voice can be shifted to its original
position (having begun the refrain a bar earlier) for the
cadence. When the word is sung in full, an incredibly
beautiful and dramatic harmonic shift leads to the home key and
the original warm cadence.
2:52 [m. 60]--The
introduction is repeated for a fourth statement, again in overlap
with the cadence.
3:10 [m. 65]--Stanza
4. The first two lines are set as in stanza 1 (except for a
longer note on the downbeat at the beginning of the second
line). Here, the accentuation fits the music perfectly, so
it is possible that it was composed for this stanza first.
3:28 [m. 71]--The third
and fourth lines (without “wonnevoll”) are set in nearly the same
way as in the first two stanzas, but Brahms introduces more
chromatic notes (through lowering by half-step of F and C) to
illustrate the severe words “Todesqual” and “durchwüte.”
Here, the music touches again on E major (notated as F-flat) as
well as the A-flat (now minor) heard in the first two stanzas.
3:40 [m. 75]--This last
“wonnevoll” refrain is a sort of hybrid between the two previous
versions. Like the version used for stanza 3, the voice
leads the piano, then reiterates the first two syllables in the
repetition to arrive at the original cadence. Like the
version used in the first two stanzas, it is in the home key
throughout, and uses the accompaniment patterns heard in those
stanzas. Instead of leading back into the introduction, the
cadence is followed by another E-flat chord with a left hand
arpeggio, then a final chord.
4:22--END OF SONG [81 mm.]
END OF SET
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