EIGHT SONGS (LIEDER UND GESÄNGE), OP. 59
Recording: Jessye Norman, soprano (Nos. 5, 8); Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449 633-2]
Published 1873.


This set was published somewhat later than Op. 57 and Op. 58 (also sets of eight songs titled “Lieder und Gesänge“--Brahms usually chose one of those two words).  It is actually closer in character and time of composition to the nine songs of Op. 63, also given the title with both German descriptors (in English, we would translate both as “songs”).  As with all of these sets, it shows a sense of internal organization, but perhaps a more elegant one.  Rather than building up toward a large capstone song, as do Op. 57 and Op. 58, or creating three “subgroups” with one poet apiece, as does Op. 63, Op. 59 is arranged in two groups of four, each ending with a pair of poems by his friend Klaus Groth (Op. 63 also closes with Groth).  The first song of each subset is by a great romantic poet (Goethe and Mörike, respectively), the second by a “lighter” poet.  Brahms’s admiration for Daumer spilled from Op. 57 into this set, and No. 6 of Op. 59, to a very erotic Daumer text, seems like a leftover from the Op. 57 songs, to which it is very similar, if more complex in form.  The first song is a dramatic, but restrained setting of an excellent late Goethe text.  The second song uses subtle rhythmic manipulation to illustrate the voyage on the sea (the later song in Op. 106 with the same title is a different poem).  Nos. 3 and 4, both “rain songs” to related Groth texts, use the same basic material and are usually paired without a break.  No. 3 is the most substantial song in the set by far.  The main material of these songs was “recycled” to great effect in the finale of the first violin sonata, Op. 78 (which begins like a violin transcription of No. 4’s opening).  “Agnes,” No. 5, is a stylized folk-like lyric by Mörike, and Brahms responds with a setting resembling his songs on actual folk texts.  The mixed meter is handled with particular deftness, as is the varied accompaniment between verses.  The final two Groth songs are rather short, but both are of unusual quality, particularly the almost manic No. 7, with its intricate counterpoint, major/minor mixture, and manipulation of the main melodic figure.  No. 8 is restrained and beautiful, and is notable for its long, slow descents in the vocal line. The set is the subject of a notable letter by Brahms to his publisher, often cited as evidence that the song groups and opus numbers, rather than being random collections, have order and logic in their arrangement.  In the letter, he was adamant about the grouping into two subsets as well as the overall order for publication.

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

IMSLP WORK PAGE
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke--original keys)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max Friedländer):
No. 1: Dämmrung senkte sich von oben (in original key, G minor/major)
No. 1: Dämmrung senkte sich von oben (in high key, B-flat minor/major)
No. 2: Auf dem See (in original key, E major)
No. 2: Auf dem See (in low key, E-flat major)
No. 3: Regenlied (in original key, F-sharp minor)
No. 3: Regenlied (in low key, D minor)
No. 4: Nachklang (in original key, F-sharp minor)
No. 4: Nachklang (in low key, D minor)
No. 5: Agnes (in original key, G minor)
No. 5: Agnes (in low key, E minor)
No. 6: Eine gute, gute Nacht (in original key, A minor/major)
No. 6: Eine gute, gute Nacht (in low key, F-sharp minor/major)
No. 7: Mein wundes Herz
(in original key, E minor/major)
No. 7: Mein wundes Herz (in low key, C-sharp minor/major)
No. 8: Dein blaues Auge hält so still (in original key, E-flat major)
No. 8: Dein blaues Auge hält so still (in low key, D major)


BOOK I:
1. Dämmrung senkte sich von oben (Twilight Sank from High Above).  Text by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  Langsam (Slowly).  Varied strophic (Stanzas 1-2) and Through-composed (Stanzas 3-4) forms.  G MINOR/MAJOR, 3/8 time (High key B-flat minor/major).

German Text:
Dämmrung senkte sich von oben,
Schon ist alle Nähe fern,
Doch zuerst empor gehoben
Holden Lichts der Abendstern.

Alles schwankt in’s Ungewisse,
Nebel schleichen in die Höh
,
Schwarzvertiefte Finsternisse
Widerspiegelnd ruht der See.
 
Nun am östlichen Bereiche
Ahn
ich Mondenglanz und Glut,
Schlanker Weiden Haargezweige
Scherzen auf der nächsten Flut.

Durch bewegter Schatten Spiele
Zittert Lunas Zauberschein,
Und durch
s Auge schleicht die Kühle
Sänftigend in
s Herz hinein.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  In G minor, four bars establish the opening accompaniment pattern, a harmonized two-note group followed by a rest, in the piano’s tenor range.  The very low bass moves in the third bar.  The mood is somewhat ominous and foreboding.
0:12 [m. 5]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The accompaniment continues in the pattern and range established in the introduction, but the left hand also plays on both the first two beats.  The vocal melody of the first line comes from the bass of the introduction, and is evocative of the falling darkness.  Its long-short rhythm contrasts with the piano’s two short notes and a rest.  The second line continues the rhythmic patterns in both piano and voice, briefly moving to D minor.
0:32 [m. 13]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  A new accompaniment pattern is established with off-beat syncopations in the right hand against melodic fragments in the left.  The long-short pattern continues in the vocal line, but the melody and harmony brighten considerably to a striking E-flat major.  The fourth line brings the music back to the minor key.  The lengthening of the word “Abendstern,” with a note crossing a bar line, stretches the line to five bars instead of four, the cadence merging with the following interlude.
0:49 [m. 21]--Arriving with the cadence of stanza 1, this interlude has the same bass as the introduction, but the right hand now plays a flowing line derived from the original two-note figures.  It is quiet and mysterious in nature.
0:57 [m. 25]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2.  The vocal line is as in stanza 1 for these two lines.  The accompaniment is new, continuing the flowing, mysterious lines from the preceding interlude in both hands.
1:13 [m. 33]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4.  Line 3 is essentially the same melody as in stanza 1, but at a different level, eschewing the brightness of E-flat major for the darkness of the related C minor, appropriate for the text of this line (“Darkness steeped in black”).  The fourth line is again rhythmically similar the last line of stanza 1, and it also begins in C minor.  It is subtly altered, however, to end back home in G minor, as had the first verse.  The accompaniment, with the off-beat syncopations and low melodic fragments, also comes from the last two lines of stanza 1.  The cadence again merges with an interlude.
1:28 [m. 41]--Arriving with the cadence of stanza 2, this interlude is mostly a reprise of the introduction, with the harmonized two-note groups.  The fourth bar introduces a new sharp dissonance (the two notes of a half-step played together), and the bridging arpeggio suggests another motion to E-flat major.
1:40 [m. 46]--Stanza 3, lines 1-2.  The off-beat syncopations continue, but the music has again brightened to E-flat major.  The vocal line is more active, and steadily rises over the two lines.  The bass line has moved up to the middle range, where it slowly outlines harmonies before working its way back down with some longer syncopation.  The piano syncopations continue in major for a descending bridge to the next lines.
1:54 [m. 54]--Stanza 3, lines 3-4.  Brahms writes a circular bass progression through B-flat, F, and C (all minor) leading back home to G.  The vocal line arches up and back twice with long-short-short figures that increase the intensity.  The vocal melody then slows down and diminishes in the fourth line as these figures are passed to the piano right hand, finally interrupting the persistent off-beat syncopation.
2:08 [m. 62]--Stanza 4, lines 1-2.  Although there is a continuous flow into this stanza from the colorful harmonies at the end of the last, this is an important arrival, as the home key of G unambiguously moves to major.  The melody is a transformed version of that used for the last two lines of the first two stanzas.  The setting is higher, but the long-short rhythm confirms its identity.  The accompaniment is also similar, but follows the vocal line more closely.  The phrase is extended to a full-hearted, but gentle climax through the repetition of “Lunas” and the stretching out of “Zauberschein” in a brief turn to C major.
2:24 [m. 72]--Stanza 4, lines 3-4.  The intensity continues for these lines, which include surprising dissonant harmonies and a continued emphasis on the harmony of C major under the word “sänftigend.”  The left hand slows down to longer block chords in a lower register.  The overall motion is downward, with a lengthening of “Herz” over a moving mid-range left hand line.  There is a half-close before the repetition.
2:40 [m. 81]--The last two lines are repeated without “und” and with an extra repetition of “sänftigend.”  The volume rises to the first “sänftigend,” still over C major harmony, then diminishes for the second statement of the word, now over a darker minor chord.  For the last warm words, Brahms indicated two vocal options.  One turns and rises with some decoration.  The other continues to descend to the lowest vocal pitch.  Fischer-Dieskau sings the lower version.  In a short postlude, continuing off-beat middle range syncopations and descending bass lines lead, after more rich harmonies, to a final rolled chord.
3:22--END OF SONG [94 mm.]


2. Auf dem See (On the Lake).  Text by Karl Joseph Simrock.  Etwas bewegt (With some motion).  Modified strophic form (AABA’).  E MAJOR, 3/4 time (Low key E-flat major).
(The title Auf dem See is also used for Op. 106, No. 2.)

German Text:
Blauer Himmel, blaue Wogen,
Rebenhügel um den See,
Drüber blauer Berge Bogen
Schimmernd weiß im reinen Schnee.

Wie der Kahn uns hebt und wieget,
Leichter Nebel steigt und fällt,
Süßer Himmelsfriede lieget
Über der beglänzten Welt.

Stürmend Herz, tu auf die Augen,
Sieh umher und werde mild:
Glück und Friede magst du saugen
Aus des Doppelhimmels Bild.

Spiegelnd sieh die Flut erwidern
Turm und Hügel, Busch und Stadt,
Also spiegle du in Liedern,
Was die Erde Schönstes hat.

English Translation
 
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  Beginning with an upbeat, the introduction establishes the mood and the musical materials of the song’s main strophe.  A phrase of rocking triple meter with a gentle dotted rhythm (long-short) passed between the hands over a static bass gives way to a second phrase in which the left hand dotted rhythms continue but the right hand indulges in cross-meter, with three groups of two rising chords imposed against two 3/4 bars.  The phrase restores metric order at the end, hinting at the minor key.
0:12 [m. 9]--Stanza 1 (A).  The first two lines are set to a wide-ranging, arching melody evocative of the waves described in the text.  The accompaniment is simply a repetition of the introduction for the first six bars (including the cross-meter).  The divergence allows a repetition of “um den See” on a murmuring repeated note.  Unlike the introduction, this extended phrase does not make reference to the minor key.
0:26 [m. 19]--The remainder of the strophe has a more stepwise motion with longer notes.  The piano bass retains the rocking dotted rhythm.  The last line reaches a high point.  It is then repeated over a descent.  Under this repetition, the piano again uses the cross-meter with three groups of two ascending beats that clash with the main triple meter in the vocal line.  The metric order is again restored for the satisfying, closed vocal cadence, which is rounded off by a brief bridging piano postlude that continues the descent.
0:45 [m. 9]--Stanza 2 (A).  As in stanza 1 at 0:12, with the “murmuring repetition” on “steigt und fällt.”
1:00 [m. 19]--As in stanza 1 at 0:26, with the same declamation and line repetition.
1:19 [m. 33]--Stanza 3 (B).  There is great contrast with a turn to the home minor key (E minor).  The accompaniment changes dramatically with ascending arpeggios in triplet rhythm (groups of three notes per beat).  But elements of the main strophe are still present, such as the dotted rhythm in the right hand and cross-meter (again three groups of two ascending beats, this time in triplet rhythm) under the second line.  The words “werde mild” are stretched out as an extension, somewhat arresting the stormy nature of the contrasting music.  There is a piano bridge at “mild” that again uses the cross-meter.
1:32 [m. 43]--The remainder of the stanza begins somewhat calmer, moving to the new key of G major (which is related to E minor).  The words “Glück” and “Frieden” are lengthened on descending half-steps, placing a cross-rhythm in the vocal melody and extending the third line.  After the last line avoids a cadence, a bridge using the familiar cross-meter increases the intensity and moves to B major, toward the home key.  The last line is strongly repeated.  Another, longer bridge passage moves to the home key, diminishes, and uses the familiar cross-meter in its last two bars, which abandon the triplet rhythm.
1:52 [m. 59]--Stanza 4 (A’).  The music is essentially the same as the first two strophes, but there is an extremely effective embellishment on the word “Flut.”  The murmuring repetition is on “Busch und Stadt.”
2:07 [m. 69]--The last two lines are as in the first two strophes, with an added crescendo on the ascent in the first statement of the last line.  Two closing chords are added to the descending postlude.
2:36--END OF SONG [84 mm.]


3. Regenlied (Rain Song).  Text by Klaus Groth.  In mäßiger, ruhiger Bewegung (In measured, peaceful motion).  Expanded ternary form (AA’BCC’AA”).  F-SHARP MINOR, 2/2 [Cut] and 3/2 time (Low key D minor).

German Text:
Walle, Regen, walle nieder,
Wecke mir die Träume wieder,
Die ich in der Kindheit träumte,
Wenn das Naß im Sande schäumte!

Wenn die matte Sommerschwüle
Lässig stritt mit frischer Kühle,
Und die blanken Blätter tauten,
Und die Saaten dunkler blauten.

Welche Wonne, in dem Fließen
Dann zu stehn mit nackten Füßen,
An dem Grase hin zu streifen
Und den Schaum mit Händen greifen.

Oder mit den heißen Wangen
Kalte Tropfen aufzufangen,
Und den neuerwachten Düften
Seine Kinderbrust zu lüften!

Wie die Kelche, die da troffen,
Stand die Seele atmend offen,
Wie die Blumen, düftertrunken,
In dem Himmelstau versunken.

Schauernd kühlte jeder Tropfen
Tief bis an des Herzens Klopfen,
Und der Schöpfung heilig Weben
Drang bis ins verborgne Leben.

Walle, Regen, walle nieder,
Wecke meine alten Lieder,
Die wir in der Türe sangen,
Wenn die Tropfen draußen klangen!

Möchte ihnen wieder lauschen,
Ihrem süßen, feuchten Rauschen,
Meine Seele sanft betauen
Mit dem frommen Kindergrauen.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  The piano establishes the pervasive single long-short rhythm (dotted rhythm) that will permeate this song and the next.  It is heard first in isolation on an upbeat, then, after three detached chords, in the bass.  More chords lead to the vocal entry.
0:09 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A).  The singer enters with the dotted rhythm, then begins the flowing melody of the song.  The piano establishes a pattering “rain” accompaniment, played by the right hand in the middle range.  Though meandering, it contains many repeated notes.  The dotted rhythm is played by the left hand, both over and under the perpetual “rain” motion in alternation.  The singer also begins the third and fourth lines with the dotted rhythm.  The harmony of the third line makes a lovely upward shift to G major at the mention of childhood.  The left hand abandons the dotted rhythm in the last line, playing low bass octaves.
0:34 [m. 21]--Restatement of the introduction.
0:41 [m. 25]--Stanza 2 (A’).  The first two lines are set to the same music as stanza 1, but the third and fourth lines slide more forcefully upward, the fourth line at a higher level, moving toward the key of A major, where the B section is set.  The pattering rain accompaniment and the isolated dotted rhythms above and below it from the left hand continue.  The fourth line is repeated with longer notes, but increasing speed to aid in the transition to the next section.
1:13 [m. 46]--Stanza 3 (B).  This section is much more lively, with a joyous, leaping vocal line and a skittish accompaniment that includes isolated detached notes in the left hand and rapid arpeggios in the right.  These right hand arpeggios are in groups of six with the first note replaced by a rest.  They alternate with syncopated, harmonized two-note figures.  The stanza begins in A major, then moves strikingly to C major in its last line.  Stanza 4 follows seamlessly.
1:25 [m. 54]--Stanza 4 (B continued).  The first line is exceptionally exuberant.  The right hand abandons the syncopations, playing only the six-note groups, which now oscillate up and down, still with their first note replaced by a rest.  The left hand plays a smoother bass line instead of the detached leaping notes.  The second line slides upward by half-steps in longer notes, some held over bar lines. 
1:35 [m. 61]--The third line returns to the patterns heard in stanza 3, re-establishing A major.  In the last line, the high point, the right hand groups replace the initial rests with downbeat notes that, taken together, form a descending line that nearly doubles the voice.  The left hand again becomes smooth.  The line is repeated strongly, and these initial notes now double the voice exactly.  There is a strong cadence in A, then a brief bridge continuing and repeating the descending patterns with greatly diminishing volume.
1:53 [m. 71]--Stanza 5 (C).  The meter changes to 3/2.  These longer bars seem to arrest the forward progress of the song to provide contrast and respite.  The main key of the 3/2 section is D major. The stanza begins with an upbeat on the last beat of the 2/2 bars in the bridge.  The constant “rain” accompaniment ceases, as the text now focuses completely on the memories of the past.  Instead, the singer uses patterns of two long notes followed by two short ones.  The piano left hand initially follows the singer’s rhythm.  The right hand alternates with chords after the beats of the long notes, then joins on the shorter ones.  The second line moves to F-sharp major.
2:02 [m. 75]--At the beginning of the third and fourth lines, the two long notes are replaced by a long-short dotted rhythm.  The piano now plays straight chords in the left hand, with the right hand following after the beat.  The two lines move from F-sharp major (the major version of the home key) back to D for the sixth stanza.  This motion and the right hand after-beat chords continue in a bridge.
2:16 [m. 81]--Stanza 6 (C’).  The entire stanza is essentially identical to stanza 5, with two small exceptions in the voice (the piano is unchanged).  First, the long-short dotted rhythm is already used at the beginning of the second line.  Second, the ending of the last line is slightly altered for a continuous descent.
2:34 [m. 89]--The bridge that followed stanza 5 is omitted.  Instead, the last line of stanza 6 is repeated as the meter almost sneakily shifts back to 2/2 time.  The repetition remains in D major, with a hint of minor on the second syllable of “verborgne.”  The left hand chords and right hand after-beat chords are retained.  The piano, in the low and middle range, continues this pattern after the line is repeated, the top notes of the chords sliding upward by half-steps in a quiet, diminishing motion back to the home minor key.
2:50 [m. 96]--Stanza 7 (A).  Musically identical to stanza 1.  Note the similar text.
3:16 [m. 112]--Introduction.  The interlude following the repetition at 2:34 [m. 89] replaced the introduction before stanza 7.
3:23 [m. 116]--Stanza 8 (A”).  It is more similar to stanzas 1 and 7 than to stanza 2.  Brahms indicates that the music should become more peaceful and quiet in a gradual manner.  He replaces the pervasive dotted rhythms in the voice at the beginning of the first and third lines with a slow syncopation.  The fourth line has a straight rhythm at the beginning.  This fourth line diverges from the main stanzas by making a strong turn to the home major key with an extension of the third syllable of “Kindergrauen.”
3:52 [m. 132]--The last line is gently repeated in the major key with a new melodic line.  This repetition uses long notes, some held over bar lines.  The “rain” accompaniment continues, with three statements of the dotted rhythm in the bass.
4:04 [m. 138]--With the singer’s last note, a piano postlude begins, still in the major key.  The “rain” accompaniment remains in the middle range.  The dotted rhythm is heard twice more in the bass.  A long chord in the right hand arrests the “rain” patter, and the dotted rhythm in the bass is replaced by the slow syncopation heard in the voice in stanza 8.  The “rain” patter tries to begin again, but the music slows and quiets, another long chord stops things for good, and the notes of the left hand syncopation are even slower, doubled in length before the final major chord.
4:38--END OF SONG [147 mm.]


4. Nachklang (Echo).  Text by Klaus Groth.  Sanft bewegt (Gently moving).  Ternary form with minimal contrast.  F-SHARP MINOR, Cut time [2/2] (Low key D minor).
(A slightly different version of this text is used for a completely different setting that was never published [WoO 23].  Confusingly, the setting is titled Regenlied, so it has the title of Op. 59, No. 3 and the text of Op. 59, No. 4.)

German Text:
Regentropfen aus den Bäumen
Fallen in das grüne Gras,
Tränen meiner trüben Augen
Machen mir die Wange naß.

Wenn die Sonne wieder scheinet,
Wird der Rasen doppelt grün:
Doppelt wird auf meinen Wangen
Mir die heiße Träne glühn.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A).  There is no introduction, and the voice begins alone on an upbeat, but it is essentially the same music as the first stanza of “Regenlied” (No. 3).  The beginning of the third line abandons the dotted rhythm in favor of a longer syncopation, and the ending of the stanza lacks a final leap.  There is an overall diminishing as well.  The opening is effective either following No. 3 or on its own.
0:29 [m. 17]--An interlude introduces new accented harmonies not heard at this point in No. 3, but the music is similar to the preceding song’s introduction.  The piano than re-introduces the main rhythms.
0:37 [m. 21]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2 (B).  The two lines make reference to the sunshine, and the music turns to a brighter related major key (A major).  The music is similar to the main material, but the piano has the dotted rhythm in chords at the top of the texture, and the contour of the vocal line is new.  The piano also abandons the “pattering” in favor of more straightforward ascending arpeggios.  The second line reaches a small climax, and the ensuing interlude, though containing some dissonances, remains in major.
0:53 [m. 31]--Stanza 2, lines 3-4 (A’).  The last two lines return to the main material, but are altered so that the singer can rise to a very dramatic high note at the song’s largest climax.  There, the piano plays the dotted rhythm in low bass notes that rise by half-steps.
1:06 [m. 39]--The last line is repeated and stretched out with longer notes.  The accompaniment pattern continues with low bass notes.  Although the vocal line remains in minor, certain notes in the piano hint at the major-key close of the postlude (similar to that of No. 3).
1:15 [m. 44]--The postlude begins with the last vocal note on “glühn.”  It immediately turns to the major mode (on the home keynote of F-sharp).  The dotted rhythm is heard two more times in the right hand.  The “pattering” figures move up and back down, swelling to a final climax before settling back down.  Three soft major chords at the end essentially lengthen the dotted rhythm.  The final mood is very ambiguous.
1:36--END OF SONG [50 mm.]


BOOK II:
5. Agnes.  Text by Eduard Mörike.  Con moto.  Modified strophic form with variations largely in the accompaniment.  G MINOR, 3/4+2/4 time (Low key E minor).

German Text:
Rosenzeit! wie schnell vorbei,
schnell vorbei
bist du doch gegangen!
Wär mein Lieb
nur blieben treu,
blieben treu
sollte mir nicht bangen.

Um die Ernte wohlgemut,
wohlgemut
Schnitterrinnen singen.
Aber, ach! mir kranken Blut, mir krankem Blut
will nichts mehr gelingen.

Schleiche so durch
s Wiesental,
so durch
s Tal,
als im Traum verloren,
nach dem Berg, da tausendmal, tausendmal
er mir Treu
geschworen.

Oben auf des Hügels Rand,
abgewandt,
wein
ich bei der Linde;
an dem Hut mein Rosenband,
von seiner Hand,
spielet in dem Winde.

English Translation--NOTE: The stanza and line arrangement, as well as some of the repetition, is laid out differently in the version linked here, but all the text is present and the translation is very good.

The 3/4--2/4 alternation is complex, but regular.  Each stanza consists of three five-bar phrases.  The meter of these phrases is always 3/4--2/4--2/4--3/4--2/4.  The third phrase of each stanza repeats the text of the second.  The “extra” 2/4 bar in the middle of each phrase accommodates the text repetitions in Mörike’s poem.  It always serves as a somewhat restrained echo.  “Agnes” is the protagonist of this quasi-folk poem.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  An introduction of two bars, one in each meter (3/4--2/4) presents the strong, vigorous chord accompaniment of this stanza.  The vocal line is similarly vigorous, with strong dotted (long-short) rhythms.  The “echoing” bars are distinctly restrained.  The top note of the accompanying chords follows the vocal line.  In the third phrase, otherwise a repetition of the second, the piano deviates slightly in the first bar, the right hand lagging behind the voice and reaching higher before catching up.
0:26 [m. 18]--Stanza 2.  An introductory interlude is similar to the first introduction, but it introduces right hand syncopation after the beat.  The vocal line is essentially the same as in stanza 1, but in the third phrase, the first three bars are altered, the voice following the line the piano had used (reaching higher) in stanza 1 and cutting the first three syllables, thus deviating from the pure repetition of the second phrase.  The alteration is preserved in the “echo.”  The accompaniment follows the implications of the interlude, with the right hand playing chords after the beats and the left hand playing octaves on the beats.  In a reversal, the first bar of the third phrase preserves the vocal line of the second phrase in the piano.  Voice and piano are both much lighter than in stanza 1.
0:54 [m. 35]--Stanza 3.  The introductory interlude is lengthened to three bars (adding a second 2/4 bar).  The right hand preserves the vigorous dotted rhythm of the first stanza as well as the lighter after-beat syncopations of the second.  The left hand introduces a new flowing line.  This flowing line continues in both hands, usually harmonized in thirds or sixths, under the vocal line.  The vocal line is as in stanza 2.  The piano continues to preserve the original vocal line in the first bar of the third phrase.
1:22 [m. 53]--Stanza 4.  Again, the interlude is three bars.  This time, the flowing line is there from the outset.  Under the vocal line, the flowing harmonies are more continuous and more chromatic.  The third phrase no longer preserves the vocal line of the second phrase in the piano.  The vocal line is as in stanzas 2 and 3, but even more subdued.  The echoing repetitions are replaced by new rhyming words.  A two-bar postlude (3/4--2/4), is suddenly accented, with the dotted rhythm in the bass, before settling to its melancholy close.
2:12--END OF SONG [72 mm.]


6. Eine gute, gute Nacht  (A Good Good-Night).  Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer from a Russian folk source.  Poco Andante.  Two-part through-composed/varied strophic form.  A MINOR/MAJOR, 2/4 time (Low key F-sharp minor/major).

German Text:
Eine gute, gute Nacht
Pflegst du mir zu sagen -
Über dieses eitle Wort,
O wie muß ich klagen!

Daß du meiner Seele Glut
Nicht so grausam nährtest;
»Eine gute, gute Nacht«,
Daß du sie gewährtest!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1 (Stanza 1).  An introduction presents the pervasive falling figure.  The falling leaps are tritones (dissonant intervals between a fourth and fifth), but they are very gentle and only mildly biting.  The left hand includes similar figures moving at twice the speed.  The effect is both melancholy and graceful.  An unexpected loud chord punctuates the end of the second phrase.
0:13 [m. 7]--The first line is set to similar leaps, but they are more melodious, consonant fourths and thirds, not in A minor, but its related major key of C.  The piano seems to echo these figures, again at twice the speed.  The second line somewhat reverses direction.  The piano echoes the dotted (long-short) figure on “sagen” twice, with a slight intensification and motion back to the minor key.
0:28 [m. 14]--The last two lines are set more urgently, with some syncopation and dotted rhythm.  The piano plays dissonant descending arpeggios with slight accentuation.  The ending of the verse settles onto an incomplete close moving to the “dominant” key of E.  A rising arpeggio makes a rapid transition to the opening introductory material.
0:38 [m. 19]--Part 2 (Stanza 2).  The piano introduction in A minor seems to begin again, but after one bar, the voice enters with a new rising melody on the first two lines of the stanza.  The right hand notes begin to be heard after the beats of the more steady left hand.  The harmonies are still similar to the opening until the second line is repeated on longer notes, with the piano becoming ever lighter.
0:53 [m. 27]--The piano immediately begins a variant of the main vocal melody from the first part, continuing with the right hand playing after the beat.  The voice then enters with the original melody itself, set quite obviously to the same words (the third line of this stanza).
0:59 [m. 31]--The music makes a “leap” to material from 0:28 [m. 14] for the last line.  The piano plays the same types of dissonant descending arpeggios with the accentuation, but this time they lead to the home key of A (now major instead of minor).  The vocal melody is quite different, however, staying more close to the descending piano lines, but in longer notes.  The line is repeated with more syncopation and faster notes on “daß du” but longer, stretched-out notes on “sie gewährtest.”  The incomplete vocal close is questioning and hopeful.
1:10 [m. 36]--The questioning vocal ending arrives with a variant of the introduction, complete with the descending tritone leaps as well as other dissonances and chromatic notes.  The piano quiets until the final major chord, which is heard after a bass note downbeat.
1:28--END OF SONG [41 mm.]


7. Mein wundes Herz  (My Wounded Heart).  Text by Klaus Groth.  Bewegt (With motion).  Two-part varied strophic form.  E MINOR/MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key C-sharp minor/major).

German Text:
Mein wundes Herz verlangt nach milder Ruh
,
O hauche sie ihm ein!
Es fliegt dir weinend, bange schlagend zu -
O hülle du es ein!

Wie wenn ein Strahl durch schwere Wolken bricht,
So winkest du ihm zu:
O lächle fort mit deinem milden Licht!
Mein Pol, mein Stern bist du!

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--A passionate introduction presents the main descending four-note figure that permeates the song (a skip, then two steps).  It is first heard in broken sixths in the right hand while the left moves in nearly the opposite direction.  There follows a reiteration of the last two pairs of notes, then an inversion of them set an octave higher (moving upward to an expectant chord).  There are strong accents (sforzandi).
0:10 [m. 5]--Stanza 1.  The first line begins with the descending four-note figure, then widely arches back upward.  The voice begins alone.  The piano imitates the vocal melody at twice the speed in the middle range.  When the bass comes in, it is also imitating the melody at different pitches (a sixth below).  The line seems to move to the related G major, but the more urgent second line, which moves upward in longer notes, confirms the key of E minor.  A descending piano arpeggio follows.
0:21 [m. 12]--The piano again has the four-note figure, this time in the middle range and both on and after the beats a third apart.  The voice enters on the third line with an inversion of the four-note figure (moving up one skip and two steps).  Against this inversion, the piano plays both the upward and the downward versions, in that order, at twice the speed.  As the vocal line continues to strive upward, the bass again has the four-note figure in its original direction and speed.  The music moves more clearly to G major.  The last line is set in that key, becoming joyous in both voice and piano.  The line is repeated in longer notes.
0:35 [m. 21]--An interlude arrives with the vocal cadence in G major.  It sets up chains of broken sixths using the descending four-note figure as the music moves back to E minor.  Two statements, the second a step higher, are heard.  An extension reaching up an octave, also based on the four-note figure, is arrested by a long chord and the questioning downward slide of its top note.
0:43 [m. 25]--Stanza 2.  The first two lines are set as in stanza 1 at 0:10 [m. 5].  The pitches are slightly altered in the descending piano arpeggio leading to the last two lines, assisting in the move to major.
0:53 [m. 32]--The four-note figure is heard after the beats, as at 0:21 [m. 12], but the top voice is an octave higher and the bottom note is a sixth below rather than a third.  The music moves decisively to the home major key (E major).  The third line overtly uses the four-note figure in its original form.  It is imitated three times by the piano, first in the top voice at twice the speed, then, each time an octave lower, in the middle and the bass ranges at the original speed.  The voice continues with another descent against these imitations.
1:01 [m. 36]--As the line ends, another triple imitation is heard in the three voices of the piano (the top one again at faster speed), with the harmony altered in a brief motion to the “dominant” key.  A repetition of “mit deinem milden Licht” set to a new melodic line (still beginning with the four-note descent) moves emphatically toward the song’s joyous climax.
1:07 [m. 40]--The setting of the final line, clearly in E major, is reminiscent of the joyous last line of the first stanza.  It includes a new descending leap on “bist du.”  The repetition of “mein Pol, mein Stern” becomes full and warm, with beautiful stepwise “sighing” motion on “Pol” and “Stern.”
1:14 [m. 44]--The piano figures become quieter.  The words “mein Stern” are repeated a third time before the line is completed again with “bist du.”  This last setting of “mein Stern bist du” is set once again to the ubiquitous four-note descending figure, this time in notes twice as long, imitated by the low bass in octaves.  The piano continues after the vocal cadence, and its last chords make a final reference to the pervasive descending figure.  Brahms’s artful manipulations of this figure throughout the song do nothing to inhibit the natural and spontaneous musical, emotional, forward thrust of the song.
1:39--END OF SONG [49 mm.]



8. Dein blaues Auge hält so still  (Your Blue Eyes Keep so Still).  Text by Klaus Groth.  Ziemlich langsam (Rather slowly).  Two-part varied strophic form.  E-FLAT MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key D major).

German Text:
Dein blaues Auge hält so still,
Ich blicke bis zum Grund.
Du fragst mich, was ich sehen will?
Ich sehe mich gesund.

Es brannte mich ein glühend Paar,
Noch schmerzt das Nachgefühl:
Das deine ist wie See so klar
Und wie ein See so kühl.

English Translation--NOTE: The line arrangement is slightly different here and includes Brahms’s repetition of  “noch schmerzt.”  The arrangement above normalizes the meter in the two stanzas.  The words
and detached in the translation are only implied in the original text and could perhaps be omitted from the translation.  This last line is highly ambiguous in meaning.  Your (deine) in the penultimate line could be italicized.

0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  The descending line anticipates similar slow descents to come in the vocal part.  There are two of these, played against rising left hand arpeggios and each followed by bars of more static, oscillating motion, the first one over a dissonant (“diminished seventh”) chord.
0:17 [m. 5]--Stanza 1, lines 1-2.  The two lines are set to a rather static melody with repeated notes and slow dotted (long-short) rhythms on the downbeats.  The oscillating motion continues in the inner voice of the piano, which otherwise has slow-moving chords.  The second line is set to a deliberate descending scale, doubled by the top line of the piano, and ending on the home keynote.
0:34 [m. 9]--Stanza 1, lines 3-4.  The third line has more repeated notes interrupted by strategically placed rests for a halting effect.  The leap up and back down is again deliberate and marked.  The last line leaps down twice, first a fourth, then a fifth, resulting in a complete descent of an octave, the dotted rhythm remaining prominent.  In both lines, the oscillating motion in the piano continues, and low bass octaves are added.  The cadence on the large descent has moved to the related key of B-flat.  A brief arpeggio at the cadence bridges to the second stanza with a turn to the minor key.
0:56 [m. 14]--Stanza 2, lines 1-2.  The first line is similar to that of stanza 1, but it is now in the minor key and with more active, urgent harmonies.  The second line is altered, with a repetition added on “noch schmerzt.”  The descent is now in faster notes interrupted by halting rests between the sighing repetitions, all against richly chromatic harmony.  The rest of the line is set to a long turning decoration that lands dreamily on G-flat major (the major key relative to the minor key on E-flat) and extends the line by a bar.
1:17 [m. 19]--Stanza 2, line 3.  Line 3 is very similar to the setting in the first stanza, but on new pitches (a minor third higher than stanza 1), and still in G-flat.  Unlike the first stanza, the last line does not follow immediately, but is preceded by an interruption echoing the end of the third line a step lower.
1:32 [m. 22]--Stanza 2, line 4.  A sliding bass shifts the key abruptly back to E-flat.  The line is again very similar to the setting in stanza 1 (but on the new “home key” pitches a fourth higher), with the important difference that the second leap is only a third, avoiding an arrival on the keynote.  It is also louder.  This opens the door for a repetition of the line set to an even greater descent spanning a tenth (an octave plus a third), adding a top descending third to the original two leaps and reaching a strong cadence in the home major key.  Both statements of the line are variants of the version from stanza 1, the first narrower and the second wider.  The loud volume also emphasizes the strange ambiguity of meaning in the line’s text.
1:47 [m. 25]--Piano postlude.  It arrives with the strong vocal cadence and quickly settles down.  It is essentially identical to the introduction, adding a repetition of the last gesture with a low bass octave and a final sustained rolled chord.
2:24--END OF SONG [29 mm.]
END OF SET


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