SEVEN SONGS (LIEDER), OP. 95
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone (Nos. 2, 3, 7); Jessye Norman, soprano; Daniel Barenboim, piano [DG 449 633-2]
Published 1884.

Between two groups of mostly dark, profound, or fervently romantic songs, generally of a heavier nature, this collection of shorter, mostly lighter folk or folk-like settings was brought together.  It is heavy on the female perspective (like Op. 69), explicitly so in four of the seven.  Over the first five of the group, Brahms frames three settings of the dramatist Friedrich Halm with two Serbian translations by Kapper.  He had set Halm in two songs from Op. 94, including the unusually brief one that ended that group.  The most notable previous song with a Kapper Serbian text was the dramatic “Mädchenfluch,” Op. 69, No. 9.  Another appears as the first “Mädchenlied,” Op. 85, No. 3 (the second song with that title, coincidentally No. 6 in this group, is not from Kapper), and one of his Czech translations appears as Op. 85, No. 4.  The “Mädchenlied” here is by Heyse, from an Italian source (the third “Mädchenlied” in Op. 107 is also from Heyse).  He closes the group with a brief but bitter text from the once-ubiquitous Daumer, whom he had not set in a solo song since Op. 59, No. 6.  No. 1, “Das Mädchen,” is distinguished by its alternating meters and minor-major progression with increasing tempo.  This song was published in an a cappella choral version with soprano soloist as Op. 93a, No. 2.  The choral version is a bit tighter at the end, with six fewer measures, and it is likely that this version for solo voice and piano is earlier.  No. 2, the first Halm setting, is light and delicate, with fluttering piano figures suggesting the flight of thoughts to the beloved.  No. 3 is an interesting case of Brahms substantially changing his mind about something after publication.  The breathless song, whose persistent minor-key intrusions never overthrow the major mode, originally shifted its accompaniment to a clashing metric orientation a little more than halfway through, but Brahms decided this effect was better throughout the whole song.  Both versions are readily available, but the revision is preferred.  The third Halm song is bright and ingratiating, a simple strophic construction with hidden compositional subtleties.  The second Kapper translation again progresses from a minor first half to a major second half in a faster tempo, with contrasting but parallel text.  The Heyse “Mädchenlied” is a strophic setting with small but significant alterations in the second verse.  The original text included two introductory verses placing the girl’s song in context, but Brahms wisely dropped them.  The closing Daumer setting is probably the best-known song of the set.  Its surprisingly bitter mood, indicting ingratitude from a seemingly unrequited love, contrasts sharply with the rest of the group.  Despite its emotional effectiveness, the song has been criticized for its sometimes-awkward declamation and accentuation, and for running together the last three lines (which, in fairness, are poetically enjambed).  In fact, Brahms does mark the line breaks in subtle ways, not least the sudden return of the opening music right as the last line is repeated, a moment that still retains the “enjambment” effect.  The set has an effective internal unity, including a logical key progression (not strictly maintained in the lower keys).

Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily Ezust’s site at http://www.lieder.net.  For the most part, the translations are line-by-line, except where the difference between German and English syntax requires slight alterations to the contents of certain lines.  The German texts (included here) are also visible in the translation links.

IMSLP WORK PAGE
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck--original and lower keys [
Nos. 1-4 “low”, Nos. 5-6 “middle”]; includes only first version of No. 3)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke--original keys; includes both versions of No. 3)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (Edition Peters, edited by Max Friedländer):
No. 1: Das Mädchen (in original key, B minor/major)
No. 1: Das Mädchen (in low key, G minor/major)
No. 2: Bei dir sind meine Gedanken (in original key, A major)
No. 2: Bei dir sind meine Gedanken (in middle key, G major)
No. 2: Bei dir sind meine Gedanken (in low key, F major)
No. 3: Beim Abschied (in original key, D major; second version)
No. 3: Beim Abschied (in low key, B-flat major; second version)
No. 4: Der Jäger (in original key, F major)
No. 4: Der Jäger (in middle key, E major)
No. 4: Der Jäger (in low key, D major)
No. 5: Vorschneller Schwur (in original key, D minor/major)
No. 5: Vorschneller Schwur (in low key, B-flat minor/major)
No. 6: Mädchenlied (in original key, F major)
No. 6: Mädchenlied (in middle key, D-flat major)
No. 6: Mädchenlied (in low key, C major)
No. 7: Schön war, das ich dir weihte (in original key, F minor)
No. 7: Schön war, das ich dir weihte (in middle key, D minor)
No. 7: Schön war, das ich dir weihte (in low key, C-sharp minor)


1. Das Mädchen (The Maiden).  Text by Siegfried Kapper, after a Serbian folk poem.  Munter, mit freiem Vortrag (Lively, with free presentation).  Two-part varied strophic form, with introduction.  B MINOR/MAJOR, 3/4+4/4 time, usually arranged in groups of seven beats, with a climactic passage in straight 2/4 (Low key G minor/major).
(Note: Op. 93a, No. 2 is a version of this song for mixed chorus with soprano solo.)

