NEW LIEBESLIEDER WALTZES FOR VOCAL QUARTET AND PIANO
The first set of Liebeslieder,
“love song” waltzes, Op. 52, had been a great financial success
Brahms and his publisher. By popular demand, he produced a
set, with emphasis on the “new,” in the hopes of further
on that success. Many aspects of the first set
The piano duet accompaniment is retained throughout. Again,
texts for the vocal quartet are from Georg Friedrich Daumer’s
“Polydora,” his collection of free translations from world
poetry. This time, however, Brahms adds an epilogue from the
greatest German poet, Goethe. Counting the epilogue, there
fifteen waltz-songs. Of these, seven--nearly half--are for
voice, as opposed to two in the Op. 52 set. Four of these
soprano, and one each for the other three voices. The set is
highly structured and should be regarded as a cycle, and the
waltz-songs as inseparable from complete performance. The
begins with a pair of full quartet settings. Brahms follows
with four solos. In the middle, Nos. 7 and 8 are two more
settings. Three more solos follow. Rounding the
are two more quartet settings, Nos. 12 and 14, interrupted by the
duet, No. 13. The first half of No. 14 is another
duet. All are in the basic binary form with each part
repeated. Nos. 2, 7, 8, and 14 use variations of this model,
14 almost approaching a through-composition. Often, new text
sung to repeated music. The Goethe epilogue expands the
meter to a broad 9/4 and uses a passacaglia
form, or a repeated ground bass. The epilogue follows No.
far the most elaborate Daumer Liebeslieder
waltz in either set. Goethe seems to respond to the concise
little international love poems with a more profound message--and
an indication that Brahms was finished composing any more of
them. Some recurring musical ideas in the waltzes include
in contrary motion, a long note followed by three short ones, a
three-note upbeat, and musical ideas moving down and up through
sequences. Musically, despite the abundance of solo
there is slightly more sophistication than in Op. 52. The
without voices for piano duet alone was published against Brahms’s
wishes as Op. 65a, and is vastly inferior. In the guides
the source nationality indicated by Daumer is given for each
text. If a tempo indication is not given in the score, the
indication for the first waltz, “Lebhaft, doch nicht schnell” is
assumed and given in brackets. Primo
is used for the top piano duet part, secondo
for the lower, or bottom part.
Recording: Edith Mathis, soprano; Brigitte Fassbaender, alto;
Schreier, tenor; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, bass; Peter Engel and
Wolfgang Sawallisch, piano [DG 449 641-2]
Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily
site at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.
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
(included here) are also visible in the translation links.
IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut
Lübeck--also includes autograph score)
ONLINE SCORES FROM THE CHORAL PUBLIC DOMAIN LIBRARY (Choral Wiki):
1: Verzicht, o Herz, auf Rettung
2: Finstere Schatten der Nacht
3: An jeder Hand der Finger (A major)
3: An jeder Hand der Finger (F major)
4: Ihr schwarzen Augen
5: Wahre, wahre deinen Sohn
6: Rosen steckt mir an die Mutter
7: Vom Gebirge Well’
8: Weiche Gräser im Revier
9: Nagen am Herzen
10: Ich kose süß mit der und der
11: Alles, alles in den Wind
12: Schwarzer Wald, dein Schatten ist so düster!
13: Nein, Geliebter, setze dich
14: Flammenauge, dunkles Haar
Schluß: Nun, ihr Musen, genug!
1. “Verzicht, o Herz, auf Rettung” (“Relenquish, o heart, the hope
rescue”). Turkish source. Lebhaft, doch nicht schnell
(Lively, but not fast). Binary form. A MINOR, 3/4
Verzicht, o Herz, auf Rettung,
dich wagend in der Liebe Meer!
Denn tausend Nachen schwimmen
zertrümmert am Gestad umher!
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
upward-moving thirds, and the secondo
plays shorter notes moving
down. Two sharp chords lead the voices into the cycle.
0:04 [m. 5]--Part 1.
voices enter passionately, and sing the
first two lines in harmony, three bars for the first line and four
the second. The first phrase is extended to four bars by the
piano. Note the alto and bass, who move in opposite
the beginning. There is a sharp accent on “Herz,” and the
sings a long-short-short-short rhythm that continues in the piano
primo. The section
with a full close.
0:12 [m. 5]--Part 1
0:19 [m. 13]--Part
third line is sung in unison. The
two piano parts again move in opposite directions, primo down, secondo
up. The voices break into harmony at
This word is repeated after another sharp piano accent. The
repetitions of the word create a four-bar phrase. The sharp
accent follows again, and then the whole line is sung beginning
“hemiola,” where three two-beat patterns are superimposed on two
bars. The section concludes with two more emphatic bars.
0:31 [m. 13]--Part 2
0:45--END OF WALTZ-SONG [24 mm.]
der Nacht” (“Dark shades of night”). Persian
source (Hafis). [Lebhaft, doch nicht schnell].
binary form (AA’A”BB). A MINOR, 3/4 time. SATB
Finstere Schatten der Nacht,
Wogen- und Wirbelgefahr!
Sind wohl, die da gelind
rasten auf sicherem Lande,
euch zu begreifen im Stande?
Das ist der nur allein,
welcher auf wilder See
stürmischer Öde treibt,
Meilen entfernt vom Strande.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1 (A).
The first two lines are sung by the bass in quiet, restless
phrases. The second line begins with a syncopation over the
and ends with a half-close. The two piano parts play quietly
moving lines that anticipate the vocal contour of the second
phrase. These piano lines are secretive and ominous.
0:08 [m. 7]--Varied repeat
Part 1 (A’).
The two lines are sung again, but by all four singers. The
line is sung in unison, the second in harmony. The piano
are the same, as is the melody. The soprano and alto sing
syncopation at the second line.
0:15 [m. 13]--Variation of
The third, fourth, and fifth lines are sung to an expanded
the same music. A third three-bar phrase, which turns to the
related key of C major, is inserted between the two previous
phrases. There is some rearrangement and inversion of the
in the piano parts. The first phrase is essentially the same
before, except for the new text and that it is now sung in
harmony. The third phrase is essentially unaltered from the
previous second phrase, but it includes an extra cadence
The inserted second phrase has a small swell in volume.
0:25 [m. 22]--Part 2 (B).
The sixth line is sung in harmony by the tenor and bass, again to
three-bar phrase. The same phrase is then repeated by
alto. The two piano parts are reversed for the
The contrary motion in the two piano parts is reminiscent of the
introduction to #1.
0:32 [m. 28]--The seventh
is sung to music similar to that of the
first part, on E minor. The music is then repeated a step
on F major, for the eighth line, which dramatically rises in
0:39 [m. 34]--The last
set more elaborately. The sopranos
and altos begin the descending phrase. The tenors and basses
enter in imitation as the women reach the word “Strande.”
women repeat “entfent vom Strande” to catch up with the men.
two piano parts reverse roles as the men enter. The women’s
phrase is three bars, as is the phrase when the men enter.
final statement of the word “Strande” is set to a new
first syllable is extended over three full bars in long notes
the second syllable is sung on a fourth. Already before the
word, the music steadily quiets down. The piano begins
long descent on this word moving all the way down the
This continues in a five-bar postlude that ends with short
figures in the primo,
cadence chord, and transition chords to the
0:56 [m. 22]--Part 2 (B)
repeated. Restatement of line 6 from 0:25.
1:03 [m. 28]--Restatement
lines 7 and 8 from 0:32.
1:10 [m. 34]--Restatement
the elaborate final line from 0:39, ending
with the quiet cadence chord.
1:28--END OF WALTZ-SONG [48 mm.]
3. “An jeder Hand die Finger” (“On each hand my fingers”).
Latvian-Lithuanian source. [Lebhaft, doch nicht
Binary form. A MAJOR or F MAJOR, 3/4 time. Soprano
The original key is A major, but Brahms was persuaded that this
created a vocal line that was too high. He produced an
version in F major, a key which also transitions well between A
and D minor. In this recording, Mathis sings the song in F
An jeder Hand die Finger
hatt' ich bedeckt mit Ringen,
die mir geschenkt mein Bruder
in seinem Liebessinn.
Und einen nach dem andern
gab ich dem schönen,
aber unwürdigen Jüngling hin.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.
Beginning with an upbeat, the singer
presents the gently descending first line and the rising second
line. The piano primo
at first doubles the voice, but breaks
somewhat free in the second line, stating the descending pattern
higher level. The second line includes chromatic notes and
reaches a half-close. The secondo
provides steady bass and
0:13 [m. 9]--Part 1
repeated. The singer now presents the third
and fourth lines to the same music, leaving the upbeat to the
removing the syllable from the last note. The supporting
The primo, however, is
adding more harmony or octaves to its lines and adding new
echoes of the voice in its left hand.
0:23 [m. 17]--Part
last three lines are set to music
moving to the home minor key (A or F minor). The descending
line is heard in the piano secondo.
descending pattern twice in sequence on the fifth and sixth
lines. At the climactic word “unwürdigen,” the piano primo
follows the voice’s descending arpeggio, first with the left hand
then with the right in an example of very close imitation.
word “hin” overlaps with the next phrase in the piano.
0:35 [m. 25]--Overlapping
singer’s completion of the phrase, the
piano players begin a new one, incorporating syncopation that was
introduced on the imitation of “unwürdigen.” The two
play in contrary motion. Still in the minor key, the words
schönen” are reiterated twice with sharp piano accents to
full phrase. A final phrase is added for another statement
last line. The singer turns back to major, moving up and
while the piano primo
the opening descending melody, the right
hand closely following the left in syncopation.
0:46 [m. 17]--Part 2
repeated. Restatement of the last three
lines from 0:23.
0:58 [m. 25]--Restatement
overlapping phrase, reiterated “dem
schönen,” and the last line from 0:35.
1:12--END OF WALTZ-SONG [32 mm.]
4. “Ihr schwarzen Augen” (“You black eyes”). Sicilian
source. [Lebhaft, doch nicht schnell]. Binary
MINOR, 3/4 time. Bass solo.
Ihr schwarzen Augen, ihr dürft nur winken;
Paläste fallen und Städte sinken.
Wie sollte steh'n in solchem Strauß
mein Herz, von Karten das schwache Haus?
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.
begins with a three-note
upbeat. It continues with a melancholy flowing line over
supporting chords in the secondo
as the singer enters. The first
line is set to a straightforward minor-key line. The second
adds a more dramatic downbeat rest, a higher upward leap, and a
descending octave on the appropriate word “fallen.” The
three-note upbeat rhythm from the opening becomes more
The first part ends with a half-close.
0:13 [m. 1]--Part 1
0:23 [m. 9]--Part 2.
three-note upbeat rhythm becomes even
more pervasive in the piano primo
left hand, set to up-down
figures. The bass soloist continues with the last two lines,
generally moving down, especially toward the cadence on “das
Haus.” The harmonies at “solchem Strauß” are quite
0:33 [m.9]--Part 2
repeated. There is a small variation at the
end of the third line, where the voice adds an upward leap and a
figure on “solchem Strauß.”
0:47--END OF WALTZ-SONG [16 mm.]
5. “Wahre, wahre deinen Sohn” (“Protect, protect your son”).
Russian source. [Lebhaft, doch nicht schnell]. Binary
form. D MINOR, 3/4 time. Alto solo.
Wahre, wahre deinen Sohn,
Nachbarin, vor Wehe,
weil ich ihn mit schwarzem Aug'
zu bezaubern gehe.
O wie brennt das Auge mir,
das zu Zünden fordert!
Flammet ihm die Seele nicht --
deine Hütte lodert.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.
Lines 1 and 2 are set first. The piano
leads in sotto voce on
upbeat with a three-note figure, one note slurring down to two
repeated notes. The vocal line and the piano primo repeatedly use
the three-note upbeat following a long note. This was heard
both the previous song (#4) as well as #1. The sharp accent
large upward leap on “Wehe” further emphasize the dissonant chord
“diminished seventh”). Brahms provided an option for a
leap (a third lower) for altos concerned about range, but it is
ineffective. The section moves to the “dominant” key of A
0:10 [m. 1]--Part 1
repeated. The same music is used for the
setting of lines 3 and 4.
0:19 [m. 9]--Part 2.
line 5, the vocal line arches upward,
with the three-note upbeats soaring up and then falling
in the primo. The
and voice both come to a powerful arrival
on the word “zünden” in line 6. The voice arrives at a
strong downward leap and the piano parts return to the opening sotto voce three-note figure,
contrasts strikingly with the voice. The words “das zu
zünden” are repeated, leading a motion to the key of C-sharp
minor, where the word “fodert” reaches a cadence.
0:27 [m. 17]--The last two
lines (7 and 8) begin as had the fifth and
sixth lines, a step higher in pitch level (on B major), but at the
of line 7, on “Seele nicht,” the pianists break into cross rhythms
the volume increases dramatically. The words “die Seele
are repeated using the descending three-note upbeat and another
accented diminished seventh chord. The voice suddenly breaks
and a cascading piano arpeggio on the same chord leads back to D
minor. The last line is similar to the sixth, but set a
higher, with repetition of “deine Hütte,” the sotto voce three-note figure,
the strong downward leap. The lead-in to the repeat is the
0:40 [m. 9]--Part 2
repeated. Restatement of lines 5 and 6 from
0:48 [m. 17]--Restatement
lines 7 and 8 from 0:27.
1:02--END OF WALTZ-SONG [28 mm.]
6. “Rosen steckt mir an die Mutter” (“Mother pins roses on me” or
“Mother gave me roses”). Spanish source. [Lebhaft,
nicht schnell]. Binary form. F MAJOR, 3/4 time.
Rosen steckt mir an die Mutter,
weil ich gar so trübe bin.
Sie hat recht, die Rose sinket,
so wie ich, entblättert hin.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.
Lines 1 and 2. The singer opens with a
descending line similar to the one in #3. The vocal line is
broken apart with “sobbing” rests on the second beats of all but
first, fifth, and eighth bars, including a strange rest in the
of the word “Mutter.” The piano accompaniment is quite
both parts. The key change at the cadence, to A major, is
effective and unexpected.
0:14 [m. 1]--Part 1
0:24 [m. 9]--Part 2.
singer’s descending lines are more
expressive and connected in the third line as the music moves back
F. The fourth line seems more in F minor than in F major. Two
more “sobbing” rests are heard on the second beats of bars,
one that breaks up the last two syllables of
The final cadence is on a major chord, finally escaping the
troubled cloud. The piano leads in to the repeat.
0:34 [m. 9]--Part 2
0:46--END OF WALTZ-SONG [16 mm.]
7. “Vom Gebirge Well’ auf Well’” (“From the mountains wave upon
wave”). Russian-Polish dance song source. Lebhaft
(Lively). Rounded binary form. C MAJOR, 3/4
Vom Gebirge Well auf Well
und ich gäbe dir so gern
Brahms plays exciting metric games within the basic eight-bar
throughout the song.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.
first two lines are set twice. In
the first statement, the voices sing in unison with boisterous
leaps and then a descending line. The first line is four
long and the second only three, but the introductory piano measure
completes a full eight-bar phrase. The second statement also
begins with the unison octave leaps, but at the end of the first
the voices break into harmony, and they move to the key of E minor
the second. The accompaniment is “shifted” so that the
sing with the introductory measure. The lengthening of
“Regengüsse” extends the second line to four full bars.
Other than the key change and “displaced” voices, the joyous piano
parts, alternating “straight” and dotted-rhythm (long-short-long)
are similar in both statements. Note the contrary motion in
piano parts at the beginning of each.
