STRING QUINTET NO. 1 in F MAJOR,
Recording: Amadeus Quartet (Norbert Brainin, 1st
Nissel, 2nd violin; Peter Schidlof, viola; Martin
Cecil Aronowitz, 2nd Viola [DG 419 875-2]
The string quintet
the last mainstream chamber music genre to which Brahms
contributed. An earlier abortive attempt to write a
two cellos (the “Schubert” quintet ensemble) eventually led to
Piano Quintet, Op. 34. When
again embarking on a string quintet
in the spring of 1882, he opted for the more common “Mozart”
of two violins, two violas, and cello. After straining
in the three string quartets,
the quintet allowed him more freedom
along the lines of the earlier sextets that preceded them. The
F-major quintet is a special work in many ways. It is
chamber work outside of the sonatas for solo instrument and
is in three movements instead of four. The extremely
structure of the second movement, which combines the functions
movement and scherzo, reaches back to the composer’s early
The movement uses as its source material two of a series of
keyboard dances that he wrote in the 1850s but never
specifically a sarabande and a gavotte, both in A major. They
completely translated into the string idiom. A similar
on a smaller scale would later be used in the A-major Violin
(Op. 100), a work that, like this
one, has a brief finale. The
first movement is gloriously melodious and pastoral while
tightly argued form. The combination of fugue and sonata
used in the finale seems directly inspired by the finale of
third “Rasumovsky” Quartet (Op. 59, No. 3). Another
feature of this satisfying but rarely performed work is the
use of an unusual secondary key, A major, in all three
The second themes of the outer movements are both in this key
expected “dominant,” but the “mediant” to F major), as well as
contrasting sections of the second movement. That
ends in A major instead of its nominal “home” key of C-sharp
vacillates between major and minor throughout the slower
sections). The finale is often criticized as being too
balance the other two movements, but Brahms tended steadily
short finales in his later chamber music.
FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut
SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche
Movement: Allegro non troppo ma con brio (Sonata-Allegro
MAJOR, 4/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme
instruments except second violin begin with an extremely
richly harmonized between first violin and first viola.
fifths in the cello and second viola add to the pastoral
At the second phrase, the second violin enters, presenting the
octave higher. The end of this phrase takes a harmonic
toward D major.
0:17 [m. 9]--A
phrase begins in D major, again without second violin.
instrument enters after two bars, again an octave above the
violin. The music then begins to build, with scale
off-beat accents. The syncopation in all instruments
quite heavy as the key moves back to F major. The main
emerges at full volume with lush harmony. It is brought
0:44 [m. 22]--Transition.
begins with an echo of the cadence an octave lower. Then
violins begin to play in detached dotted rhythm
cadence is echoed again, and then the violins, now joined by
viola, begin an extended passage of dotted rhythm. First
and cello provide solid accompaniment in straight notes.
instruments arrive at a half-cadence in A major (the key of
0:56 [m. 28]--The
violin, accompanied by first viola, plays a jaunty phrase in
rhythm. The rest of the strings join in a powerful
response. The “jaunty phrase” is repeated again a third
on C. The powerful response is extended, breaking into a
scale from the violins in dotted rhythm.
1:07 [m. 34]--A
static melody begins in A minor, with syncopated accompaniment
violas and cello. The pattern of statement and response
continues, with the second “response” being more
minor-key melody is spun out somewhat, becomes quieter, and
arrival point, but the apparent cadence in A minor is cut off
before that arrival.
1:34 [m. 46]--Theme
animated theme played by the first viola in a rocking triplet
rhythm. The second violin and cello are plucked.
violin and second viola accompany, the former in faster note
the latter with a distinct countermelody. All
the second violin play in “straight” rhythm clashing with the
viola’s triplet melody (A major).
1:42 [m. 50]--Halfway
the tune, the first viola abandons the triplets and the melody
more halting and breathless. The other instruments, all
accompany together on short groups of two repeated
volume suddenly rises, and the first viola melody soars toward
conclusion. The accompanying figures of the other
less short and less together under this.
1:55 [m. 58]--The
takes over the Theme 2 melody from the first viola, repeating
opening section with triplets. The second violin plays
countermelody formerly played by the second viola. The
three instruments are all plucked, the violas playing
arpeggios and the
cello providing a steady bass.
2:02 [m. 62]--The
continues with the “halting, breathless” portion of Theme 2,
but it has
reached higher than the viola statement did. The lower
instruments play the short repeated notes, but the second
the first in harmony on the “breathless” music after two
The following smooth, high-reaching lines are extended and
quiet, including some echoes of the note B-flat from the
“home” key of
F. These lines settle down to the final cadence
2:20 [m. 73]--The
leads the final cadence gestures (there is no real “closing
pure A major. The first gesture is echoed by the violas
harmony, the cello providing a solid bass. The first
reiterates its cadence an octave lower to close the
The violas then seem to bring their response up an octave from
was, but the harmony shifts and leads back to F major for the
the exposition. The first violin melody in the
[m. 77] confirms this motion.
2:35 [m. 1]---Theme 1,
2:51 [m. 9]--Contrasting
syncopation, return of main melody, and cadence, as at 0:17.
3:18 [m. 22]--Transition.
dotted rhythm, and half-cadence in A major, as at 0:44.
3:30 [m. 28]--Jaunty
with powerful responses, as at 0:56.
3:41 [m. 34]--Melody
arrival point in A minor, as at 1:07.
4:07 [m. 46]--Theme
Viola in triplets, as at 1:34.
4:15 [m. 50]--”Halting,
melody and soaring response, as at 1:42.
4:28 [m. 58]--Theme 2
first violin in triplets, as at 1:55.
4:35 [m. 62]--”Halting,
melody, high-reaching lines, and arrival at cadence
gestures, as at 2:02.
4:53 [m. 73]--Cadence
as at 2:20. The transitional bars are altered in a
leading to the development. In m. 76, the first violin
modulating response formerly taken by the viola, but the other
instruments are the same. The measure with the violin
leading back to the exposition (m. 77) is replaced by the
of the development (which is also counted as m. 77).
5:02 [m. 77]--The
begins with very quiet, almost mysterious echoes of Theme 1
fragments. These move to C-sharp minor (a prominent key
second movement). The violas play the fragments in
the other instruments play slow, syncopated chords.
more detached, and the second viola passes its line to the
the next section based on the minor-key transition melody.
5:15 [m. 83]--The
begins a statement of the minor-key melody from 1:07 [m. 34]
minor. The other instruments vacillate between a new
in fast triplets and straight harmony with the melody.
violin itself takes up the triplets as the second violin and
over the melody. The triplets even creep into the cello
part. They make a powerful motion toward G-sharp minor,
is arrested by an unexpected “deceptive” shift to E major.
5:26 [m. 89]--The
suddenly become very quiet, and the preceding powerful
given a brief, but serene moment in E major, led by first
first violin. This does not last, as E major quickly
shifts to E
minor, the volume dramatically increases, and the transition
further developed in E minor along with the triplets.
5:37 [m. 95]--A
cadence in E
minor is immediately followed by a shift to B minor and
development of the transition melody and triplets. The
instruments suddenly come together.
5:46 [m. 100]--In a
shift to that at 5:26 [m. 89], the harmony moves to G major
instruments have another similar “serene” moment led by the
and first violin. This is unexpectedly extended in a
key to C major. This is the “dominant” of the home key
of F, and
raises expectations that the home key, and the recapitulation,
5:59 [m. 106]--The
home key of
F does in fact arrive, and the volume dramatically
violas continue with the fast triplets, but the violins break
leaping syncopations, expanding into double-stops (harmony
strings on one instrument). This music continues to
anticipating a huge arrival on Theme 1. This would,
result in an unusually brief development section.
6:09 [m. 111]--
opening melody of Theme 1 does arrive in the home key, there
is a huge
diminishing right before this, something that would not be
a recapitulation. Indeed, the development has not
The Theme 1 material, with the second violin on top, has an
response from the first violin and first viola. This
on the “jaunty” melody from 0:56 [m. 28] in the
second statement of Theme 1 material is followed by another
the “jaunty” melody that is much more biting and
volume level is very soft in a transitional bar.
6:23 [m. 118]--A
minor-tinged statement of the Theme 1 material is given yet
response from the “jaunty” melody in the “chromatic”
This is now further developed and extended, passed from first
first viola to second violin, then back to first viola, and
back to first violin. These exchanges are all over a
harmonic background. The harmony is very unstable,
keys on the “flat” side, D-flat, E-flat, and A-flat.
6:34 [m. 124]--The
violin joins the first violin in harmony on the continuing
of the “jaunty” melody. The harmony is later joined by
viola. There is an extended, gradual, and dramatic
crescendo. The music moves from A-flat to the “dominant”
the home key of F major. This time, there is no doubt
recapitulation is coming, as the approach is extremely
6:43 [m. 129]--Re-transition.
cello leads a dramatic preparation of Theme 1 beginning on the
“dominant” chord and including minor-key and chromatic
The other instruments respond to the cello. The tension
to the breaking point as the instruments come together in
with notes from the minor key. Then there are two
chords that ratchet up the expectation even more, so that the
at the recapitulation is a truly glorious moment.
7:00 [m. 137]--Theme
It is given in a much more full and brilliant presentation
with sonorous triplet fifths in the cello and second viola and
doubling in sixths of the melody from both violins, the first
providing additional harmonies in triplets. The second
part becomes more independent after two bars, but the rich
7:15 [m. 145]--The
scoring with low fifths in triplets continues through the
phrase beginning in D major.
7:26 [m. 150]--Transition.
heavy syncopation from the end of Theme 1 and the dotted
from the beginning of the transition are combined and
abbreviated. The restatement of the main melody and full
are skipped. The passage is short, but intense, and ends
it began, in F major. The dotted rhythms are heard
second violin and first viola.
7:39 [m. 157]--The
melody from the transition at 0:56 [m. 28], which had such a
in the development section, now begins as it had in the
in F major instead of A. This portion, however, is also
abbreviated. The “powerful response” is extended by a
then the second statement of the “jaunty” melody is completely
and the music emerges into the “downward scale” in dotted
the violins, now with new syncopations in the first viola.
7:47 [m. 161]--The
melody from 1:07 [m. 34] begins, and is surprisingly in the
key. Since Brahms had avoided the cadence of Theme 1 in
in order to have part of the transition appear there, and
home key normally dominates in the recapitulation, the setting
melody in the “relative” minor key (D minor) instead of the
minor key (F minor) is unexpected. The passage itself is
unabbreviated from the exposition, and the only changes are in
scoring. At the opening, the second violin and first
reverse their parts from before, for example, as do the second
and cello. At the end, an expected cadence in D minor is
as was the A-minor one in the exposition.
8:13 [m. 173]--Theme
It is scored exactly as in the exposition, but it is now in D
major. This seems unusual, as the second theme is
normally in the
“home” key in the recapitulation, but the typical relationship
keys of the second theme in the exposition and recapitulation
actually preserved. Since the second theme in the
not in the expected “dominant” key, its appearance in D major
follows the same pattern that an F-major appearance would have
the exposition second theme had been in the expected C-major
instead of A major.
8:20 [m. 177]--At the
minute, the previous music makes a shift to the “correct” key
major. The “halting, breathless” portion of the theme
[m. 50] follows in that key. The only substantive
(other than key) between here and the exposition presentation
the second violin does not play with the others on the first
of the “short repeated note” groups and the second viola adds
double stops there. The volume rises and the viola
8:32 [m. 185]--First
statement of the Theme 2 melody, as at 1:55 [m. 58], now in F
major. From here, that key will remain in force until
the end of
the movement. It is scored as it was in the exposition.
8:39 [m. 189]--The
moves to the “halting, breathless” portion, as at 2:02 [m.
Smooth, high-reaching lines become quiet, with some chromatic
(G-flat replacing the former B-flat), and settle toward the
gestures, as in the exposition. The scoring is mostly
with some minor alterations to account for instrument range in
8:57 [m. 200]--Cadence
gestures. They are more similar to the second ending at
73] than the first at 2:20. The first gesture is echoed
violas in harmony. The second gesture is begun by the
violin instead of the first violin, and it is not an octave
lower. The transitional response to this second gesture
by the first violin instead of the first viola, as at the
ending, without key change.
9:06 [m. 204]--The
with the first violin holding a high C. The second viola
holds a long note. The second violin and first viola
cadence gestures under this, gradually descending, with some
notes. The first violin and second viola move down as
slower notes, some held over bar lines. The cello
steady bass, slowly moving with the harmony of the upper
instruments. The volume level begins at a quiet level
even more quiet.
9:17 [m. 209]--Brahms
a slower tempo with “Più moderato.” The two violins lead
transformed version of the minor-key melody originally heard
[m. 34], now serenely and beautifully in major. The
instruments provide static harmonies, then gradually start to
more active. There is a strong buildup to a louder level
repetition of the “transformed” melody, now an octave higher
more active lower instruments. There are some chromatic
minor-key vestiges, but they are only shadows of the formerly
9:37 [m. 217]--Echoes
“transfigured” melody continue as the music quiets down again
and steadily becomes even slower. The first violin then
very high and “stretches” out the music. The other
remain in the ranges where they have been. They all
reach a point
of quiet suspension.
9:52 [m. 222]--As the
passage reaches an extremely quiet low keynote in the cello,
the main Allegro
tempo suddenly returns, as
does a strong volume, as if to “wake up” the players. A
of a broken F-major chord in triplets is followed by three
chords, the last one sustained.
10:07--END OF MOVEMENT [224
Movement: Grave ed appassionato - Allegretto vivace - Tempo
I - Presto
- Tempo I (ABA’B’A” form, alternating slow and fast
C-SHARP MAJOR/MINOR--A MAJOR, 3/4, 6/8, and Cut [2/2] time.
A Section--Grave ed
appassionato, C-sharp major/minor, 3/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--The
the A sections is
from the early A-major piano sarabande,
transposed to C-sharp.
The beautiful, melancholy theme, which includes some
triplets, is presented as a duet between first violin
mostly in thirds, with the cello playing the melody above the
harmony. The other instruments provide more static
The first phrase is in a clear C-sharp major.
0:16 [m. 5]--The duet
to the two violas, playing in sixths, the cello moving to its
bass role. Their presentation is in C-sharp minor
major, and most of the following music will remain in
After two bars, the first violin takes over from the violas,
continue in a flowing counterpoint. This phrase builds
motion toward the “dominant” harmony, G-sharp.
0:30 [m. 9]--The upper
instruments expand the passionate triplet rhythm. The
enters with a low trill and a fast upward arpeggio. This
twice in an ascending sequence, passing over A major (a very
key in this movement) before moving back to C-sharp.
0:43 [m. 13]--In a
passage, the upper instruments become more hesitant and
playing after the beat. The second violin drops out
The cello has the main line, a steadily descending bridge that
on F-sharp minor. It passes this line to the second
enters after two bars, as it moves to a smooth bass
music becomes steadily quieter. The other three
continue their after-beat notes before a triplet leads to the
0:58 [m. 17]--The
again stated in C-sharp minor, with the duet between the first
and first viola, the first violin playing the melody and the
playing a third below. It is now much quieter than
The second violin has a counterpoint line including triplets
second viola plays steady and detached triplet arpeggios, the
providing a slow-moving bass. The melody builds,
higher than before, the first viola lagging a bit behind the
violin. The phrase is extended by a bar.
1:17 [m. 22]--The last
statement of the theme (still in minor), is given by second
first viola, the first viola moving above for the melody and
violin taking the viola’s previous lower third line. The
violin plays a prominent counterpoint. The second viola
continue their previous roles. The theme expands higher
the first violin counterpoint taking a leading role before all
instruments except the first viola break into triplets.
statement builds and recedes.
1:32 [m. 26]--The
at a series of slow cadence gestures in short-long rhythm, the
viola retaining two vestiges of the triplet rhythm. They
dissonances such as an “augmented” chord. These cadence
gradually recede. After four bars of cadence gestures,
three instruments arrive on an octave C-sharp, the second
providing a weak harmony a fifth above. This is followed
bare, detached C-sharp octaves from first viola and cello,
section in a stark manner.
A major, 6/8 time.
1:57 [m. 32]--The
first part of
the new section pivots abruptly, but gently to A major and a
6/8 meter. The opening dotted (long-short) rhythm,
often, but not
always followed by a longer syncopated note held across a
is the main characteristic of the section. The style is
that of a
leisurely baroque gigue. The leading violin lines are
by short trills in the first three bars. The second
cello are plucked at the beginning, and the first viola only
after two bars. The dynamic is very quiet.
2:06 [m. 37]--The
begins after five bars. It emphasizes the syncopations
heavily, stressing them and holding them over bar lines.
makes a wistful turn to the minor key and back. Like the
phrase, it is an irregular five bars. The second violin
dotted rhythm to lead into a repeat of the first two phrases.
2:16 [m. 32]--Repetition
2:25 [m. 37]--Repetition
second phrase, with varied last bar to lead into the following
2:35 [m. 42]--The
syncopation of the second phrase is developed with somewhat
intensity. A three-bar sequence is varied beginning a
lower. The two statements move toward the related keys
of D major
and B minor.
2:47 [m. 48]--The
of the last phrases is interrupted by the sudden entry of the
the dotted rhythm with the decorative short trill. The
moves up a half-step on the syncopated note following the
The first violin responds with a descending line using both
and the dotted rhythm. The other instruments support the
responses. There are four of these exchanges. The
only uses the trill on the first two. Between the first
exchanges, there are octave or near-octave leaps in both the
the violin. The music becomes steadily quieter and more
2:55 [m. 52]--An echo
syncopation in the violins leads seamlessly into a full
the first phrase, now shifted up to D major. The second
now stays together with the first violin on the dotted rhythm
throughout the phrase, and the first viola line is different,
syncopated note to the first two bars.
3:06 [m. 58]--The
is also given at the new pitch level. It is expanded at
bar, with the dotted rhythm being passed twice from the second
first violin and back. The second violin statements
begin with A,
and the first violin statements with E. The second viola
plucked during this extension.
3:22 [m. 66]--The
again becomes very heavy and held over bar lines, with
emphasis on the
descending version. The figures are passed between the
violins, with each stating four of them and gradually moving
two instruments separated by an octave. The lower three
instruments provide vital, but unobtrusive support.
second viola is plucked.
3:30 [m. 70]--The
gestures return as the key turns back to A major. The
and cello alternate with the two violins The first viola
short trill on its first and third gestures. The figures
skip, and leap, both up and down, but stick to the opening
rhythm with syncopation. The second viola drops out
during these four bars.
3:37 [m. 74]--As A
completely arrives, the dotted rhythm with syncopation
continues to be
passed between instruments, but now the second viola enters
with the first viola and second violin. These now
the first violin and cello. These “outer instruments”
without holding notes over bar lines. After two
second viola and cello drop out of the last two, moving to
notes on strong beats. The first violin line leads to
final chord of the section and a general pause. The
passage moves again away from A and suggests D major again.
A’ Section--Tempo I,
major/minor, 3/4 time
3:48 [m. 80]--The
material and the key of C-sharp return in a striking harmonic
from the previous music. The initial phrase is played in
major, as it was in the first A
section, but this time the first violin has the melody instead
cello, and the harmony in thirds is provided by the second
violin. The harmony is given more fullness by the
another parallel line in the first viola that moves in the
but not the same direction as the violins. The second
cello provide bass support that includes repeated-note
The statement is gentle and quiet.
4:04 [m. 84]--The
holds a note over and very quietly echoes the closing gesture
phrase, accompanied by the two violas and turning toward the
key. The first violin, initially playing alone, repeats
abbreviates the echo with light, but sharp accompaniment
other instruments. Then the cello introduces an
inversion of the
figure, turning it upside down. The first viola follows
original version. This begins a rapid and powerful
buildup culminating with the entry of the first violin on the
version accompanied by all other instruments in syncopation
4:25 [m. 90]--A new,
dramatic and active developmental passage begins, with the
playing triplet octaves with syncopated notes, the cello and
violas continuing to develop the main material in straight
rhythm. The volume suddenly quiets again in preparation
slower, steady buildup. The original main melody begins
in the first viola. The violins remain on octaves of the
4:37 [m. 94]--As the
continue, the violas and cello take over. Mixing triplet
and straight rhythm, the first viola plays a version of the
phrase from the first A
section (0:16 [m. 5), which has been delayed by the new
insertions. After one bar, the violins abandon their
G-sharp octaves and begin to provide breathless responses
beat, resting on the first notes of triplet groups to preserve
syncopated feel. In this rhythm, the first violin makes
connection to 0:16 [m. 5] clear by embedding its original
that passage. This becomes even more explicit at the
triplets entered the original first violin line. The
4:40 [m. 98]--At a
arrival point, the music emerges into a virtually exact
the expansion with cello trills and arpeggios from 0:30 [m.
5:02 [m. 102]--The
repetition continues with the music from 0:43 [m. 13], the
transitional passage. The parts of the two violins are
which has minimal aural effect. The first viola also
some notes with the violin parts. The second viola and
lines are identical.
5:17 [m. 106]--The
0:58 [m. 17] is skipped, and the instruments continue with
last statement from 1:17 [m. 22]. This is again
identical, with some minor differences in the first bar.
second viola begins its “steady triplets” here.
5:31 [m. 110]--The
gestures from 1:32 [m. 26] are highly varied, yet still
recognizable. The instruments play in a gentle
compressing the material of two bars into one and preserving
structure through repetition and variation, with some new
major-key hints. The closing octave C-sharps are
falls from a third above. The harmony a fifth above is
preserved. These are expanded from two bars to three
third bar finally settling on C-sharp alone. All are
the lower three instruments except for a brief persistence by
violin in the first of the three bars.
B’ Section--Presto, A
Cut [2/2] time
Although this section follows the structure and harmony of the
gigue-like B section
and seems to be a “variation” in a new meter and tempo, it is
almost direct transcription of the early A-major
This means that B is
a “variation” of B’,
the other way around.
6:01 [m. 117]--The
plays the vigorous gavotte theme, with sharp punctuations from
other instruments. The second violin and first viola
accompaniments. All are played in a hushed, almost
manner. The five-bar phrase corresponds closely with
1:57 [m. 32].
6:06 [m. 122]--The
five-bar phrase brings back the syncopations from the first B section in the new
meter, also turning to the minor key and back. The
and first viola are now bowed, the former joining the first
the syncopation. The other instruments play on strong
beats. The phrase corresponds to 2:06 [m. 37], but
begins at a
louder level and quiets quickly toward the end. The
leads to the repetition of the first two phrases.
6:12 [m. 117]--Repetition
the first phrase.
6:18 [m. 122]--Repetition
the second phrase, with the last bar replacing the first
to the repeat with the beginning of the following syncopations
6:24 [m. 127]--As at
42], the heavy syncopation of the second phrase is developed,
with much more vigor and stark contrast between loud and
Partly to accommodate the new meter and tempo, the passage is
lengthened from six to eight bars. A four-bar sequence
of three) is varied beginning a step lower. The
statements still move toward D major and B minor.
6:34 [m. 135]--The
exchanges of 2:47 [m. 48] are replaced in the analogous
skittish leaping figures passed between the instruments and
beginning with the two violas, who continue with harmony when
violins enter. When the cello comes in with the violins,
provides a slower-leaping solid bass support. This
is doubled in length from the B
section, expanded from four to eight bars. Also, that
became quieter, while this one begins quietly and lightly, but
steadily and powerfully as the main gavotte theme
emerges. As in B,
the motion is to D major here.
6:44 [m. 143]--At full
two preliminary gestures precede the full gavotte theme in D
major. A new counterpoint is added in the second violin
then it joins the churning chords of the violas The
first a hollow drone, then joins the churning in the last two
bars. The “preliminary” gestures are analogous to the
the syncopation” at 2:55 [m. 52], and the statement in D major
analogous to the succeeding music.
6:51 [m. 150]--The
phrase with the syncopations is given at the new pitch level,
to 3:06 [m. 58]. It begins at full volume and
Suddenly, a new internal and mysteriously quiet phrase is
given in A
minor. Then a second loud statement of the syncopations
(also with the quiet internal response, which now suggests F
major). This replaces the extension in the B section. Then
follows, in a
departure from the B
the turn to (D) minor from the original phrase. It
more and moves toward A major, suddenly pausing after four
chords. The section ends here, considerably abbreviating
A” Section--Tempo I,
major--C-sharp minor/major, 3/4 time
7:12 [m. 164]--The
phrase of the sarabande melody is now played for the first
time in A
major instead of C-sharp major. The harmony in thirds is
the two violins, as in A’,
but the accompaniment from the lower instruments is less
similar to the first A.
is slightly more motion in the lower instruments at the end of
the phrase than there was in A.
7:28 [m. 168]--The
phrase is played in A minor by the first viola, as it was in
minor in the initial A
section. This time, it is a solo line, without the
in sixths from the second viola. The first violin takes
after two bars, as it had in A.
There is the same build toward “dominant” harmony, which in
7:42 [m. 172]--The
with triplets and cello trills is very similar to 0:30 [m. 9]
[m. 98], but it is not exactly analogous. The large leap
descent after the first bar of triplets is much wider and
initially by skips instead of steps. This happens again
second sequence, and more notes are added to the ascending
arpeggio. The alterations help facilitate a motion away
major, not yet to the supposed “home” key of the movement,
to its “dominant,” G-sharp.
7:56 [m. 176]--The
analogous to the transitional passage at 0:43 [m. 13] and 5:02
102]. The cello has the initial descending line, as in
places, but this time the continuation is from the first viola
than either of the violins. The after-beat notes are
before, but the first violin rests under the first viola’s
continuation, resulting in a thinner texture. The music
toward C-sharp minor.
8:11 [m. 180]--A new
to the transitional passage places the main line high in the
violin and inverts it, so that it is moving up instead of
The second violin has a downward motion against it. The
after-beat notes continue, but the music builds and after two
instruments except first violin and cello break into a large
two-note groups, the volume diminishing after the
is finally a clear arrival on C-sharp minor.
8:27 [m. 184]--Where a
statement of the original sarabande melody would be expected,
surprises by turning to the previously unused second half of
sarabande, with its florid melody (which briefly turns to E
played by the first violin. The cello enters with a bass
the other instruments continue their two-note descents.
joins the moving harmony under the C-sharp minor
cadence itself is echoed an octave lower by the second violin
first violin dropping out) extending the phrase to five bars.
8:48 [m. 189]--The
begins a statement of the sarabande melody with its new
decorations. The second violin repeats this an octave
after one bar, the first viola harmonizing directly in
a third sequence, the first violin enters at an even higher
an octave plus a fifth, and the second violin harmonizes
sixths. The other instruments continue in block
This last statement is expanded, as the violins separate more
and the first violin reaches very high with the florid
decorations. This builds to another climax and
9:09 [m. 194]--In a
to the final cadence gestures, the cello plays its descent
at 7:56 [m. 176]. The second violin has triplets on a
major chord, and the minor version of that key will not appear
again. The volume rapidly diminishes. The first
violas hold long notes.
9:17 [m. 196]--The
cadence gestures are greatly altered from their previous
appearances. The C-sharp chords are now all major.
dissonance from the previous appearances (the “augmented”
altered to a pure A-major chord, and these are juxtaposed
against the C-sharp chords, creating an entirely different
using the same basic notes between the two chords. The
chords from the previous gestures, D major and a G-sharp
chord, remain the same. Two full four-chord sequences
at a very quiet level.
9:36 [m. 200]--The
now slowed to a full bar length, and the pulse itself slows
greatly. C-sharp and A-major chords alternate
in a great surprise, the harmony moves to D minor, where the
violin plays an arpeggio. This leads, through a plagal cadence, to an
chord, punctuated twice by shorter notes in the lower
before the last chord. Thus, the movement ends in A
key of the B
the first part of the A”
section) instead of in the expected C-sharp. Brahms
frequently make his final cadences and arrivals work hard in
manner as this.
10:27--END OF MOVEMENT [208
Movement: Allegro energico - Presto (Combination of Fugue
Sonata-Allegro form). F MAJOR, 3/2 and 9/8 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1
subject and exposition). All instruments play two sharp,
descending hammer-like chords. These will punctuate the
of the subject. The first viola then presents the
three-bar subject, which is characterized by steady, straight
large upward leaps, and downward motion including both scale
and more winding descents. The 3/2 bars create a sense
0:07 [m. 5]--The two
punctuating chords are heard again in an altered form to
harmonic movement. The second violin then plays the
the “subdominant” key of B-flat while the first viola
continues with a
“countersubject,” an important melody with a very prominent
(long-short) rhythm and a jagged figure leaping up an octave
short downward-skipping notes.
0:14 [m. 9]--Only the
violin, second viola, and cello are left to play the weakened
albeit in their original harmonic form. The first violin
plays the subject in the home key of F while the second violin
continues with the countersubject. The first viola
new counterpoint consisting of three isolated gestures with
and downward leaps.
0:20 [m. 13]--With
second viola and cello remaining to play the chords (in their
form), they are both given quadruple and triple stops to do
They then together play the final “bass” entry of the subject
apart in B-flat. The first violin plays the
The second violin and first viola pass short figures between
them. These are derived from the subject and include
0:27 [m. 17]--The
subject is extended. The second viola and cello continue
“subject” patterns in running rhythm while the first violin
second violin and first viola on short, detached
harmonies are very active and the volume steadily
the climax, the opening chords emerge in a very powerful
The first chord is of D minor (the “relative” minor) rather
major and the two chords are separated by a longer rest.
second chord creates great tension and expectancy.
0:34 [m. 22]--A unison
three octaves from all instruments leads to an exuberant and
“Theme 1” derived from the fugue subject and the
particularly emphasizing the dotted rhythm. The first
leaps up and the cello leaps down so that they play the
unison four octaves apart (except for a few notes where the
deviates because of range and other factors). The first
soars above the texture. The middle three instruments
counterpoint clearly derived from both themes. At the
the “theme,” a strong F-major cadence is followed by a
to A minor.
0:46 [m. 29]--Transition
minor). All instruments except the second viola drop
that instrument suddenly becomes hushed, playing double stops
rhythm. The cello then enters quietly below, and the
instruments hesitantly play light figures derived from the
subject. The viola then plays its double stops
are also followed by the responses, but at a higher level in
instruments. Finally, the second viola moves up, and all
instruments arrive smoothly on A major for the second theme.
0:56 [m. 35]--Theme
The first violin plays a broad, songful melody that eventually
into a wide triplet rhythm. Against this, the first
viola plays a
version of the original fugue subject, thus maintaining the
between fugue and sonata form. The cello is plucked
dropping out under the triplets, and the other two instruments
longer-held notes (A major).
1:03 [m. 39]--The
moved to E major, where the second violin takes the new
version of the
fugue subject. The first violin drops out. The
instruments (the cello bowed again) hesitantly hint at Theme 2
the first viola breaks out into its broad triplets. The
violin, entering again, takes over the triplets as the second
continues on an extension of the fugue subject. The
back to A, but it is now minor again.
1:11 [m. 44]--All
except the second violin play “surging” short-long motion,
with a mild
increase in intensity. The second violin continues its
faster motion. Suddenly, the harmony veers toward an
major. The second violin finally breaks, and the faster
motion is taken over by the first violin, second viola, and
cello. The second violin and first viola play the
figures. The faster motion stops, but hints at the
persist. The patterns following the “surges” are
passing through C-sharp minor. The first violin,
gently leads back to A major.
1:30 [m. 55]--At the
cadence, the second violin begins to play the “head” of the
subject. The first viola, then the second viola follow
imitative responses. The first violin and later the
continue with “surging” figures. The fugue responses are
back up to first viola and second violin. For now, the
remains in A major.
1:37 [m. 60]--The
joins the second violin in harmony (sixths), and then the
against them in thirds, the cello providing a slow bass.
volume swells from the hushed level to a forte. The violins
downward, punctuated by chords from the lower
join in the downward motion. The arpeggio is A major,
chord has now taken a “dominant” function leading to the main
the development section, D minor.
1:43 [m. 64]--The
quiet again, and the second violin plays the broad triplets
2 in D minor. The other instruments accompany with
of counterpoint. The cello only enters at the very end
low plucked notes. Motion to A minor.
1:51 [m. 68]--The
takes over the triplets, which now begin in A minor. The
of the other instruments is similar to the second violin
the cello plays (bowed) from the outset. Motion back to
1:57 [m. 72]--The
begins another statement of the triplet rhythm, but soon the
violin also joins the triplet rhythm, and the two instruments
alternate. The intensity gradually increases. The
violin also joins the triplets, leaving the harmonic support
viola and cello (which is plucked throughout the
passage). At the
climax, the second viola joins the triplet rhythm, creating a
of counterpoint. The very active harmony has arrived at
2:11 [m. 81]--An
passage of counterpoint based on the fugue subject begins in
minor. The second violin leads, followed at short
distance by the
first violin and bowed cello, who enter together a tenth
diverge. The violas, at some distance, enter together a
apart. The first viola briefly plays in octaves with the
violin. The volume and intensity are strong
counterpoint continues at length in B-flat minor before an
point on F minor.
2:23 [m. 88]--The
arrival on F
heralds the impending recapitulation. The counterpoint
in F minor, now incorporating the dotted rhythm of the
countersubject. The first viola and cello rest briefly
their respective entries.
2:28 [m. 91]--Re-transition.
instruments are suddenly quiet as the first violin reaches a
point. That instrument gradually descends in a winding
dotted rhythm. The cello holds a low C. The second
and first viola pass smooth lines between each other.
resting for two bars, the second viola joins the low cello
harmony. The volume increases at the second viola
The harmony moves to C major. Suddenly, the instruments
into fast, highly syncopated arpeggios and chords. These
at the home key of F major (with a prominent D-flat from F
a powerful crescendo.
2:41 [m. 98]--Theme
full volume, the instruments superimpose the fugue subject and
countersubject. The violins and first viola play the
countersubject, the second viola and cello the subject.
bar, the first violin switches to the subject, but all other
instruments have moved to the countersubject. The
leaping figure from the countersubject then takes over, passed
bottom to top and back again. It serves to propel the
more to A major.
2:47 [m. 102]--Mass
of the subject and countersubject, this time with the violins
the subject and the lower instruments the
second viola and cello take over the subject after one bar,
moving with the first viola to the countersubject. As
“jagged” figure takes over, this time moving from top to
back. This passage is the last appearance of A major,
that has had such importance throughout the quintet.
to F major.
2:56 [m. 107]--Suddenly,
instruments emerge into the “extension” from 0:27 [m.
only major difference is that the second viola and cello begin
running motion an octave lower than in the exposition.
viola moves up to the original octave after three bars, the
the very end. The “climactic” chords are heard at the
end in the
same form, again creating tension and expectancy.
3:03 [m. 112]--The
and strong” theme from 0:34 [m. 22] emerges. After four
is varied and extended by a bar, so that the decisive arrival
is in D
minor rather than A minor. At the point of deviation,
violin leaps down so that it is separated from the cello by
octaves instead of four.
3:17 [m. 120]--Transition.
is similar to 0:46 [m. 29], with some important
Most importantly, the double stops previously played by second
are now split between the two violas. Because of that,
responses of the second violin (who had entered last) and
are reversed. The second series of responses are altered
create a motion from D minor to F major (where previously it
a change from minor to major on the same keynote), the violas
rearranging their previous material.
3:27 [m. 126]--Theme
Broad melody in the first violin with triplets, subject in the
viola, and plucked cello notes. Essentially a direct
transposition to the home key of F major from 0:56 [m. 35].
3:34 [m. 130]--First
drops out, second violin takes fugue subject beginning in C
triplets from first viola, then first violin. Directly
to 1:03 [m. 39]. Motion to F minor.
3:42 [m. 135]--Surging
and continuing “subject” extensions. Essentially, this
direct transposition of 1:11 [m. 44], with the expected
motions to A-flat major and A minor. The major
difference is that
the cello does not play the fast “subject” material at the
corresponding point, and the second viola compensates by
material an octave lower. The cello simply plays plucked
that spot, then moves to its corresponding line. The
the second violin that led into the development section are
omitted. The transition into the new tempo and meter of
is very abrupt.
CODA--Presto, 9/8 time
4:01 [m. 146]--The
shift to 9/8
time retains the basic triple meter, but moves to a
beats into three instead of two (in this piece usually four)
parts. The speed is also increased. It begins with
but somewhat uneasy upward chromatic motion from the first
supported by the second violin and first viola. The
instruments provide light bass punctuation until the cello
an echo of music from Theme 2 in a clashing duple
rhythm. The top
three instruments continue to move steadily, now mostly in
4:08 [m. 152]--The
begins another chromatic ascent, then itself emerges into the
echo. It stays in the basic rhythm, however, repeating
necessary to maintain the constant motion. As the first
reaches ever higher and the lower two instruments join in the
constant 9/8 motion, the volume increases dramatically from a
quiet, secretive level to a large climax at the top.
4:17 [m. 160]--The
arrives with a large series of descending unison scales passed
the instruments from high to low. These gradually obtain
and arch back upward before the violins begin another
The instruments then emerge into a series of strong
full chord harmony as the lower instruments continue to
4:24 [m. 166]--There
sudden drop in volume and a more skittish descent begins with
notes, still in full harmony. The second viola and cello
equally skittish chromatic ascents. The violins begin to
widely, including several octave jumps, but they do not move
unison. Another huge crescendo
leads to a sudden arrest of the motion on five strong,
4:33 [m. 174]--At a
arrival point, the theme from 0:34 [m. 22] and 3:03 [m. 112]
to the new 9/8 meter and played at a very powerful
first, the cello doubles the first violin four octaves lower
before, but after four bars, it joins the harmony and
counterpoint of the other instruments. The constant
groups of three continues in at least two instruments
passage. Descending arpeggios are heard in the inner
and then they culminate in a unison descent.
4:44 [m. 182]--The
cadence gestures include sharp chords from the outer
against continuing motion in the other three. When the
violin and cello finally join the motion, they quickly lead to
four emphatic F-major chords, the last of which is briefly
4:55--END OF MOVEMENT [185
END OF QUINTET
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