EIGHT PIANO PIECES (KLAVIERSTÜCKE), OP. 76
Recording: Martin Jones, pianist [NI 1788]

Published 1879

After a long hiatus that included the German Requiem, the first two symphonies, and other major works, Brahms finally returned to composition for solo piano in the late 1870s.  The Nineteenth Century saw the rise of the short piano piece, sometimes called a “character piece,” as a quintessential genre, exemplified by composers such as Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt.  All of Brahms’s remaining solo piano output would be devoted to such pieces: the two sets from this period, Opp. 76 and 79, and then the very late outpouring in Opp. 116-119.  In these pieces, Brahms was as generic as possible with his titles, wishing to avoid programmatic associations.  Op. 76 contains four each of pieces labeled “Capriccio” and “Intermezzo.”  The Capriccios are faster and more dramatic, generally looser in form, while the Intermezzi are more introspective and clear-cut.  In contrast to the straightforward ternary forms seen in the late pieces, Op. 76 exhibits more developmental passages and variations on binary and sonata forms.  No. 2, though in a minor key, is the most lighthearted of the Capriccios.  It seems more indebted to Schubert than to Schumann and Chopin, whose spirits are palpable in the other pieces.  Brahms experiments with rhythm and meter throughout the set, nowhere more so than in the thrilling metric virtuosity of No. 5.  The framing Capriccios Nos. 1 and 8 have similar forms, but opposite characters.  The ominous, dark No. 1 contrasts effectively with the breathless, perpetual syncopated motion of No. 8.  Of the Intermezzi, the wistful No. 4 is notable for firmly establishing its home key at a very late point.  No. 3 creates ethereal sounds with bell-like chords over a high, static left hand.  No. 7 subtly connects the solemnity of its framing chorale with its leisurely main melody.  No. 6, the Intermezzo in A major, contains some similarities to the later, more familiar Intermezzo in that key (Op. 118, No. 2).  The ordering makes dramatic, musical, and tonal sense when the set is played in its entirety, but the pieces are also effective when performed individually.

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (from Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke):
No. 1: Capriccio in F-sharp minor
No. 2: Capriccio in B minor
No. 3: Intermezzo in A-flat major
No. 4: Intermezzo in B-flat major
No. 5: Capriccio in C-sharp minor
No. 6: Intermezzo in A major
No. 7: Intermezzo in A minor
No. 8: Capriccio in C major


BOOK I:
1. CAPRICCIO.  Un poco agitato.  Unruhig bewegt [With restless motion].  (Ternary form with developmental middle section).  F-SHARP MINOR, 6/8 time
.
First Section (“Exposition”)
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1 (A).  The opening section is a series of winding arpeggios that retain the same contour.  The left hand arrival on the second half of each bar coincides with the entry of the right hand, which always crosses under below.  A descending set of three notes, repeated up an octave, remains constant in the left-hand portions.  These are on the same F-sharp minor pitches for four bars, then move downward by half-step.  After beginning sotto voce, the arpeggios build gradually but powerfully, the climax coming at the arrival of the “dominant” key of C-sharp major (which brightens from C-sharp minor).
0:24 [m. 9]--At the climax, there are four rising statements of the descending three-note group, the right hand taking the last two with the left hand doubling below.  At the top, the hands descend together in a cascading arpeggio that incorporates the three-note group.  The left hand drops out at the bottom.  There follow three slower descending groups from the right hand, the first note of which is harmonized.  The first of these is very dissonant.  These slower figures lead into the second theme.
0:36 [m. 14]--Theme 2 (B).  Because this second idea is actually the “main” theme of the piece and because it is heard in the home key, the form of the piece is not a “sonata” design.  The theme itself is based on its initial four-note group, which rises, then turns down a half-step on the fourth note.  This is spun out into a true melody with flowing descents, accompanied by descending lines that begin off the beat and are initially based on the three-note descending groups.  Like Theme 1, the passage moves to C-sharp minor/major.
Second Section (“Development”)--based on Theme 2 (B).
1:04 [m. 26]--Development of Theme 2 with the four opening melodic notes entering off the beat with their descending accompaniment figures.  The passage begins in the home key of F-sharp minor, moving to the distant keys of A, C, and G minor.  A large buildup in speed and volume is arrested by a suddenly slower passage with notes twice as long.  Four bar-length harmonized notes turn the first four-note group of Theme 2’s melody upside down.  This passage is in D minor/major.
1:37 [m. 42]--The inversion of Theme 2 just introduced is now incorporated in the original rhythm with faster notes.  The inverted theme itself is heard in an inner voice, with the familiar three-note groups (also turned upside down and now ascending) above them.  The left hand plays descending arpeggios.  Beginning in the home key, it moves to another slowing climax that suggests the related A major before settling onto the anticipatory “dominant” chord in preparation for the return of Theme 1 in F-sharp minor.
Third Section (“Recapitulation”)
2:03 [m. 52]--Theme 1 (A).  Essentially, the voicing is inverted.  The right hand plays on the first half of each bar on the original pitches, but the left hand now responds at an even lower level and, unlike the opening, the responding portions not only begin below, but remain there.  After three bars, the right hand becomes decorative, abandoning the descending three-note groups.  There are isolated high notes.  The responding left hand arpeggios retain the harmony and contour of the right hand groups from the opening.
2:21 [m. 60]--The climax, this time of the entire piece, arrives with long held chords in the left hand against the continuing decorations of the right.  The first left hand chord is in the middle range, the second in the bass and rolled.  The climax recedes and descends quickly, slowing down for the entry of Theme 2.
2:31 [m. 64]--Theme 2 (B).  The opening four notes are isolated, harmonized, and played three times in a descending sequence.  The left hand plays the familiar three-note descents from Theme 1 in octaves, their length augmented to twice their normal note values.  Suggestions of the major key enhance the respite provided by the slower motion.  After the third statement of the harmonized four-note opening, the chords continue in a brief bridge suggesting the continuation of Theme 2.  The entire passage is quiet and smooth.
2:54 [m. 72]--The four opening notes from Theme 2 are again heard in a sequence of three descending statements, this time played and harmonized by the left hand in a middle voice.  The right hand has arching decorations above each statement.  These begin with the descending three-note figure, twice passed up an octave, and end with cascading arpeggios.  The harmony wavers between major and minor, but now leans toward major.  The quiet, smooth motion, though faster, continues.
3:08 [m. 78]--The last statement of the preceding sequence dissolves into a gentle coda.  The right hand decorations become regular three-note descending arpeggios that move lower and lower down the keyboard until settling somewhat in the lower middle range.  The left hand abandons the four-note melody and plays low chords.  The first two (beginning with m. 79) are rolled, and the next two have a resolving inner voice.  The major-minor mixture continues until the last three descending chords, which are major, not minor.
3:42--END OF PIECE [85 mm.]


2. CAPRICCIO.  Allegretto non troppo (Arch-like Rondo form).  B MINOR, 2/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1 (A).  A skittish tune with detached staccato notes.  Bass notes leap up to higher chords in the left hand, a continuing pattern.  There are accented, longer chords on the second beats of the second and fourth bars.  The fifth bar introduces a harmonization in thirds that will become more prominent.  This phrase is extended to double length by a reiteration of a long-short-short pattern that oscillates, then gradually descends, mixing major and minor.  It moves to the “dominant” key, F-sharp, before a single-line transition to the repeat.
0:18 [m. 1]--Theme 1 (A) repeated.  The single-line transition in the last two bars is altered to move to D major for Theme 2.
0:35 [m. 13]--Theme 2 (B).  This new tune uses the harmonization in thirds heard earlier.  It is in D major, the relative major key to B minor.  It descends to some mid-range figures in the long-short-short rhythm.  These lead to another single-line transition similar to those at the end of each repetition of Theme 1.
0:47 [m. 21]--Theme 2 (B) repeated, with the closing transition altered, then extended.  The extension, five bars in length, adds a second voice in the left hand.  It is a steady ascent heard twice. The second statement is initially shifted up a half-step, then continues past the mark of the first.  Motion back to B minor.
1:05 [m. 34]--Theme 1 (A).  Theme 1 returns in slightly varied form.  The right hand contours in the first two bars are changed, and add syncopated accents.  The left hand patterns reverse direction, and are now descending leaps in the first four bars.  The bass notes leaping to chords return at the fifth bar with the harmonization in thirds.  The arrival at the long-short-short pattern is different, and is now more unambiguously in major.  The transition is very different, a static murmuring that gradually calms.
1:22 [m. 46]--Theme 3 (C).  Brahms marks this central section più tranquillo and espressivo.  A rhapsodic melody in C major--a key whose arrival is surprising--it has several striking chromatic notes.  Ingeniously, the skittering staccato of the main themes is transferred to a middle voice that moves down to the bass as the melody descends.  It begins with the murmuring from the preceding transition.
1:36 [m. 54]--The C-major melody is repeated and extended.  It begins in a similar manner, but cuts off the downbeats and adds grace notes.  The melody diverges after the fourth bar, propelled by light syncopation.  Moving first to B-flat major, it is again diverted, this time back home to B.  It is, however, unambiguously the major-mode version of that key.  Highly decorated lines with turning figures mark a gentle, tranquil transition back to the main themes.  The staccato notes slow down over a huge arching arpeggio at the end.
2:01 [m. 67]--Theme 2 (B), in the main tempo.  It is heard in its entirety, now in B major.  The left-hand accompaniment is different.  The steady pattern is abandoned in favor of short, detached rising arpeggios.  The transition is again varied, essentially changing direction.  It remains in the low register and contains large leaps.
2:12 [m. 75]--A large extension to the transition from Theme 2.  It gains intensity and reaches the only real climax in the piece.  The culmination is a large chromatic scale (skipping no notes), suggested earlier in the transition and extension, split between the hands.  Every second note of this scale is punctuated by upper harmonies of narrowing, increasingly dissonant intervals.  A the end, the scale is arrested.  The notes, with narrow, dissonant harmonies still on every second one, oscillate for one bar as they quiet down from the climax. Then the chromatic scale resumes, now interrupted by the dissonant intervals, for a final four notes.
2:23 [m. 83]--Theme 1 (A).  The arrival from the chromatic scale is very fulfilling.  The music is still in B, but now again in minor.  In a very ingenious variation, Brahms places the melody in an inner voice, under sets of repeated notes, then sets of repeated chords.  The melody itself shifts down an octave in the third bar.  The passage must be played with “wrist staccato.”  There are accented syncopations held between the second and third, then the fourth and fifth bars.  The left hand now leaps up not to a chord, but to the top of a descending arpeggio, filling each beat with four notes.
2:28 [m. 87]--The continuation of Theme 1 from the fifth bar is also varied.  All is still an octave lower than before.  The upper voice continues for two bars with syncopations.  The last note of the left hand figures is cut off, leaving only three.  In the next bar, the previous long-short-short pattern is replaced by three equal short notes following a downbeat rest.  The left hand figures now widely ascend.   The transition has the right hand crossing over into the bass and alternating with punctuating mid-range left hand chords.
2:39 [m. 95]--Theme 1 (A) in another very creative variation.  The first four bars are recognizable as the theme, but they follow the pattern of the previous transition, alternating right hand leaps with left hand chords in two large ascents up the keyboard from bass to treble.
2:44 [m. 99]--Continuation of Theme 1.  It is similar to what was heard from the fifth bar of 1:05 [m. 34], but the longer note at the beginning of the first two figures is cut in half, leaving rests at the beginnings of the first two bars.  The leaping long-short-short figure returns in major, with a more active chromatic middle voice.  The passage itself is extended three bars, forgoing the transition and reaching down the keyboard, growing steadily quieter.
2:57 [m. 108]--Coda.  Two statements of the opening bar of Theme 2, interrupted by the leaping long-short-short figure from Theme 1.  The second statement of the Theme 2 opening is an octave lower than the first.
3:02 [m. 111]--The parallel response to the second reference to Theme 2 is also the leaping long-short-short figure from Theme 1.  This response, however, launches an extended meditation on that figure with a highly chromatic middle voice.  The figures remain in the same range, slowing and softening until the very end, where two isolated descending leaps are placed higher.  The third and final isolated leap is slower and firmly establishes the major key (B major) that has essentially been in force since the beginning of the coda.  It is, however, a somewhat inconclusive and questioning gesture.
3:30--END OF PIECE [119 mm.]


3. INTERMEZZO.  Grazioso.  Anmutig [Gracefully].  Ausdrucksvoll [With expression].  (Binary form).  A-FLAT MAJOR, 4/4 time with four 3/2 bars at the end.
Part 1
0:00 [m. 1]--The piece’s character is immediately established.  The left hand is in the high middle range, using the treble clef.  It plays a continuous arching pattern, twice in each bar.  The first and fourth notes of each left hand pattern are a rolled two-note harmony.  The right hand plays very high chords after the beat, creating a continuous, floating syncopation.  The chords move down chromatically in groups for the first three bars.  The patterns are regular, but the phrase is asymmetrical, lasting five bars.  In the last two bars, the right hand chords are rolled, leaping upward instead of sliding down, and dovetailing with the left hand. The lowest left hand note, A-flat, remains constant before moving down three notes in the last two bars.
0:24 [m. 6]--The second five-bar phrase begins like the first one, and the first two bars are identical.  From the third bar, it digresses.  There are no upward leaps.  Instead, the right hand chords leap down beautifully to a static fourth bar.  It diminishes in volume, slows down, and moves to a darker C minor.  The left hand makes a wide descent in the last two bars, moving rapidly to the bass range.  In the last bar, the right hand chords also move down to the middle range.
0:50 [m. 11]--A contrasting phrase serves as a closing “theme.”  It shifts immediately back to A-flat major at the beginning.  The right hand plays winding triplets (groups of three in the normal space of two), while the left hand leaps up, then descends in syncopated rhythm.  This phrase is also five bars.  The last three introduce embellished right hand chords and reach higher for a subdued “climax” with chromatic tinges.
Part 2
1:12 [m. 16]--Phrase identical to the opening, arriving seamlessly from the preceding “closing.”
1:35 [m. 21]--Phrase very similar to 0:24 [m. 6], but it digresses already in the second bar instead of the third, reaching very high and becoming almost ecstatic before again moving to C minor.  The left hand is not changed much.  The last bar is similar in character, but changed to move back to A-flat major before the closing “theme” so that the shift is not as abrupt.
2:02 [m. 26]--The contrasting closing phrase is greatly varied from 0:50 [m. 11].  The first bar is the same, but in the second bar, the meter is suddenly broadened to 3/2, creating a more profound slowing effect.  The syncopated left hand and right hand triplets are still there, but the latter are somewhat delayed in each bar and the former now leap down, then move up, reversing the pattern from before.  The phrase moves down quite low, without the dramatic rising “climax” heard in Part 1.  The third bar unexpectedly shifts keys strongly, to D-flat, before the last two bars wrench the music back home to A-flat for an extremely beautiful cadence with delayed resolutions.  The final chord moves back to the high treble.
2:49--END OF PIECE [30 mm.]


4.  INTERMEZZO.  Allegretto grazioso (Ternary form with sonata aspects).  B-FLAT MAJOR, 2/4 time.
First Section (“Exposition”)
0:00 [m. 1]--The main material is based on descending arpeggios split between the hands, above which the melody floats.  The melody itself is based on a leaping dotted (long-short) rhythm beginning on an upbeat.  The left hand has syncopations in the middle of each of the first four bars.  The bass line then becomes active.  The key of B-flat is never explicit, suggested only by harmonies such as the defining “dominant,” with which the piece begins.  It never resolves, and the melody moves to a cadence in the relative G minor.
0:22 [m. 13]--This eight-bar G-minor passage is more like a concluding phrase than a second “theme.”  It is based on repeated two-note harmonies (thirds, fourths, and sixths) in the middle range.  The left hand leaps up and down in long-short-short rhythm.  The very quiet passage becomes slightly faster until the end.  There are many chromatic notes, and a downward slide in the bass at the very end helps lead into the repeat.
First Section (“Exposition”) repeated
0:34 [m. 1]--Repetition of main material.
0:54 [m. 13]--Repetition of G-minor concluding phrase.  The downward slide now leads to C-flat major.
Second Section (“Development”)
1:06 [m. 21]--Development of the main material in the remote key of C-flat major.  There are left hand syncopations in the middle of each bar.  There is a very gentle crescendo after four bars.
1:16 [m. 27]--The small climax, still in C-flat major, incorporates elements of the concluding phrase in a middle voice.  The harmony slides down and settles into the (implied) home key of B-flat.
Third Section (“Recapitulation”)
1:25 [m. 33]--The opening material in its original form emerges seamlessly from the preceding development.  After it emerges, it follows the first section closely until the last three bars, which are artfully manipulated to arrive (finally) at the actual, not implied, harmony of B-flat instead of G minor.
1:45 [m. 45]--The concluding phrase is highly varied.  It is in B-flat, but the many chromatic notes obscure whether or not it is major or minor (in the “exposition,” the G minor was quite clear).  The contour of the right hand is altered in subtle ways.  It again becomes slightly faster.  The closing is expanded by three bars to create an eleven-bar phrase.  The expansion is a light rising arpeggio on chords of E-flat minor (which suggests a B-flat minor key), speeding up slightly.  Only the last two punctuating high chords and the final low octave definitively confirm B-flat major.  Brahms has obscured the home key until the end of the piece.
2:09--END OF PIECE [55 mm.]


BOOK II:
5.  CAPRICCIO.  Agitato, ma non troppo presto.  Sehr aufgeregt, doch nicht zu schnell [Very agitated, but not too fast].  (Alternating rondo-like form [ABA’B’A”-Coda]).  C-SHARP MINOR, 6/8 and 2/4 time.
Most of the piece is an extreme illustration of the “hemiola” principle, where the six beats in each measure are either divided into two groups of three (6/8) or three groups of two (3/4), and these divisions clash with each other.  Although 6/8 is indicated as the meter, most of the piece is a mixture of 6/8 and 3/4.  In the B’ and A” sections, the meter shifts to 2/4, a sort of “compromise” that removes the metrical ambiguity.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1 (A).  The passionate melody in the right hand, beginning with an upbeat and moving steadily up the scale, is in a 3/4 subdivision despite the meter indication.  After the initial rise, it leaps up and down, then moves steadily downward.  The low bass notes indicate a 6/8 subdivision.  The active, running middle voice, played mostly under the melody by the right hand, can be grouped either way for the first four bars, but then settles (mostly) with the bass on 6/8.  It is highly chromatic and dynamic.
0:12 [m. 9]--The second, parallel phrase of Theme 1 begins as had the first, but reaches higher and adds two syncopations in the top 3/4 melody.  It moves in the direction of the related major key, E major.  It is also extended by two bars in a slight relaxation before Theme 2 begins.
0:25 [m. 19]--Theme 2 (B).  Return to C-sharp minor.  The mixture of 6/8 and 3/4 among clashing voices is abandoned for the second theme.  Instead, the two “meters” alternate.  The first two measures are a sustained syncopation suggesting 3/4 in both hands.  The next two bars, with a faster running middle voice, are unambiguously in the 6/8 grouping.  This pattern is repeated at a higher level in G-sharp minor.
0:38 [m. 27]--A third pattern at a higher level (D-sharp minor) begins.  After the first unambiguous 6/8 bar, the pattern is broken with a measure of hammering chords in the 3/4 grouping.  Yet another running 6/8 bar is followed by two more bars of hammering chords, but the first one remains grouped in 6/8 while the second begins to create a clash between the hands, the right in 3/4, the left in 6/8.    The next three bars are a transition, with cascading octaves on G-sharp in the right hand and dramatically rising octave scales in the left.  There is a highly anticipatory pause before Theme 1 begins again.
0:52 [m. 37]--Theme 1 (A’).  Other than an initial bass note on the upbeat, the first phrase is as the opening.
1:02 [m. 45]--The second phrase begins as at 0:12 [m. 9], but the leaps up and down are replaced by another scale ascent that leaps up at the end.  The following downward motion is similar to what has been heard before, but it settles onto another related key, G-sharp minor, instead of the brighter E major.  The cadence becomes more quiet and relaxed than it did before 0:25 [m. 19].
1:13 [m. 53]--Theme 1 is extended by two more tranquil phrases in a sort of respite from the storminess of the rest of the piece.  In the first phrase, the metrical conflict continues, but the descending line in G-sharp minor is very smooth, despite some hesitant off-beat notes at the end.  The left hand has continuous rising groups of three.  These are quite wide-ranging.
1:24 [m. 61]--The second extending phrase removes the metrical conflict for its first half.  The right hand emerges into an extremely gentle melody in clear 6/8, matching the left hand.  It is in B major, providing a break from the dark minor mode.  The right hand moves back to 3/4 groupings in the second half of the phrase, which slows down and moves back to G-sharp minor, coming to a half-close on a pause.
1:39 [m. 69]--Theme 2 (B
).  The harmonies, key, and character follow the theme’s first appearance, but there is a radical change in the metric alternation.  The sustained syncopation begins things as before, but the responding bars are in a new (notated) 2/4 meter.  Although these responses are syncopated, they have no metric conflict.  The 2/4 is a sort of “bridge” between the previous clashing groups.  The responses are now breathless chords rather than a running flow.  The first two alternations follow the harmonic pattern that was heard at 0:25 [m. 19].  The metric alternation is actually indicated with time signature changes.
1:52 [m. 77]--The harmonies and character are analogous to 0:38 [m. 27].  The pattern at the higher level (D-sharp minor) begins, but after the first bar with the syncopation in implied 3/4, the 6/8 time signature and the clashing meters themselves are abandoned from here until the coda.  The remainder of the passage, with the hammering chords and dramatic rise to the anticipatory pause, are in unambiguous 2/4, although there is much syncopation.  The buildup to the pause has a more active right hand replacing the octaves.
2:07 [m. 87]--Theme 1 (A”).  Theme 1 is very recognizable, but it is now in 2/4 in both hands.  The right hand melody is in octaves, beginning off the beat in each bar for a very breathless effect.  The left hand is very active, with wide leaps as well as narrow chromatic motion.
2:19 [m. 95]--The second phrase of Theme 1 in its 2/4 version reaches higher than ever with its octaves.  As in its first appearance, it moves to a major key, but this time it is the home major key based on C-sharp.  The actual thematic material is developed here, and the music reaches a nearly ecstatic pitch.  The entries off the beat in each bar continue from the previous phrase.
2:32 [m. 103]--In an extending phrase, the off-beat entries are abandoned for jubilant rolled chords in the right hand  The left hand also adds low rolled octaves.  A slow dotted rhythm is used for the first four bars.  In the second half of the phrase, the joyous climax recedes, and the music thins out.  Gentle right hand syncopations and slow triplets in the left hand (in the last two bars), slow down and lead to a brief pause.
2:48 [m. 111]--Coda.  The minor mode returns, as does (finally) the 6/8 meter, but the latter is almost meaningless.  The coda is a tour de force that completely obscures any meter.  Three repeated bass octave descents in groups of five (the third in a higher register) are played against syncopated right hand figuration (based on Theme 1) that is grouped with these bass fives.  A fourth left hand descent that is yet another octave higher adds a note to create a six-note group and temporarily restore some sense of meter.  After this, however, the right hand plays three feverish patterns in duple grouping.  The right hand moves steadily and dramatically upward.  The entire passage rises in volume and speed.  The last right hand group is in a triple grouping, bringing the hands together metrically for the final, powerful bass octaves and responding chords.
3:14--END OF PIECE [117 mm.]


6.  INTERMEZZO.  Andante con moto.  Sanft bewegt [Gently moving].  (Ternary form, with an enclosed rounded binary structure in the outer sections).  A MAJOR, 2/4 time.
A Section--A major
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.  The melody is concealed within flowing triplet groups that go against the main 2/4 meter.  It begins with an upbeat and arches up and down, both within the triplet groups and the larger melody itself.  The fifth bar converts the triplets into three groups of two for an implied 3/4.  Against all of this, the left hand plays descending groups of two octaves or thirds that enter in syncopation against the triplets and hold notes over bar lines.  In the last three bars of the phrase, the right hand moves to straight 2/4, and the triplets are transferred to the left, with bass octaves entering in the seventh bar.  Despite the extreme metric conflicts, the phrase is gentle and flowing, coming to a cadence on the “dominant,” E major.
0:20 [m. 1]--Part 1 repeated.
0:38 [m. 9]--Part 2.  The first phrase of Part 2 (which is twice the length of Part 1) abruptly shifts to C-sharp major.  It re-establishes the opening pattern for two bars.  The next four bars, however, which build in intensity, use the 3-beat grouping from the fifth bar of Part 1 in the right hand.  The first note of each group is harmonized below.  The left hand plays straight bass octaves in a descending chromatic line against this.  There follow two bars of slowing, leading to a pause and a half close in C-sharp.  These also use the 3-beat grouping, with syncopated rising notes in the left hand. 
0:58 [m. 17]-- The second phrase of Part 2 is similar to Part 1.  It begins with another abrupt shift in key, back home to A major.  The first two bars are identical to Part 1, but the harmony is changed thereafter so that the phrase can end in the home key.  The final bars, with the straight 2/4 in the right hand, are more rich and expressive than they are in Part 1.
1:17 [m. 9]--Part 2 repeated.  Repetition of the first phrase.
1:37 [m. 17]--Repetition of the second phrase.
B Section--F-sharp minor
1:57 [m. 25]--The B section uses consistent groupings of two against three.  The right hand is in straight 2/4.  The left hand is in triplet groups, each one going against two right hand notes.  The melody in the right hand is melancholy and flowing, with several embellishing grace notes.  The left hand has wide, smooth arpeggios.  The phrase is grouped into two sequential halves, the second built on the “dominant” key of C-sharp and extended by one bar leading into the next phrase.
2:13 [m. 34]--Exact repetition of the previous nine-bar phrase after an initial rolled chord.
2:27 [m. 43]--Contrasting ten-bar phrase of rising intensity, based on the same material.  At the climax, a middle voice is added.  It plays first in the straight rhythm, then in the triplets.  The phrase delays any sort of resolution, with many chromatic notes increasing the harmonic as well as the dramatic tension.
2:43 [m. 53]--A six-bar extension finally brings resolution onto a delayed, but strong cadence in F-sharp minor.  The intensity settles down for a full, self-contained close to the B section.
A Section--A major
2:56 [m. 59]--Part 1, as at 0:00 [m. 1].  There is a rest before the upbeat, so that entire bar is counted here, extending the identical phrase to nine bars instead of eight.  It is not repeated.
3:14 [m. 68]--Part 2, first phrase, as at 0:38 [m. 9].
3:34 [m. 76]--Part 2, second phrase, as at 0:58 [m. 17].  No repetition of Part 2.
3:53 [m. 84]--Coda, based on the B section.  The melody is transformed into a bright major-key version.  The two-against three pattern is preserved.  A middle voice is added.  It settles down onto a repeated murmuring, with syncopated triplets in the bass and straight-rhythm syncopation with biting dissonances in the middle voice.  The lowest bass note is reiterated six times.  There is a steady decrease in volume.  The final gesture makes reference to the opening triplet of the main A section melody.
4:22--END OF PIECE [92 mm.]



7.  INTERMEZZO.  Moderato semplice (Rounded binary form with framing introduction and coda).  A MINOR, Cut time (2/2) with one 3/2 bar.
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.   A solemn, chorale-like melody in rich chords begins on an upbeat.  The initial chord gesture is connected to the next by an active middle voice that oscillates on a half-step.  The second gesture echoes the first an octave lower.  Again, the middle voice connects it to the third chord entry, which begins like the first, but is twice as long and contains syncopation.  The connecting idea is then transferred to bass octaves, which lead to the fourth and final chord entry and a complete close to the introduction.
0:23 [m. 9]--Part 1.  It begins with an upbeat on a syncopated, oscillating gesture.  We hear that  it is derived from the connecting half-step motion from the introduction, especially its last appearance in the bass.  The idea is developed into a leisurely, strangely melancholy melody that continues to incorporate the initial oscillating gesture with its syncopations.  The left hand accompanies with rising arpeggios.  Motion at the end to the relative major key of C.
0:38 [m. 9]--Part 1 repeated.
0:53 [m. 17]--Part 2.  The beginning is transitional.  Isolated two-note gestures from the main melody are isolated.  The melody itself is briefly transferred to the left hand.  The accompanying arpeggios begin to reach into the right hand range.  The culmination is on a long, winding arpeggio in the left hand against highly syncopated chords (derived from the main melody) in the right.  The last transitional bar is extended by a beat in preparation for the re-entry of the melody.  It is notated as a 3/2 measure (m. 23).  The next bar, m. 24, completes the transition and contains the upbeat to the main melody.
1:09 [m. 25]--Return of the main melody.  After the first two bars, it is altered so that it will remain on A minor rather than moving to C.  The altered portion contains an increase of intensity.  It then settles down to the cadence.  There is a four-bar extension (three of which are notated as a first ending) that serves to emphasize the ending and then to transition back to the C-major beginning of Part 2 for the repeat.
1:30 [m. 17 (36-37)]--Part 2 repeated.  The first ending leads to the transitional passage from 0:53.
1:46 [m. 25]--Return of the main melody.  The four-bar extension at the end is altered (notated as a second ending) and extended to five bars.  The last two of these hover as the middle voice oscillates.  The music trails off to a very weak A-minor cadence before a pause.
2:13 [m. 38]--Coda.  Identical to the introductory chorale.  The first part of the upbeat bar contains a rest, so it is included in the measure numbering here.
2:43--END OF PIECE [46 mm.]


8. CAPRICCIO.  Grazioso ed un poco vivace.  Anmutig lebhaft [Graceful and lively].  (Mixture of ternary and sonata form).  C MAJOR, 6/4 time.
First Section (“Exposition”)
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1.  The piece is ambiguous in both meter and key.  The flow of the 6/4 meter is constant, but the accentuation at the outset suggests three groups of two rather than the more common two groups of three beats.  Even with this grouping, it is heavily syncopated, with the strongest emphasis (through accents or large leaps) on the second, fourth, and sixth beats, especially the last, where at least one note is always held over the bar into the downbeat.  In fact, the piece begins with an accented upbeat on the sixth beat.  The grouping of the wide left hand arpeggios also suggests 3x2 rather than 2x3.  In addition, while the harmonies suggest C major, that key is not unambiguously established with clear cadences.
0:20 [m. 9]--From this point, the grouping shifts somewhat to 2x3, and the motion within each bar is generally downward.  After three bars, in m. 12, there are accents on the third beat (held into the beginning of the fourth), confirming the shift in grouping.  In addition to C major, the harmonies have also suggested F, and it is on that key that the section ends, with a quieting and slowing of the exuberant pace and a cadence after an irregular seven-bar phrase.  The last bar suggests the next section, but leads to the repeat.
First Section (“Exposition”) repeated
0:36 [m. 1]--Seamless repetition of Theme 1, flowing from the first ending of the section (m. 15).
0:53 [m. 9]--Repetition of passage from 0:20, with the last bar (the second ending, also m. 15) also functioning as the first bar of the next section.
Second Section (“Development”)
1:07 [mm. 15-16]--Theme 2 (F major).  It emerges from the last bar of the first section, with repeated chords emphasizing the second, fourth, and sixth beats.  The left hand continues the 2x3 grouping, with its arpeggios arching up and then back down.  The quiet, intense sotto voce chords continue for four bars.
1:17 [m. 19]--A new idea brings renewed animation.  One bar of rising thirds comes back down in sixths during the next bar.  This idea is then spun out more freely over two more bars with light syncopation.  There is another slowing as an apparent cadence in F major is interrupted.
1:27 [m. 23]--The chord idea from 1:07 [m. 15] enters again with an abrupt shift to the key of A-flat major.  The level is extremely quiet, but the harmonies and rhythms are very tense.
1:37 [m. 27]--The new idea from 1:17 [m. 19] is developed with fuller chords and an accompaniment incorporating left hand octaves.  The downward descent in the second bar is delayed until the third for another harmonic shift, this time toward B major.  A sudden bright moment in that key brings back the chord idea, which now slides into the figuration from the first section and alternates with it twice.  The first section material is heard under the chord idea in the left hand before becoming more explicit in the right.
1:53 [m. 34]--Re-transition.  The music now begins to move back to the key area of the first section, a motion already begun at the end of the previous alternation.  Beginning in A minor, four statements of the chord idea are heard over a re-establishment of the 3x2 pattern in the left hand.  These occur over a quick and powerful crescendo.  The climax happens as two cascading arpeggios are played against the last two statements of the chord idea.  The second begins two octaves higher and uses triplet rhythms (three notes on each beat) to incorporate more descending notes.
Third Section (“Recapitulation”)
2:00 [m. 38]--Theme 1.  A varied, but highly recognizable return of the main theme.  The initial accented upbeat is the same as the last chord in the previous section, creating a very smooth transition.  The primary characteristic, the accented syncopation on the last (sixth) beat of each bar, returns, but is further emphasized by huge leaps leading into a joyous descending line in chords that was not present in the first section.  After four bars, there is a sudden diminishing as the right hand descends.  The 3x2 grouping becomes explicit, both in the left hand arpeggios and the wide leaps of the right hand.
2:13 [m. 44]--The left hand plays a new chord idea in the 2x3 grouping in F major.  The chords are in the middle range.  The right hand continues its figuration above.  After two bars, the harmony of the chord idea shifts back toward C major, which has still not been completely confirmed as the key of the piece.
2:20 [m. 48]--A climactic moment.  Downward cascading music based on Theme 1 leads to new, more emphatically melodic descending chords.  These are heard twice, the second time somewhat  higher and more unstable as the music once again becomes sustained and quiet.
2:35 [m. 54]--The music settles down even more.  The syncopations and accentuations are still derived from Theme 1.  The key is clearly C major now, but a full cadence there has not yet arrived.  Brahms slows the music still more, and both hands are reduced to alternating two-note groups (supported by chords in the right hand) between them.  These two-note alternating groups reach a pause.
2:57 [m. 61]--Coda.  The rising thirds from Theme 2 are heard in C major, played quite slowly.  Suddenly, they emerge into a dramatic rising, accelerating barrage of Theme 1 material in the 3x2 grouping.  This final flourish is the first time that the piece reaches a clear arrival on the chord of the home key.  The left hand plays powerful rising octaves under the jubilant ascent of the right.  Two loud chords, a short high one and a longer lower one, bring the piece to an end.
3:36 (including run-off time)--END OF PIECE [67 mm.]
END OF SET


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