0:14 [m. 1]--Part 1
0:25 [m. 17]--Part
third line is more hushed, and the bass
is absent. The fourth is again exuberant and builds even
more. The “hundert-” in “hunderttausend” is repeated, the
entering the second time. The full eight-bar phrase again
from C to E, but the arrival on E is now in major. The piano
parts again move in opposite directions at the beginning of each
but these are reversed from the first part.
0:31 [m. 25]--A piano
seems to have begun in the last bar of
line 4. It continues as a one-bar interlude. The first
lines are sung again beginning with a long five-beat hold on
“Vom.” They return to unison singing as the piano moves back
major. The last word of line one and the first word of line
compressed into one bar, creating a rushed effect, but also making
entire passage, including the “interlude” bar, an eight-bar phrase
(possibly extended to nine with the last bar of the previous
0:36 [m. 33]--Lines 3 and
sung again in an exuberant
closing. “Hundert-” is not reiterated, but “Küsse” is
extended at the cadence. The piano plays cross rhythms
three 2/4 bars beginning with the last word of line 3.
0:42 [m. 17]--Repeat of
2. Restatement of lines 3 and 4 from
0:48 [m. 25]--Restatement
lines 1 and 2 with the interlude bar, as
0:54 [m. 33]--Restatement
lines 3 and 4 with piano cross rhythms, as
1:02--END OF WALTZ-SONG [40 mm.]
8. “Weiche Gräser im Revier” (“Soft grasses in my favorite
places”). Russian-Polish dance song source. Ruhig
(Quietly). Varied binary form (AA’BB). E-FLAT MAJOR,
Weiche Gräser im Revier,
schöne, stille Plätzchen!
O, wie linde ruht es hier
sich mit einem Schätzchen!
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1 (A).
After an introductory bar of three rising thirds, the main melody
the section is given to the piano primo.
is a reiterated
descending line. An accompaniment featuring a dotted
rhythm is heard in the primo
left hand and the secondo.
sing punctuating chords against the piano’s melody and
accompaniment, inserting rests in the middle of words. All
quiet and gentle. The second line follows the same pattern
the introductory bar overlapping the conclusion of the first
it shifts up to G minor, contrasting with the major key of the
phrase. The voices are given a more flowing line at the end,
the piano moves back down to E-flat major in an added bar.
0:26 [m. 18]--Varied
Part 1 (A’).
The music is essentially the same as before, with the same text,
including some important variations. The introductory bar is
omitted. The bass of the secondo
is more active and
detached. The piano melody is doubled an octave above.
importantly, the vocal soprano is allowed to sing the melody in
first phrase. The tenor takes the soprano’s previous chord
in the first phrase, and is itself allowed to sing the melody in
second, the soprano moving back to the chords.
0:48 [m. 34]--Part 2 (B).
The voice and piano parts now take an equal role in the melodies
harmonies in a warm, rich, expressive texture. The piano primo
octaves generally move up, while the vocal soprano moves down,
continuing the idea of contrary motion so prominent in the
The opening phrase is given three times in an ascending sequence
third line is sung. The fourth line is compressed over a
descent, creating an expanded twelve-bar phrase for the entire
comprising the third and fourth lines.
1:06 [m. 34]--Part 2 (B)
repeated, with a final chord replacing the previous lead-in to the
1:26--END OF WALTZ-SONG [45 mm.]
9. “Nagen am Herzen” (“Gnawing at my heart”).
Polish source. [Lebhaft, doch nicht schnell]. Binary
form. G MINOR, 3/4 time. Soprano solo.
Nagen am Herzen fühl ich ein Gift mir.
Kann sich ein Mädchen,
ohne zu fröhnen zärtlichem Hang,
fassen ein ganzes wonneberaubtes Leben entlang?
0:00 [m. 1]--Part
1. The first line is set in this
part. A rocking two-bar introduction in the secondo precedes an
upbeat in the primo.
singer’s line winds around a central
note before a leap and a descent. The upbeat in the primo begins
a descending figure resembling others in the cycle.
0:13 [m. 3]--Part 1
without the two-bar introduction.
0:21 [m. 11]--Part
piano part continues in a similar vein
with upbeats. In the second line, the singer moves away from
winding line to a melody featuring two sequences beginning with a
descending leap. This creates a colorful key change to
major in the third line, where the voice moves higher and the
primo plays broken chords
instead of scalar notes. A one-bar
bridge leads back to G minor.
0:29 [m. 19]--The last
returns to the material of the first part,
but the primo now
the three-note upbeat heard earlier in the
cycle, such as in #4 and #5. The primo becomes more elaborate
generally, ad then the voice breaks away from its winding
The leap now leads to a chromatic descent, skipping no notes
reaching her original pitch. The words “Leben entlang” are
a cross rhythm (hemiola) stretching two 3/4 bars into one implied
bar. The left hand of the primo follows this closing
line in a trailing imitation. The phrase is extended to 12
0:42 [m. 11]--Part 2
repeated. Restatement of lines 2 and 3 from
0:50 [m. 19]--Restatement
the last line (line 4) from 0:29 and close.
1:05--END OF WALTZ-SONG [30 mm.]
10. “Ich kose süß mit der und der” (“I sweetly
fondle [or caress] this
that”). Malayan source. [Lebhaft, doch nicht
schnell]. Binary form. G MAJOR, 3/4 time. Tenor
Ich kose süß mit der und der
und werde still und kranke,
denn ewig, ewig kehrt zu dir,
o Nonna, mein Gedanke!
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.
accented and dissonant “diminished
seventh” chord at the beginning is characteristic of the
The singer presents the first two lines as sequential phrases, the
second beginning with another diminished seventh chord and
with the end of the first. The descending
grouping is very prominent in the song, and is heard here against
chords in the piano secondo
that work against the main 3/4 meter.
The short notes are not an upbeat, but work as a group with the
preceding longer note. The second phrase, moving toward the
of D, has a minor-key tinge.
0:14 [m. 1]--Part 1
0:26 [m. 9]--Part 2.
Again, the accented diminished seventh plays
a large role, leading with the long-short-short-short figure on
piano alone into the next phrase. As the singer enters, yet
another such accented chord is heard a step higher. The
becomes louder. Only the words “O Nonna” from the fourth
included in the grouping with the third line because of the two
piano-only bars. The climax occurs on a distant E-flat chord
“dir” with the long-short-short-short figure, but turns back
as the volume diminishes on “Nonna.”
0:36 [m. 17]--The
long-short-short-short rhythm in the piano
is stated a step lower to lead into the final phrase and similarly
diminishes in volume. “O Nonna” is repeated, making this
statement of the fourth line complete. The phrase is
six bars from the eight of the preceding one. On the word
and the first syllable of “Gedanke,” the voice and piano primo work
against the main meter, implying three 2/4 bars over two actual
bars. The three rising notes there are the same as those at
opening of the song, and the first harmony on “mein“ is a final
diminished seventh chord. The main long-short-short-short
brings the section to a gentle close. A rising three-note
leads to the repeat.
0:46 [m. 9]--Part 2
repeated. Restatement of line 3 plus “O
Nonna” from 0:26.
0:56 [m. 17]--Restatment
line 4 from 0:36.
1:09--END OF WALTZ-SONG [22 mm.]
11. “Alles, alles in den Wind” (“All, all is lost to the wind”).
Polish source. Lebhaft (Lively). Binary form. G
MAJOR, 3/4 time. Soprano solo.
Alles, alles in den Wind
sagst du mir, du Schmeichler!
Alle samt verloren sind
deine Müh’n, du Heuchler!
Einem andern Fang' zu lieb
stelle deine Falle!
Denn du bist ein loser Dieb,
denn du buhlst um alle!
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1
1). The key is the same as the
previous song (#10), and so are the harmonies. It also
with an accented and dissonant “diminished seventh” sonority, but
time in the form of a broken chord. The soloist follows the
on the cascading arpeggio. Both turn upward at the same
time. The second line is set to a “hemiola” implying three
bars against two 3/4 bars (again similar to #10). The primo right hand
doubles the voice in octaves and chords. Note the sharp,
pair of chords at the end of the phrase.
0:07 [m. 5]--The third and
fourth lines are set in a similar manner,
but the arpeggio and dissonant chord are a step higher, and the
turns upward right before the piano. The fourth line
large leap on “Müh’n” and moves toward D minor (very similar
the end of #10, Part 1). Again, note the sharp, strong pair
chords at the end.
0:11 [m. 1]--Part 1
repeated. Restatement of lines 1-2
from the opening.
0:15 [m. 5]--Restatement
lines 3-4 from 0:07.
0:19 [m. 9]--Part 2
2). The sinuous first line is drawn
out in long notes to twice the length of its counterpart in stanza
1. The accented diminished seventh again begins the phrase,
the piano continues with cascading arpeggios against the smoother
line. The second line is similar to the second and fourth
in the first part, with the “hemiola” cross-rhythms , the doubling
the voice in the primo,
the pair of sharp, strong chords at the
end. The phrase moves to E minor (related to G major).
0:25 [m. 15]--Lines 3 and
set in a similar manner, with an
accented diminished seventh. The sinuous longer notes in the
third line move generally up instead of down, as they had in the
first. The fourth line has the same hemiola cross-rhythms, primo
doubling of the voice, and sharp, strong chords, finally marking a
cadence in the home key of G major (for the first time since line
the first part).
0:31 [m. 9]--Part 2
repeated. Restatement of lines 1-2
0:37 [m. 15]--Restatement
lines 3-4 from 0:25.
0:46--END OF WALTZ-SONG [20 mm.]
12. “Schwarzer Wald, dein Schatten ist so düster!” (“Dark
your shade is so gloomy!”). Serbian source. Lebhaft
(Lively). Binary form. G MINOR, 3/4 time. SATB
Schwarzer Wald, dein Schatten ist so düster!
Armes Herz, dein Leiden ist so drückend!
Was dir einzig wert, es steht vor Augen;
ewig untersagt ist Huldvereinung.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part
The piano primo
opens with an
upbeat rising arpeggio. The voices sing the first line in
harmony with occasional inner motion. The music is
agitated. While the voices and the secondo are true to the waltz
rhythm, the primo plays
constant cross rhythms, implying 2/4 meter
throughout rather than 3/4. The long descending, suddenly
“sigh” figures in the voices are characteristic.
0:09 [m. 9]--The passion
returns again for another rising arpeggio on a
long upbeat. The second line is set similarly to the first,
it moves to the key of D minor, then D major. Unexpectedly,
entire line is repeated on the continuing “sigh” figures,
third repetition of the words “ist so drückend.” The
word begins an unusually long transition to the repeat, with the
voice anticipating the others on a preliminary statement of
0:29 [m. 3]--Part 1
repeated. At the word “Wald,” the voices have
found their way home and continue their reprise of the first line
was heard before.
0:34 [m. 9]--Restatement
line 2 from 0:09. The dramatic
transition to the repetition is replaced by gentle descending
in the primo (still
in cross rhythm) that serve as a transition
to Part 2.
0:51 [m. 25]--Part
voices begin in major in a more
expressive, flowing phrase for the third line. The primo
temporarily abandons its cross rhythms for straight descending
arpeggios. Although the volume does swell on a crescendo,
sharp accent and foreign chromatic harmony on “Augen” is
surprising. The primo
resumes its cross rhythms, the music turns
back to minor, and there is a two-bar bridge.
1:00 [m. 33]--The last
set similarly to the third, but the
minor key remains in force from the outset. The
sharp accent is on the first syllable of “Huldvereinung,” and the
harmony, a diminished seventh chord, is even more dissonant.
Unexpectedly, the cadence on the last syllable is on a major
chord. The words are more stretched out than in
third line, so the voices extend into the bridge passage, which
time leads to the repeat of the second part.
1:09 [m. 25]--Part 2
repeated. Restatement of line 3 from 0:51.
1:18 [m. 33]--Restatement
line 4 from 1:00. The major chord at
the cadence is retained, as is the original bridge passage that
the repeat. At the end, it is extended two bars with quiet
chords, ending this dark, passionate song on a note of hope.
1:33--END OF WALTZ-SONG [42 mm.]
13. “Nein, Geliebter, setze dich” (“No, my love, do
sit”). Russian source. Lebhaft (Lively). Binary
form. E MAJOR, 3/4 time. SA duet.
Nein, Geliebter, setze dich
mir so nahe nicht!
Starre nicht so brünstiglich
mir ins Angesicht!
Wie es auch im Busen brennt,
dämpfe deinen Trieb,
daß es nicht die Welt erkennt,
wie wir uns so lieb.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1
1). A two-bar introduction
establishes the throbbing low pedal note in the secondo. The two
female voices enter in warm harmony, singing the first two
The arrival of the new key of E major sounds almost otherworldly
four straight songs in G minor or major. The two piano parts
clearly distinguished, the primo
with its high bell-like sounds and the
secondo with its
low pedal in the left hand and flowing
melody in the right. The primo left hand crosses over
the secondo right hand,
symbolic of the closeness of the lovers in the text. The
ends on a half-close, with a
transition to the repeat. Brahms marks everything pianissimo (very soft)
and mezza voce.
0:16 [m. 3]--Part 1
repeated. The introduction is not
included. The voices sing the third and fourth lines to the
music. The transition is altered after the half-close to
0:27 [m. 11]--Part 2
2). The primo left
crosses back above the secondo
right hand. The first line of the section is
set to very active and colorful harmonies, beginning in C-sharp
and venturing even further to D-sharp major. The words “im
brennt” are repeated under a crescendo that intrudes on the
nature of the music. The climax occurs at the beginning of
second line, the first word of which is repeated, and it
then recedes as the music returns to E major.
0:41 [m. 21]--The last two
lines are set to a reprise of the opening
music, with the return of the low bass pedal and the primo left hand crossing back
the secondo right
The ending differs
from the first part, reaching a gentle close in E major. The
line includes words for each of the first four notes (“wie wir uns
so”). These had been connected on only two one-syllable
both statements of the first part (“mir so” and “mir ins”).
is compensated here by a repetition of the words “so lieb” at the
cadence. The secondo
continues in a transition to the repeat.
0:52 [m. 11]--Part 2
repeated. Restatement of lines 1
and 2 from 0:27.
1:05 [m. 21]--Restatement
lines 3 and 4 from 0:41, with a slowing
before the close.
1:21--END OF WALTZ-SONG [28 mm.]
14. “Flammenauge, dunkles Haar” (“Flaming eyes, dark
hair”). Russian source. Lebhaft (Lively).
through-composed form. A MINOR/MAJOR, 3/4 time. SATB
Flammenauge, dunkles Haar,
Knabe wonnig und verwogen,
Kummer ist durch dich hinein
in mein armes Herz gezogen!
Kann in Eis der Sonne Brand,
sich in Nacht der Tag verkehren?
Kann die heisse Menschenbrust
atmen ohne Glutbegehren?
Ist die Flur so voller Licht,
daß die Blum' im Dunkel stehe?
Ist die Welt so voller Lust,
daß das Herz in Qual vergehe?
PART 1 (Stanza 1)--A MINOR
0:00 [m. 1]--Only the
and alto sing in the first section.
After an introductory measure of three chords shooting up in the primo
and octaves shooting down in the secondo,
voices enter. The
singers and the primo
are mostly in hemiola cross-rhythms (implied
2/4 measures) against the clear 3/4 of the accompaniment in the
is reminiscent of the “gypsy” idiom found
more overtly in many of Brahms’s works. The first two lines
set in this manner.
0:11 [m. 10]--As the third
begins, the voices begin a canon at the
same pitch level, the alto following the soprano at a distance of
bars. At the same time, the two piano parts begin a canon
turns the opening descending figure upside down. They
the distance of only one bar. This creates overlapping cross
rhythms and extreme agitation. The music moves toward F
minor. After the soprano begins the fourth line a second
the alto breaks the canon, merely repeating “gezogen,” rejoining
soprano in straight harmony. The two piano parts bring their
canon closer together, reversing roles as the voices join and then
imitating at the distance of only one beat in a transition to the
0:22 [m. 22]--Reprise of
first stanza beginning with the same
material in the voices and the primo
as at the beginning for the first
two lines. The secondo
adds echoes of the four-note descending
pattern heard in the primo.
0:30 [m. 30]--The third
fourth lines replace their previous canonic
passage with a new, highly agitated transition to the second
part. The voices sing repeated notes while the piano parts
pattern of alternation between the hands, with heavy accents and
swelling volume on each of the first two phrases. The word
is stretched out, leaving “gezogen” for a third short
entire fourth line is repeated as the music somewhat settles down
moves to major for the second part. The hemiolas and cross
rhythms are abandoned in this passage, but dissonant harmonies are
prominent. Quiet pulsating repeated piano chords complete
PART 2 (Stanzas 2 and 3)--A MAJOR
0:48 [m. 47]--Stanza
The tenor and bass join for the second
part. There is a complete contrast with this music, in a
refreshing major key and block harmonies. The secondo provides a
straightforward accompaniment of a bass note and two chords for
bar, but the primo plays
running line passed between the hands that
recalls the opening four-note descending pattern from Part
hands come together on line 3. Elements of the cross rhythm
retained in the groups of four in this voice, but they are neither
prominent nor overt. The third line swells slightly in
the fourth more so. The word “begehren” is stretched out,
piano primo plays the
melody of the fourth line, staggered
between the hands, in two descending sequences. The voices
a nearly complete close on A major.
1:09 [m. 65]--Stanza
The tenor begins as the piano completes
the final sequence from the previous stanza. The piano parts
almost identical to stanza 2, except the order of the hands in the
primo is reversed.
vocal parts present the first three lines
in counterpoint. The alto imitates the tenor in an inversion
line turned upside down). Before she enters, the bass comes
a free counterpoint. The soprano follows the alto, also in
counterpoint. Only the soprano sings the second line.
bass repeats the words “so voller Licht.” The tenor and alto
repeat the corresponding words of line 3 (“so voller Lust”) as the
and soprano catch up. The tenor, who began earlier, adds the
preceding “die Welt.”
1:22 [m. 77]--After the
finally come together on the word
“Lust,” they present the last line as they had in stanza 2.
word “vergehe” is extended as “begehren” had been. The primo’s
first sequential echo is also as in stanza 3, staggered between
hands. In place of the second one, however, a descending
of chords, still staggered, leads to a quiet, gentle repetition of
“vergehe” from the voices that reaches a full close in A
The piano parts are both staggered under this line, the primo still
playing the rising line at a lower level. The bass of the secondo
plays a low pedal on “A,” which continues in the brief two-bar
which is left to secondo
1:43--END OF WALTZ-SONG [88 mm.]
(15). Zum Schluß: “Nun, ihr Musen
(Conclusion: “Now, you Muses, enough!”). Text by Johann
von Goethe, from the elegy Alexis
Dora. Ruhig (Quietly). Ternary form, the
sections using a ground bass (passacaglia). F MAJOR, 9/4
Nun, ihr Musen, genug!
Vergebens strebt ihr zu schildern,
wie sich Jammer und Glück
wechseln in liebender Brust.
Heilen könnet die Wunden
ihr nicht, die Amor geschlagen,
aber Linderung kommt
einzig, ihr Guten, von euch.
--The two-bar ground bass is six long notes, three for each 9/4
bar. The notes are the melody from the final section of the
Rhapsody,” Op. 53, which also uses a text by Goethe.
--The 9/4 meter applies mainly to the piano parts. The vocal
parts use the parenthetical 3/4 to divide each longer bar into
parts. The longer bars also reflect the paired three-foot
of the poem.
PART 1--Four statements of ground bass
0:00 [m. 1]--Statement 1
ground bass. The first three notes of
the ground are heard in the bass of the secondo. The right hand
of the secondo plays
notes in groups of three, two groups for
each note of the ground bass. Because there are two groups
three instead of three groups of two, this undermines the smaller
units on each long ground bass note. The primo plays an
introduction against this background. The first three rising
chords (whose top notes themselves form a broken chord) will
important. The third chord is held across a strong beat,
undermining the implied shorter 3/4 bars.
0:07 [m. 2]--As the primo
finishes its introductory phrase, the secondo
completes the last three notes of the ground bass. The primo
drops out completely as the voices enter in block harmonies.
echo the introduction without the first two rising chords.
sing the first line invoking the muses.
0:14 [m. 3]--Statement 2
ground bass. By now, the broadly
flowing, peaceful motion of the song has been established.
voices complete their opening statement, the secondo begins the ground
again. The primo
remains silent for the rest of the first
part. The voices sing the second line, completing the first
line pair, to a mild counterpoint. The two female voices
first, followed by the tenor, then the bass. The alto drops
after completing the line, but the soprano repeats “zu schildern”
the men finish.
0:23 [m. 5]--Statement 3
ground bass. The soprano and alto
sing the third and fourth lines (the second line pair). The
follows the soprano, but they come together when the latter
out “Jammer.” The harmonies turn to minor keys on that word,
the voices quickly turn back to major at the cadence.
0:33 [m. 7]--Statement 4
ground bass. All four voices sing the
second line pair in counterpoint, entering in the order: tenor,
soprano, alto. The bass stretches out “Jammer” and omits
sich.” The tenor also stretches out “Jammer.” The alto
omits “wie sich.” The word “Jammer” (“misery”) again uses
chromatic, dissonant harmonies. The voices come together on
“Glück” and reach a similar cadence to the one just heard
soprano and alto in statement 3.
PART 2--Middle section without ground bass
0:43 [m. 9]--The primo
finally re-enters, playing its introduction with
the three rising chords. The first half of the ground bass
to the middle of the secondo,
but then breaks off.
0:49 [m. 10]--The primo
completes its introduction as the harmony and
key very suddenly shift from F major to the warm, rich D-flat
major. The voices enter in imitation on the third line pair,
quieter than before. The soprano, followed by the tenor,
the wide-ranging, leaping fifth line. The bass, then the
enter against this on a descending scale for the sixth line.
soprano joins the alto’s entry on this line, but the tenor simply
lengthens the word “nicht” and does not sing the line. The
end together. The two piano parts pass a rising arpeggio and
slower descending scale to each other.
0:59 [m. 12]--The
begins again on line 5. The tenor
begins, then the soprano three beats later. The alto, now
both lines, enters six beats after the soprano as the tenor
finishes. There is a brief turn to E-flat minor. The
begins again after another six beats. The piano parts
pass arpeggios between them. The bass of the secondo begins to be
doubled an octave lower.
1:08 [m. 14]--The bass
enters three beats after the
tenor. The voices begin the sixth line with its descending
scale. The alto does this first, immediately after finishing
fifth line as the tenor and bass complete their statement of the
line. The soprano, who has rested for nine beats, then
the sixth line. The music begins to swell greatly in volume
here. The tenor, then the bass, quickly begin the sixth line
after finishing the fifth. There is a sharp, accented
as the soprano sings “geschlagen.” The alto repeats the
“die Amor” twice more. As the tenors and basses sing
there is a mildly dissonant G-minor chord, the harmony and key now
moving back to F major from D-flat.
1:19 [m. 16]--The piano
unexpectedly drop out at the
climax. The voices complete their counterpoint on the sixth
line. As the alto stretches out her previous second
“die Amor,” the soprano again begins the line, reaching a high
note. She also sings “die Amor” twice before finishing the
line. The alto requires a third repetition of the words
completing the line with “geschlagen.” The tenor and bass
together with no repetition. The voices reach “geschlagen”
together. The alto and tenor slide sinuously against long
in the soprano and bass as the voices finally quiet and settle to
cadence in F.
PART 3--Four statements of ground bass
1:31 [m. 18]--Statement 1
ground bass. The ground is heard
again in the secondo
hand. The primo is
again silent, and
remains so through the first two statements of the
The secondo left hand
its groups of three shorter notes that go
against the secondary 3/4 metric groupings. The voices sing
fourth and last line pair to music very similar to that at 0:23
5]. The soprano begins. The bass and alto enter
together. The tenor follows up. The alto and tenor
word “aber.” The bass for now only sings the seventh line,
longer notes not quite making it to the eighth.
1:43 [m. 20]--Statement 2
ground bass. It begins as the voices
reach their previous cadence. The voices again sing the last
pair. Soprano and tenor begin together, followed by the
finally the alto. The alto again drops the word
bass breaks into longer notes, but gets one word into the last
(“einzig”). The music swells greatly and becomes more
harmonically active, reaching a high point on the word “einzig”
(“only”) as the soprano reaches her highest note of the song and
repeats the word. This is a brief motion to the related D
but the home key of F quickly returns as the music settles down
1:54 [m. 22]--Statement 3
ground bass. This is effectively the
coda. The secondo
hand begins a long sustained low bass
pedal on the keynote F. The ground bass moves to the right
which also continues the three-note groupings. The primo
surreptitiously enters again with three suggestions of the opening
broken chord. The bass finally completes the last line,
over in long notes from the previous statement, and adding an
repetition of the word “einzig.” Its melody is none other
the ground bass itself. The tenor again sings the last line
completely in a very melodious version. Toward the end of
statement, the soprano makes a quiet entrance on the last line
2:05 [m. 24]--Statement 4
ground bass. The secondo
now abandons the three-note groups, smoothly playing upward
beginning off the beat. The ground bass is concealed within
arpeggios. The primo
extends its previous broken chord two more
steps up the scale. The tenor and soprano lines that began
“einzig” in the previous statement are revealed to be the ground
melody (like the previous statement in the bass), and are
completed. The tenor sings “ihr Guten” a second time.
alto finally enters off the beat with its statement of the ground
melody, also beginning with “einzig.” The soprano and tenor
continue after their “ground bass” statements with one more
of “von euch.” The bass, singing on the low F, adds two
more. The last of these in those three voices come together
the alto’s completion of its “ground bass” statement. This
gorgeous cadence includes one more rising arpeggio in the primo left
hand following a high echo of the rising steps in the right.
2:36--END OF WALTZ-SONG [26 (78)
END OF CYCLE
BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOME