NINE SONGS (LIEDER UND GESÄNGE), OP. 63
If one discounts the “Magelone” song cycle, Op. 33, the highest number of solo songs
Brahms grouped together was nine, which he did three times.
The only set between Op. 43 and Op. 121 that is not in a consecutive
grouping of three or four opus numbers (not counting the special
case of the Op. 91 viola songs), Op. 63
shares more affinity with Opp. 57-59 than it
does with Opp. 69-72. As in
those sets, Brahms used the title “Lieder und Gesänge,” combining
the two German words for “song,” which suggests a higher level of
diversity. In truth, the songs of Op. 63 all show a rather
similar character. They are all polished, satisfying pieces
with some highly creative forms. Moreover, Op. 63 shows a
very strong cyclic tendency with its consecutive groupings of
three poets. The first four songs to texts by Schenkendorf
are extremely imaginative and even experimental. The first,
“Frühlingstrost,” takes up an unusual number of score pages.
It is not particularly long, but it does move fast, and features
what must be the most elaborate, busy, and virtuosic piano part in
the entire song output, along with an exuberant vocal line that
requires the singer to project over the very active piano.
“Erinnerung” has a remarkably drawn-out tempo acceleration that
creates a sense of fulfillment at its climax. “An ein Bild”
also uses this extended acceleration. “An die Tauben” is
another fast-moving song with a difficult piano part. The
song’s colorful harmonies highlight key moments of the text.
The next two songs are by the unpublished poet Felix Schumann,
none other than the youngest son of Robert and Clara Schumann (and
Brahms’s own godson). Brahms set two of Felix’s youthful
poems under the appropriate title “Junge Lieder” (“Young
Songs”). The first of them fits the exuberance and
virtuosity of the Schenkendorf songs, while the second is more
quietly lyrical, forming a bridge to the last three songs, all by
Klaus Groth. Groth was a good friend of Brahms, who held his
poetry in very high regard. The juxtaposition of Groth with
Felix Schumann (who died at a young age) was perhaps Brahms’s way
of setting the youthful against the mature. Indeed, the
three Groth settings, which Brahms entitled “Heimweh”
(“Homesickness”), are rather somber, if not quite tragic
meditations, and they have quite the opposite emotional affect
from the Schenkendorf songs. The second of the three, the
eighth of the set, is by far the most familiar, and has become one
of his most beloved songs. Three of the nine songs are,
remarkably, in the relatively unusual 6/4 meter.
Recording: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Daniel Barenboim,
piano [DG 449 633-2]
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily
Ezust’s site at http://www.lieder.net.
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
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters,
edited by Max Friedländer):
Frühlingstrost (in original key, A major)
1: Frühlingstrost (in low key, F major)
Erinnerung (in original key, C major)
2: Erinnerung (in low key, A major)
An ein Bild (in original key, A-flat major)
3: An ein Bild (in low key, F major)
An die Tauben (in original key, C major)
4: An die Tauben (in low key, A major)
Junge Lieder I (in original key, F-sharp major)
5: Junge Lieder I (in middle key, D major)
Junge Lieder I (in low key, C major)
Junge Lieder II (in original key, D major)
6: Junge Lieder II (in low key, B major)
Heimweh I (in original key, G major)
7: Heimweh I (in low key, E major)
Heimweh II (in original key, E major)
8: Heimweh II (in middle key, C-sharp major)
Heimweh II (in low key, C major)
Heimweh III (in original key, A major)
9: Heimweh III (in low key, F major)
1. Frühlingstrost (Spring Comfort). Text
by Max Gottfried von Schenkendorf. Lebhaft (Lively).
Rondo form (ABACA). A MAJOR, 6/4 time (Low key F major).
Es weht um mich Narzissenduft
Es spricht zu mir die Frühlingsluft:
Erwach im roten Morgenglanz,
Dein harrt ein blütenreicher Kranz,
Nur mußt du kämpfen drum und tun
Und länger nicht in Träumen ruhn;
Komm, Lieber, komm aufs Feld hinaus,
Du wirst im grünen Blätterhaus
Wir sind dir alle wohlgesinnt,
Du armes, liebebanges Kind,
Warst immer treu uns Spielgesell,
Drum dienen willig dir und schnell
Zur Liebsten tragen wir dein Ach
Und kränzen ihr das Schlafgemach
Wir wollen, wenn du von ihr gehst
Und einsam dann und traurig stehst,
Erwach im morgenroten Glanz,
Schon harret dein der Myrtenkranz,
Der Frühling kündet gute Mär’,
Und nun kein Ach, kein Weinen mehr,
In all five stanzas, Brahms repeats the short three-syllable
rhyming third and sixth lines (one or two words). The sixth
line of each stanza except the fourth is stated a total of three
0:00 [m. 1]--The piano
introduction sets the exceedingly lively mood. The use of
triplet rhythm within the context of the large 6/4 bars creates a
rather broad sweep, despite the fast tempo. The main right
hand line, featuring a distinctive opening leap of a sixth,
creates mild syncopation against the very active left hand, which
plays undulating arpeggios in triplets.
0:08 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A)--The singer enters and
echoes the piano’s broad, sweeping line, but at a much quieter
level. The piano’s hands reverse as the singer enters, the
left hand now playing the broad, syncopated line and the right
hand taking the busy triplets, many of them difficult double
notes. They are also regrouped into patterns suggesting 3/2
rather than 6/4 and clash somewhat with the metric pattern of the
voice, increasing the forward momentum. The first two lines
are set to similar parallel phrases.
0:15 [m. 9]--The vocal
line reaches higher, increasing greatly in volume after the
repetition of “Geliebter,” and briefly moves to E major. The
stanza culminates in two long melismas
(several notes per syllable) after a held note on the second
syllable of the word “Betrübter.” At that point, the piano
breaks into sweeping upward arpeggios after a strong emphasis of
the 3/2 grouping in both hands (in m. 14). The second
“Betrübter” abandons the 3/2 grouping before another set of
sweeping arpeggios leads to a strong cadence in the home key on a
third statement of the word.
0:34 [m. 19]--The piano
introduction is repeated as a bridge between verses, entering at
the cadence, but it is altered at the end to modulate to the
closely related key of E major.
0:41 [m. 23]--Stanza 2 (B). The stanza is set in
E major and is somewhat more contemplative. Although the
material is new, it is closely related to the main A section. The busy
accompaniment breaks a bit for a less active, but forceful dotted
rhythm containing chords and leaps. It returns to the
earlier quick triplet motion (in the 3/2 grouping) at the repeated
0:52 [m. 29]--The fourth
and fifth lines are similar to the first two, but the melody is
shifted forward by a half-bar. The dotted rhythm in the
accompaniment is replaced by a smoother variant that still
abandons the triplets. At the fifth line, the right hand, in
the melody’s original metric position, anticipates the vocal line,
which seems to imitate it. The left hand plays wide-ranging
arpeggios underneath this. Some abbreviation at the end of
the vocal line brings it back to the right metric
orientation. Although the long melismas are gone, the last line is still
repeated three times, with a brief pause on the last one--a bit of
a relief in this extraordinarily active song. The
accompaniment with triplet rhythm and 3/2 grouping again returns
1:07 [m. 36]--A very brief
interlude moves back to A major. The right hand triplets are
wide-ranging, as is the leaping left hand. Both move upward
and increase in volume. The grouping is ambiguous, but leans
more toward the 6/4 of the vocal melody.
1:10 [m. 38]--Stanza 3 (A). The musical material
is identical to that of stanza 1. The return of the main
material is unusually satisfying (and is again for stanza
5). The melismas
are on the first syllable of “Lüfte.”
1:35 [m. 52]--The piano
introduction is again repeated as a bridge, but is again altered
for yet another new key (D major). The left hand triplets
slow to straight rhythm in the half-bar leading into the verse,
which did not happen before stanza 2, and this transition also
quiets considerably more than did that one.
1:42 [m. 56]--Stanza 4 (C). There are some
similarities to B (stanza
2), especially in the vocal line, but the material is further
removed from A than was
that section. The key, D major, is completely new.
Again, the setting seems more contemplative. The
accompaniment is also new, consisting largely of light, detached
arpeggios in parallel motion and straight rhythm with 6/4
grouping. There is a vocal break after the repeated third
1:53 [m. 62]--The piano
bridges to the fourth line, the right hand anticipating the
descending vocal melody while the left hand continues the light
arpeggios. When the voice enters, the breathless A material makes a subtle
return, but only the broadly syncopated left hand line is used,
not the triplets. The right hand instead takes the light
arpeggios back over from the left. The left hand rejoins the
right in parallel motion halfway through the fifth line. The
last line is only repeated once. The transitional interlude
comes to a brief pause, as after stanza 2, but it does not involve
the vocal line and does not change the accompaniment pattern.
2:13 [m. 71]--Stanza 5 (A). Another welcome
return to the main material follows the harmonic shift of the
preceding pause. In addition to rounding off the song
musically, the repeated lines (three-syllable rhyming words) are
also the same as in stanza 1. Instead of returning to the
introduction at the end as before, the “sweeping arpeggios” under
“Betrübter” continue their sweep for a short postlude after the
singer finishes, ending with three sharp chords.
2:50--END OF SONG [87 mm.]
2. Erinnerung (Remembrance). Text by
Max Gottfried von Schenkendorf. Innig (Intimately).
Arch-like rondo form (ABA’B’A”). C MAJOR, 3/4 time (Low key
Ihr wunderschönen Augenblicke,
Die Lieblichste der ganzen Welt
Hat euch mit ihrem ew’gen Glücke,
Mit ihrem süßen Licht erhellt.
Ihr Stellen, ihr geweihten Plätze,
Ihr trugt ja das geliebte Bild,
Was Wunder habt ihr, was für Schätze
Vor meinen Augen dort enthüllt!
Ihr Gärten all, ihr grünen Haine,
Du Weinberg in der süßen Zier,
Es nahte sich die Hehre, Reine,
In Züchten gar zu freundlich mir.
Ihr Worte, die sie da gesprochen,
Du schönstes, halbverhauchtes Wort,
Dein Zauberbann wird nie gebrochen,
Du klingst und wirkest fort und fort.
Ihr wunderschönen Augenblicke,
Ihr lacht und lockt in ew’gem Reiz.
Ich schaue sehnsuchtsvoll zurücke
Voll Schmerz und Lust und Liebesgeiz.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). There is no
introduction. The music is genuinely nostalgic in character,
with a rocking, gentle 3/4 motion and a simple piano accompaniment
with subtle off-beat bass octaves. The vocal melody is sweet
and tender. After a gentle extension of the word “Licht”
before the cadence, a brief bridge introduces the accompaniment
pattern of stanza 2, with its wide four-note bass arpeggios.
0:41 [m. 20]--Stanza 2 (B). The gentle character
continues. The vocal line is set in a higher register and
the accompaniment is more flowing., with steady left hand
arpeggios. The first line has a contour derived from the
second line of stanza 1 and is in G major, the “dominant” key
. The second line makes a striking harmonic digression to
E-flat major. At the very beginning of the verse, Brahms
indicates that the music is to become “gradually more lively”
until the return of the opening tempo at stanza 5.
0:53 [m. 28]--The third
line moves immediately back to C. At that point, the piano
starts a subtle undermining of the 3/4 meter with groups of four
notes overlapping between the hands, descending in the right and
ascending in the left. The extremely gradual quickening is
still barely noticeable at the end of this verse, where the words
“dort” and “enthüllt” are lengthened. The short bridge
before stanza 3 introduces mild syncopation in the right hand
anticipating the syncopated accompaniment to stanza 3.
1:10 [m. 40]--Stanza 3 (A’). Although the vocal
line is identical to that of stanza 1, the accompaniment is very
different. It is extremely syncopated, the right hand never
playing on the beat. This makes the music slightly more
agitated and aids the gradual acceleration that began in the last
verse. Brahms marks the music animato sempre here. The lowest bass notes
are on the downbeat, in contrast to stanza 1. The following
short bridge establishes the accompaniment pattern of stanza 4,
with descents grouped in threes.
1:34 [m. 59]--Stanza 4 (B’). The vocal line is
the same as in stanza 2, but the music is now moving significantly
faster. The accompaniment is changed to reflect this, the
simple right-hand chords of stanza 2 replaced by faster-moving
notes grouped in two sets of three notes per measure, again
undermining the 3/4 meter (the piano sounds as if it is in
6/8). The first note of each group is usually doubled with
another note. The left hand arpeggios also add a fifth note
on the second beat of each bar.
1:43 [m. 67]--The
overlapping groups of four enter at the third line, as
before. The end of this stanza is the final goal of the
acceleration, and contains the song’s only forte volume level.
Brahms directs the following bridge passage to return to the
opening tempo. It is very similar to the bridge after stanza
2, but without the syncopation, helping to restore the slower
tempo. The volume also rapidly diminishes.
1:58 [m. 79]--Stanza 5 (A”). For the most part,
this return to the music and tempo of the opening is the same as
the first stanza, mirroring the textual parallel (same opening
line) between the verses. The only major variation is in the
accompaniment, where the low bass octaves are now more solidly on
the downbeats. There are a couple of added “color” notes in
lines 3 and 4.
2:37 [m. 96]--The bridge
passage that had led to stanza 2 is expanded into a calm and
slow-moving postlude. Its lengthened chords add to the mood
of longing and mild regret. The added material that brings
the song to a close is in the warm middle register, with resonant
low bass notes.
3:03--END OF SONG [101 mm.]
3. An ein Bild (To a Portrait). Text by
Max Gottfried von Schenkendorf. Etwas langsam (Somewhat
slowly). Ternary/strophic form (AABB’A). A-FLAT MAJOR,
4/4 time (Low key F major).
Was schaust du mich so freundlich an,
O Bild aus weiter Ferne,
Und winkest dem verbannten Mann?
Er käme gar zu gerne.
Die ganze Jugend tut sich auf,
Wenn ich an dich gedenke,
Als ob ich noch den alten Lauf
Nach deinem Hause lenke.
Gleich einem, der ins tiefe Meer
Die Blicke läßt versinken,
Nicht sieht, nicht hört, ob um ihn her
Viel tausend Schätze winken.
Gleich einem, der am Firmament
Nach fernem Sterne blicket,
Nur diesen kennt, nur diesen nennt
Und sich an ihm entzücket:
Ist all mein Sehnen, all mein Mut
In dir, o Bild, gegründet,
Und immer noch von gleicher Glut,
Von gleicher Lust entzündet.
The last line in every stanza is repeated. All except stanza
3 have “extra” repeated words, and stanza 4 omits a second
statement of some words to accommodate “extra” repetition of
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). A simple rising
piano arpeggio (beginning on an incomplete measure) leads into the
sweet, upward-striving vocal line. The accompaniment is
simple but varied, with some initial vocal doubling, off-beat
chords, and low left-hand octaves. These low left hand notes
outline the opening of the main melody with a much slower
motion. They begin in the second line, where the vocal
phrase also starts to droop downward.
0:14 [m. 6]--The third
line becomes more agitated at the mention of the “exiled man,”
introducing borrowed “color” notes from the minor key, left hand
arpeggios, and three-note downward turning figures in the piano
that are derived from the opening melody. The piano bass
echoes the actual melody that is sung here. In the fourth
line and its repetition, the downward-turning figures persist in
the right hand, then the bass, with a descending line in dotted
rhythm beneath, then above them. The melody itself becomes
gentle again. The repetition reaches higher for a lilting
downward motion before the last three words “gar zu gerne,” are
given an “extra” repetition at the incomplete cadence.
0:34 [m. 13]--Stanza 2 (A). The same piano
arpeggio leads into the next verse, entering right after the
cadence. It is musically identical to stanza 1, but the text
repetition is handled differently. In the repeated last
line, the word “deinem” is stretched out, placing two syllables
where four (“käme gar zu”) had been placed in stanza 1. As a result, only
the word “deinem” is given an “extra” repetition. The
“agitated” third line again illustrates the poet’s distance with
the mention of the “old path.”
1:04 [m. 25]--Stanza 3 (B). The same arpeggio
begins, but breaks into syncopated left-hand repeated notes.
The new musical material of the vocal line is similar to that of A, but has less of the
upward-striving character. It is, however, more agitated
thanks to the continuing left hand syncopation and several
breathless two-note descents. Brahms initiates a gradual
acceleration and crescendo
similar to that in “Erinnerung,” the previous song. The
third line moves to the home minor key and its related major key
of C-flat, and the syncopation moves to the right hand. The
last line is repeated in full with no extra repetitions of
words. The accompaniment pattern leads into the next verse
and back to the major key.
1:29 [m. 36]--Stanza 4 (B’). It is similar to
the last stanza, but quite varied. The first two vocal lines
are set a third higher, a striking effect. The accompaniment
also sets the right hand much higher, and any syncopations or
chords after the beat are in that hand. The left hand and
bass line are much more active, shadowing the vocal melody.
The vocal line comes back to that of stanza 3 at the third line,
which retains the motion to C-flat major and A-flat minor.
The last line is not repeated in full, leaving out “Und sich,” but
“an ihm” is repeated twice.
1:48 [m. 44]--The music is
still agitated as the verse ends, leading into a more extended
transition back to the A
material and the major mode, beginning with a similar opening
arpeggio against lingering after-beat chords. Two references
to the main melody, the first one inverted, become more quiet and
subdued before the entrance of the main melody.
1:55 [m. 47]--Stanza 5 (A). The music is
virtually identical to that of the first two stanzas. Brahms
does not explicitly indicate a return to the opening tempo, but it
is implied, and this recording does include a slowing as the verse
begins. The text repetition is handled as in stanza 2, with
“gleicher” stretched out and repeated in the full restatement of
the last line. The most important change is at the final
cadence, which was open in the first two stanzas and now comes to
a full, wide close, followed only by a rolled chord.
2:43--END OF SONG [58 mm.]
4. An die Tauben (To the Pigeons). Text
by Max Gottfried von Schenkendorf. Sehr lebhaft (Very
lively). Rondo form (ABACA’). C MAJOR, 4/4 time (Low key A
Fliegt nur aus, geliebte Tauben!
Euch als Boten send’ ich hin;
Sagt ihr, und sie wird euch glauben,
Daß ich krank vor Liebe bin.
Ihr könnt fliegen, ihr könnt eilen,
Tauben, froh bergab und -an;
Ich muß in der Fremde weilen,
Ewig ein gequälter Mann.
Auch mein Brieflein soll noch gehen
Heut zu ihr, mein Liebesgruß,
Soll sie suchen auf den Höhen,
An dem schönen, grünen Fluß.
Wird sie von den Bergen steigen
Endlich in das Niederland?
Wird sie mir die Sonne zeigen,
Die zu lange schon verschwand?
Vögel, Briefe, Liebesboten,
Lied und Seufzer, sagt ihr’s hell:
Suche ihn im Reich der Toten,
Liebchen, oder komme schnell!
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1 (A). The brief two-bar
introduction sets up the constant triplet rhythm that will be in
the accompaniment throughout the song. It creates a rather
breathless character. The vocal line is sweeping and
disjunct, with many leaps across the main chords in the key.
The right hand takes over the triplets while the left hand plays a
skipping pattern with many rests and double notes in a rhythm
supporting the vocal line. The first statement of the last
line moves briefly away from the key, to G major, C minor, and
finally E-flat major, but a very affirmative repetition of that
line, with broken octaves in the bass, brings the music back
home. The following two-bar interlude includes chromatic
notes used during the harmonic diversion.
0:20 [m. 15]--Stanza 2 (B). The music is now
somewhat more assertive, with more solid punctuation in the piano
left hand. The vocal line moves generally down in each
phrase instead of up, as in A.
The last line is repeated, as in A.
stanza begins in the “dominant” key, G major, but moves
away. The last two lines first seem to move naturally to E
minor, but then there is a sudden reappearance of the home-key
harmony of C major in the last line, which includes suddenly
powerful descending bass octaves. The repetition of the line
is wrenched through F major back to E, this time E major, for the cadence.
This cadence is the only brief break from the constant
triplets. The following interlude is longer (5 bars), and
moves home to C.
0:41 [m. 30]--Stanza 3 (A). The end of the
preceding interlude has restored the quiet, secretive character
after the assertive E-major cadence highlighting the “tormented
man.” The vocal line is the same as in stanza 1, including
the motion away from C and the return with the sweeping repetition
of the last line. The accompaniment is somewhat richer,
adding many double notes to the line with the triplet rhythm,
which is split between the hands. The skipping pattern is
replaced by downbeat bass notes, which only move away from the
keynote C at the harmonic diversion. The bass octaves under
the repetition are not broken. The interlude begins as after
stanza 1, but is expanded by two measures to move to the new key
for stanza 4.
1:02 [m. 44]--Stanza 4 (C). The vocal line and
even the piano have similarities to B (stanza 2), but the notes are entirely
different. The stanza begins in F major, but it is highly
chromatic. The piano twice moves from ascending arpeggios to
the pattern of stanza 2. The last line is again adventurous
in its unstable key, which moves to the distant A-flat
major/minor, already suggested in the third line. It is
repeated as in other stanzas, but the words “die” and “schon” are
omitted, and “zu lange” is given an extra repetition. The
repeated line builds and moves the music through B-flat minor back
home to C, whose “dominant” chord arrives rather abruptly with a
low bass arpeggio under a lengthening of the word “lange.”
The interlude (again only two bars), now has downward-moving
chords in the right hand echoing the preceding vocal line.
1:22 [m. 57]--Stanza 5 (A’). It is obviously
similar to stanzas 1 and 3, but the voice is now higher, usually
at a distance of a third or a sixth above the original
melody. The piano actually does play the first two lines of
the original melody in a high register, often in octaves above the
triplets of the left hand, which moved there in the preceding
interlude. The third line arrives at E-flat, as it did in
stanzas 1 and 3, but this key now comes via a fresh-sounding A
major. The repetition of line 4 is, however, as in stanza 1,
with the sweeping, affirmative cadence (and at the original pitch
level). A piano postlude includes more “color” notes (very
frequent in this song) and accented, syncopated chords. The
triplets are finally cut off with a loud chord.
1:48--END OF SONG [70 mm.]
5. Junge Lieder I
(Songs of Youth I).
Text by Felix Schumann. Lebhaft (Lively). Two-part
simple strophic form. F-SHARP MAJOR, 4/4 time (Middle key D
major, low key C major).
Meine Liebe ist grün wie der Fliederbusch,
und mein Lieb ist schön wie die Sonne,
die glänzt wohl herab auf den Fliederbusch
und füllt ihn mit Duft und mit Wonne.
Meine Seele hat Schwingen der Nachtigall,
und wiegt sich in blühendem Flieder,
und jauchzet und singet vom Duft berauscht
viel liebestrunkene Lieder.
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza
1. There is no introduction. The vocal line is
extremely extroverted and thrusts constantly forward. The
accompaniment is very busy, with a steadily moving left hand and
constant syncopated chords in the inner voice of the right.
Under the first line, the left hand plays a distinctive
downward-winding pattern. The singer surges upward in the
related minor key (D-sharp), lingering on “Liebe” and “grün”
before moving to major when turning back downward. The
second line is sung twice to two shorter phrases, reaching a
half-cadence on the “dominant” key of C-sharp.
0:16 [m. 9]--The third and
fourth lines, both set to shorter phrases, very slightly diminish
in volume and intensity before surging forward again. Then
line 4 is repeated with an affirmative character that is asserted
in an upward-striving chromatic line, with longer notes and a
phrase stretched to the length of the first line (twice as long as
that for the second and third phrases as well as the first
statement of the fourth line).
0:30 [m. 16]--At the
cadence, a piano interlude breaks from the constant pattern of the
verse and introduces off-beat triplet rhythms. The bass and
melody move in opposite directions. The harmonies become
richer and the music comes to a pause. A single measure
reintroduces the accompaniment pattern of the verse, including the
downward-winding left hand motion, before the second verse erupts
at a louder volume.
0:39 [m. 21]--Stanza
2. Musically identical to stanza 1. The “lingering
notes” are now on “Seele” and “Schwingen.” The second line
is again sung twice.
0:54 [m. 29]--The third
and fourth lines are sung as in stanza 1, with the lengthened
repetition of line 4 on the rising chromatic line.
1:08 [m. 36]--The previous
piano interlude in triplets now serves as a postlude. The
measure that had “returned” to the verse pattern leads to a
surprisingly quiet final chord.
1:28--END OF SONG [41 mm.]
6. Junge Lieder II
(Songs of Youth II).
Text by Felix Schumann. Zart bewegt (With tender
motion). Three-part simple strophic form. D MAJOR, 6/4
time (Low key B major).
Wenn um den Holunder der Abendwind kost
Und der Falter um den Jasminenstrauch,
Dann kos’ ich mit meinem Liebchen auch
Auf der Steinbank schattig und weich bemoost.
Und wenn vom Dorfe die Glocke erschallt
Und der Lerche jubelndes Abendgebet,
Dann schweigen wir auch, und die Seele zergeht
Vor der Liebe heiliger Gottesgewalt.
Und blickt dann vom Himmel der Sterne Schar
Und das Glühwürmchen in der Lilie Schoß,
Dann lasse ich sie aus den Armen los
Und küsse ihr scheidend das Augenpaar.
0:00 [m. 1]--A gentle
introduction, beginning with an upbeat, sets up the rocking,
lullaby-like motion. The broad 6/4 meter also contributes to
this. In the first bar, the left hand crosses above the
right for two notes, contributing to the harmony above the rocking
internal voice. The lead-in to the vocal entry is extended.
0:10 [m. 4]--Stanza
1. The tender melody is accompanied by very subtle and
gentle syncopation in the piano. In the first line, the bass
swings gradually downward, alternating between the pitches D and A
through three octaves. The voice moves downward in the first
line, and swings upward with lilting skips as the second line
0:22 [m. 8]--The third
line introduces some colorful harmonies, turning to the somewhat
distant key of F major amid more gentle vocal leaps. The
fourth line begins to head back home, moving through A major with
another wide leap. It is repeated, reaching a low, resonant
and full cadence in D major. A simple arpeggio leads to the
next verse, with no real interlude.
0:44 [m. 15]--Stanza
2. The vocal line is largely the same as in stanza 1, but
the rhythm is altered significantly to fit the declamation of the
text. More important is the variation in the piano under the
first line, where the bass, rather than swinging downward, is now
entirely in the low octaves, still on the pitches D and A.
Here, the alteration helps illustrate the ringing bells in the
0:55 [m. 19]--The third
and fourth lines also have significant changes in declamation,
most notably at the end, where the lowest note of the cadence is
stretched out to two notes over three beats to accommodate an
extra syllable. The piano accompaniment, however, is now the
same as in stanza 1.
1:18 [m. 26]--Unlike the
point after stanza 1, the piano introduction is played again
before stanza 3 after the arpeggio is halted with a dissonant
1:28 [m. 29]--Stanza
3. Again, it is essentially the same as the other stanzas,
with the necessary variations for declamation. The piano
accompaniment is as in stanza 1 in the first line.
1:40 [m. 33]--The third
and fourth lines also contain new variations in declamation,
particularly at “küsse ihr,” but the final cadence is as in the
first stanza, with the shorter low note on one beat. The
simple arpeggio leads right to the close, with no extended
2:17--END OF SONG [40 mm.]
7. Heimweh I (Homesickness I). Text
by Klaus Groth. Zart bewegt (With tender motion).
Three-part strophic form with variation in the third
strophe. G MAJOR, 2/4 time with two 3/4 bars (Low key E
Wie traulich war das Fleckchen,
Wo meine Wiege ging,
Kein Bäumchen war, kein Heckchen,
Das nicht voll Träume hing.
Wo nur ein Blümchen blühte,
Da blühten gleich sie mit,
Und alles sang und glühte
Mir zu bei jedem Schritt.
Ich wäre nicht gegangen,
Nicht für die ganze Welt! -
Mein Sehnen, mein Verlangen,
Hier ruht’s in Wald und Feld.
0:00 [m. 1]--A somewhat
wistful piano introduction, with a meandering line in the left
hand, sets the mood for the song. The right hand plays
upward-floating double notes against the winding descent of the
left. It ends with a highly expectant half-cadence.
0:09 [m. 5]--Stanza
1. The wistful, rather sweet mood continues in the first
part of the verse. The vocal line floats down, then back up,
then down again on the second line. The second line is
repeated with some intensification, creating a five-bar phrase
that ends on a half-cadence. The left hand leads the piano
accompaniment, the right hand playing single and double notes, as
well as three-note chords, after the beats.
0:21 [m. 10]--While the
rhythmic pattern is maintained, both hands of the piano become
more static and more full in harmony. After a slight break
to establish this, the third vocal line makes a rather dark turn
to minor that is immediately shifted more hopefully to B-flat
major. The fourth line starts to move back home. This
line, like the second, is also repeated. A single 3/4 bar
intrudes for this repetition, which includes an internal
reiteration of “das nicht.” The piano briefly breaks its
constant rhythm inside of the 3/4 bar.
0:37 [m. 16]--The vocal
line does not come to a complete cadence, but merges into a
restatement of the introduction with the meandering line moved to
the right hand. The left hand floats steadily upward with
double notes, and the anticipatory half-cadence is more rich and
full, with a rolled chord.
0:46 [m. 20]--Stanza
2. A strophic repetition of the music of stanza 1, with
repeated lines and the intruding 3/4 measure. In the 3/4
bar, the internal repetition is shifted forward, reiterating the
1:14 [m. 31]--The
introduction is again stated after this verse with the moving line
in the right hand, as after stanza 1 at 0:37 [m. 16].
1:24 [m. 35]--Stanza
3. While extremely similar to the preceding verses, there
are subtle differences from the beginning. The accompaniment
is more halting and less flowing, breaking the constant rhythmic
pattern in the middle of the first two bars. The declamation
of the text takes on a rather altered, more assertive rhythm in
the first statement of line 2, whose repetition now moves lower
and to a stronger half-cadence.
1:37 [m. 40]--The approach
to line 3 is as in the first two stanzas. The line itself is
diverted to E-flat major instead of B-flat, a slightly more
distant and colorful harmonic motion. The result is a more
emphatic line. Line 4 does move back to G, but the line is
somewhat different. The repetition of this last line
includes an expected reiteration of “hier ruht’s,” but the 3/4 measure is omitted
and the entire musical line is the most altered in the verse,
again through more assertiveness. The bass line includes
strong octaves, and breaks the constant motion, playing only on
every other beat. The right hand follows suit in the last
1:56 [m. 47]--The line
now, of course, comes to a complete close. A variation of
the piano introduction closes the song. The moving line is
in the right hand. The wistful mood is still there, but
alterations in the line and in the harmony add a slight tinge of
melancholy to the final bass octave and chord.
2:15--END OF SONG [49 mm.]
8. Heimweh II
Text by Klaus Groth. Etwas langsam (Somewhat slowly).
Strophic/ternary form (ABB’A’). E MAJOR, 6/4 time with two
9/4 bars (Middle key C-sharp major, low key C major).
O wüßt ich doch den Weg zurück,
Den lieben Weg zum Kinderland!
O warum sucht’ ich nach dem Glück
Und ließ der Mutter Hand?
O wie mich sehnet auszuruhn,
Von keinem Streben aufgeweckt,
Die müden Augen zuzutun,
Von Liebe sanft bedeckt!
Und nichts zu forschen, nichts zu spähn,
Und nur zu träumen leicht und lind;
Der Zeiten Wandel nicht zu sehn,
Zum zweiten Mal ein Kind!
O zeig mir doch den Weg zurück,
Den lieben Weg zum Kinderland!
Vergebens such ich nach dem Glück,
Ringsum ist öder Strand!
0:00 [m. 1]--The first
“Heimweh” song is wistful, while this one is more deeply
introspective. The piano introduction sets up slow, sweeping
arches over the long 6/4 bars. The line is richly chromatic,
played over low bass octaves. The bass, then the arpeggios
introduce mild syncopation in the third and fourth bars
respectively. The piano pattern continues when the voice
0:21 [m. 5]--Stanza 1 (A). The vocal line is
also slow and introspective, but not as chromatic as the
underlying piano arpeggios. Often, the voice moves in the
opposite arch-like trajectory from the piano, and always in slower
note values. Line 2 introduces the same bass cross-rhythm
heard in the introduction and moves to the “dominant” key of B
0:40 [m. 9]--Line 3 moves
strikingly to the key of F major and introduces rests on the
strong beats before the right hand arpeggios. Line 4
restores the main E-major key and the opening piano
arpeggios. The words “der Mutter Hand” are repeated over an
inserted bar of 9/4, which creates a moment of even more
breadth. A variation of the first two bars of the
introduction leads to the next stanza.
1:14 [m. 15]--Stanza 2 (B). Brahms marks
“Lebhafter werdend” (“Becoming more lively”) at this point.
The line is more assertive. The piano abandons the long
arpeggios in favor of a flowing left hand under a right with rich
chords after a few initial syncopations. The verse is
harmonically active. The first line moves to G major, the
second to E minor, the third and fourth to B major, all quite
natural progressions. The bass holds steady under the fourth
line. It is repeated to a new and rhythmically shifted vocal
contour, reaching a cadence in B major. The piano chords
lead smoothly to the next stanza.
1:52 [m. 25]--Stanza 3 (B’). Follows closely
upon stanza 3, and is extremely similar, with the only major
difference being a slightly more flowing second line (“Und nur zu
träumen leicht und lind”). The last line is repeated, as in
stanza 2. A quick key change back to E, over a slowing of
tempo to the original pace on an isolated piano descent, leads to
the final stanza.
2:32 [m. 36]--Stanza 4 (A’). The first two lines
are exactly as in stanza 1, as the parallel text would
suggest. 2:53 [m. 40]--The last two lines make an extremely
subtle, but dramatic change. The slowly flowing
accompaniment is suddenly aborted as the key changes to F
again. It is replaced by rather stark off-beat octaves in
the right hand descending by thirds. The fourth line,
including a similar text repetition (“öder Strand”), and a 9/4 bar
as before, retains the same contour, but is now set in E minor,
creating a seemingly pessimistic close. The accompaniment to
the line retains vestiges of the third line, with syncopation,
strong-beat rests, and abandonment of the arpeggios.
3:21 [m. 44]--Coinciding
with the last note of stanza 4, the long arpeggios of the piano
introduction return and restore the major mode. This creates
a beautiful close that almost negates the pessimistic ending of
the last stanza, but the many chromatic notes underscore the
pervading melancholy mood to the end. The third bar alters
the original introduction material to continue to climb upward to
a “Phrygian” cadence (with a prominent chromatic C-natural) onto a
rolled and held E-major chord.
4:00--END OF SONG [47 mm.]
9. Heimweh III
Text by Klaus Groth. Etwas langsam (Somewhat slowly).
Alternating strophic form (ABA’B’). A MAJOR, 2/4 time (Low
key F major).
Ich sah als Knabe Blumen blühn -
Ich weiß nicht mehr, was war es doch?
Ich sah die Sonne drüber glühn -
Mich dünkt, ich seh’ es noch.
Es war ein Duft, es war ein Glanz,
Die Seele sog ihn durstend ein.
Ich pflückte sie zu einem Kranz -
Wo mag er blieben sein?
Ich such’ an jedem Blümchen nach
Um jenen Schmelz, um jenes Licht,
Ich forsche jeden Sommertag -
Doch solche find’ ich nicht.
Ihr wußtet nimmer, was ich trieb?
Ich suchte meinen alten Kranz.
Er war so frisch, so licht, so lieb -
Es war der Jugendglanz.
0:00 [m. 1]--A brief,
mildly syncopated piano introduction establishes the moderate
walking speed and the distinctive “upward-skipping” left hand
figure that will characterize the song.
0:04 [m. 3]--Stanza 1 (A). The music is
somewhat reminiscent of No. 7, “Heimweh I,” in its mood, but the
protagonist here seems rather more detached. The music
maintains a steady, walking pace. The left hand of the piano
usually plays the “upward-skipping” figure from the introduction,
while the right harmonizes with the voice in thirds and sixths,
with expressive chromatic notes. Line 3 makes a brief
harmonic diversion to B minor. The last line is repeated in
a sweetly curving line that serves as a kind of “refrain” in the
song, closing off both the A
and B verses. The
piano plays gentle syncopations in thirds under the “refrain.”
0:26 [m. 13]--The piano
introduction is repeated as the singer reaches the cadence.
0:30 [m. 15]--Stanza 2 (B). The music is now
more animated and the accompaniment is noticeably more sparse,
especially in the beginning, but the overall structure and
character is actually quite similar to that of the first stanza (A). From the third line,
triplet arpeggios are introduced. The harmonic diversions
are to different key areas (E major and C major), but remarkably,
the music settles seamlessly into the repetition of the fourth
line (the “refrain”) after a descending chromatic scale in the
piano. The vocal line of this repetition is exactly the same
as in A, but the piano
has a new counter-melody that anticipates the vocal line.
0:53 [m. 26]--The piano
introduction is again heard unchanged at the cadence.
0:57 [m. 28]--Stanza 3 (A’). It is largely the
same as the first stanza, but Brahms makes a subtle and effective
change to line 2, extending it by a measure, inserting some
chromatic notes, and repeating the word “jenes.” From line
3, including the repetition (“refrain”) of line 4, the music
follows the pattern of stanza 1 again, but the left hand becomes
somewhat more active approaching and including the refrain.
1:21 [m. 39]--Again, the
introduction is repeated unchanged at the cadence.
1:24 [m. 41]--Stanza 4 (B’). As with A’, this stanza only has a
subtle, but remarkable change from its model in stanza 2.
Here it is in line 3, where the singer takes a higher and more
melodic line. In stanza 2, the voice was more static
here. It turns out that the vocal line and the top voice of
the piano are reversed from stanza 2. With line 4 and its
repetition (“refrain”), the music again follows the pattern of
1:48 [m. 52]--As in the
other stanzas, the original piano introduction enters on the final
cadence. It is now extended for another statement at a lower pitch
level and with richer harmonies, leading to the quiet close.
The “upward-skipping” figure in the left hand continues to the
2:10--END OF SONG [57 mm.]
END OF SET
BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME