FIFTEEN ROMANCES FROM L. TIECK’S “MAGELONE” (SONG
CYCLE), OP. 33
The song cycle was one of the most quintessential
products of early romanticism in music. The great examples
of Schubert and Schumann, and the later French cycles by composers
such as Fauré, are among the most familiar of all art songs.
It is rather curious, then, that the spiritual follower of
Schubert and Schumann in song composition should have only
composed one real “song cycle.” It is even more curious
that, while including much great music, it is not entirely
successful. By definition, a “song cycle” consists of songs
setting a single poet, and the settings are typically of poems
that were grouped together by the poet himself. The
“Magelone” romances fit that definition. The cycle is one of
the major products of the “first maturity,” the second of the four
periods of composition traditionally assigned to Brahms. It
is not only by far his largest group of songs, but it is one of
his largest single works overall. It takes nearly an hour to
perform it. Not only is the cycle long as a whole, but it
consists of very long songs. Brahms avoided strophic forms,
opting for dramatic shifts in tempo, rhythm, and musical
material. Many of them are unusually sectional, beginning
and ending with contrasting moods and content. The piano
parts are also quite elaborate, and several songs have extensive
introductions and postludes. Brahms never again wrote
anything quite like these songs, and the cycle is a fine example
of the temperament of the mature but still youthful composer at
his most romantic phase, before growing the famous beard and
coming to represent the preservation of tradition in “serious”
Recording: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim,
piano [DG 449 633-2]
published 1865. Numbers 7-15 published 1868-69.
Dedicated to Julius Stockhausen.
Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853) was a popular early romantic poet and
dramatist. The poems that Brahms set in his Op. 33 came not
from a collection of verse. They were lyrical “interludes”
in Tieck’s short novel The
Wondrous Love Story of the Beautiful Magelone and Count Peter of
Provence. The novel was a favorite of Brahms in his
youth. The poems comment somewhat on the action of the
novel. Most of the settings are in the voice of the
protagonist, Count Peter, so the cycle is almost always performed
by a man, but No. 13 is in the voice of the sultan’s
daughter. Brahms omitted two of Tieck’s seventeen poems
(both coming between No. 14 and No. 15). He clearly wanted
to convey the drama of the novel in the course of his cycle.
This explains the many large and unusual forms employed.
Nos. 3, 6, and 9 reach a length and scope of material not
otherwise seen in Brahms’s song output, and No. 1 is also an
unusually large narrative structure. There are shorter
songs, however, such as No. 2. Brahms enters a world of
chivalry in this song and in others. There are imitations of
Peter’s lute, suggestive galloping rhythms, and even a sweet
lullaby (but on a far grander scale than the extremely famous
lullaby from Op. 49) in No. 9.
The guides below will provide a brief outline (in italics) of the
story leading to each poem. This outline comes from Stanley
Appelbaum’s translations of the texts in the Dover edition of the
songs. In a later edition of the poems alone (excluding No.
2), Tieck gave them one-word titles (usually a noun expressing an
emotional state). The novel (which Brahms used) included
titles for only Nos. 10 and 13.
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily
Ezust’s site at http://www.lieder.net.
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; matches the revisions of Nos. 3 and 4 in
the complete edition described in the notes at the bottom of the
guide, and also includes a similar discrepancy in mm. 63-65 of No.
4 that did not make it into the complete edition)
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche
Werke--original keys; includes the
revisions of Nos. 3 and 4, which Brahms
apparently later rejected, as described at the bottom of the
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max
Keinen hat es noch gereut (original key)
Traun! Bogen und Pfeil sind gut für den Feind (original key)
Sind es Schmerzen, sind es Freuden (original key--includes the
original version of the passage described in the note at the
bottom of the guide as a variant reading)
Liebe kam aus fernen Landen (original key--contains the original
version of the passage described in the note at the bottom of the
guide, which is sung by Fischer-Dieskau in the recording)
So willst du des Armen dich gnädig erbarmen? (original key)
Wie soll ich die Freude, die Wonne denn tragen? (original key)
War es dir, dem diese Lippen bebten? (original key)
Wir müssen uns trennen, geliebtes Saitenspiel (original key)
Ruhe, Süßliebchen, im Scatten (original key)
10: Verzweiflung. So tönet denn schäumende Wellen
11: Wie schnell verschwindet so Licht als Glanz (original
12: Muß es eine Trennung geben (original key)
13: Sulima. Geliebter, wo zaudert dein irrender Fuß?
14: Wie froh und frisch mein Sinn sich hebt (original key)
15: Treue Liebe dauert lange (original key)
1-15 (Low key edition, complete--includes
original versions of the passages from Nos. 3
and 4 as described in the notes at the bottom of the guide)
1. “Keinen hat es noch gereut” (“No one has yet regretted”).
Allegro. Through-composed form with rondo-like
elements. E-FLAT MAJOR, 3/4 time (Low key C major).
[Title in later edition: Ermunterung
The young knight Peter is full of unformulated dreams until a
wandering minstrel sings this song.
Keinen hat es noch gereut,
Der das Roß bestiegen,
Um in frischer Jugendzeit
Durch die Welt zu fliegen.
Berge und Auen,
Mädchen und Frauen
Prächtig im Kleide,
Alles erfreut ihn mit schöner Gestalt.
Wünsche in jugendlich trunkenem Sinn.
Ruhm streut ihm Rosen
Schnell in die Bahn,
Lieben und Kosen,
Lorbeer und Rosen
Führen ihn höher und höher hinan.
Rund um ihn Freuden,
Erliegend, den Held. -
Dann wählt er bescheiden
Das Fräulein, das ihm nur vor allen gefällt.
Und Berge und Felder
Und einsame Wälder
Mißt er zurück.
Die Eltern in Tränen,
Ach, alle ihr Sehnen -
Sie alle verreinigt das lieblichste Glück.
Sind Jahre verschwunden,
Erzählt er dem Sohn
In traulichen Stunden,
Und zeigt seine Wunden,
Der Tapferkeit Lohn.
So bleibt das Alter selbst noch jung,
Ein Lichtstrahl in der Dämmerung.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. The piano sets up a strong opening with ascending chords
blatantly imitating a pair of hunting horns playing (the harmony
is the so-called “horn fifths” progression of the natural
horn). The declamation of the first two lines of the
introductory first stanza continues this emphatic character.
They begin with a decisive descending arpeggio whose importance
will be revealed at the end of the last song.
0:10 [m. 14]--The piano
tentatively begins the “galloping” rhythm that will characterize
and unify much of the song. It is typically a turning figure
moving down to a note a half-step lower and back. The
remainder of stanza 1 is sung above the “galloping” rhythm, now in
0:18 [m. 26]--An interlude
now has the “galloping” rhythm even lower in the bass while the
“horn fifth” harmonies are heard in the right hand, briefly
suggesting the minor key. The entire first stanza and this
interlude could be considered an “introduction” to the rest of the
song, as the stage has been set, the “characters” introduced
(especially the “galloping” rhythm), and the action seems to get
moving with the second stanza. The music begins to die down
in preparation for the next vocal entrance, but the “galloping”
remains constant in the bass.
0:30 [m. 41]--Stanza
2. The vocal “hook” at the beginning of this stanza is heard
frequently and also contributes to unifying a song with an
irregular form. The vocal line largely matches the
prevailing rhythm with a jaunty, upbeat melody. The piano
incorporates the “galloping” rhythm into thicker chords.
There is some harmonic color introduced in the last two lines,
which come to an incomplete close. A brief bridge leads to
the next stanza.
0:44 [m. 60]--Stanza
3. The rhythm continues, but the musical material is
new. The stanza is also shorter (the poem is obviously
irregular in the length and meter of its stanzas). The vocal
line is higher at the beginning. The entire stanza is much
more quiet. The music turns to the minor at the end of the
verse, and the last line (except for “Wünsche”) is repeated.
0:55 [m. 75]--A more
substantial, but rather bare interlude leads to the next verse,
continuing in minor.
1:01 [m. 82]--Stanza
4. In the only large scale repetition in the song, the music
matches that of stanza 2, although the opening vocal “hook” will
again appear in stanzas 6 and 7, which veer in new
directions. Although stanza 4 is shorter than stanza 2 in
the poem, Brahms tailors it to match the music by repeating the
words “führen ihn höher.” The same brief bridge follows, as
in stanza 2.
1:15 [m. 101]--Stanza
5. Although the contour of the melody is different, it is
extremely similar to that of stanza 3, and the piano matches
stanza 3 exactly at the beginning, although the voice is
louder. The first three lines correspond quite closely to
that verse. The point of divergence is the key change, which
is now to G minor instead of the “home” minor key of E-flat.
The last line, together with “beneiden” from the second, are
repeated to approximate the length of the third verse. The
word “Freuden” from line 1 is also stated twice in
succession. A brief interlude with chromatic motion leads to
the last two lines of the stanza.
1:30 [m. 121]--The last
two lines are set to completely new music. The “galloping”
rhythm finally takes a break for the line mentioning the feminine
element, and the music takes an appropriately contemplative
turn. The line is set twice. The first is in G major,
matching the G minor of the preceding cadence. The piano
left hand has leaps down to wide broken octaves under right hand
harmonies that follow the vocal line. There are some
chromatic notes. It does not come to a complete close, and
an altered version of the “chromatic” interlude before 1:30
modulates to E-flat, where the second statement begins.
1:42 [m. 135]--The second
statement corresponds to the first statement, but slight
alterations to the melody place it in the home key of E-flat
rather than A-flat, which would have been expected since the
melody begins a half-step above the first statement. A
repetition of the words “vor allen” strongly asserts E-flat, and a
full close coincides with a return to the “galloping” rhythm and a
slightly longer version of the “brief bridge” heard after stanzas
2 and 4.
1:57 [m. 153]--Stanza
6. The “galloping” rhythm having been reintroduced, it is
quickly abandoned again in favor of arching right-hand arpeggios
with the top note repeated and a slower left hand mostly in
octaves. The “hook” from stanzas 2 and 4 is heard, but the
melody moves in new directions. A brief motion to minor is
heard in the second line. The music seems to be building and
striving higher. In the last two lines, echo effects of the
vocal line are joyously introduced in the right hand, the arching
arpeggios moving to the left. On its second entrance in the
last line (which is a step higher than the vocal line it echoes),
the “echo” pattern continues through a rather long, generally
descending and receding interlude after the singer comes to a
2:28 [m. 191]--Stanza
7. The final verse begins in a similar manner to stanza 6,
with the same arching arpeggios in the right hand. After the
first line, however, there are divergences. The second line
does not move to minor, although there are colorful harmonic
detours throughout the verse, notably to A-flat. Three
groups of two words are repeated to lengthen the stanza
somewhat. The first is “der Tapferkeit.” It is at this
point that the “echo effects” from stanza 6 are heard again before
the last two lines.
2:47 [m. 213]--The next
repeated words are “das Alter,” also followed by the “echo
effects.” The left-hand arpeggios enter a last time before
the final line, and continue through the first statement of that
line (with the last group of two repeated words, “ein
Lichtstrahl”). To this point, although there are
differences, the stanza is relatively close to the previous
one. This last line suddenly tapers off and the music seems
to “put on the brakes” as the last syllable of “Dämmerung” makes
an extremely colorful turn to C-flat.
3:04 [m. 230]--The music
suddenly subdued, the final line of text is sung a second time
(without the repetition of “ein Lichtstrahl”). The galloping
rhythm and the arching arpeggios are sacrificed for a
slower-moving accompaniment and longer notes in the vocal
part. The line begins in the remote C-flat major, turning
only at the last word to the home key. The first syllable of
“Dämmerung” is sustained for three measures before the last quiet
3:17 [m. 241]--As the
singer finishes, the piano resumes the galloping rhythm for a
rather extended postlude. The former pace returns, but not
the volume, which remains quiet to the end. At fist, we hear
reminiscences of the now-familiar “hook” from stanzas 2, 4, 6, and
7, but then the right hand dissolves into high, light
chords. The pervasive galloping rhythm in the bass continues
as the music dies away.
3:41--END OF SONG [257 mm.]
2. “Traun! Bogen und Pfeil sind gut für den Feind”
(“Verily! Bow and arrow are useful against the
enemy”). Kräftig (Forcefully). Alternating strophic
form (ABAB’A’). C MINOR, 3/4 time (Low key A minor).
Then Peter asks his parents to let him travel in search of
adventure. His mother gives him three rings for his future
bride. On leaving home, Peter sings what is described as
an “old song”:
Traun! Bogen und Pfeil
Sind gut für den Feind,
Der Elende weint;
Dem Edlen blüht Heil,
Wo Sonne nur scheint,
Die Felsen sind steil,
Doch Glück ist sein Freund.
The poem is not divided into stanzas, but Brahms logically
separates it into two groups of four lines.
0:00 [m. 1]--Verse 1 (A). No
introduction. The beginning is immediately forceful and
rather heavy, with thumping low bass octaves and strong dotted
rhythms. There are distinctive upward striving flourishes
that lend variety to the steady beat. The modal-flavored
minor key and the general archaic character are reminiscent of
Brahms’s ballad settings (such as Op. 14, No. 3 and Op. 43, No.
4). The last two lines are repeated. The top voice of
the piano doubles the singer until the first statement of the
fourth line, after which the piano right hand gains more character
entering on half-beats. The key is changed to G minor at the
last minute for the second statement of the fourth line, and the
verse cadences there.
0:16 [m. 13]--An interlude
continues the forceful, heavy character, with rich chords and
sighing thirds in the right hand. The music moves back to C
0:22 [m. 17]--Verse 2 (B). The first two lines
(fifth and sixth of the poem) are set in E-flat major, a key
relative to C minor. The piano becomes less active, playing
rising upbeat chord groups, and the voice, though now in major,
seems even more emphatic than before, moving in strong
arpeggios. The last two lines (seventh and eighth) shift
abruptly to the more remote D-flat major, but are set
analogously. The last line is repeated on longer descending
notes, wrenching the music home to C minor.
0:37 [m. 28]--The piano
again becomes more active, with three downward-moving bass octaves
leading to an exact repetition of the text and music of verse 1 (A).
0:53 [m. 41]--The
interlude from 0:16 [m. 13] is repeated exactly.
0:59 [m. 45]--A textual
repetition of verse 2, but the music is first transposed and then
changed (B’). The
first two lines are set in the “home” major key of C instead of
the “relative” key of E-flat. Correspondingly, the last two
lines are set in B-flat (a whole step down, as D-flat was to
E-flat), but now the actual musical line is changed, moving up
instead of down. The piano part is also completely
different, matching the rhythm of the voice with some internal
motion, and sounding almost bell-like. The repetition of the
last line again moves to C minor in a rather jarring manner, but
from a different key.
1:14 [m. 56]--The
downward-moving bass octaves lead to a final repetition of the
first verse (A’).
The vocal line is mostly the same, but the piano is varied,
entering on half-beats the entire time rather than doubling the
voice at the beginning. Groups of three notes and chords are
followed by a rest and then a single off-beat chord. The
groups of three move upward at first, then downward under the last
line. The last line (line 4 of the poem) is changed on its
repetition to strive higher, close more emphatically, and end in
the home key of C minor. The piano pattern breaks at the
end, with three separate off-beat chords under the higher-striving
1:29 [m. 68]--With the
entrance of the last word, the piano ends with a postlude that is
a variation of the previous interludes from 0:16 [m. 13] and 0:53
[m. 41]. The final cadence introduces the “picardy third”
(making the final chord major in a minor key), another
archaic-sounding device. The cadence is lengthened with an
typical internal motion and a rising syncopated arpeggio in the
1:45--END OF SONG [72 mm.]
3. “Sind es Schmerzen, sind es Freuden” (“Are they sorrows or are
they joys”). Andante--Vivace. Large multi-sectional
form (AABB’CDC’). A-FLAT MAJOR, 4/4 and 6/8 time (Low key
G-flat major). [Later title: Zweifel (Doubt)].
In Naples, he and Magelone, the
king’s daughter, fall in love at a distance as he wins tourneys
incognito. In his ardor he sings this song.
Sind es Schmerzen, sind es Freuden,
Die durch meinen Busen ziehn?
Alle alten Wünsche scheiden,
Tausend neue Blumen blühn.
Durch die Dämmerung der Tränen
Seh’ ich ferne Sonnen stehn, -
Welches Schmachten? welches Sehnen!
Wag’ ich’s? soll ich näher gehn?
Ach, und fällt die Träne nieder,
Ist es dunkel um mich her;
Dennoch kömmt kein Wunsch mir wieder,
Zukunft ist von Hoffnung leer.
So schlage denn, strebendes Herz,
So fließet denn, Tränen, herab,
Ach, Lust ist nur tieferer Schmerz,
Leben ist dunkles Grab, -
Soll ich erdulden?
Wie ist’s, daß mir im Traum
Auf und nieder schwanken!
Ich kenne mich noch kaum.
O, hört mich, ihr gütigen Sterne,
O höre mich, grünende Flur,
Du, Liebe, den heiligen Schwur:
Bleib’ ich ihr ferne,
Sterb’ ich gerne.
Ach, nur im Licht von ihrem Blick
Wohnt Leben und Hoffnung und Glück!
0:00 [m. 1]--An unusually
long piano introduction gives an idea of the large scope of this
song. It is sweetly expressive, with gently rolled chords
and broken octaves suggesting Peter’s lute. The melody is
mostly harmonized in euphonious double thirds or sixths, with
thicker chords in the second half, where the volume also becomes
louder. The last two bars introduce a brief triplet rhythm
with wide leaps.
0:43 [m. 10]--Stanza 1 (A). The vocal line
begins with the expressive melody heard at the beginning of the
piano introduction. It is characterized by turning figures
on words such as the second “sind” and “Busen.” The
lute-like rolled chords continue in the piano between low octave
leaps in the bass. The harmony of the verse moves to a
half-cadence. The last three bars of the introduction (with
the leaping triplets) begin at this half-cadence (triplets start a
bar earlier) and lead to the repetition of the material for the
1:34 [m. 10]--Stanza 2 (A). This verse is set to
the same music as stanza 1, and Brahms even indicates this with a
repeat sign rather than notating the music twice. Again, the
half-cadence arrives with a repetition of the end of the
introduction, but the chords in the last measure are not rolled,
since they now lead to new material that does not include the lute
2:23 [m. 21]--Stanza 3 (B). This verse and the
next are set in the home minor key (A-flat minor). The vocal
line is more detached and hesitant, as is the piano, which
abandons the lute chords for more bare right and left hand
alternations. Before the third line, the piano states the
main melody of the introduction and the previous verses in minor,
and the singer then also presents it in minor. The last line
includes a very slow turn figure before the cadence, which remains
in minor. A brief bridge continues the new piano pattern,
but again includes rolled chords.
3:11 [m. 33]--Stanza 4 (B’). Essentially set to
the same music as stanza 3 with several slight alterations
(including added upbeats) due to text declamation. The piano
part is varied in the last two lines. Line 3 has the piano
harmonize a third above the voice, whereas in verse 3 it had
doubled the vocal line (this is the minor-key version of the
opening melody). The last line includes a new descending
four-note figure in the right hand. The brief bridge at the
end is the same as before.
3:58 [m. 45]--Stanza 5 (C). This stanza of the
poem has two more lines and a completely different meter than the
preceding verses, not to mention a sudden contrast of mood.
Brahms responds by suddenly changing the meter and tempo.
Now in 6/8 time, the speed is the lively “Vivace” in contrast to
the much slower preceding “Andante.” Upper neighbor note
figures become prominent in the piano. The third, fourth,
and fifth lines move strongly toward D-flat major. At that
point, the voice and piano become quite boisterous, their figures
resembling hunting horn calls. The last line moves to a half
4:11 [m. 57]--The text and
music of stanza 5 (C) are
repeated with a slightly varied piano part and vocal line.
The repetition is best considered part of the first C in the larger form since
there is no new text, and since the later C’ also includes both
statements of the material. The first line in the voice part
is set a third higher. The words “auf and nieder” are
repeated twice in the fifth line, adding an extra measure.
The last line is drawn out in longer notes than before and now
moves to a full cadence in A-flat major. Three bare piano
octaves leap downward, leading to the next section.
4:26 [m. 71]--Stanza 6,
lines 1-3 (D). The
tempo is still “Vivace,” but Brahms suddenly and unexpectedly
moves back to 4/4 meter and yet more new material. The right
hand of the piano thumps out octave G’s on the half-beats as the
left hand strides up and down in the low register, also in
octaves. The voice arches down and up in a disjunct line
suggesting the key of C minor (as do the octave G’s in the
piano). Before line 3, the drumming octaves are abandoned in
favor of more breathless figures. The voice abandons the
disjunct line in favor of a steadily upward stepwise
striving. Line 3 is stated twice, and the music moves back
4:44 [m. 82]--Lines 4 and
5 suddenly arrest the motion and move freely over long, sustained
chords. They come to an expectant half-cadence, not in
A-flat, but in D-flat (a key associated with much of C). The two lines could
be considered a transition from D
back to the C material,
and indeed, they occur in the following C’ section. They are also the emotional goal
of the poem.
4:55 [m. 86]--Stanza 6,
lines 6-7, incorporating lines 4-5 (C’). A return to 6/8 meter, where the song
will end. The difference from the first C section is primarily at the
beginning, which replaces the first four measures with two new
ones reiterating the word “Ach!” (which is heard three times in
succession) and including piano figures in the “hunting-horn”
vein. The music also begins in D-flat rather than moving
there. With the third “Ach!” the music closely follows that
of stanza 5 (from line 3). The words “nur im Licht” are
repeated to compensate for the different amount of text leading to
the last line. Since line 7 of this verse is longer than
line 6 of stanza 5, an extra measure is added to this line.
5:06 [m. 97]--This music
matches that at 4:11 [m. 57]. A repetition of lines 4 and 5
of the poetic stanza (previously heard in the “transition” at 4:44
[m. 82]) replaces the reiterated “Ach!” (which had in turn
replaced the first two lines of “poetry” as heard in stanza 5).
“Sterb’ ich gerne” is set a third higher than “soll ich erdulden”
in the corresponding spot of the first C. On the repetition of lines 6-7, not
only are the words “nur im Licht” stated twice, but also the words
“von ihrem” (corresponding to the repeated “auf und nieder” in
stanza 5). The final statement of line 7 is an even more
emphatic cadence than at the end of the first C section, including a new
terminal turn figure and other new notes because of the longer
line. A short postlude in the mood of the C section, including an
emphatic final rolled chord, brings this highly diverse song to a
close in a completely different mood from the sweetly lyrical lute
imitations of the beginning.
5:37--END OF SONG [115 mm.]
4. “Liebe kam aus fernen Landen” (“Love came from a far-off
land”). Andante--Poco vivace e sempre animato. Large
ternary form with abbreviated return (ABA’-CDC-A”). D-FLAT
MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key C major). [Later title: Hoffnung (Hope)].
He sends Magelone two of the
rings, one with this song...
Liebe kam aus fernen Landen
Und kein Wesen folgte ihr,
Und die Göttin winkte mir,
Schlang mich ein mit süßen Banden.
Da begann ich Schmerz zu fühlen,
Tränen dämmerten den Blick:
Ach! was ist der Liebe Glück,
Klagt’ ich, wozu dieses Spielen?
Keinen hab’ ich weit gefunden,
Sagte lieblich die Gestalt,
Fühle du nun die Gewalt,
Die die Herzen sonst gebunden.
Alle meine Wünsche flogen
In der Lüfte blauen Raum,
Ruhm schien mir ein Morgentraum,
Nur ein Klang der Meereswogen
Ach! wer löst nun meine Ketten?
Denn gefesselt ist der Arm,
Mich umfleucht der Sorgen Schwarm;
Keiner, keiner will mich retten?
Darf ich in den Spiegel schauen,
Den die Hoffnung vor mir hält?
Ach, wie trügend ist die Welt!
Nein, ich kann ihr nicht vertrauen.
O, und dennoch laß nicht wanken,
Was dir nur noch Stärke gibt,
Wenn die Einz’ge dich nicht liebt,
Bleib nur bittrer Tod dem Kranken.
The larger ternary form is superimposed on two smaller ternary
forms. The first section comprises three stanzas that are in
simple ABA form. The same applies to the middle section in a
faster tempo (whose parts will be labeled CDC). The form is
rounded with a return to one statement of A. The seven
stanzas all have the same meter, rhyme scheme, and length (unlike
No. 1 and No. 3).
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). With no
introduction, the singer begins the gentle, attractive melody
opening with two downward leaps. The first three lines are
accompanied by a simple pattern with right-hand chords on
half-beats. The top part in the left hand doubles the voice
under the first line, then dips to lower notes for the
second. In the third line, the left hand “anticipates” the
opening vocal melody by two beats as the second line ends.
0:23 [m. 7]--The fourth
line is stated twice, as in all stanzas using the A material. The first
statement oscillates between two notes, but includes an octave
leap (and piano echoes with rolled octaves). The second
contains distinctive “sigh” figures in the vocal line (already
introduced less overtly in line 2). Under these, the middle
voice in the left hand still has vestiges of the opening downward
leaps. The piano echoes the sigh figures in a two-bar bridge
passage. Despite a full cadence, the vocal and piano lines
are questioning, ending a third above the tonic (home key) note.
0:44 [m. 13]--Stanza 2 (B). In its only
appearance, the music of B
is presented in B-flat minor (relative to the home key of D-flat),
and is somewhat darker in tone. It begins with the “sigh”
figures. The piano part consists mostly of chords and low
octaves on the half-beats, but in the third and fourth lines
(which are somewhat warmer), the piano doubles and harmonizes the
vocal line. Most of the fourth line is repeated (without the
words “klagt ich”). The final cadence is again questioning,
and includes a turn figure. A simple piano arpeggio, still
in the minor key, leads to the return of A.
1:30 [m. 25]--Stanza 3 (A’). While the vocal
line is identical to that of stanza 1, the accompaniment is
“turned around,” with the left hand notes now on the
half-beats. The piano chords in line 3 move up instead of
down, and the echoes in the first statement of line 4 are now
higher as a result. The piano bridge, echoing the sigh
figures, is the same, but an extra measure is added to move the
music to the new key of F major for the middle section of the
song. There is a brief buildup in this extra measure.
2:15 [m. 38]--Stanza 4 (C). The tempo changes to
“Poco vivace,” noticeably faster, and the key is the much brighter
F major. The melody is exuberant, with several leaps and
sequential motion. The accompaniment consists of descending
arpeggios in triplet rhythm (three notes to a beat), and echoes
the voice in the first two lines. A top voice with a
long-short rhythm is heard above the arpeggios. No part of
the fourth line is repeated, breaking the pattern of the first
(slower) section. A short one-measure bridge continues the
2:36 [m. 48]--Stanza 5 (D). This is the most
harmonically active stanza so far. In the beginning it
suggests F minor, but it moves as far afield as A major and
F-sharp minor (two keys relative to each other). The
character is similar to C,
and moves at the same speed, but it is more breathless and
agitated, rapidly increasing, then decreasing in volume. The
right hand of the piano now plays punctuating upbeat chords, but
the left hand figures retain the triplet rhythm of C off the beat. The
verse ends with a half-cadence in F minor, and another one-measure
bridge continues the accompaniment pattern of the verse, moving
back to major. Again, the fourth line is not repeated.
2:58 [m. 59]--Stanza 6 (C). The C material returns virtually
unchanged, save that the accompaniment pattern of D persists for the first
line. The original accompaniment returns with the second
3:19 [m. 69]--Three
measures are added to the original bridge, which slows the
arpeggios down and, in the last measure, eliminates the
triplets. The music moves back home from F to D-flat major.
3:28 [m. 72]--Stanza 7 (A”). The final return of
the opening material restores the left hand to its “on-beat”
position, and the vocal line is again unchanged. The right
hand, however, is much more decorative, and the triplet rhythm of
the middle section enters at the second line, often going against
the grain of the straight duple rhythm. This is especially
apparent in the “sigh” figures in the repeat of the last line.
4:04 [m. 82]--The familiar
bridge echoing the “sigh” figures now incorporates the triplet
rhythms into the sighs. These are extended an extra measure
before settling to the close in quiet chords.
4:40--END OF SONG [86 mm.]
5. “So willst du des Armen dich gnädig erbarmen?” (“Will you
then, on a poor man graciously take pity?”). Allegro.
Expanded ternary form (ABB’A). F MAJOR, 2/4 time (Low key D
major). [Later title: Glück
...and one [ring] with this song
in the form of written poems.
So willst du des Armen
Dich gnädig erbarmen?
So ist es kein Traum?
Wie rieseln die Quellen,
Wie tönen die Wellen,
Wie rauschet der Baum!
Tief lag ich in bangen
Nun grüßt mich das Licht!
Wie spielen die Strahlen!
Sie blenden und malen
Mein schüchtern Gesicht.
Und soll ich es glauben?
Wird keiner mir rauben
Den köstlichen Wahn?
Doch Träume entschweben,
Nur lieben heißt leben;
Wie frei und wie heiter!
Nicht eile nun weiter,
Den Pilgerstab fort!
Du hast überwunden,
Du hast ihn gefunden,
Den seligsten Ort!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). A very brief
two-measure lead-in consists of rapidly descending thirds and
fourths. The voice almost instantly enters, and at that
point the piano right hand shifts to a breathless pattern of
double notes and chords in a triplet rhythm, with many repetitions
and reiterations. The left hand plays mostly solid octaves
at a slower pace, often echoing the “lead-in.” The contour
of the accompaniment loosely follows the vocal line, despite
clashing with its straight rhythm. The vocal line itself is
exuberant and extroverted. Lines four and five take a brief
detour to “sharp keys” (A, D, G) before being wrenched back
to F in the soaring last line, whose words “wie rauschet” are
repeated. The bridging lead-in from the opening begins
before the voice is finished, and is extended two measures to a
brief half cadence.
0:22 [m. 23]--Stanza 2 (B). This stanza is
harmonically unstable and chromatic. The singer is more
hesitant as the verse at first suggests a motion to two minor keys
(F and G) and then toward A-flat major/minor. The
accompaniment is simply alternating left and right hand chords and
octaves. The last line is repeated, first in E major and
then in E-flat, where it comes to a cadence. The
accompaniment chords continue for three measures and move back to
the point where B began.
0:42 [m. 46]--Stanza 3 (B’). The first three
lines are the same as in stanza 2 (B), but magically, the third line is repeated in a
sudden move back home to F major. The last three lines are
very joyous. The right hand responses are now in triplet
rhythm, the left hand playing more solid low octaves on the
beat. The last line (“Willkommene Bahn!”) is repeated in
longer notes, and the accompaniment moves to repeated triplet
chords under both statements of the words. The opening
“lead-in” enters before the verse is finished and comes to a half
cadence, as after stanza 1.
1:03 [m. 70]--Stanza 4 (A). The last stanza is
set to the same music as the first. The word “seligsten” is
repeated in the last line. The descending “lead-in” does not
begin until the vocal line is finished, however, shifting it
forward a beat. This is offset by eliminating the last
harmonized third of the first two descending patterns. Only
a slight change of direction is needed to change the half-cadence
to a solid full close to end the song.
1:30--END OF SONG [89 mm.]
6. “Wie soll ich die Freude, die Wonne denn tragen?” (“How
can I endure the joy, how can I then endure the bliss?”).
Allegro--Poco sostenuto--Poco animato--Vivace, ma non
troppo. Large multi-sectional through-composed form
(AA’BCC’DEE’). A MAJOR, 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4 time (Low key G
major). Later title: Erwartung
Finally granted a personal
meeting, he sings this song.
Wie soll ich die Freude,
Die Wonne denn tragen?
Daß unter dem Schlagen
Des Herzens die Seele nicht scheide?
Und wenn nun die Stunden
Der Liebe verschwunden,
Wozu das Gelüste,
In trauriger Wüste
Noch weiter ein lustleeres Leben zu ziehn,
Wenn nirgend dem Ufer mehr Blumen erblühn?
Wie geht mit bleibehangnen Füßen
Die Zeit bedächtig Schritt vor Schritt!
Und wenn ich werde scheiden müssen,
Wie federleicht fliegt dann ihr Tritt!
Schlage, sehnsüchtige Gewalt,
In tiefer, treuer Brust!
Wie Lautenton vorüberhallt,
Entflieht des Lebens schönste Lust.
Ach, wie bald
Bin ich der Wonne mir kaum noch bewußt.
Rausche, rausche weiter fort,
Tiefer Strom der Zeit,
Wandelst bald aus Morgen Heut,
Gehst von Ort zu Ort;
Hast du mich bisher getragen,
Lustig bald, dann still,
Will es nun auch weiter wagen,
Wie es werden will.
Darf mich doch nicht elend achten,
Da die Einz’ge winkt,
Liebe läßt mich nicht verschmachten,
Bis dies Leben sinkt!
Nein, der Strom wird immer breiter,
Himmel bleibt mir immer heiter,
Fröhlichen Ruderschlags fahr’ ich hinab,
Bring’ Liebe und Leben zugleich an das Grab.
One of the biggest and widest ranging of all Brahms’s songs, it
has an unusual amount of text repetition.
0:00 [m. 1]--A full,
richly harmonized 4-measure introduction sets up the generally
joyous mood of the song. The left hand plays triplet rhythms
against the two-note figures in the right hand, in a typical
Brahms clash of rhythms.
0:11 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A). The singer continues
the happy mood of the introduction. Small pauses lend an air
of excitement. Of special note are the figures in the left
hand of the piano with their distinctive trills. The triplet
rhythm plays against them (but the first part of each group of
three is a rest, not a note), now in the right hand. After
the third line, the hands reverse, with the right hand playing
trills and the left hand taking the triplet rhythm. This
alternation happens four times in quick succession. The
words “dem Schlagen” and “die Seele” are sung twice. The
verse closes on a half-cadence.
0:24 [m. 11]--The
introduction is repeated (the triplets shifting to the left hand
0:33 [m. 15]--Stanza 2 (A’). This begins as had
stanza 1, but diverges quickly as the music changes to a minor key
(F-sharp minor, relative to the home key of A major). To
deal with the longer stanza, the text repetitions are dispensed
with and the verse is extended by three measures. The
alternation between the hands of triplets and trill figures still
happens four times after the third line (now in the new minor
key), the last time without the trill, anticipating the last
line. At this last line, the accompaniment changes to an
ominous left-hand counter-melody in octaves while the right hand
plays octaves and chords on the half-beats. This changes the
mood considerably. The accompaniment pattern continues in a
brief two-measure bridge to the next section after the singer
comes to a full cadence in F-sharp minor.
0:59 [m. 25]--Stanza 3 (B). The change in
material reflects the text graphically. The left hand melody
in octaves continues from the end of the last verse. It
illustrates the “tarrying feet” (the word “bleibehangnen”
literally means “laden with lead”). The voice presents a
tentative line in dotted rhythms, still in the key of F-sharp
(Note: the translation of
the first line should read “With what tarrying feet…” instead of
1:12 [m. 29]--In the
middle of the third line, the music suddenly changes back to the
mood of A. Rather
abruptly, the mode shifts to F-sharp major (not modulating back to
A). The distinctive figure with the trills is heard first in
the right hand with triplet rhythms in the left. As in the
other verses, the hands switch roles four times. The trills
in the right hand seem to suggest the “feather-light” step.
The last line is repeated and the music slows slightly as it comes
to a half cadence in F-sharp major.
1:28 [m. 35]--The tempo
changes to “Poco sostenuto,” the time signature to 3/4, and the
key signature is formally changed to F-sharp major (the key of the
last stretch of music). A piano interlude introduces these
changes with four measures of “sigh” figures and low bass broken
1:40 [m. 39]--Stanza 4 (C). The mood has now
completely changed. The 3/4 meter is slow, but has a certain
“swing.” The vocal line continues the sigh figures of the
interlude, as does the piano right hand. The left hand plays
very low notes in block and broken octaves. Despite some
chromatic inflections, the music remains rooted in F-sharp
major. The word “vorüberhallt” is “echoed,” which is in fact
what the word means (though “echoes” is translated as a noun, the
word is actually used as a verb in the original--the translation
is quite accurate, however). The fourth line comes to a
satisfying and warm full cadence.
2:14 [m. 51]--As this
cadence arrives, the music changes somewhat, the piano introducing
a “swinging” triplet rhythm that alternates between the hands, the
right hand largely harmonized in thirds and sixths. The
singer echoes the words “ach, wie bald” in a distinctive downward
leap. The words “der Wonne” are also repeated. After
another complete cadence, the last two lines are presented again
(with “ach, wie bald” and “der Wonne” again stated twice in
succession). This time they come to a half cadence leading
to a three-measure interlude that continues the alternation
between hands of the slowly “swinging” triplet rhythm.
2:47 [m. 66]--Stanza 5 (C’). The first four
lines are presented to the same music as the previous stanza, at
least in the vocal line. The piano is changed, with the left
hand now incorporating the “swinging” triplet rhythm introduced at
the end of the last stanza in wide leaps. The words “aus
Morgen Heut” are repeated in the spot of the previous “echo,” but
the text doesn’t match this gesture as nicely. The words
“von Ort” are repeated because the line is shorter than the
corresponding line in stanza 4.
3:18 [m. 78]--The
“swinging triplet” rhythm now alternates hands as before, but the
voice is not heard immediately. The entrance of the fifth
line is somewhat “delayed” with no repetition of words.
Because there are four lines to set at this point instead of two
(as at the analogous point of stanza 4), there is no wholesale
repetition of text. The varying length of the lines also
means that the relatively unimportant words “wie es” are the only
ones repeated at all (compare the twofold repetitions of “Ach, wie
bald” and “der Wonne” in the previous verse). The
“delayed” entry of the fifth line also contributes to the relative
lack of text repetition here. The vocal line is also changed
somewhat at the seventh line, abandoning the downward leap
associated with “ach, wie bald.” The rhythm is suited to the
new text, causing slight variations throughout the section.
The music comes to a complete cadence as a result of a slight
change to the half cadence heard before 2:47 [m. 66].
3:42 [m. 90]--A long
interlude continues the pattern of “swinging triplets” alternating
between hands until a first weak cadence (after four
measures). Then the triplets in the right hand are changed
to “straight” rhythms (two notes to a beat). This gives the
illusion of a slowing tempo where none really exists. The
key is still F-sharp major, with several inflections of chromatic,
or “color” notes. The arrival of the next section, aborting
the expected cadence, is rather jarring.
3:59 [m. 98]--Stanza 6,
lines 1-4 (D).
Suddenly, the meter changes back to 4/4 and the tempo is close to
the original speed (marked “Poco animato”). The mood of the
A section returns, as do
its gestures, particularly the distinctive left hand figure with
the trills. Here, the chords in triplet rhythm are in the
right hand and remain there with no alternation. The left
hand states the “trill” gesture four times total (including the
passage marked at 4:06), twice each under lines 1 and 3.
Broken octaves are heard under lines 2 and 4. The passage is
harmonically unstable, with each line moving to a new key
area. Line 1 continues in F-sharp minor, changing mode from
the previous music. Line 2 shifts suddenly to D major.
4:06 [m. 102]--Lines 3 and
4 continue to move away from the “sharp” key areas (F-sharp, A, D)
toward “flat” ones. Line 3 is analogous to line 1, but the
vocal contour is different. It is set in G minor, a
half-step higher than line 1. Similarly, line 4 is the same
as line 2, but is a half-step higher, in E-flat major, quite
distant from home. Line 4 is repeated, and skillfully drawn
back down the half-step to D, where line 2 was heard, coming
quickly from a distant point back toward the home key. This
time, there is a subtle inflection toward minor on the word
“Leben.” The succeeding 2-measure interlude also shifts
toward minor at the very end.
4:20 [m. 109]--Stanza 6,
lines 5-8 (E). A
magical key change brings us finally back home to A major.
The tempo is now even faster (“Vivace, ma non troppo”), and the
meter is cut in half to 2/4. 8 measures of interlude set up
the new material, with breathless piano figures shifting between
the hands. These are generally four notes or double-notes
long, with the first two repeated.
4:28 [m. 117]--The voice
enters over this new piano material. The melody is
extroverted and jubilant, full of leaps and light
embellishments. The four-note groups continue in the piano
through the climax at the end of the third (seventh) line, which
is somewhat stretched out. Then, for the last line, the
accompaniment is again in triplets (and single notes), which
creates an illusion of slowing down. “Liebe und Leben” and
then “zugleich” are repeated before the singer reaches a half
cadence. A four-measure interlude in the triplet rhythm
leads to the repetition/expansion of this material (E’).
4:51 [m. 143]--Second full
statement of stanza 6, lines 5-8 (E’).
initial statement of the first three lines (5-7) is the same as at
4:28 [m. 117].
5:05 [m. 159]--The music
now diverges from the first statement at 4:28 [m. 117], bringing
back material from the first stanza. The triplet rhythm
enters as before at the last line, but the single notes are
abandoned in favor of full chords. And most importantly, the
“trill” figure from the first part of the song returns yet again
in the left hand, its natural home. Brahms marks the music
“animato” at this point. Rather than moving straight to the
last line, the third (seventh) is now excitedly repeated.
When the last line enters, its presentation is greatly
expanded. It is stated a total of four times, none of them
set the same way. On the first one, the familiar alternation
of the trill and triplet figures between the hands is heard again,
but this does not continue past the second statement.
5:15 [m. 171]--The triplet
figures move to the left hand before the third statement.
The first syllable of “Liebe” is sustained for two measures in
this statement. The clinching final statement rockets
upward--while the piano bass shoots downward in octaves--and adds
an extra repetition of the word “zugleich.” The cadence is
emphatic, temporarily arresting the motion, which resumes with a
very brief postlude echoing the last musical phrase of this highly
5:40--END OF SONG [187 mm.]
7. “War es dir, dem diese Lippen bebten?” (“Was it you for
whom these lips trembled?”). Lebhaft
(Lively)--Animato. Expanded ternary form (AA’BA”). D MAJOR,
3/4 time (Low key B-flat major). [Later title: Erinnerung (Recollection)].
At the tryst he presents the
third ring and vows eternal fidelity; they kiss. Back in
his lodging, he sings this song.
War es dir, dem diese Lippen bebten,
Dir der dargebotne süße Kuß?
Gibt ein irdisch Leben so Genuß?
Ha! wie Licht und Glanz vor meinen Augen schwebten,
Alle Sinne nach den Lippen strebten!
In den klaren Augen blickte
Sehnsucht, die mir zärtlich winkte,
Alles klang im Herzen wieder,
Meine Blicke sanken nieder,
Und die Lüfte tönten Liebeslieder.
Wie ein Sternenpaar
Glänzten die Augen, die Wangen
Wiegten das goldene Haar,
Blick und Lächeln schwangen
Flügel, und die süßen Worte gar
Weckten das tiefste Verlangen;
O Kuß, wie war dein Mund so brennend rot!
Da starb ich, fand ein Leben erst im schönsten Tod.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). No
introduction. After a single chord, the singer begins the
restless, agitated melody, which freely mixes steps and
leaps. While the right hand plays chords doubling the voice,
the faster-moving left hand is notable. Its figures are
mainly oscillating neighbor notes (with a few low bass notes
thrown in), but the distinctive rests on the first part of the
third beat in many of these figures increase the restless mood
projected by the voice.
0:13 [m. 11]--The quieter
third line takes a brief harmonic detour to F major. In line
4, the words “wie Licht” are dramatically repeated over a rise in
volume to help bring the rest of the verse home using a near
repetition of the music of the first two lines. The entire
last line is also repeated to new music with new bass broken
octaves, and comes to a broad cadence where the first syllable of
“Lippen” is sustained for five beats. This happens over a
syncopation in the bass. Most of the stanza consists of
irregular five- and seven-bar phrases.
0:42 [m. 34]--Stanza 2 (A’). A one-bar
transition leads to the first two lines, which are rather static
and subdued in comparison to what has gone before. The
restless left hand figures remain anchored to a low D, whereas in
stanza 1 they mostly hovered around a high and more harmonically
active A. The second line tries to move to new harmonies,
but the static left hand undermines this. The word
“zärtlich” is repeated. The accompaniment
pattern continues in a three-bar interlude.
0:59 [m. 47]--From this
point, the last three lines of stanza 2 follow the last three
lines of stanza 1 exactly, using the music from 0:13 [m.
11]. The strange “hybrid” construction means that the new
material in the first two lines of stanza 2 could be called a
small “b” section and the
last three an abbreviated a’.
The words “alles” and “meine Blicke” are repeated to compensate
for the different poetic meter, and the word “sanken” is stretched
over six notes. The last line is repeated in its entirety,
as in stanza 1. The first syllable of “Liebeslieder” is set
to the long note.
1:29 [m. 70]--A quiet
piano interlude similar to the beginning of stanza 2, with the
left-hand figures on the low D. Like many phrases in both
stanzas, it is an irregular five-bar phrase.
1:35 [m. 75]--Stanza 3,
lines 1-6 (B). The
change in poetic structure inspires a change in the music.
The section is set in the key of G major and marked
“Animato.” Although the motion is quick and light, the music
is quiet and even subdued. Similar to the first two lines of
stanza 2, this quiet music sets a reference to the eyes. The
accompaniment is simpler, consisting of chords on beats 2 and 3 of
each bar. The phrases are more regular, all in four bars
until the last phrase is stretched to five with the elongation of
the word “Verlangen” using a turn figure. The five phrases
only approximately correspond to the six lines of text. The
third and fourth phrases hint at A minor and arrive at a dissonant
“diminished seventh” on “gar.” A three-bar interlude follows
the last elongated phrase.
2:02 [m. 99]--Unexpectedly,
4-6 of the stanza are repeated, to nearly the same three phrases.
The only variation is on the three notes beginning with “tiefste,”
which continue to move up by steps instead of skipping down to the
long note in the word “Verlangen.” As a result, this long
note is approached by a single downward octave leap. The
three-bar interlude is reduced to two, which suddenly increase in
volume and return home to D major, leading to the abbreviated
return of A.
2:22 [m. 114 (113)]--Stanza
3, lines 7-8 (A”).
The words “O Kuß” establish the mood and material of A again, and from “wie war
dein Mund” (with “dein Mund” repeated), the music is analogous to
a point just after the beginning of line 4 of stanzas 1 and
2. This is appropriate, as the music from that point also
set two lines. Instead of an entire line being repeated, the
words “ein Leben” and “im schönsten Tod” are repeated in
succession, including a third statement of the word
“schönsten.” Although the music follows the melody and
harmony closely, the lengths and placements of certain notes are
changed to fit the meter of the text. The first syllable of
the third “schönsten” is set to the long note.
NOTE: This guide
describes what is sung in the recording. Some editions
repeat “o Kuß” rather than “dein Mund,” shifting the text so that
a large descent is on “o Kuß, wie war” instead of “wie war dein
2:46 [m. 132]--The piano
postlude is very similar to the interlude at 1:29 [m. 70],
extended by two measures. Like that interlude, it is
quiet. It slows at the end, finally putting the brakes on
the general exuberance and restlessness of the song.
3:11--END OF SONG [138 mm.]
8. “Wir müssen uns trennen, geliebtes Saitenspiel” (“We must
part, beloved lute”). Andante--Allegro--Andante.
Expanded ternary form (ABA’CDC’D’A”). G-FLAT MAJOR, 4/4 and cut
time [2/2] (Low key E-flat major). [Later title: Entschluss (Resolution)].
Threatened with an unwanted
bridegroom, Magelone asks Peter to run off with her to his
homeland. Before meeting her he sings this song.
Wir müssen uns trennen,
Zeit ist es, zu rennen
Nach dem fernen, erwünschten Ziel.
Ich ziehe zum Streite,
Zum Raube hinaus,
Und hab’ ich die Beute,
Dann flieg’ ich nach Haus.
Im rötlichen Glanze
Entflieh’ ich mit ihr,
Es schützt uns die Lanze,
Der Stahlharnisch hier.
Kommt, liebe Waffenstücke,
Zum Scherz oft angetan,
Beschirmet jetzt mein Glücke
Auf dieser neuen Bahn!
Ich werfe mich rasch in die Wogen,
Ich grüße den herrlichen Lauf,
Schon mancher ward niedergezogen,
Der tapfere Schwimmer bleibt obenauf.
Ha! Lust zu vergeuden
Das edele Blut!
Zu schützen die Freude,
Mein köstliches Gut!
Nicht Hohn zu erleiden,
Wem fehlt es an Mut?
Senke die Zügel,
Spanne die Flügel,
Daß über ferne Hügel
Uns schon der Morgen lacht!
0:00 [m. 1]--A short piano
introduction sets up low, slow-moving, and slightly dissonant
“sigh” figures in the right hand, with syncopated bass notes after
the beats in the left.
0:11 [m. 3]--Stanza 1 (A). The melody is smooth
and subdued, but wide-ranging. The right-hand accompaniment
is very steady, consisting of rising four-note groups evoking the
lute (the first and third notes of each are harmonized with a note
below). The left hand notes after the beats continue from
the introduction, and the first two measures echo the harmonies of
0:21 [m. 5]--The last two
lines of the stanza move steadily downward, with some chromatic
notes introducing a motion to the related key of D-flat (which is
also the lowest note). The last line (without the word
“nach”) is repeated, with the vocal line reaching upward as the
music subtly shifts to the dark G-flat and D-flat to the brighter
and rather distant F and B-flat.
0:40 [m. 9]--Stanza 2 (B). The second stanza
begins in B-flat minor. It is characterized by the
continuing sigh figures in the left hand with fast “drum-roll”
figures in the right. The sighs and drum rolls switch hands
every measure. The vocal line is very rhythmic, and echoes
the piano’s drum rolls with long-short figures. The last two
lines move the music back to the home key of G-flat. There
is a one-bar transition that echoes the last vocal measure.
1:00 [m. 14]--Stanza 3 (A’). The vocal line
follows that of stanza 1 closely, including the motion to D-Flat,
F, and B-flat. The difference is in the text
repetition. Because the fourth line is shorter than that of
stanza 1, the words “die Lanze” from the third line are repeated
before it is heard, both in its first and second statements.
There are also some small differences in declamation and
rhythm. The second statement begins as in stanza 1 (reaching
upward), but changes direction and settles on an expectant
pause. The accompaniment for the stanza is not the same as
that of stanza 1. It continues the “drum roll” effects from
stanza 2 in the right hand against more steady motion in the
left. The last “drum-roll” coincides with the pause (on F)
in the vocal line and completes the smaller three-part form of the
1:31 [m. 20]--Stanza 4 (C). After the expectant
pause, a change of tempo to Allegro and the reduction of the 4/4
meter to cut time [2/2] heralds the arrival of the middle section
of the larger ternary form. Like stanza 2, the key of B-flat
follows naturally from the pause, but now it is B-flat major,
complete with an official key signature change. The piano
right hand, in chords and octaves, introduces the basic
short-long-short rhythm beginning on an upbeat. The left
hand typically enters during the longer right hand notes.
The pattern continues when the voice enters after two
measures. The melody is light and joyful, incorporating
dotted (long-short) rhythms within the larger short-long-short
pattern. The voice breaks off suddenly after hinting at a
move to G minor, but the piano gains strength and continues to a
half-cadence in B-flat.
1:45 [m. 32]--Stanza 5 (D)--The vocal line now rises
steadily and with ever more exuberance. The last line,
repeating the words “der tapfere Schwimmer,” reaches another
half-cadence in B-flat, but this one is filled with tension,
reaching an expectant pause on a high note. The piano
accompaniment for the stanza introduces full chords in a
distinctive triplet rhythm (three notes to a beat), but with the
first note of each triplet absent, replaced either with a rest or
with a tie from the last group. These are played against the
continuing straight two-note rhythm in the left hand and the
voice. They continue until the pause.
2:05 [m. 49]--Stanza 6,
lines 1-4 (C’)--The piano
part follows the notes and harmony of stanza 4, but now
incorporates the triplet rhythms of stanza 5 in both hands (but
the first note of each group is now present). After the
piano plays its lead-in with the triplet rhythm using broken
octaves, the vocal line follows that of stanza 4 quite closely,
but does away with the dotted rhythms because of the shorter
poetic lines. It now follows the more straight
“short-long-short” pattern throughout, contrasting with the
triplets in the piano (which comes to the same half-cadence in
B-flat after the voice breaks off).
2:18 [m. 61]--Stanza 6,
lines 5-6 (D’)--Because of
the shorter lines, a full statement of the two lines corresponds
closely to the first line of stanza 5 (including the triplet
rhythm with “absent” first notes in the piano), but adds two notes
to the end. The two lines are repeated, corresponding to the
second line of stanza 5, but before that, Brahms shifts the
harmony so that the line is sung a half-step lower than in stanza
5. This causes the line to reach the key of F-sharp (the
same as G-flat, notated differently--they are “enharmonic”
keys). This is a very clever way to return to the home
key. The last two musical lines of stanza 5 are cut, and the
piano continues with a descending transition firmly establishing
F-sharp. The music slows and settles down as the triplet
rhythm comes to an end.
reached the home key (now notated as G-flat), Brahms now restores
the 4/4 meter and restates the two-bar introduction from the
opening of the song for the abbreviated return (consisting only of
A”) of the opening
2:46 [m. 74]--Stanza 7 (A”)--Up through the fourth
line, the vocal line matches that of stanzas 1 and 3, moving to
the low D-flat. The accompaniment is similar to that of
stanza 1, but the rising four-note groups are split between the
hands. Each hand plays a three-note figure, the right hand
entering as the left hand plays its second note (and the left hand
resting as the right hand plays its last note) so that the second
and third notes of each group are played by both hands. This
pattern remains steady through the stanza, and the previous left
hand after-beat notes are obviously now absent.
3:07 [m. 78]--Because the
stanza has five lines instead of four, the fifth line takes the
place of the repetitions in stanzas 1 and 3. The music is
quite different. The line is set to a soaring, slowly moving
vocal and now returns quickly to G-flat after a striking but short
diversion to B. It is stated twice. The second
statement begins on a syncopated dissonance and is stretched even
further, repeating and lengthening the words “der Morgen” before a
3:30 [m. 82]--The piano
postlude changes the preceding pattern slightly. The right
hand still plays three-note groups (resting on the first note of
the pattern), but the left hand now plays with the first, third
and fourth notes of the pattern instead of the first, second, and
third, leaving the right hand alone on the second. The
left hand makes wide leaps after its initial (now longer) notes of
the pattern. The pattern continues for three measures,
introducing several dissonances before the last questioning
4:05--END OF SONG [84 mm.]
9. “Ruhe, Süßliebchen, im Schatten” (“Rest, my
love, in the shade”). Langsam--Animato. Modified
strophic form with refrain on the last three lines of each
strope. A-FLAT MAJOR, 6/8 time (Low key F-sharp
major). [Later title: Schlaflied
In the course of their escape,
they rest in a forest and he sings this song.
Ruhe, Süßliebchen, im Schatten
Der grünen, dämmernden Nacht:
Es säuselt das Gras auf den Matten,
Es fächelt und kühlt dich der Schatten
Und treue Liebe wacht.
Schlafe, schlaf ein,
Leiser rauscht der Hain,
Ewig bin ich dein.
Schweigt, ihr versteckten Gesänge,
Und stört nicht die süßeste Ruh’!
Es lauschet der Vögel Gedränge,
Es ruhen die lauten Gesänge,
Schließ, Liebchen, dein Auge zu.
Schlafe, schlaf ein,
Im dämmernden Schein,
Ich will dein Wächter sein.
Murmelt fort, ihr Melodien,
Rausche nur, du stiller Bach.
Sprechen in den Melodien,
Zarte Träume schwimmen nach.
Durch den flüsternden Hain
Schwärmen goldne Bienelein
Und summen zum Schlummer dich ein.
Outside of the cycle, this song is considered one of the three
“Brahms Lullabies” (the others are Op. 49, No. 4 and Op. 91, No.
2). There are superficial similarities with Op. 91, No. 2.
0:00 [m. 1]--The piano
introduction anticipates the “refrain” that will be heard at the
end of each verse, a gently rising figure whose fourth note is
dissonant. The left hand begins the song a beat before the
first full bar and continues in a gentle syncopation (playing the
same chord on beats three and six of each bar). The chord is
the highly anticipatory and unstable dominant seventh, which wants
to pull to the home chord, but avoids doing so.
0:11 [m. 5]--Stanza
(strophe) 1. The vocal line is a gently rocking, generally
descending melody. While the right hand plays simple chords
and notes on the main beats, the left hand continues its gentle
syncopation on the dissonant chord. After the verse begins,
the chord finally changes and loses its dissonant character, but
the low bass note remains the same. The middle note of the
chord moves down, then back up, then gradually down.
0:26 [m. 11]--From the
third line, preceded by a two-measure bridge, the bass note begins
to oscillate, at first only moving a half-step above the
previously constant low note, but gradually incorporating a few
other notes. From this point, the bass is no longer in
chords and consists of single notes and octaves, but the
syncopated, constant reiterations on beats 3 and 6 remain.
Lines three and four are identically set and move to the remote
key of C-flat major, but line five, in a slow descent, comes back
to the territory of the home key, while avoiding a full close
there. The target key is the same pitch (E-flat) as
the pervasive bass notes of the opening.
0:55 [m. 23]--At the point
of the cadence, the unstable dominant seventh chords from the
beginning return, as does the music of the introduction. It
leads to the actual refrain (lines 6-8 of the stanza). The
voice echoes the piano’s rising line, after which the piano left
hand again moves to other chords and the right hand rises
higher. The following line is a downward near inversion of
the first line, again with a slightly dissonant fourth note
suggesting the key of D-flat. Rising still higher, the piano
becomes somewhat excited.
1:17 [m. 33]--The last
line again abandons chords in favor of octaves in the left
hand. It is a descending figure, set higher than the
preceding line and moving down entirely by steps and toward
G-flat. The following bridge is quite static and begins to
settle down. The line is repeated a bit lower, starting on a
long note held over a bar line and moving home to A-flat. It
includes an extra reiteration of the word “ewig” and an even
longer note on the word “bin.” This descending figure leads
to the first full cadence in the home key. Only at the point
of that cadence is the constant syncopated rhythm in the left hand
1:37 [m. 41]--An extremely
tender, rocking interlude begins with the vocal cadence and firmly
(and finally) establishes the home key while leading to the next
strophe. The bass, moving between higher chords or fifths
and low octaves, is no longer syncopated.
1:59 [m. 49]--Stanza
(Strophe) 2. The syncopation in the bass is now replaced by
oscillating chords and single notes in both hands (the right hand
usually has a rest before each group until the third line, where
it introduces chords and vocal line doubling). The structure
of the vocal line is similar to that of strophe 1 with some
rhythmic variation, but the keys are different. It begins in
the key of F minor (relative to A-flat), moving to G-flat major in
the second line and back to F minor in the third. The fourth
line reaches a half-cadence in E-flat minor (relative to G-flat
major, just heard). A shift to major in line 5 (which now
moves upward before leaping downward), leads to the same cadence
on the note E-flat and a return to the refrain.
2:40 [m. 67]--The refrain
is virtually the same as at 0:55 [m. 23], with a nearly identical
vocal line and right hand. Even the left hand introduces the
same harmonies as before (including the pervasive dominant seventh
at the beginning), as well as the former syncopation. The
difference is that the chords of the left hand are now broken, in
keeping with the oscillating motion of the preceding music.
Now the left hand plays on beats 2, 3, 5, and 6, holding one or
two notes over the strong beats, 1 and 4. This pattern
continues throughout the refrain. Obviously the words are
different, and the rhythm is slightly altered to match the
3:01 [m. 77]--The last
line is one syllable longer than that of stanza 1 at 1:17 [m. 33],
so on its second repetition, no word is reiterated. Instead,
the first word “ich” is stretched over two notes. The first
syllable of “Wächter” gets the long note.
3:20 [m. 85]--The tender
interlude from 1:37 [m. 41] is repeated, but with flowing broken
chords in the left hand.
3:39 [m. 93]--Stanza
(Strophe) 3. Very suddenly, the tempo speeds up (“Animato”)
and the music is strikingly bumped up a half-step to A major
(complete with a key signature change to three sharps). The
accompaniment is now upward-thrusting arpeggios, which give way to
wave-like figures in the left hand under right hand chords playing
with the first two lines and also bridging them. These are
quite different from their settings in the first two stanzas, and
consist of forward-thrusting, leaping lines that finally settle at
the end of line 2 with a repetition of “du stiller.”
3:51 [m. 100]--The
thrusting arpeggios return for the last two lines and remain in
force through the rest of the stanza and most of the
refrain. The top voice of the piano, after a one-bar
anticipation, doubles the voice in line 3, then diverges.
The settings of lines 3-5 return to the familiar descending lines
of the first two verses. Line 3 shifts dramatically to the
bright C major, leaving it to line 4 (where the key signature
changes back to 4 flats) to return home to A-flat major.
Line 5 is more decorative and set higher than in the first two
verses, but comes to the same cadence on the note E-flat as
4:07 [m. 111]--The final
statement of the refrain continues the animated motion of the
preceding verse. The former syncopated block chords
(including the dissonant dominant seventh) are now rolled upward
in the pattern of the preceding music. The piano line,
imitated by the voice, retains the same outline and shape.
The rhythm is more animated to accommodate the wordier text of
these lines. Before the repetition of the last line, the
thrusting arpeggios become slower and more stretched out, and the
music becomes softer. That repetition (which reiterates the
words “zum Schlummer”) returns to the quiet character of the first
two verses as it reaches its cadence.
4:40 [m. 129]--In a sort
of “coming around full circle,” the tender interlude, now a
postlude, returns to the left hand syncopation of the opening (2
notes, often octaves, played on beats 3 and 6). In its first
two statements, the left hand rhythm had not been
syncopated. Since strophe 3 had mostly straight rhythm, even
in the refrain, this postlude seems to be a bit of a role reversal
and helps to close and unify the song. It is only briefly
extended and stretched for the final chords, the left hand
remaining syncopated until the end. Brahms indicated that it
should gradually and steadily slow down, since the animated tempo
of strophe 3 is still in force as it begins.
5:25--END OF SONG [138 mm.]
tönet denn, schäumende Wellen” (Despair--“Resound, then, foaming waves”).
Allegro. Expanded ternary form (AA’BA). C MINOR, 3/4
time (Low key A minor).
A raven flies off with the three
rings while Magelone sleeps and, trying to recover them when
they fall into the sea, Peter is blown far from shore in a small
boat; he sings this song.
So tönet denn, schäumende Wellen,
Und windet euch rund um mich her!
Mag Unglück doch laut um mich bellen,
Erbost sein das grausame Meer!
Ich lache den stürmenden Wettern,
Verachte den Zorngrimm der Flut;
O, mögen mich Felsen zerschmettern!
Denn nimmer wird es gut.
Nicht klag’ ich, und mag ich nun scheitern,
Im wäßrigen Tiefen vergehn!
Mein Blick wird sich nie mehr erheitern,
Den Stern meiner Liebe zu sehn.
So wälzt euch bergab mit Gewittern,
Und raset, ihr Stürme, mich an,
Daß Felsen an Felsen zersplittern!
Ich bin ein verlorener Mann.
0:00 [m. 1]--The piano
introduction sets up the character of the song. The fast,
turbulent arpeggio and scale figures of the right hand are played
against starkly syncopated octaves in the left.
0:06 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A). While remaining
agitated and intense, the piano arpeggios become quieter and
basically only move upward now, while the left hand usually plays
after the beats. The first line of the stanza is a rather
broad, arching phrase. After another measure echoing the end
of the phrase, the second line is sung to a similar, but less
arching phrase that ventures harmonically toward B minor.
The second line is repeated to another similar, downward moving
phrase, without the one-measure break and moving back home
0:20 [m. 15]--The third
line introduces a new rhythmic figure in triplets, heard in full
chord harmony and bass octaves in the piano, and then taken up by
the voice. The line is set twice to a pair of two-measure
phrases (shorter than those of the first two lines), the second
higher than the first. The triplet rhythm continues in the
piano under the last line, which is stretched to five measures by
a longer-breathed descending line and the punctuating repetition
at the cadence of the words “das grausame Meer.” (under which the
triplets slow down to “straight” rhythm).
0:34 [m. 23]--At the vocal
cadence, the piano introduction is repeated with the left hand
syncopation placed in a higher octave and sounding somewhat more
0:38 [m. 27]--Stanza 2 (A’)--The stanza is an
abbreviated version of stanza 1. The first two lines are set
to two-measure phrases similar to the third line of stanza 1, with
the triplet figures in the voice. The piano, however,
continues with the faster figures in regular rhythm rather than
introducing the full chord harmony heard at 0:20. The stanza
suggests the key of F minor for these two lines.
0:44 [m. 31]--The third
line is set in a very similar manner to that of stanza 1, and with
similar harmony, but it is not repeated at the higher level.
The setting of the fourth line begins like the third-line
repetition in stanza 1, but quickly turns to the music of that
stanza’s fourth line and is the same length. The stanza
effortlessly moves to the same ending and cadence as stanza
1. Because line four is shorter in this verse, the words
“denn nimmer” are repeated at first, and then the entire line is
0:55[m. 37]--The music of
the introduction is heard again, this time with the hands
reversed, the running arpeggios and scales in the left and the
syncopated octaves in the right. It begins as an exact
reversal, but as the original ending approaches, it is changed and
extended for a modulation to a new key, with the running figures
remaining in the left hand. The music becomes quiet as the
1:04 [m. 43]--Stanza 3 (B)--This verse is quieter and
more restrained. The piano left hand moves in smooth
triplet-rhythm arpeggios while the right remains in the regular
straight (duple) rhythm. The vocal line, entering after two
measures, is slower moving and is characterized by “sigh”
figures. The stanza opens in the dark key of A-flat minor
(but with the four-flat key signature of A-flat major).
1:18 [m. 51]--From the
third line, the stanza moves to major, initially suggesting
D-flat, but then approaching a cadence back in A-flat. The
third line is very expressive and more hopeful, including a
sustained, rising vocal line. The fourth line transfers the
triplets to the right hand, harmonizing above the
voice. The “straight” rhythm moves to the left hand
with distinct climbing figures The singer descends and
settles before the piano slows down and moves to the implied (and
1:37 [m. 58]--The agitated
music and tempo of the introduction suddenly return. It is
similar to the previous statements, but it begins in A-flat and
must move back home to C minor. It is extended by a measure,
maximizing the tension before the return of the A music.
1:44 [m. 64]--Stanza 4 (A)--The music is virtually
identical to that of stanza 1 with minor adjustments for textual
1:57 [m. 73]--The third
line introduces the rhythmic triplet figure, as at 0:20 [m.
15]. The pattern of text repetition is the same, with the
words “ein verlorener Mann” repeated at the end.
2:13 [m. 81]--At the final
vocal cadence, the introduction music is heard a last time, with
the arpeggios now extended higher and then reaching to the lowest
register of the keyboard, slowing as a final, emphatic chord is
2:31--END OF SONG [84 mm.]
11. “Wie schnell verschwindet so Licht als Glanz” (“How
quickly disappear light and radiance”). Etwas langsam
(Rather slowly). Modified strophic form with bridge
(AA’[B]A”A’). F MINOR, 3/8 time (Also F
minor in low key edition). [Later title: Trauer (Grief)].
Magelone rides on sadly and goes
to live in the hut of an old shepherd and his wife; she sings
Wie schnell verschwindet
So Licht als Glanz,
Der Morgen findet
Verwelkt den Kranz,
Der gestern glühte
In aller Pracht,
Denn er verblühte
In dunkler Nacht.
Es schwimmt die Welle
Des Lebens hin,
Und färbt sich helle,
Hat’s nicht Gewinn;
Die Sonne neiget,
Die Röte flieht,
Der Schatten steiget
Und Dunkel zieht.
So schwimmt die Liebe
Zu Wüsten ab,
Ach, daß sie bliebe
Bis an das Grab!
Doch wir erwachen
Zu tiefer Qual:
Es bricht der Nachen,
Es löscht der Strahl.
Vom schönen Lande
Zum öden Strande,
Wo um uns Nacht.
0:00 [m. 1]--A
particularly wonderful piano introduction establishes the musical
material and even the phrase structure of the song. A
melancholy two-bar descending line is repeated with the first note
inflected upward. These are answered by a consequent
four-bar phrase with rich, chromatic harmonies ending on a
0:19 [m. 9]--Strophe 1 (A). The strophe sets two
stanzas of the poem. The setting of the first stanza matches
the piano introduction closely (without the upward inflection on
the second line), coming to the same half-close. One line is
set to each two-bar phrase, and two to the four-bar phrase.
The piano left hand moves mostly in octaves, the right hand in
0:38 [m. 17]--The setting
of the poem’s second stanza also follows the 2+2+4 measure phrase
structure, but the voice is less active, the piano taking the more
flowing line in beautiful double notes (thirds). The first
two phrases are similar, but the second is set a third
higher. The four-measure phrase features sets of three-note
figures that leap down, then up. There are three of these
figures, moving sequentially downward. The entire stanza
moves away from the home key, ending with on a very warm D-flat
0:57 [m. 25]--A two-bar
interlude reestablishes F minor and the opening gesture.
1:01 [m. 27]--Strophe 2 (A’). This strophe only
sets one stanza (the third), but cleverly reaches the same length
of the first strophe. The first two lines are set to the
same two-bar phrases, but the second includes the upward
inflection of the piano introduction. The third line matches
the opening two measures of the four-bar phrase from the
introduction and first stanza. The fourth line, however,
rather than approaching the half-close, imitates the third line a
half-step lower, resulting in two additional two-bar phrases
instead of a four-bar phrase. The third and fourth lines are
then repeated completely to a new four-bar phrase, incorporating
the “down-up” motion from the end of the second stanza and coming
to a full cadence in the home key.
1:29 [m. 39]--The piano
repeats this last new four-bar phrase. If this interlude is
considered part of strophe 2, then strophe 2 is the same length as
strophe 1, despite only setting one stanza and only repeating half
1:38 [m. 43]--Bridge (B). Shifting to the
major mode of the home key (F), the music reaches a very tender
and quiet bridge passage. The first two lines of the poem’s
fourth stanza are set to a sweetly descending four-bar phrase,
extended by the piano (which reaches a very low bass) to six
bars. The last two lines make a dramatic harmonic shift to
D-flat (the key heard at the end of strophe 1). After their
two-bar piano extension, the piano plays an additional four bars
(a total of ten measures, six in the piano), returning to the home
key and the melancholy mood. The piano measures and the
vocal measures each total eight, making the entire bridge the same
length as the other strophes, though setting only one stanza with
2:15 [m. 59]--Strophe 3 (A”). Like strophe 1, it
sets two poetic stanzas (the fifth and sixth). While
generally following strophe 1 closely, it does incorporate the
upward inflection on the second line as heard in the piano
introduction and strophe 2. The setting of the fifth stanza
comes to the familiar half-close, but the vocal line reaches
lower. The accompaniment is new and more active, with
descending figures passed between the right and left hands,
sometimes in double notes (mostly thirds).
2:31 [m. 67]--The setting
of the sixth stanza is close to that of the second, but now the
singer participates in the flowing line and thirds previously
heard only in the piano for the first two lines. This is the
emotional climax of the song, indicated by an increase in
volume. The last two lines gradually return to the previous
vocal phrase, but the piano left hand continues the more active
motion in broken octaves. As before, the stanza moves to
D-flat major. The piano extends the verse an extra bar as
the music settles down.
2:50 [m. 76]--The two-bar
interlude from 0:57 [m. 25] is played, reestablishing F minor.
2:55 [m. 78]--Strophe 4 (A’). The strophe,
setting the seventh and final stanza of the poem, matches strophe
2 exactly, with the last two lines repeated as before. The
full cadence in the home key is again reached.
3:26 [m. 90]--The piano
repeats the last four-bar phrase, as at 1:29 [m. 39], and it
serves as a postlude, with fuller harmonies in the last two
chords. While the structure of this song is complex, the
emotional affect is that of a straightforward and poignant lament.
3:44--END OF SONG [93 mm.]
12. “Muß es eine Trennung geben” (“Must there be a
parting”). Poco Andante. Modified strophic form.
G MINOR, 6/8 time (Low key E minor). [Later title: Trennung (Parting)].
Peter is found by Moors, who
sell him to the Sultan; he sings this song
Muß es eine Trennung geben,
Die das treue Herz zerbricht?
Nein, dies nenne ich nicht leben,
Sterben ist so bitter nicht.
Hör’ ich eines Schäfers Flöte,
Härme ich mich inniglich,
Seh’ ich in die Abendröte,
Denk’ ich brünstiglich an dich.
Gibt es denn kein wahres Lieben?
Muß denn Schmerz und Trennung sein?
Wär’ ich ungeliebt geblieben,
Hätt’ ich doch noch Hoffnungsschein.
Aber so muß ich nun klagen:
Wo ist Hoffnung, als das Grab?
Fern muß ich mein Elend tragen,
Heimlich bricht das Herz mir ab.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
A one-measure prelude establishes the sadly flowing downward
arpeggios passed between hands that characterize the piano
accompaniment for most of the song. They are quiet, but
agitated. Each is introduced with a low bass note. The
vocal line is characterized by a long note followed by a rising
figure in each of the four lines, all of which are set to
three-measure phrases. A characteristic embellishment is the
anticipation of the note before the second syllable of “geben,”
and another is the turn figure on “Herz.” The second line
comes to a half cadence.
0:20 [m. 8]--The third
line of the strophe is the same as the first, but set a step
higher, in A minor, subtly approached from the half cadence of
line 2. The fourth line returns to G in an equally subtle
manner, reaching higher than before, but the music is now in
major. The harmony comes to a close on a G major chord, but
the voice finishes on the note B, a third above, lending the
phrase a questioning character.
0:35 [m. 13]--At the vocal
cadence, the piano echoes the last six notes of the fourth line in
harmony, the arpeggios being transferred entirely to the left
hand. These echoes are in longer note values, some of them
syncopated. This allows the three-measure phrase to be
retained (the first overlapping with the last bar of the vocal
phrase). The echoes remain in major, with minor-key
inflections in the chords.
0:44 [m. 2]--Stanza
2. This is set to the same music as stanza 1, and Brahms
indicates this with repeat signs. The closing interlude
after stanza 1 replaces the one-measure prelude. Everything,
including that closing interlude, is included in the repeat signs
except for the first, preparatory measure.
1:25 [m. 16]--Stanza
3. Although it contrasts with the preceding verses, it uses
the same basic material and even retains the three-measure
phrases. The first line begins as before, but the harmonies
quickly move toward the key of E-flat major. The second line
begins “early,” not allowing the first to complete its third
measure. This allows the words “muß denn Schmerz” to be
repeated. The word “Schmerz” therefore takes the long note
where the line “should” have begun. This line varies
significantly from the preceding verses, and leads over a
crescendo to the song’s climax.
1:39 [m. 22]--The last two
lines of the verse are quite surprising. Both of them begin
“early,” as had the second, and introduce new material, with long
notes being held across bar lines. The “surprise” is in the
piano, which suddenly abandons the pervasive downward arpeggios
and plays the main opening melody, harmonized in thirds while the
left hand reiterates the note D in the third phrase and G in the
fourth. The phrases are harmonically active, the third
sounding as if it is moving back home to G minor, but the fourth
taking a diversion instead to the related C minor. In both
cases, the piano completes the three-bar phrase. The third
line is the climax of the song, while the fourth is a sort of
echo, completing the bleak thought.
1:58 [m. 28]--Stanza
4. It follows stanza 3 with no interlude other than the
piano’s completion of the last three-bar phrase. It is
essentially the same as the first and second stanzas (strophes),
with a subtle difference at the beginning. Although the
vocal line is exactly the same from the outset, the piano
arpeggios, re-entering after their only interruption, retain the
harmony of the preceding C minor from the foregoing music at
first, only matching the previous strophes in the third
measure. The motion from C minor back to G minor is thus
smoothly handled under the beginning of the verse, and the vocal
line easily matches this new harmony.
2:30 [m. 39]--As at 0:35
[m. 13], the vocal cadence introduces the “echo” in the piano of
the last six notes in harmony. However, at the third of
these (the second measure), the voice overlaps it with a
repetition of the entire last line. The first three notes
are a half-step lower, suggesting a return to minor. But the
last six are now stated in the longer note values, as they had
been in the piano. The first of these arrives with the last
note of the piano phrase. The piano continues the pattern,
though, with the chords now more directly harmonizing with the
voice. The second of these last notes (fifth of the entire
phrase) makes another hint at minor before the last four notes
again establish the major mode. The voice includes a
“hemiola,” or implied 3/4 measure. The final vocal phrase
retains its strangely questioning character. The longer
notes stretch it to four measures, for a total of five with the
first piano measure before the “overlap.”
2:44 [m. 43]--The piano
postlude, arriving with and overlapping the vocal cadence,
continues the pervasive arpeggios, moving steadily downward and
continuing to waver between major and minor before major is
finally settled upon at the end. It is essentially another
three-measure phrase, with a final chord added in a last extra
3:10--END OF SONG [46 mm.]
wo zaudert dein irrender Fuß?” (Sulima--“My love, where tarries your wandering
[wrongly-treading] foot [feet]?”). Zart, heimlich (Tenderly,
secretively). Vivace. Large two-part strophic form
(AAB form in each strophe). E MAJOR, 2/4 time (Low key C
major). [Later title: Lockung
After nearly two years, Sulima,
the Sultan’s daughter, asks him to run away with her and he
agrees, merely on the chance of reaching home again.
Repenting, he sets out alone in a small boat as Sulima sings
this song in the distance.
Geliebter, wo zaudert
Dein irrender Fuß?
Die Nachtigall plaudert
Von Sehnsucht und Kuß.
Es flüstern die Bäume
Im goldenen Schein,
Es schlüpfen mir Träume
Zum Fenster hinein.
Ach! kennst du das Schmachten
Der klopfenden Brust?
Dies Sinnen und Trachten
Voll Qual und voll Lust?
Beflügle die Eile
Und rette mich dir,
Bei nächtlicher Weile
Entfliehn wir von hier.
Die Segel, sie schwellen,
Die Furcht ist nur Tand:
Dort, jenseit den Wellen
Ist väterlich Land.
Die Heimat entfliehet,
So fahre sie hin!
Die Liebe, sie ziehet
Gewaltig den Sinn.
Horch! wollüstig klingen
Die Wellen im Meer,
Sie hüpfen und springen
Und sollten sie klagen?
Sie rufen nach dir!
Sie wissen, sie tragen
Die Liebe von hier.
Note: The first
word of the song (a direct translation would be “beloved man”) and
the character of Sulima suggest that the song should be sung by a
woman; however, the entire cycle is usually taken by one singer,
usually a man, reflecting Peter’s voice in most of the poems.
0:00 [m. 1]--The piano
introduction is rather long. It consists of three phrases,
the first two shorter and identical, and the third more varied and
longer than the first two combined. This reflects the
structure of each large strophe. The first two phrases
introduce the playful, skipping dotted rhythm present in the
accompaniment (and the voice) for much of the song. The
third, longer phrase introduces the many “color” notes (usually
flattened a half-step from where they are in the home key--an
inflection toward the minor) that appear throughout the song,
graphically suggesting the exoticism associated with Peter’s
captivity and the character of Sulima. The music finally
settles on a repeated note (B), preparing the entry of the voice.
0:09 [m. 12]--Stanza 1 (A). The vocal line
continues the playful, skipping dotted rhythm of the introduction,
which also continues in the piano. The persistence of this
rhythm also conveys a sense of restlessness or impatience.
The “color” notes are noticeable, particularly when the last line
is repeated in a more slowly drawn concluding phrase. A
short, vamp-like interlude follows.
0:20 [m. 12]--Stanza 2 (A). A repetition of the
music of stanza 1, indicated with a repeat sign. The last
line is of course repeated to the slower phrase, and the “vamp” is
heard again at the end.
0:31 [m. 26]--Stanza 3 (B). The longer section
rounding out the strophe begins. Stanza 3 is set to a
breathless rising line, still in the persistent skipping dotted
rhythm. The top notes of the phrases are flattened “color”
notes. The last line is NOT repeated.
0:37 [m. 34]--Stanza 4 (B continued). This
stanza rounds out the strophe. It moves generally downward,
coming the opposite direction from stanza 3. “Color” notes
are heard at the end of lines 1 and 2. Lines 3 and 4 leap
gradually downward (chromatically, by half-step). Lines 3
and 4 are repeated as a clinching, climactic phrase that rises
again and is more drawn out at the end. Under this
repetition, the left hand finally departs from the persistent
“skipping” rhythm for a strong descent in “straight” rhythm.
0:47 [m. 47]--The long
piano introduction from the beginning is repeated.
0:56 [m. 58]--Stanza 5 (A). Repetition of the
music of stanzas 1 and 2, with the last line repeated and the
1:07 [m. 58]--Stanza 6 (A). Repetition of the
music of stanzas 1, 2, and 5 (indicated with a repeat sign from
the end of stanza 5), with the last line repeated and the
1:17 [m. 72]--Stanza 7 (B’). Varied statement of
the music of stanza 3. Lines 1 and 2 are the same, but the
harmony of lines 3 and 4 (not the rhythm or general direction) is
subtly changed to lend more of a “minor” flavor.
1:24 [m. 80]--Stanza 8 (B’ continued). A mostly
unchanged repetition of the music from stanza 4, with the
repetition of lines 3 and 4 over a strong “straight” rhythm
descent in the left hand. There is a very slight alteration
under the first syllable of the word “Liebe,” (analogous to the
second syllable of “entfliehn” in stanza 4) where the “color” note
enters a beat later in the right hand.
1:33 [m. 93]--The long
introduction begins as in the interlude between the large strophes
(at 0:47 [m. 47]), but changes direction halfway through to settle
down to a quiet, but still playful ending. The pervasive
dotted rhythm remains in force to the end. A remarkable
aspect of this song is its complete lack of any departure from the
home key (the bright E major) other than the isolated “color”
notes. There is no large-scale modulation.
1:49--END OF SONG [104 mm.]
14. “Wie froh und frisch mein Sinn sich hebt”
(“How happy and fresh my thoughts soar”). Lebhaft
(Lively). Rondo form (ABACA). G MAJOR, 3/4 (9/8) time
(Low key E major). [Later title: Neuer Sinn (Fresh
As his voyage gets underway, he
sings this song
Wie froh und frisch mein Sinn sich hebt,
Zurück bleibt alles Bangen,
Die Brust mit neuem Mute strebt,
Erwacht ein neu Verlangen.
Die Sterne spiegeln sich im Meer,
Und golden glänzt die Flut.
Ich rannte taumelnd hin und her,
Und war nicht schlimm, nicht gut.
Sind Zweifel und wankender Sinn;
O tragt mich, ihr schaukelnden Wogen,
Zur längst ersehnten Heimat hin.
In lieber, dämmernder Ferne,
Dort rufen heimische Lieder,
Aus jeglichem Sterne
Blickt sie mit sanftem Auge nieder.
Ebne dich, du treue Welle,
Führe mich auf fernen Wegen
Zu der vielgeliebten Schwelle,
Endlich meinem Glück entgegen!
Note: Brahms indicated
the meter of the song as 3/4 (9/8). Both of these are triple
meters, but 3/4 has a “straight” division of the beat into two
parts, while 9/8 has a “triplet” division of the beat into
three. While there are exceptions (notably at the very
beginning), the vocal line is generally in the 3/4 “straight”
meter against the piano’s 9/8 “triplet” rhythm.
0:00 [m. 1]--Four bright,
strong chords, beginning on an upbeat (partial measure), prepare
the joyous mood.
0:05 [m. 3]--Stanza 1 (A). The vocal line soars
with happiness. The first two lines are set to two-measure
phrases, the last two to three-measure phrases. The rapid
arpeggios of the accompaniment are in a “divided” triplet rhythm
(9/8). They are brilliant and virtuosic, featuring many
rapidly repeated notes (often double notes) at the tops of
lines. The vocal line is in a mostly “straight” rhythm, but
the subtle “triplet” feel appears at the beginning on “froh und”
and “Sinn sich.” The verse begins on an upbeat, which is
absent for stanzas 3 and 5. Note the colorful harmonies
under “hebt,” “Bangen,” and “erwacht.” The words “ein neu”
are repeated as the line reaches its highest pitch.
0:23 [m. 13]--A piano
interlude continues the brilliant arpeggios, highlighting the
rapid repeated notes at the top. It also modulates to the
key of D major.
0:30 [m. 17]--Stanza 2 (B). This stanza is more
gentle. The brilliant arpeggios give way to more subdued,
undivided triplets in the piano with smooth left hand
harmonies. The voice retains the “straight” rhythm.
The first two lines are set in the closely related D major in
two-measure phrases. The second line (without the word
“und“) is repeated in longer note values, stretching it to a
three-measure phrase, followed by a measure of the piano alone.
0:45 [m. 25]--The last two
lines of the stanza move back to G and are set in the minor
version of that key. It is a very slight melancholy turn in
this exuberant song. Line 3 is set to a two-measure
phrase. Line 4 echoes it somewhat, but lengthens the last
notes, stretching it to three measures. A short interlude
introduces rising triplet figures and a strong descent in slower
notes, preparing the return of the passionate, joyous A music.
0:59 [m. 33]--Stanza 3 (A). A repetition of the
music from stanza 1, but with significant rhythm adjustments to
fit the text. The opening upbeat is gone, and in fact the
verse starts slightly after, rather than before the
downbeat. The “triplet” feel at the opening is straightened
out. Conversely, the word “schaukelnden” is set to a triplet
where there was not one before. There are other slight
shifts. Most notably, the final cadence is slightly
stretched out, ending on the downbeat of the next measure, since
the poetic line ends on a strong, rather than a weak
syllable. There is no text repetition at the highest point
(as there was before), but the word “ersehnten” is stretched over
1:15 [m. 43]--An interlude
enters at the final downbeat of the extended vocal cadence.
The piano arpeggios are now all rising and decrease in volume,
settling down to the tender music of stanza 4. As the key
changes to C, several colorful harmonies are introduced.
1:22 [m. 47]--Stanza 4 (C). Set in the “open”
key of C major, this stanza is more gentle and tender than stanza
2 was. The piano makes its most significant departures from
the 9/8 meter, playing several decorative phrases in the straight
3/4 as it harmonizes with and echoes the voice. The first
two lines are set to a beautiful four-bar phrase with a single
“color” note borrowed from the minor on “rufen.”
1:30 [m. 51]--This phrase
is echoed almost exactly in the last two lines, but line four
stretches a couple of notes. The word “Sie” is set to a
longer note (significantly the one with the minor “color”
inflection), as is the first syllable of “sanftem.” This
stretches the four-bar phrase to five measures. This fourth
line is repeated with even more lengthening and stretching,
creating its own new four-bar phrase over more of the decorative
3/4 motion in the piano. This happens as more “color” notes
move the music back to G and the music increases in volume for the
final return of the exuberant A
music. There is a one-bar interlude continuing the piano
figuration from the repetition of the last line.
1:48 [m. 61]--Stanza 5 (A). Again, this is a
close repetition with rhythmic adjustments for the text.
This is the only statement of the material that begins right on
the downbeat (stanza 1 began before it, stanza 3 after it).
A triplet feel is heard on “Ebne,” but not on “treue.” An
“extra” statement of the word “endlich” at the beginning of line 4
fills in a space where rests existed before. There is no
stretched out word on several notes at the high point, as there
was in stanza 3.
2:04 [m. 71]--The last
line is repeated in an extended cadence phrase. The word
“endlich” is again stated twice in longer note values, the second
with a color note on the last syllable. The final word
“entgegen” is lengthened as the high point is again reached with
very colorful harmony (Brahms indicated a possible simplified
version of this difficult last word--Fischer-Dieskau sings the
more difficult version). The lengthening expands the phrase
to five measures. The final vocal downbeat introduces a last
measure of upward-striving piano arpeggios that conclude the song
with a flourish.
2:23--END OF SONG [76 mm.]
15. “Treue Liebe dauert lange” (“True love
lingers long”). Ziemlich langsam (Rather slowly)--Lebhaft
(Lively)--Tempo I. Ziemlich langsam. Rondo form
(ABA’CA”). E-FLAT MAJOR, 4/4, 3/4, and cut [2/2] time (Low
key C major). [Later title: Treue (Fidelity)].
Eventually fishermen lead him to
the shepherd’s hut, where he discovers
Magelone. Back in Provence, the three rings have been
found by the royal cook in a fish’s stomach. On every
anniversary of their reunion, Peter and Magelone sing this song.
[Note: Brahms omitted two
of Tieck’s poems between Nos. 14 and 15.]
Treue Liebe dauert lange,
Überlebet manche Stund‘,
Und kein Zweifel macht sie bange,
Immer bleibt ihr Mut gesund.
Dräuen gleich in dichten Scharen,
Fordern gleich zum Wankelmut
Sturm und Tod, setzt den Gefahren
Lieb’ entgegen, treues Blut.
Und wie Nebel stürzt zurücke,
Was den Sinn gefangen hält,
Und dem heitern Frühlingsblicke
Öffnet sich die weite Welt.
Von Lieb’ ist das Glück,
Sie fliehen zurück;
Und selige Lust,
Die trunkene, wonneklopfende Brust;
Entschwinde die liebliche, selige, himmlische Lust!
0:00 [m. 1]--A four-bar
piano introduction with an upbeat introduces a three-note figure
that skips up and steps down. It will become prominent
throughout the song. The mood is fervent and hymn-like, with
a chromatic color-note twinge on the top note of the third
figure. The last figure moves straight down in longer
notes. The initial meter is 4/4. The key of E-flat was
also that of the first song, one of several elements that will
here bring closure and unity to the entire cycle.
0:14 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A). The first line is
set to a slowly upward and downward leaping line. The music
of the introduction is repeated underneath the vocal line in the
piano. The second line has shorter note values, and the
piano accompaniment becomes more active and syncopated after the
restatement of the introduction under the first line. The
word “manche” is repeated.
0:40 [m. 13]--At the last
word of the second line, the meter subtly changes to 3/4. A
descending three-note arpeggio in dotted rhythm is heard in
octaves from the piano bass while the right hand plays repeated
triplet chords. The voice echoes the bass arpeggio as it
begins the third line. The bass arpeggio is heard one more
time at a lower level after the vocal line begins. The
fourth line is set to a forward-striving rising line, with the
piano adding an echoing melody over its constant triplet
chords. The line is repeated (including an “extra”
repetition of “immer bleibt”) as the music descends to a warm
cadence. At the cadence, the bass repeats the three-note
arpeggio as the right hand states the opening three-note figure
again leading into the next section.
1:03 [m. 23]--Stanza 2 (B). The piano figuration
from the end of stanza 1 continues, with the three-note leaping
bass arpeggios in the left hand and the triplet chords in the
right. The stanza begins with a dramatic and striking
modulation over a series of minor-key harmonies. The vocal
line steadily rises toward a dissonant climax in the rather remote
B minor at the third line, which speaks of “storm and
death.” Beginning with a syncopation, the fourth line
suddenly becomes quiet and is set to a very sweet and tender line
in a rich B major. The triplets in the right hand shift from
repeated block chords to more gentle arpeggios. At the
cadence, an interlude utilizing the bass arpeggios modulates back
home to E-flat major.
1:37 [m. 36]--Stanza 3 (A’). The music of stanza
1 is repeated. The first two lines are now in the prevailing
3/4 rather than the opening 4/4. Surprisingly, this change
does not affect the music as much as expected. The piano
introduction, with a shorter first note on each three-note group,
is still heard under the first line, and the syncopated music is
still heard under the second. The vocal line simply shortens
the length of some notes (usually the last ones in the
measures). Line 3 and most of line 4 are set to the same
music as in stanza 1. The repetition of line 4 also begins
the same, stating the words “öffnet sich” twice. From that
point, as “weite” is repeated, the line expands and reaches higher
to a loud, dramatic half cadence instead of down to the soft and
warm full cadence of stanza 1. The tension-filled last chord
of the piano is marked with a fermata (hold).
2:28 [m. 54]--Stanza 4 (C). The tension is
resolved by the arrival of the new “Lebhaft” tempo and the quick
2/2 (cut time) meter. The short lines of the stanza lend
themselves well to a breathless setting. The first three
lines are an ingenious transformation of the piano introduction
with its three-note figures. The piano plays in a swinging
triplet rhythm. It interjects a dramatic outburst after
these lines, coming to another tension-filled fermata. The
music remains in the home key of E-flat.
2:38 [m. 61]--Lines 4-10
are set to even more breathless music. The vocal line sweeps
generally downward in each measure, usually turning up on the last
note. The piano accompaniment also uses similar figures, but
they are twice as fast as the vocal ones. Line 10 finally
strives upward to another held chord on A-flat major, the voice
reaching its highest note of the song (A-flat) as it resolves
2:54 [m. 74]--Lines 11-15
resume the quick motion, but the vocal line moves in longer notes
beginning with the chromatic descending line 13 (“auf immer”)
. The direction of the fast piano figures is reversed.
The notes become even longer at line 14 (“und nimmer”). The
piano begins to play long upward arpeggios at the first
“nimmer.” The line “und nimmer” is stated twice in long
notes before a third statement introduces the first word of line
15 (“entschwinde”) in faster notes. The piano introduces a
fast syncopated rhythm under this line, the right hand playing
mostly in double notes (usually sixths). “Und nimmer
entschwinde” is repeated again (the fourth statement of line 14)
before line 15 is finally completed, all over the new syncopated
piano figures. Two piano-only measures lead to an expanded
restatement of “die himmlische Lust.” There are many “color”
notes throughout this passage.
3:18 [m. 96]--Lines 11-15
are stated again in their entirety with no internal repetition,
the syncopated figures in the piano being replaced by the pattern
heard in lines 4-10, with the left hand playing in a slower
triplet rhythm. The rhythm of the vocal line matches that of
the first statement of lines 11-12 (which is the same as that of
lines 1-3). Under the longer line 15, the hands reverse
material, and the fast figures that are now in the left hand
reverse direction. The voice again reaches its highest note
(A-flat) on the word “Lust,” but it leaps down and the music comes
to one last tense fermata on a half cadence.
3:35 [m. 105]--A”. The final section
sets the first line of stanza 1 followed by lines 11-12 and 14-15
of stanza 4. It resolves the tension of the last fermata by
returning to the long-absent opening 4/4 meter and the slower
tempo. The setting matches the first two lines of stanza 1
(the 4/4 section) up until the last measure of that passage.
To this music is set line 1 of stanza 1 (after which there is a
pause) and lines 11, 12, and 14 of stanza 4.
4:02 [m. 112]--The final
statement of the last line is to new music that continues the
character of the first part of stanza 1. The cadence of the
last measure from that section is avoided. The word
“entschwinde” moves the pattern of “und nimmer” (which matched the
first “manche” in stanza 1) up a step. The words “liebliche
selige” introduce downward-sweeping arpeggios over the continuing
piano syncopation. “Selige” once more reaches the highest
A-flat, and is the final climax of the song. There is a
pause after this word. “Himmlische Lust” is finally set to
another slowly downward-sweeping arpeggio. As it is heard,
the descending three-note bass arpeggio from the beginning of the
3/4 section at 0:40 [m. 13] is heard, again over the triplet
chords. The notes happen to match the last vocal
arpeggio This reminiscence only lasts a measure and Brahms
instructs a very fast quieting for the final sighing cadence.
It turns out that this last descending arpeggio setting
“himmlische Lust” nearly exactly matches the opening vocal gesture
of the first song of the cycle, “Keinen hat es noch gereut.”
By extension, the three-note dotted-rhythm bass arpeggio first
heard at 0:40 [m. 13] is also derived from that gesture.
Thus by a very simple reference Brahms brings the long, diverse
cycle full circle. The gesture is a sort of “heroic” motto.
4:37--END OF SONG [116 mm.]
END OF CYCLE
There is confusion over a certain passage of No. 3. In the
passage at 4:26 [m. 71], the first two lines of stanza 6 (here
marked D), Brahms
originally created a different setting (line 3 was the
same). He had a rising scale line that echoed the piano
bass. He later changed it to the down-up C-minor arpeggio
described in the guide. Late in his life, he asked the
publisher to change the passage back to the original rising scale,
calling the revision “a great idiocy.” Many editions
retained the revision (including the first complete edition
reprinted by Dover) and that is what Fischer-Dieskau recorded, so
that is what is described in the guide.
There is similar confusion in a passage of No. 4. It
involves the third line of stanza 4 (which begins at 2:15 [m.
38]), here marked C.
Fischer-Dieskau sings the original setting, which consists of an
upward leap beginning on the second beat of the measure, matching
the analogous passage of stanza 6 at 2:58 [m. 59]. The first
complete edition has a different setting for this line that leaps
down and begins on the first beat of the measure. This is
apparently another revision that was rejected by Brahms in favor
of the original setting, which in this case is what this recording
BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME