Recording: Edith Mathis, soprano; Brigitte Fassbaender, alto; Karl Engel, piano [DG 449 641-2]

Published 1874.

Brahms returned to the vocal duet for the first time since Op. 28 ten years previously.  These four pieces were published together with a reissue of his Op. 20 duets, also for soprano and alto.  None of them are dialogues, and the voices mostly sing in straight, often parallel harmony, but all are exquisite and polished, especially the masterful No. 3.  No. 2 is the earliest duet he ever wrote, in 1852, thus preceding Op. 20, but he held it back at that point.  Despite the early composition date, its archaic sound and daring choices, such as the a cappella endings of the first two stanzas, along with tonally ambiguous “Phrygian” cadences, place it a rung above the often-criticized Op. 20, and it fits well with the other three.  Robert Schumann had set this same Kerner text for women’s chorus (Op. 69, No. 3).  While there are two characters in the sisters’ song of No. 1, the point is how indistinguishable they are, so they sing together.  When they share one thing too many at the end, the perspective switches to a third-person narrator and the key from minor to major.  Brahms evokes folk song here, as does the Mörike poem.  The piano’s postlude after each stanza is delightful.  No. 3 is a deeply evocative setting of a profound Goethe text.  The main four-note motive pervades the song in an unobtrusive way, often concealed, like its first appearance in the piano introduction.  The use of canon in the middle stanza is the only extensive counterpoint or even asynchronous singing in the set.  No. 4 is an exuberant outburst of pure joy.  The sophisticated construction of the strophe, with three ten-measure phrases and strategic text repetition, mitigates any sense of monotony from its three nearly exact iterations.  Even the accommodations for different line lengths in the stanzas are expertly handled.  The duets have pleasing contrasts with each other and work well when performed as a group, but each also stands on its own.  One more excellent set of soprano/alto duets, the five of Op. 66, followed a year later.

Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily Ezust’s site at  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.

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)

1. Die Schwestern (The Sisters).  Text by Eduard Mörike.  Allegretto.  Strophic form with modified final verse.  G MINOR, 2/4 time.


German Text:
Wir Schwestern zwei, wir schönen,
So gleich von Angesicht,
So gleicht kein Ei dem andern,
Kein Stern dem andern nicht.

Wir Schwestern zwei, wir schönen,
Wir haben nußbraun Haar’,
Und flichtst du sie in einen Zopf,
Man kennt sie nicht fürwahr.

Wir Schwestern zwei, wir schönen,
Wir tragen gleich Gewand,
Spazieren auf dem Wiesenplan
Und singen Hand in Hand.

Wir Schwestern zwei, wir schönen,
Wir spinnen in die Wett’,
Wir sitzen an einer Kunkel,
Wir schlafen in einem Bett.

O Schwestern zwei, ihr schönen,
Wie hat sich das Blättchen gewandt!
Ihr liebet einerlei Liebchen --
Jetzt hat das Liedel ein End’.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza (strophe) 1, lines 1-2.  The singers begin without introduction on an eighth-note upbeat.  Initially in unison on an ascending broken G-minor chord, they quickly split into harmony of mostly thirds and sixths.  The piano has a simple accompaniment of staccato bass notes followed on the offbeats with right-hand chords or two-note harmonies.  The words “wir schönen” are repeated in all stanzas.  On both statements of “schönen,” the alto leaps down in a quick long-short rhythm.  On the second line, the singers, harmonized in pure thirds, smoothly turn up, down, and back up, ending on the “dominant” harmony.
0:10 [m. 7]--Lines 3-4.  The singers ascend on the third line, then continue in harmonies of thirds and sixths, utilizing the borrowed harmonies of D minor, A minor, and F major, along with the “relative” B-flat major.  After descending on “andern,” the words “kein Ei dem andern” are repeated on two similar drooping descents of a third.  Here, the piano briefly abandons its established pattern to reinforce the descents, with the left hand briefly moving to off-beat notes.  The pattern is restored under line 4, which returns to G minor with straight notes harmonized in thirds.  After a gentle syncopated leap on “nicht,” the full line is repeated, descending to a decisive cadence.
0:18 [m. 15]--Beginning on a half-measure upbeat, the piano has a cheeky postlude.  Two leaping figures, the second reaching higher, maintain the character of bass notes followed by off-beat harmonies, but both hands are playing continually.  These first figures are piano and leggiero, but then the concluding figures are suddenly forte.  These are introduced by faster sixteenth notes in the right hand, touching on C minor, leading to more upward leaps and a forceful G-minor cadence.
0:23 [m. 19]--Stanza (strophe) 2, lines 1-2.  Strophic repetition of the opening music with the new second line.  Brahms altered the poet’s “lichtebraune” (“light brown”) to “nußbraun” (“nut brown”) for easier declamation.
0:30 [m. 25]--Lines 3-4.  They are set as in stanza 1 with an added long-short rhythm to accommodate “einen Zopf.”  The repeated text is “in einen Zopf.”  Line 4 and its repetition have the same declamation as in stanza 1.
0:39 [m. 33]--Piano postlude, as in stanza 1 at 0:18 [m. 15].
0:43 [m. 37]--Stanza (strophe) 3, lines 1-2.  The vocal lines are the same as in the previous two verses, but the piano is given a variation to its motoric accompaniment.  There is now a light descent in harmonies that are doubled in octaves between the hands after the upbeat.  This breaks after a measure, with the right hand continuing down before passing the descent to left-hand octaves as it returns to off-beat harmonies.  The original accompaniment is restored in the fourth measure under the second line.
0:51 [m. 43]--Lines 3-4.  The vocal declamation matches stanza 2, and the repeated text is “dem Wiesenplan.”  The piano again varies its accompaniment with a similar descending pattern to that of the first two lines, but matching the harmony used for these lines.  The right hand now has off-beat harmonies under the textual repetition, the first measure of which has descending bass octaves.  The original accompaniment returns for the fourth line and its repetition.
1:01 [m. 51]--Piano postlude, as in stanza 1 at 0:18 [m. 15] and stanza 2 at 0:39 [m. 33].
1:07 [m. 55]--Stanza (strophe) 4, lines 1-2.  The new accompaniment pattern from stanza 3 is retained here, with the light descent in the first three measures.
1:14 [m. 61]--Lines 3-4.  The accompaniment is as in stanza 3.  The vocal declamation is varied here because of the accentuation.  The words “sitzen an” in line 3 are set to a long-short-short rhythm, and the later long-short rhythm from the previous two stanzas is not present.  The repeated text is “an einer Kunkel,’ and it is declaimed like stanza 1.  Line 4 and its repetition also use the new long-short-short rhythm for “schlafen in.” to accommodate an extra syllable.
1:22 [m. 69]--Piano postlude, as in stanza 1 at 0:18 [m. 15], stanza 2 at 0:39 [m. 33], and stanza 3 at 1:01 [m. 51].
1:28 [m. 73]--Stanza (strophe) 5, lines 1-2.  The tables are turned on the sisters when it is revealed that they love the same man.  The narrative voice switches to the second person, addressing them.  The key changes to G major, but the lowered leading tone F-natural is retained for the two statements of “schönen.”  Line 1 otherwise has the same contour as in the previous verses, but without the skipping long-short rhythm in the alto.  The accompaniment is back to the pattern from the first two stanzas, but with the bass venturing lower.  The music for the second line is more varied, with a major-key descent in both voices, harmonized in thirds.  A long-short rhythm is added on “Blättchen gewandt’ to accommodate the extra syllable.
1:35 [m. 79]--Line 3.  It is stretched from four measures to six, not through more repeated text, but by lengthening the actual notes.  The full statement of the line takes three measures instead of two and includes dissonant voice crossing, with the soprano dipping below the alto before rising on “einerlei” and the alto crossing back above on “Liebchen.”  The text “einerlei Liebchen” is repeated with an added “ja” (“yes”) for emphasis.  This repetition is also expanded to three measures, the sopranos crossing back over on “einerlei” and both voices holding out “Liebchen.”.  The piano has inward-moving staccato arpeggios.  A colorful harmonic sequence of B, C, D, and E major leads to a close on A minor instead of F major.
1:42 [m. 85]--Line 4, also expanded from four measures to six.  Sung in major, the first statement is declaimed as usual, with an added long-short-short rhythm on “Liedel ein.”  The syncopated leap arrives as expected, and the regular line repetition seems to follow, but the voices pause for a half-beat after “Liedel,” then give “das Liedel” an extra repetition, adding a measure.  The piano bass octaves move up by half-step here.  The second added measure comes with a full-beat pause before the final “ein End,” given on a forceful quarter-note descent to a G-major cadence.
1:49 [m. 91]--Piano postlude.  The first piano figures are played in G major, but the concluding forte figures move strongly back to G minor, adding a distinctly sad note after the irony of the major key.
1:57--END OF DUET [94 mm.]

2. Klosterfräulein (The Young Nun).  Text by Justinius Kerner.  Andante.  Strophic form with varied accompaniment.  A MINOR, 2/4 time.

German Text:
Ach, ach, ich armes Klosterfräulein!
O Mutter! was hast du gemacht?
Lenz ging am Gitter vorüber,
Und hat mir kein Blümlein gebracht.

Ach, ach, wie weit, wie weit hier unten
Zwei Schäflein gehen im Tal!
Viel Glück, ihr Schäflein, ihr sahet
Den Frühling zum ersten Mal!

Ach, ach, wie weit, wie weit hier oben
Zwei Vöglein fliegen in Ruh’!
Viel Glück, ihr Vöglein, ihr flieget
Der besseren Heimat zu!

English Translation
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza (strophe) 1, line 1.  The piano strikes and holds the “dominant” note E in the left hand.  The voices enter off the beat, descending while harmonized in sixths, contracted to thirds on an upward leap and further descent to ‘dominant” harmony.  The piano’s right hand doubles the voices.  The three-measure phrase concludes with a “sighing” gesture in the piano left hand, up and back down from its E.
0:09 [m. 4]--Line 2.  Its contour is like line 1, but its vocal harmonies are more varied, including a fifth and a fourth on the first descent.  The upward leap is a third higher (to G-natural) in the soprano.  The alto holds a note and trails after the soprano on “gemacht,” the only time in the duet that the voices do note move together.  After dropping from the E down to a D and adding a lower voice harmonizing the alto line, the piano left hand moves back up to E and adds a grace note to its “sighing” gesture heard at the end of line 1.
0:17 [m. 7]--Line 3.  The voices sing unaccompanied for two measures, starting on the downbeat.  The soprano remains fixed on B while the alto, beginning on G-sharp, descends two half steps and a whole step.  In contrast to the flowing rhythm of the first two lines, the pattern is long-short-short.  In the third measure, the soprano also moves up as the alto continues to move down, then they collapse inward to a unison A.  The piano left hand enters here to play its “sighing” gesture with the grace note.
0:23 [m. 10]--Line 4.  It starts on the upbeat as the piano finishes its “sigh.”  Like line 3, the voices move outward, here with the soprano moving up from the outset by half-step.  The rhythm is also like line 3.  The piano provides a full synchronous accompaniment, adding to the vocal harmony.  The line ends with a faster long-short (dotted) rhythm and a so-called “Phrygian” cadence from a wide tenth to an octave E, with the soprano descending to the E by a half-step.  The piano harmonizes this cadence with the “dominant” E-major harmony, creating an ambiguous closure.  This is amplified by an unaccompanied repetition of “kein Blümlein gebracht” that stretches the “Phrygian” cadence to four measures, disrupting the three-bar pattern.
0:41 [m. 17]--Stanza (strophe) 2, line 1.  The vocal parts are sung as in stanza 1.  In a subtle but significant variation, the left hand of the piano plays and reiterates an open fifth A-E instead of holding the bare E.  The “sighing” gesture is heard as in the first line before, without the grace note.
0:47 [m. 20]--Line 2.  The pattern continues.  At the end, there is variation in the vocal parts from stanza 1.  Where the alto had held a lower note and trailed the soprano in its descent, here it leaps up with the soprano to harmonize the high G-natural a third below and descend with it in parallel thirds.  The leap stretches one syllable on three notes that had been used for single syllables, and the descent places two syllables where one was before (the whole line is one syllable shorter).  The voices end where they did in stanza 1.  The piano right hand doubles the voices, but the left hand dispenses with the added lower voice, compensated by the low A of the A-E fifth.  The “sighing” gesture follows as expected with the added grace note.
0:55 [m. 23]--Line 3.  Its presentation is unaltered from stanza 1, including the unaccompanied first two measures and the entry of the “sighing” gesture with grace note in the third.
1:02 [m. 26]--Line 4.  Both the line and the stretched-out unaccompanied repetition of the “Phrygian” cadence are mostly unchanged from stanza 1.  It is a syllable shorter, however, so the long-short rhythm before the cadence is replaced by a single note in both voices.  The accompaniment also enters off the beat and after the voices on “Frühling.”  The repeated text for the four-measure cadence reiteration is “zum ersten Mal,” a syllable shorter than in stanza 1 and sung without the (longer) long-short rhythm.
1:19 [m. 33]--Stanza (strophe) 3, line 1.  After the previous verses were sung softly, the piano rings out with a new forte accompaniment.  Instead of the held note or fifth in the left hand, the “sustained” element is a forceful repetition of the “sighing” gesture high in the right hand in fast triplet rhythm.  Under this, the left hand moves to the treble range and doubles the voices, whose parts are unchanged from the first two stanzas other than now being sung in an urgent forte.  At the end of the phrase, the expected “sighing” gesture, which is the basis for the fast right-hand triplets, is accomplished by expanding the right-hand triplets to broken octaves that move up and down.  The left hand repeats its last two harmonies under this.
1:25 [m. 36]--Line 2.  The pattern continues.  The voices sing as in stanza 2, with the alto moving up to descend in parallel thirds, and with the same syllable declamation.  The fast right-hand triplets are reiterated as in the first line, but the left hand adds the original low E to the doubling of the voices, which is an octave lower than in line 1.  The fast triplets suggest the flying of the birds, and this is graphically represented where the “sighing” gesture would be expected.  The triplets keep the up-down pattern, but after converting F to F-sharp, they shoot up to B and C-sharp and then to E and F-sharp an octave higher, finally landing on the E yet another octave up on the downbeat of line 3.  The left hand adds support to the E’s and the B.
1:32 [m. 39]--Line 3.  The voices are suddenly back to piano and follow the pattern from the previous stanzas.  Other than the very high E on the downbeat, the first two measures are again unaccompanied.  The “sighing” gesture enters in the third measure as expected, but it is now decorated by the fast “triplet” rhythm in the right hand, which follows each left hand note with an off-beat F-E pair.
1:39 [m. 42]--Line 4.  The first statement is as in stanza 2, including the piano.  The reiteration of the cadence on “der Heimat zu” is also sung as in stanza 2, and pianissimo as in both previous stanzas, but now it is not unaccompanied.  The piano harmonizes each note with high chords, and instead of the “dominant” E-major harmony that was heard in all three stanzas under the initial “Phrygian” cadence, the closing harmony is the home A-minor chord, removing the uncertainty that was amplified by the previous unaccompanied closure.
1:57--END OF DUET [48 mm.]

3. Phänomen (Phenomenon).  Text by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from West-Östlicher Divan.  Poco Andante.  Ternary varied strophic form (ABA).  B MAJOR, 3/4 time.

German Text:
Wenn zu der Regenwand
Phöbus sich gattet,
Gleich steht ein Bogenrand
Farbig beschattet.

Im Nebel gleichen Kreis
Seh ich gezogen;
Zwar ist der Bogen weiß,
Doch Himmelsbogen.

So sollst du, muntrer Greis,
Dich nicht betrüben:
Sind gleich die Haare weiß,
Doch wirst du lieben.

English Translation (Phoebus is an alternate name for Greek/Roman deity Apollo)

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A), introduction.  The four-measure lead-in sets the stage for the whole duet, introducing the main motive.  The left hand plays a broad rising B-major arpeggio, and the right comes in with a chord on the second beat.  The next measure has two more descending chords over an arpeggio beginning off the beat.  The top note of the second chord, which is held over the bar line, becomes the first note of the duet’s main melodic motive (B, A-sharp, C-sharp, F-sharp), which is continued in the next measure with two faster notes over another arpeggio, both hands using a colorful “diminished” harmony.  The fourth measure completes the motive with a downward leap and B-major harmony.
0:11 [m. 5]--Lines 1-2.  The soprano sings the first line to the main motive, the alto harmonizing below in sixths and thirds.  The melody is doubled in both hands of the piano, the right hand adding downward undulations after the beat.  The melody is marked dolce.  The line is completed with a gentle upward motion and a long-short rhythm.  The second line has the soprano reaching up and descending and the alto briefly adding an asynchronous lower counterpoint with a long-short rhythm on “Phöbus.”  The voices come together again on “gattet.”  The right hand continues its undulating pattern with doubling, but the left hand, in bass octaves, reiterates the main motive under “Phöbus.”
0:19 [m. 9]--Lines 3-4.  Line 3 is sung to the same music as line 1, but line 4 makes a striking harmonic turn up a third to D-sharp major (an “enharmonic” notation of E-flat major) via the “relative” G-sharp minor.  The contour is like line 2, but the alto does not have its brief asynchronous counterpoint.  The main motive is again heard in the piano bass, shifted down to G-sharp, but its final note is hidden in a chord sounded after the left hand holds an octave over a bar line.  That final note could also be interpreted as being the first note (D-sharp) of the next measure.
0:28 [m. 13]--Line 4 is sung again, with extra reiteration of the word “farbig.”  The voices and piano turn quickly back home to B major on the first “farbig,” yearning upward before a downward leap.  The first three notes of the main motive are heard in the piano bass starting on D-sharp.  Back home on B with the second “farbig,” the voices move to a gentle cadence with a long-short rhythm as the piano right hand continues its undulation but breaks the melodic doubling.  The cadence overlaps with the first measure of a full restatement of the piano’s introduction.
0:41 [m. 19]--Stanza 2 (B), lines 1-2.  These lines are set to a canon between the voices, the alto beginning two measures after the soprano and a fourth lower.  The melody used is an inversion of the main motive, turning it upside down.  The soprano sings line 1 on the inverted motive, suggesting E minor, but then has a new fast descent in the home minor key, B minor as the alto enters with its statement of line 1 on the inverted motive.  The piano’s right hand has winding figuration, but its left hand subtly states the original version of the main motive, beginning on the last beat of the bar and dovetailing with a similar upper voice.  It is also heard under the alto’s entry.  The alto sings line 2, ending on F-sharp minor.
0:52 [m. 24]--Line 3.  This line is set to an entirely new canon with an ascending arpeggio and a descent.  This is also related to the main motive, reversing its intervals, a fifth then a third on the arpeggio, and then a descending step (the main motive has a step, then a third, then a fifth in alternating direction).  The soprano’s entry overlaps with the alto’s conclusion of line 2.  The alto now imitates at the distance of only one measure and a fifth below.  The key is still centered on B minor, with motion to E minor/major on the alto entry.  The piano here has right hand chords on the first two beats of each measure against a rising left-hand arpeggio beginning off the beat of each measure.
0:59 [m. 28]--Line 4.  The voices come together here, beginning on the last beat of the previous measure with notes held over the bar line.  The soprano swoops down, as does the alto a beat later.  The key moves clearly to D major (“relative” to B minor).  The alto finishes the line before the soprano, as the soprano stretches out the third syllable of “Himmelsbogen” to overlap with the coming repetition of line 3.  The piano here has broad left-hand arpeggios against two-note harmonies in the right hand.
1:04 [m. 30]--Line 3, second statement.  It is again set to the new canon, but now led by the alto, the soprano imitating a fourth above.  The key moves by the circle of fifths, to G major on the alto entry, then to C major (very distant from the home key of B) on the soprano entry.  The piano patterns are as they were on the first statement.  Differing from the first statement of this line, the leading voice, here the alto, does not cut off after the statement, but continues the descent to harmonize with the soprano by repeating the words “der Bogen,” thus also aligning textually with the soprano at the arrival on C major.
1:12 [m. 34]--Line 4, second and third statements.  The voices again begin on the last beat of the previous measure and hold over the bar line, making a strikingly direct motion back to the home key of B major.  Instead of the previous leaping gestures, the soprano now sings the line to the main motive at the original pitches.  The alto line is a more direct linear descent but still harmonizes the soprano in thirds or sixths.  The line is repeated, but the penultimate syllable is stretched out and the alto continues to move down, creating a mild dissonance on the longer note.  The piano’s left hand has regular arpeggios, but the gently rocking right hand holds chords over bar lines throughout.  A one-measure arpeggio leads to the reprise.
1:26 [m. 39]--Stanza 3 (A), lines 1-2.  The vocal lines follow the same pattern as in stanza 1 at 0:11 [m. 5], with the asynchronous counterpoint on “dich nicht betrüben.”  The piano, however, is enriched, with added harmonies in the moving left-hand lines and added upper notes to the right hand.  The right hand stays at a generally higher level.  The melodic doubling is internal and concealed.  The left hand still has the motive in bass octaves underneath line 2, as it did before, along with the vocal doubling.
1:35 [m. 43]--Lines 3-4.  The vocal lines are as at 0:19 [m. 9], as is the harmonic motion toward D-sharp.  The piano is again enriched, most notably the higher right hand under line 4, which has a more continually descending shape with the inexact and concealed vocal doubling.  The piano bass again has the main motive in octaves transposed to begin on G-sharp under line 4.
1:43 [m. 47]--Repetition of line 4, as at 0:28 [m. 13], with added reiteration of “doch wirst.”  The piano returns here to its original pattern from stanza 1 until the vocal cadence, where it begins a new postlude.  The bass arpeggios in this postlude begin off the beat, and the right hand has a mildly chromatic undulation and descent in thirds.  The main motive is then heard one last time, richly harmonized and with doubled note values.  The second note is held over a bar line, creating a hemiola with an implied 3/2 measure over two notated 3/4 bars.  Each note is given its own three-note arpeggio in the left hand.  The metric sense is restored with the last note and longer bass arpeggio.  That note then tops the final sonorous B-major chord.
2:07--END OF DUET [54 mm.]

4. Die Boten der Liebe (The Messengers of Love).  Text by Joseph Wenzig after a Bohemian folk source.  Vivace.  Strophic form.  D MAJOR, 9/8 time.

German Text:
Wie viel schon der Boten
Flogen die Pfade
Vom Walde herunter,
Boten der Treu;
Trugen mir Briefchen
Dort aus der Ferne,
Trugen mir Briefchen
Vom Liebsten herbei!

Wie viel schon der Lüfte
Wehten vom Morgen,
Wehten bis Abends
So schnell ohne Ruh;
Trugen mir Küßchen
Vom kühligen Wasser,
Trugen mir Küßchen
Vom Liebsten herzu!

Wie wiegten die Halme
Auf grünenden Bergen,
Wie wiegten die Ähren
Auf Feldern sich leis;
“Mein goldenes Liebchen,”
Lispelten alle,
“Mein goldenes Liebchen,
Ich lieb’ dich so heiß!”

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza (strophe) 1, introduction.  The piano sets an exuberant tone for the duet.  Beginning with an upbeat, a joyously leaping melody in an upper voice is decorated with downward-swooping arches in the swinging 9/8 meter.  After the initial upward leap, the right hand introduces a stepwise descent in an upper voice at the beginning of each measure while the left hand has a distinctive long-short figure on the second and third beats of the 9/8 “compound triple” time measure.  These become mildly chromatic at the end of the five-bar introduction as the piano quiets down in preparation for the vocal entry, and the right-hand notes have a brief hemiola with two-beat units.
0:11 [m. 6]--Lines 1-4.  In a rapturous mezza voce, the voices are in sixths, sometimes contracted to thirds.  They start on an upbeat and utilize the stepwise descents and the long-short figures from the introduction.  The piano’s broadly sweeping, downward-dipping lines are mostly played in octaves with some deviation to emphasize the downbeat in the left hand, and the octave expands to a tenth at the end of line 2.  Line 3 is like line 1, but then line 4 briefly breaks the synchronous motion as the alto leads the soprano in a descent on the long-short rhythm.  The piano changes here, with downward arches in the right hand against rising arpeggios in the left.  Line 4 moves to the “dominant” (A) and is repeated, creating a ten-measure phrase.
0:25 [m. 16]--Lines 5-6.  Here, upbeats are eliminated in favor of longer notes to begin the measures.  Line 5 starts with the “subdominant” G-major harmony.  The voices sing mostly in closer thirds instead of sixths.  The long-short rhythm is still prominent after the downbeat.  The piano’s hands are now independent of each other, with swaying long-short rhythm, including downward arches, in the right hand against rising two-note figures in the left.  Line 6 is a very subdued, murmuring pianissimo.  Connecting to line 7, the piano’s right hand has three rising upper melodic quarter notes that disrupt the 9/8 flow by grouping the last two “compound” beats of that measure into an implied 3/4 bar.
0:31 [m. 20]--Lines 7-8.  Line 7 (the same text as line 5) is sung two times on a descent and a leap over a steady buildup, the second statement a third higher.  Reaching a forte climax for the eighth and final line of the stanza, the soprano reaches her highest note yet (G).  The harmonies on the long-short rhythm introduce two fourths among the nearly constant thirds or sixths.  Both voices introduce colorful chromatic notes as they approach an implied cadence that will be averted.  The six measures here balance the four used for lines 5-6 to create another ten-measure phrase.
0:40 [m. 26]--The last two lines are fully sung two more times in a third ten-measure phrase.  Beginning piano and building with the first restatement of line 7, the soprano sings the long-short rhythm against straight notes from the alto.  This is reversed in the second measure.  The harmony suggests the “subdominant” G major at first, but quickly moves back to D.  The alternation of long-short rhythm and straight notes continues for the first measure of line 8 before longer soprano notes and moving alto notes on “herbei” lead to the next statement.
0:47 [m. 30]--Reaching another climax, the couplet is sung a third time beginning on the harmony of E minor, with both voices in straight notes.  The piano’s left hand follows its established pattern, but now the right hand overlaps the left’s on-beat ascents (mostly broken octaves) with descents (the first note of which is harmonized) off the beat.  The soprano soars up to a new high point of A, stretching the word “Liebsten.”  She then has an incredible hemiola to conclude the phrase, with three long two-beat notes superimposed on two 9/8 measures, creating a broad implied 3/2.  The alto, however, maintains the 9/8 flow and repeats “vom Liebsten” to align with the soprano as the harmony moves from E to A major to the D-major cadence.
0:54 [m. 35]--Stanza (strophe) 2, introduction.  The vocal cadence merges into a full restatement of the piano’s opening measures, without the upbeat and with the left hand’s downbeat octave D moved lower.
1:01 [m. 40]--Lines 1-4, sung mostly as in stanza 1.  There is an adjustment to the declamation of lines 3-4 since line 3 is a syllable shorter and line 4 a syllable longer than in stanza 1.  The accommodation is accomplished by simply shifting the upbeat from line 3 to line 4.  The alto stretches “Morgen” at the end of line 2 to two notes to compensate for the lack of an upbeat, and the words “abends so” that bridge the two lines are sung to three notes that were used for two syllables (“unter”) in stanza 1, creating the upbeat.  The upbeat is also discreetly added to the repetition of line 4.
1:17 [m. 50]--Lines 5-6, sung as in stanza 1 with an upbeat added (using the long-short rhythm) for the additional syllable in line 6.  The implied 3/4 in the partial 9/8 measure again leads into the last two lines.
1:22 [m. 54]--Lines 7-8, first statement (with two statements of line 7), sung as in stanza 1 at 0:31 [m. 20].
1:31 [m. 60]--Second statement of lines 7-8, sung as in stanza 1 at 0:40 [m. 26].
1:37 [m. 64]--Third statement of lines 7-8, sung as in stanza 1 at 0:47 [m. 30], with the alto again reiterating the words “vom Liebsten” to align with the soprano hemiola.
1:46 [m. 69]--Stanza (strophe) 3, introduction, again merged with the vocal cadence.
1:52 [m. 74]--Lines 1-4, sung mostly as in stanzas 1 and 2.  Only the first line has the same number of syllables as both stanzas, and line 2 has one more than either.  The added upbeat for line 2 is simple since “Boten” in stanza 1 and “Lüfte” in stanza 2 were sung to three notes.  Line 3 is sung with its upbeat, as in stanza 1, and line 4 is also sung with its upbeat, as in stanza 2.  In the repetition of line 4, the upbeat for “auf” is now a full compound beat (dotted quarter note) instead of the short eighth note used in stanza 2.
2:07 [m. 84]--Lines 5-6, sung as in both stanzas.  A short upbeat is now used for line 5, which has an extra syllable.  Line 2 lacks an upbeat, as in stanza 1.  The pianissimo murmur is especially appropriate here in line 6 with the word “lispelten” (“whispered”).  Again, the implied 3/4 leads to the last two lines.
2:13 [m. 88]--Lines 7-8, first statement, as in the previous stanzas at 0:31 [m. 20] and 1:22 [m. 54].  Upbeats are added to both statements of line 7, short for the first and long for the second.
2:23 [m. 94]--Second statement of lines 7-8, as in the previous stanzas at 0:40 [m. 26] and 1:31 [m. 60].  Here Brahms does not use an upbeat for line 7, simply omitting the first word “mein.”
2:28 [m. 98]--Third statement of lines 7-8, as in the previous stanzas at 0:47 [m. 30] and 1:37 [m. 64].  For the upbeat in line 7 on “mein,” Brahms simply cuts off the last word “heiß” earlier than he had the corresponding words in the previous stanzas and uses the last note of the previously stretched out words.  The alto repeats “ich lieb dich” (previously “vom Liebsten”) to align with the soprano hemiola.
2:38 [m. 103]--The cadence merges into the first measure of the introduction.  After that measure, it is abbreviated to a postlude, with the melodic notes continuing to plunge down the D-major chord in the next measure, still with the downward-swooping arches.  The last measure is an emphatic block D-major chord with the third (F-sharp) on top.  The left hand has a low bass D on the first beat and jumps to the chord on the second beat.  This final measure is notated with only two beats (six eighth notes) to compensate for the upbeat at the beginning, but the chord is marked to be held with a fermata.
2:47--END OF DUET [105 mm.]