German Text:
Stand das Mädchen, stand am Bergesabhang,
Widerschien der Berg von ihrem Antlitz,
Und das Mädchen sprach zu ihrem Antlitz:
“Wahrlich, Antlitz, o du meine Sorge,

Wenn ich wüßte, du mein weißes Antlitz,
Daß dereinst ein Alter dich wird küssen,
Ging hinaus ich zu den grünen Bergen,
Pflückte allen Wermut in den Bergen,
Preßte bitt’res Wasser aus dem Wermut,
Wüsche dich, o Antlitz, mit dem Wasser,
Daß du bitter, wenn dich küßt der Alte!

Wüßt’ ich aber, du mein weißes Antlitz,
Daß dereinst ein Junger dich wird küssen,
Ging hinaus ich in den grünen Garten,
Pflückte alle Rosen in dem Garten,
Preßte duftend Wasser aus den Rosen,
Wüsche dich, o Antlitz, mit dem Wasser,
Daß du duftest, wenn dich küßt der Junge!”

English Translation


The 3+4 meter is typical of Serbian folk poetry.
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  Before the two contrasting and parallel strophes, the protagonist is introduced in a passage of four lines.  The singer is accompanied by block harmonies on the piano and presents the lines in regular mixed meter, one 3/4 and one 4/4 bar per line in the same rhythm.  The first three lines are in a free rising sequence.  Each measure of the first two has a prominent upward leap, and the 4/4 bars begin with a long-short rhythm.  The third line introduces off-beat chords in the piano’s right hand, but only in the 4/4 bars, and a more descending shape.  The fourth line is nearly identical to the third.  The passage is in B minor, ending on that key’s “dominant” chord.  The music slows and quiets somewhat in the last line.
0:22 [m. 9]--Strophe 1, lines 1-2.  The maiden’s speech starts in the last line of the introduction, but the parallelism between the two main strophes begins here.  The piano plays hushed introductory chords in the familiar 3/4 rhythm, and the singer responds with short yearning figures, breaking up line 1 (in the choral version, the piano chords are sung by the ensemble and the responses by a soprano soloist).  Here there are three 3/4 bars followed by three 4/4 bars rather than the previous alternation, the first 4/4 bar surprisingly completing line 1.  A third call and response sets line 2 in the jaunty 4/4 rhythm and builds.  That line is then repeated in a forceful descent, doubled in piano octaves with one meter alternation, leading to a pause.
0:45 [m. 17]--Strophe 1, lines 3-7.  Back in the regular 3/4+4/4 alternation, the singer presents the next four lines (3-6) in arching figures over mostly slow-moving piano chords and bass notes.  While remaining basically at the same pitch level, the soloist’s statements intensify with each succeeding line.  The piano becomes slightly more active under lines 5-6, and the vocal line is slightly inflected toward the major key.  The seventh line is another forceful descent, this time with the piano in full harmony, strongly reasserting the minor key.  This clinching line is sung twice, but the singer omits “daß du” the second time, leaving the melody to the piano.  This leads to a strong B-minor cadence and another pause.
1:15 [m. 29]--Strophe 2, lines 1-2.  A very effective shift to the major key heralds the contrasting and parallel second strophe.  The first two lines, other than being in major and dolce, are very similar to those of the first strophe and are in the same metrical layout, with the singer responding to the piano three times.  This time, however, the descending repetition of line 2 is carried by the singer against decorative rising piano arpeggios over colorful harmonies (the second a “diminished seventh”), and it slows and quiets dramatically in a marked contrast to the previous forceful descent.
1:39 [m. 37]--Strophe 2, lines 3-6.  In a larger departure from the first strophe, Brahms alters tempo and meter, marking the next passage “Animato grazioso.”  The meter shifts to straight 2/4 for these lines, which are sung joyously in arching figures, over piano gestures that place off-beat harmonies in the right hand in alternation with punctuating bass notes.  Each line is given six measures in a steady buildup.  There is a difference from the choral version here, where each line (except the sixth) was only four measures and the buildup more intense.  The text of each line is stretched out at the end, the last more so, and the two “extra” bars separate and extend the lines with gentle piano arpeggios, the hands in contrary motion.
2:05 [m. 61]--Strophe 2, line 7.  Brahms now marks the music “Lebhaft” (“Lively”) for the final line.  It is essentially a major-key version of the twofold statement of this line in the first strophe (mm. 25-28).  In addition to the major key, the faster tempo creates a contrast.  At the end of the two 3/4+4/4 alterations, more dotted (long-short) rhythms are added in the voice, along with new off-beat chords in the right hand, before the final two-bar extension (both 4/4) and cadence, the singer soaring to a long high note.  The piano punctuates the cadence with two outward-moving chords, a strong conclusion after the steady buildup.
2:23--END OF SONG [66 mm.]



2. Bei dir sind meine Gedanken (My Thoughts Are with You).  Text by Friedrich Halm.  Schnell und Heimlich (Fast and secretive).  Simple strophic form.  A MAJOR, 3/8 time (Middle key G major, low key F major).

German Text:
Bei dir sind meine Gedanken
Und flattern, flattern um dich her;
sie sagen, sie hätten Heimweh,
Hier litt' es sie nicht mehr.

Bei dir sind meine Gedanken
Und wollen von dir, von dir nicht fort;
sie sagen, das wär' auf Erden
Der allerschönste Ort.

Sie sagen, unlösbar hielte
Dein Zauber sie festgebannt;
sie hätten an deinen Blicken
Die Flügel sich verbrannt.

English Translation
 
0:00 [m. 1]--The piano is marked sotto voce for the six-measure introduction.  In each measure, a bass note A is followed by rippling figures passed from the right to the left hand.  In each hand, these figures leap up and back down.  In the right hand, they leap up again to a note held over the bar line.  In the left, they jump down to the next downbeat low A.  The right hand steadily works down, then jumps up and holds in the last two measures.  The left hand is more static with the repeated A, but the leaping figures move up and down.
0:06 [m. 7]--Stanza (strophe) 1, lines 1-2.  The voice enters on an upbeat, gently leaping to the downbeat and then sweeping down and back up.  The second line uses the repetition of “flattern” on similar long-short downward-arching figures to move toward the “dominant” harmony, where the line settles.  The figuration in the accompaniment is like the introduction, and the bass remains anchored on the low A until the sixth measure under the second “flattern,” after which it moves as the harmony shifts.  There is a one-measure piano extension after the two vocal lines with the bass note on the “dominant” E.
0:15 [m. 16]--Stanza (strophe) 1, lines 3-4.  Line 3 begins on an upbeat, then shifts away from the E-major harmony.  A dramatic pause is inserted after “sie sagen,” At this point, the harmony makes a dramatic motion toward the distant C major.  The completion of the line on the strophe’s only forte lingers on high notes as harmonies and chords are added to the piano’s rippling figures in the right hand.  The left hand in the piano suddenly abandons its leaping figures in favor of more solid harmonies.  Line 4 begins on the upbeat of the fifth measure, working up, diminishing, and slowing.  The melody and harmony are highly chromatic, and another shift transforms C major into a “dominant” leading to F major in a piano bridge.
0:24 [m. 25]--Stanza (strophe) 1, line 4 repeated.  The rippling figures now also cease in the right hand.  The singer repeats the line with long-held notes on “litt” and “sie,” slowly arching up and back down over the continuing ritardando.  The slow dolce piano harmonies magically shift the music back to the home key, where the voice reaches its cadence, merging with the return of the introduction.
0:32 [m. 29]--The introduction is restated, beginning with the cadence in m. 29.  The four measures from m. 29 to m. 32 (except the vocal cadence) match mm. 1-4.  A repeat sign after m. 32 leads back to m. 5.
0:39 [m. 7]--Stanza (strophe) 2, lines 1-2.  The similar sentiment of each verse, with a fanciful subjunctive in the last two lines, makes the strophic form ideal.  Here, line 2 is one syllable longer than in stanza 1 and the repetition (of “von dir”) is later in the line.  The “extra” syllable is placed on the low note of the first downward arching figure (previously joined on the first syllable of “flattern” to the initial high note).  The repetitions of “von dir” are naturally and easily pushed forward in the musical line.
0:47 [m. 16]--Stanza (strophe) 2, lines 3-4.  The dramatic pause is placed after “sie sagen,” as in stanza 1.  The remainder of the lines follows the patterns from stanza 1, with the diminishing and slowing at the end.
0:57 [m. 25]--Stanza (strophe) 2, line 4 repeated.  The long-held notes are on the first and third syllables of “allerschönste.”  The cadence again merges with the return of the introduction.
1:05 [m. 29]--The introduction/interlude is again restated.  Since stanza 3 is written out, the repeat sign does not apply, and mm. 33-34 correspond to mm. 5-6.
1:10 [m. 35]--Stanza (strophe) 3, lines 1-2.  A couple of changes in declamation here warrant the music being newly written out.  The long-short rhythm previously used for “meine” is straightened out for the word “unlösbar” in line 1.  Line 2 is now given no text repetition and is one syllable shorter than in stanza 1 and two shorter than in stanza 2.  The first downward arching figure is set as in stanza 2, with a syllable on the low note.  The second one is now replaced by a long-held note, most fortuitously on the word “fest,” referring to thoughts being held fast by the beloved’s magic.  The note is held over a bar line, and the next note leading to the completion of the phrase is shortened by half and shifted forward.
1:20 [m. 44]--Stanza (strophe) 3, lines 3-4.  The dramatic pause is after “sie hätten.”  The lines then follow the patterns of the first two stanzas, diminishing and slowing as before.  The piano “bridge” is changed, the right hand oriented differently in a lower octave and the left hand shifting its rhythm backward.
1:29 [m.53]--Stanza (strophe) 3, line 4 repeated.  The long-held notes are on the first syllable of “Flügel” and on “sich.”  The piano harmonies are set lower and oriented differently.  The cadence merges into the fourth statement of the introduction music, now a postlude.
1:37 [m. 57]--The postlude corresponds to the introduction/interludes, but its first measure is changed, smoothly working back up to the higher octave from the end of the strophe.  The third and fourth measures are also altered to match the new pattern, beginning lower and reaching up.  The last two measures are unchanged.  The music breaks off where the voice had entered, and two gentle rolled chords, the second one held, close off the song.
1:54--END OF SONG [65 mm.]


3. Beim Abschied (At Parting).  Text by Friedrich Halm.  Sehr lebhaft und ungedulgig (Very rapidly and impatiently).  Short ternary form.  D MAJOR, 3/8 time [voice] and 2/4 time [piano, except five introductory measures in 3/8] (Low key B-flat major).  In first version, 2/4 time in piano begins at m. 41.

German Text:
Ich müh’ mich ab und kann’s nicht verschmerzen
Und kann’s nicht verwinden in meinem Herzen,
Daß ich den und jenen soll sehen,
Im Kreis um mich herum sich drehen,
Der mich nicht machte froh noch trübe,
Ob er nun ging’ oder bliebe,
Und nur die Eine soll von mir wandern,
Für die ich ertragen all die andern.

English Translation

The second version is preferred and used for this guide.
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.  The piano breathlessly plays the five-measure lead-in, notated in the 3/8 used by the voice.  Right-hand chords work up in long-short motion against broken octaves in the left hand.  These are arrested in the fourth measure before resolving to the “dominant” harmony on a fermata in the fifth bar.  The B-flat (lowered sixth degree), borrowed from the minor and pervasive throughout the song, appears before the resolution.  The volume becomes quiet for the vocal entry, but the mood remains agitated.
0:05 [m. 6]--Lines 1-4 (A).  The voice in 3/8 clashes with the piano in 2/4.  The piano’s syncopations, with harmonies beginning off the beat in the right hand against irregular broken octaves in the left, were originally in regular 3/8 motion, only changing to the clashing 2/4 later in the song, but Brahms changed this after the first publication, preferring the agitated conflict throughout.  The first line works down using long-short motion, then speeds up and slows down, creating a five-measure unit.  The second line begins with the faster motion, introducing the rogue B-flat borrowed from the minor, already heard in the piano.  It slows at the end, creating another five-bar unit.  Lines 3-4 are the same as lines 2-3 without the initial upbeat and with slightly different declamation in line 4.  The piano is slightly changed to lead into line 5.
0:18 [m. 26]--Lines 5-6 (B).  These lines are new.  Line 5 has upward chromatic motion, slowing at the end to yet another five-measure phrase.  It ends on the “dominant,” as had lines 2 and 4.  Line 6 moves down directly, pauses, and adds two more downward motions.  Harmonically, it shifts toward the dominant’s “relative” F-sharp minor.  Line 6 is immediately repeated with more downward figures, this time contracted to four measures with the piano bridging to the return of A in the fifth.  The line ends in F-sharp minor.  The piano figuration remains constant, the left-hand broken octaves alternating direction irregularly.
0:27 [m. 41]--Lines 7-8 (A’).  The lines are initially set to the same music used for lines 1-2 and 3-4, beginning with a slight accent to mark the return.  Brahms initially started the 2/4 in the accompaniment here, creating a contrast, but decided it was more effective to use it throughout.  Line 7 is then repeated, slowed down and stretched out to seven measures and ending on a fermata.  Brahms also marks a ritardando here to further emphasize the slowing.  The piano harmonies also slow down but retain the element of syncopation stretched out over two-bar units after the first measure.  The borrowed B-flat, not previously used in the voice for this phrase, now appears in the closing descent.
0:41 [m. 58]--The repetition of line 8 returns to the main tempo and rapidly builds to forte.  The piano introduces pungent “diminished seventh” harmonies, but the “rogue” B-flat is absent from the vocal line and the piano, resulting in a brighter sound with the crescendo.  The last word “Andern” reaches the song’s highest pitch and is sustained, lengthening the phrase to six measures in an exuberant but agitated cadence, under which the piano syncopations briefly straighten out with ringing harmonies.
0:44 [m. 63]--A piano postlude begins with the vocal cadence, using the established syncopated and chromatic motion, referring to the opening vocal melody.  The B-flat is present in the third measure (and heard as an A-sharp “leading note” in the first two), showing that the minor-key tinge has not been entirely banished.  After these measures, the syncopation ceases for the emphatically leaping final chords.
0:53--END OF SONG [68 mm.]



4. Der Jäger (The Hunter).  Text by Friedrich Halm.  Lebhaft (Lively, fast).  Simple strophic form.  F MAJOR, 3/4 time (Middle key E major, low key D major).
(The title Der Jäger is also used for the fourth of the choral Marienlieder, Op. 22.)

German Text:
Mein Lieb ist ein Jäger,
und grün ist sein Kleid,
Und blau ist sein Auge,
nur sein Herz ist zu weit.

Mein Lieb ist ein Jäger,
trifft immer ins Ziel,
Und Mädchen berückt er,
so viel er nur will.

Mein Lieb ist ein Jäger,
kennt Wege und Spur,
Zu mir aber kommt er
durch die Kirchtüre nur!

English Translation (stanzas condensed to two lines each)

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza (strophe) 1, introduction.  The forte horn call-like figures begin in unison on an upbeat, then gradually add voices and harmonies over three one-measure statements.  The third statement expands toward a full cadence in the fourth measure with full harmony over leaping bass octaves.
0:05 [m. 5]--Stanza (strophe) 1, lines 1-2.  The voice begins on the upbeat without accompaniment, leaping joyously.  The piano enters on the next upbeat as the voice rises to a full-measure high tonic note on the first syllable of “Jäger,” concluding the word with a downward octave leap.  The sustained note stretches the phrase to three measures.  The harmony under this strongly emphasizes the “subdominant” B-flat, the right hand adding lower “pedal” notes on F after the beats.  The second line is a quieter two-bar unit evoking the introduction.  The lower after-beat notes in the piano are more active, and there is a prominent chromatic half-step motion in the harmony.  The piano repeats its line 2 music without the voice.
0:13 [m. 12]--Stanza (strophe) 1, lines 3-4.  Line 3 has “horn call” upbeats like the introduction, but they are spaced two beats apart, creating two-beat units across the two 3/4 measures (a so-called “hemiola”).  The down-up motion supports this cross-rhythm.  The piano also follows the “hemiola,” but with up-down motion opposite in direction from the voice.  Its leggiero two-note harmonies in the right hand are followed by lower after-beats on C in the right and left hands, the latter marked staccato.  The volume builds for the last line, which shoots up to high F.  The piano right hand has after-beat chords against up-down motion in the low bass.  The line is repeated to new music that settles down.  A gentle grace note precedes the cadence.
0:20 [m. 1]--Stanza (strophe) 2, introduction.  The repeat sign leads back from m. 17, whose last beat becomes the introduction’s opening upbeat.
0:25 [m. 5]--Stanza (strophe) 2, lines 1-2.  Set as in stanza 1 at 0:05.  The first line is identical in all verses, so the word “Jäger” is always on the sustained full-measure high F.
0:33 [m. 12]--Stanza (strophe) 2, lines 3-4.  Set as in stanza 1 at 0:13. At the upbeat to line 4 and its repetition, the word “so” is placed under two notes that had been used for the two words “nur sein.”
0:40 [m. 18]--Stanza (strophe) 3, introduction.  This stanza is printed separately after the repeat sign in all editions, though it is musically identical, probably to facilitate the repetition of the introduction as a postlude.  The introduction here is played as before the previous two verses.
0:44 [m. 22]--Stanza (strophe) 3, lines 1-2.  Set as in stanzas 1-2 at 0:05 and 0:25 [m. 5].
0:53 [m. 29]--Stanza (strophe) 3, lines 3-4.  Set as in stanzas 1-2 at 0:13 and 0:33 [m. 12].  There are again two words (“durch die”) on the upbeat to line 4 and its repetition.
1:00 [m. 35]--The introduction is now given a fourth time as a postlude to close off the song.
1:10--END OF SONG [38 mm.]


5. Vorschneller Schwur (Hasty Oath).  Text by Siegfried Kapper, after a Serbian folk poem.  Allegretto.  Angemessen frei vorzutragen (Presented rather freely) -- Animato ma grazioso.  Anmutig belebt (Gracefully animated).  Binary form with strophic elements.  D MINOR/MAJOR, 2/4 time (Low key B-flat minor/major).

German Text:
Schwor ein junges Mädchen:
Blumen nie zu tragen,
Niemals Wein zu trinken,
Knaben nie zu küssen.
Gestern schwor das Mädchen -
Heute schon bereut es:

“Wenn ich Blume trüge,
Wär’ ich doch noch schöner!
Wenn ich Rotwein tränke,
Wär’ ich doch noch froher!
Wenn den Liebsten küßte,
Wär’ mich doch noch wohler!”

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1.  Allegretto (Angemessen frei vorzutragen), D minor.  The structure includes repetitions of the second and third lines to create an eight-line section with four eight-measure phrases.  All four phrases begin with the same rising third in the voice and piano, and the first three all follow this with a drop of a sixth.   There is no introduction.  After line 1 works its way down, line 2 rises toward a distinctive falling triplet figure on “zu” before an incomplete close on the “dominant” harmony.  The piano is discrete and unobtrusive, including weak beat harmonies under the first line and smooth chords under the second.
0:13 [m. 9]--The repetition of line 2 and the first statement of line 3 are set to an extremely similar phrase, but with subtle chromatic alterations that point more conclusively toward the “dominant” harmonies on A minor or A major.  This is most evident at the end of the phrase, where the closing downward leap from the first phrase is changed to a more complete arrival on the A-major harmony.
0:26 [m. 17]--The third phrase introduces more changes.  The repetition of line 3 changes the motion of the long-short notes to a more upward-reaching arch.  The piano harmonies here make a strong motion toward B-flat major.  The only statement of line 4 begins higher, but it includes the same falling triplet on “zu” as the first two phrases.  The emphasis given to this line points to this text as the turning point for the maiden’s regret of her oath.  The harmony moves back to D for a full cadence, the piano bass reaching low.  A fermata over the bar line indicates a pause before the transitional fourth phrase.
0:40 [m. 25]--The setting of lines 5-6 is transitional, but it still begins with the same rising third.  The triplet figure is not used, however.  Line 5 slows down to another arrival on the “dominant” and includes mezza voce right-hand piano harmonies after the beat.  Line 6 is parallel to line 5 in its structure and direction, but now the after-beat element is in the bass, a reiteration of the “dominant” note A.  At the end of the line, there is a shift toward the major in preparation for Part 2.  The motion slows even more, and after the singer completes the line expectantly, the piano confirms D major in a two-bar extension as the syncopated after-beat bass notes move down to D.
1:01 [m. 35]--Part 2.  Animato ma grazioso (Anmutig belebt), D major.  Here there are no repetitions of individual lines across different phrases as in Part 1, but the final couplet of lines 11-12 is repeated to create another eight-line section of four phrases.  Again, they begin with the rising third, but it is now major.  Line 7 soars up in a wider arching motion.  The fuller piano now includes after-beat harmonies that create a faster, more propulsive motion than the off-beat harmonies in Part 1.  Line 8 is a major version of line 2, and includes the distinctive falling triplet, now on the word “noch.”  The phrase ends on the “dominant.”
1:10 [m. 43]--The second phrase setting lines 9-10 is again extremely similar to the first, as it was in Part 1, and again there is a stronger and more complete motion to the “dominant” A-major harmony.  The after-beat harmonies and more propulsive motion continue in the piano.
1:20 [m. 51]--The final two lines are marked crescendo ed animato, again emphasizing the kiss as the primary motivation for regretting (or renouncing) the oath.  After the initial rising third, the voice soars to its highest pitch (a high A) in a rising octave.  This line (line 11) again moves very strongly toward the “dominant,” almost creating a full modulation to A major.  The final line shifts the falling triplet on “noch” up a third and stretches out the word “wohler” in a wide arching motion that extends the phrase by a measure with an incomplete cadence on D major.  This extension merges with the first measure of the final phrase that repeats this text (a so-called “elision”), with the piano alone taking the initial rising third.
1:32 [m. 60]--The singer has the same notes for the repetition of line 11, but because the piano took the first two notes on the “elision,” the voice begins with the rising octave and shortens the word “Liebsten” from two measures to one.  The piano right hand moves to a higher octave.  The repetition of line 12 is also almost the same up to the falling triplet.  The left hand also moves up an octave here from the first statement.  After the triplet, the voice soars a third time to the high note (each iteration of which is a half-beat longer) on the stretched-out statement of “wohler,” reaching a full D-major cadence on the extension.
1:41 [m. 67]--Coinciding with the vocal cadence, the piano has a short, exuberant postlude that also begins with the ubiquitous rising third.  There then follow a cadential rising fourth (A-D) and the rising third again an octave lower, all with a leaping left hand and the continuing after-beat harmonies.  The postlude closes with a low bass octave and a higher held D-major chord.
1:53--END OF SONG [70 mm.]


6. Mädchenlied (Girl’s Song).  Text by Paul Heyse, after an Italian source.  Behaglich (Comfortably).  Strophic form.  F MAJOR, 3/4 time (Middle key D-flat major, low key C major).
(The title Mädchenlied is also used for Op. 85, No. 3 and Op. 107, No. 5.)

German Text:
(The original poem includes two stanzas introducing the girl’s song, not set by Brahms)

Am jüngsten Tag ich aufersteh’
Und gleich nach meinem Liebsten seh’,
und wenn ich ihn nicht finden kann,
leg’ wieder mich zum Schlafen dann.

"O Herzeleid, du Ewigkeit!
Selbander nur ist Seligkeit!
Und kommt mein Liebster nicht hinein,
mag nicht im Paradiese sein!

English Translation (includes the two introductory stanzas not set by Brahms)

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza (strophe) 1, lines 1-2.  The piano begins with a half-measure (one and a half beats) upbeat, a descending arpeggio with the hands in unison.  The voice enters on the last note of the upbeat, loosely imitating the piano figure with a gentle chromatic decoration on “Am jüngsten Tag.”  The piano left hand moves to wide arpeggios, two in a bar.  A similar pattern a step lower is used in the next measure for the rest of the line, “ich aufersteh’.”  The second line is more continuous, sweeping up after a third quasi-imitation of the piano and then adding two wide downward leaps on “Liebsten.”  The piano here moves to bass notes followed by chords in the right hand after the beat, ending the line on “dominant” harmony.
0:12 [m. 5]--Stanza (strophe) 1, line 3.  The piano has a measure by itself, with the bass rising through two octaves on the “dominant” note and the right hand rising chromatically on colorfully dissonant “diminished seventh” chords after the beat.  This piano measure is repeated exactly as the third line is sung, doubling the piano’s chromatic line.  A second near-repetition of the piano measure changes the last two right-hand harmonies as the line closes off with another downward leap and upward turn.
0:18 [m. 8]--Stanza (strophe) 1, line 4.  The pattern with bass notes and after-beat right-hand chords continues under this line.  The voice enters after the downbeat, rising to a note held over the bar line on “mich.”  The harmony moves toward the minor version of the “dominant” key (C minor), reaching a cadence there with a “leaning” note (a so-called “appoggiatura”).  Back home in F, the whole line is then repeated over two rising gestures that reach up to a high F, shortened by removing two-note syllables on “Schlafen.”  A slowing (poco rit.) is marked for this statement.  The lower piano harmony and the voice introduce chromatic notes with the second rising gesture, the vocal D-flat providing a minor-key tinge.
0:31 [m. 13]--In a connecting interlude, the piano returns to its opening upbeat descending arpeggio, now over the continuing bass/off-beat pattern.  A second, lower descent again introduces the minor tinge of the note D-flat.  Another connecting measure without the upbeat descent leads into the second strophe.
0:38 [m. 15]--Stanza (strophe) 2, lines 1-2.  The vocal line is the same as in stanza 1, but marked forte, and the piano now doubles the voice, strongly harmonized in thirds in both hands.  This new accompaniment thus removes the element of imitation without the descending upbeat gesture.  With the downbeat of the second line, the original accompaniment pattern and piano dynamic level returns.
0:48 [m. 19]--Stanza (strophe) 2, line 3.  This line and its introductory piano measure are set as in stanza 1 at 0:12 [m. 5].  There is a fortuitous parallel between the stanzas with a long-emphasized note on “ihn” in stanza 1 and “Liebster” in stanza 2, both words referring to the girl’s beloved.
0:55 [m. 22]--Stanza (strophe) 2, line 4.  The first statement up to the C-minor cadence is set as in stanza 1 at 0:18 [m. 8], with the held note over the bar line on the first syllable of “Paradiese.”  The repetition is set to the same notes and harmonies as before, but it is stretched out two measures by “augmentation,” lengthening all the vocal notes in a broad long-short rhythm.  One gentle leaning “appoggiatura” is added to “Paradiese.”  The piano harmonies are also the same, but they are ingeniously separated by rests to accommodate the stretched-out vocal line.  Because of this “natural” slowing, Brahms does not mark the poco rit. here.
1:11 [m. 29]--Postlude.  It is essentially identical to the connecting interlude between the stanzas, with the two descending arpeggios on upbeats and the next connecting measure.  This second measure is changed at the end (where the voice had entered on its upbeat) to continue the F-major harmony and rise higher.  A third measure is added continuing the bass/off-beat pattern, rising to held chords in both hands.
1:29--END OF SONG [31 mm.]


7. Schön war, das ich dir weihte (Fair Was My Gift to You).  Text by Georg Friedrich Daumer, after a Turkish source.  Einfach (Simply).  Expanded ternary form with developmental middle section (AA’BA”).  F MINOR, 4/4 time (Middle key D minor, low key C-sharp minor).


German Text
Schön war, das ich dir weihte,
das goldene Geschmeide,
süß war der Laute Ton,
die ich dir auserlesen;
das Herze, das sie beide
darbrachte, wert gewesen
wär’s, zu empfangen einen bessern Lohn.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Lines 1-2 (A).  After a measure of semi-detached off-beat syncopation on the “dominant” note C from the piano, the voice droops down on the first two words.  The piano doubles this in the right hand, harmonizing in thirds.  After pausing, the voice continues with an upward motion and then a downward plunge on the rest of the line, the piano harmonizing the upward motion in sixths and the downward in thirds as the syncopated C continues in the left hand.  The phrase continues for the second line with another descent, then stretches out the last word to a full cadence.  The doubling now includes fourths, and the syncopation moves down to F and B-flat.  It then outlines an F-minor chord in a bare bridge.
0:18 [m. 6]--Lines 3-4 (A’).  The bridge after the cadence takes the place of the earlier introduction.  The setting and declamation of these lines is like the first two, except for the single syllable on “Ton” replacing the two on “weihte.”  The last note of that descent is left to the piano.  The piano accompaniment itself is brought down to a lower octave, and the syncopated left hand moves away from C sooner.  The sixth degree (D-flat) is also added to the low syncopation.  The right hand adds a new imitation of the descent from “die ich dir” under “auserlesen” for a more continuous piano descent.  The bridge adds bass notes yet another octave lower.  (The middle and low editions invert the piano harmonies in the line 4 descent.)
0:34 [m. 10]--Lines 5-6 (B).  Brahms runs these lines together, following the poem’s enjambments, pausing at the commas rather than the actual line breaks.  Beginning with an upbeat on “das,” the music makes a striking harmonic shift to D-flat major, a third below the home key.  The setting of line 5 closely resembles lines 1 and 3, but in the brighter new major key.  The syncopations hold on a low A-flat, with added bass notes beneath.  But then the beginning of line 6 follows directly and unexpectedly without a pause, with a near echo on the word “darbrachte.”  The voice turns to minor (still based on D-flat) to complete the line in anguished descending long-short rhythms supported by low piano chords that abandon the vocal doubling.
0:46 [m. 13]--Line 7, first statement (B, continued).  The first word “wär’s” follows grammatically directly after the end of line 6.  Brahms observes this, placing it on a downbeat and a longer note to separate it from the rest of the line.  The syncopation has moved, but then it finally stops under the continuation of this first statement of the final line.  The minor flavor turns quickly back to major (still on D-flat) with a soaring line on “empfangen” over low piano harmonies.  The line concludes with short downward-arching figures in two-note groups, the piano adding its own low-range rising two-note groups, and the volume building to a climax.  The last word “Lohn” sweeps down, diverting from a full D-flat arrival as the syncopation returns.
1:02 [m. 17]--Transition.  After the piano reaches upward, the last words of line 6, “wert gewesen,” are given two sequential statements to lead back to the home key and the opening material.  The two statements are descents, with the second one a step higher and adding an upward turn at the end as a lead-in.  The slow bass notes rise chromatically, and the syncopation rises from A-flat to B-flat to C.  Under the two statements, the right hand fully harmonizes its doubling with figures based on the short rising motion heard in lines 1, 3, and 5.  The volume builds strongly with the second statement on the approach to the return.
1:09 [m. 19]--Line 7, second statement (A”).   The buildup flows directly into a final statement of line 7.  It uses the same music as the statements of lines 1-2 and lines 3-4, with the piano alone taking the descent originally heard at the beginning of lines 2 and 4, as there are fewer words to set.  The volume is now forte, in strong contrast to the opening.  The piano harmonies are changed, adding a new contrary motion in the left hand against the rising vocal figure.  The left-hand syncopation moves down in harmonic thirds in the second measure.  The forte outburst quickly wanes.  The piano pauses as the voice begins “einen bessern Lohn,” then plays block chords leading into the cadence.
1:22 [m. 22]-- Postlude.  With the bitter minor-key vocal cadence, the piano bass resumes the syncopation.  The right hand, after an initial downward leap, plays the familiar descending motion in thirds.  The syncopation stops again, and the descending motion is played at a higher level in sixths over left-hand chords that reiterate the cadence music from “einen bessern Lohn.”  After its second descent, the right hand joins the cadence music, three times echoing the left hand after the beat before the final bass octave.
1:40--END OF SONG [24 mm.]
END OF SET


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