SYMPHONY NO. 4 in E MINOR, OP. 98
Recording: Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Claudio Abbado [DG 435
Brahms began composing
his last symphonic masterpiece at a mountain retreat in 1884, about a
year after completing the Third Symphony. Brahmsians often label
it as the composer’s “magnum opus,” although the German Requiem competes for that
designation. It was composed specifically for the Meiningen Court
Orchestra, led by his friend Hans von Bülow, rather than for
Vienna. Brahms was concerned from the outset about the work’s
accessibility, but audiences responded enthusiastically. It is
quite serious and even tragic. Although the third movement
competes with the finale of the Second Symphony for sheer exuberance,
this only emphasizes through contrast the severity and strictness of
the finale. The chains of thirds introduced in the first
movement, as well as the emphasis on the note C in all four movements,
characterize the symphony. Bülow, only half-jokingly,
remarked after the first movement was played on two pianos at a private
gathering, “For the whole movement I had the feeling that I was being
given a beating by two incredibly intelligent people.” It is the
only one of Brahms’s symphonic first movements to avoid repeating the
exposition, although the development begins with the first theme in its
original form. The second movement is known for its suggestions
of the Phrygian mode. The first two movements also have notably
unusual final cadences. The only third movement in the symphonies
that actually sounds like a scherzo is paradoxically the only one to
avoid the three-part scherzo-like form. The introduction of the
triangle is the only time in the symphonies that a percussion
instrument other than timpani is used. Although it seems
anomalous, the movement does have clear references to the other three,
even suggesting the theme of the finale’s variations in the alternating
high and low chords in the coda. The extraordinary finale is a passacaglia or chaconne (Brahms used the latter
term), a form common in the early eighteenth century. It is a
series of 30 continuous variations on an eight-bar stepwise rising
theme. Said to be derived from a Bach cantata (specifically
Cantata #150), Brahms gives the theme its essential character by making
the fifth note and its harmonies chromatic (outside the E-minor
scale). The variations can be split into four sections roughly
corresponding to the first theme group, second theme group,
development, and recapitulation of sonata form (used in all three of
the other movements). The brief coda ends the symphony with a
powerful impact. Though intellectually and emotionally somewhat
challenging, the symphony’s greatness was already acknowledged by
Brahms’s death a decade later. The orchestra is of standard size,
with double woodwind, four horns, two trumpets, and timpani.
Contrabassoon, piccolo, and triangle are used in the third
movement. Three trombones (and contrabassoon) are used in the
FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (from Breitkopf &
Härtel Sämtliche Werke):
1st Movement: Allegro non troppo (Sonata-Allegro
form). E MINOR, Cut time [2/2].
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1.
With no introduction at all, the main theme begins with a violin
upbeat, almost in mid-thought. The melody consists of upbeats
leading into downbeats, continually reversing direction. The
pitches actually form a chain of thirds, descending in the first four
bars and ascending in the second four. The violas and cellos
accompany with harmonized arpeggios, while flutes, clarinets, and
bassoons provide punctuating weak beat chords, the horns sustaining
chords and octaves.
0:19 [m. 9]--Theme 1 continues
as the violins now stick to the note “C” on long notes with winding
three-note upbeats. The bass line now moves up chromatically (by
half-step). The wind chords are less detached.
0:27 [m. 13]--The violin
figures become shorter, with two upbeats in each bar. This leads
to two smoother four-note descending lines, an octave leap (echoed by
the oboe) and a cadence that merges with the following varied statement
of the theme.
0:38 [m. 19]--Varied statement
of Theme 1. The upbeats and downbeats are played in broken
octaves. Violas and woodwinds play new descending scale lines,
and the weak beat punctuations are in low strings.
0:52 [m. 27]--The second part
of the theme now slides upward by half-steps (from the initial C) on
the long notes and steadily builds in volume.
0:59 [m. 31]--The shorter
figures now lead into a huge expansion. This reaches a loud
volume level, with more woodwind participation.
1:13 [m. 39]--The expansion
continues with a syncopated descending line and more agitated short
figures. The harmony moves toward the minor version of the
“dominant” key of B. The climax is reached with two large
descending lines merging into dotted (long-short) rhythms.
1:37 [m. 53]--Transition.
The extended transition begins with fanfare-like figures, including a
triplet rhythm, in the woodwinds. The full orchestra provides a
descending response in dotted rhythm. There follows a very broad
cello melody doubled by horns. The remaining strings and winds
provide a strongly rhythmic accompaniment of four punctuating
harmonized descents of four thirds each (B minor).
1:56 [m. 65]--The cello melody
is transferred to the violins in octaves. The full orchestra
except violins takes the punctuating descents of thirds. The last
of these is extended to five thirds in the low strings. This last
bass note helps to avert an expected strong arrival on a B-minor
2:09 [m. 73]--The expected
cadence on B minor is thwarted by a sudden and strong re-appearance of
the woodwind fanfares, this time underpinned by loud syncopated chords
in the strings, on G major/minor. An accented descent leads to a
repetition of the same fanfares on C major/minor. This then
dissipates into a series of detached two-note figures passed between
plucked (pizzicato) strings
and woodwinds, both in unison and leading back to B.
2:31 [m. 87]--Theme 2.
The arrival is in the major key. The strings continue to pluck
leaping figures, now in harmony, as the winds enter with syncopated
chords. The violins then emerge with a warm, rich descending
melody in dotted rhythm accompanied by pulsating triplets in violas and
cellos. This diminishes suddenly in volume (B major).
2:46 [m. 95]--Flute, clarinet
and horn present a new melody that includes triplet rhythms. The
strings accompany with short pairs of repeated notes. The oboe
and horn then merge into the descending melody in dotted rhythm.
The short pairs continue in the strings. The dotted melody
reaches a point of repose, with three-note figures passed between horn
and flute, both underpinned by the oboe.
3:08 [m. 107]--Closing
Section. The repose of the second theme is interrupted by a
sudden dissonant (diminished) chord on G-sharp. The volume
remains quiet, but the calm is disturbed by a timpani roll (the drums
making their first entrance here) and the fanfare rhythm on the
trumpet. Under the held wind chord, the strings play a unison
arpeggio that arches upward, then down as the bass slides down to
G. The closing theme itself, a quiet major-key version of the
wind fanfare with isolated three-note interjections, follows.
3:21 [m. 114]--The wind
fanfares are interrupted by another quiet diminished chord (this time
on E-sharp) with drum roll and trumpet fanfares. The string
arpeggios are extended to nearly twice the length, with more short
descents. The bass slides down by half-steps as the oboe,
bassoons and horn slide up. The volume swells. After
reaching C-sharp, the bass moves back to E-sharp. Then the
B-major fanfares enter again, this time forcefully on the strings with
trumpet and horn punctuation, followed by a joyous arching wind
response in triplet rhythm.
3:40 [m. 125]--The string
fanfares suddenly shift up to D major. Other winds join in the
punctuations. The fanfares and triplet rhythms become even more
insistent as the harmony moves back to B major. The climax comes
with an exuberant dotted rhythm.
4:00 [m. 137]--The expected
strong and forceful cadence on B is again somewhat averted, this time
by a sudden soft volume as it is reached. Harmonized upbeat
descents reminiscent of Theme 1, beginning in flutes and bassoons, but
then incorporating the other winds, bring the exposition to a quiet
close. They are accompanied by arpeggios in low strings and
detached weak beat echoes in the violins. Three figures lead to a
sustained wind chord that starts to propel the music back to the home
key of E minor. The pattern is repeated a step lower, leading to
a highly unstable and dissonant chord (a diminished seventh).
4:16 [m. 145]--The previous
passage is set up in a way that makes an exposition repeat
expected. Brahms plays a formal game here by beginning the
development section as if it were
an exposition repeat. His only symphonic first movement to lack
such a repeat thus deceives the listener into thinking that there is
one. The first eight-bar phrase with its chains of thirds is
heard as it was at the movement’s beginning.
4:31 [m. 153]--The arrival of
the long C’s with winding three-note upbeats diverges from the
exposition. The harmonies are new from the outset and lack the
rising chromatic bass line, and the weak beat wind chords drop out in
favor of a smooth clarinet descent.
4:38 [m. 157]--The winding
upbeats develop into a flowing line with syncopations over bar
lines. It is passed between violin groups. The flutes and
bassoons, later joined by oboes, introduce three-note stepwise patterns
harmonized in thirds and sixths. The clarinets later add a
flowing accompaniment that dovetails with the violin lines. These
patterns begin in G minor, but move toward A-flat major. The long
notes with winding upbeats return in the woodwinds in A-flat,
accompanied by violins and filled with quiet tension.
4:59 [m. 169]--Suddenly, there
is a huge outburst in the strings. Groups of three powerful
chords are passed between the violins and the low strings as the winds
and horns alternate a neighbor-note figure in dotted rhythms.
These powerful three-note groups begin on the last upbeats of the bars,
so the downbeat is obscured. The passage vacillates between the
related keys of B-flat minor and D-flat major before pivoting to B
minor/major (approached by its alternate identity as C-flat). At
the end, the strings gradually come together as the winds abandon their
dotted rhythm and take over the alternation from the low strings.
5:26 [m. 184]--As at 2:09 [m.
73], an expected arrival on B is thwarted by a deceptive motion to G,
but this time it is suddenly quiet as well (pianissimo). The passage is a
sort of mixture between those at 2:09 [m. 73] and 3:08 [m. 107].
The fanfares and triplets are heard in the strings with their typical
major/minor mixture, but the drum roll, sustained horn octave, and
mysterious character recall the later moment.
5:33 [m. 188]--Very quietly,
flutes, clarinets, and bassoons play the fanfares in unison, sotto voce. These lead to the
quiet string arpeggios as heard at 3:08 [m. 107]. Figures
reminiscent of Theme 1 are heard in the oboes. These, as well as
the sustained bass note and the arpeggio, suggest C minor. Other
winds then enter as the bass note shifts up a half-step.
5:49 [m. 196]--The string
arpeggios and oboe figures are again played over the new bass note
(C-sharp). The other winds again shift the bass note upward to
D. It remains there much more briefly before a harmonized oboe
and horn descent helps it move up one more half-step, to D-sharp.
There, the string arpeggios dissipate under a drum roll. The
“mysterious” fanfares and triplets are now played by the winds,
arching up and back down in yet another attempt to establish the
“dominant” harmony of B major/minor.
6:10 [m. 206]--In a sudden
outburst, the fanfares blast forth in their original character in the
strings, with trumpet and horn responses. The winds then join as
the fanfares gradually move to A-flat major. The triplet figures
begin a boisterous descent in the winds and brass as the fanfare rhythm
continues in the strings. The strings then lead another descent,
with the winds responding. A-flat major is changed to G-sharp
minor (same keynote), where a strong cadence is reached.
6:27 [m. 217]--The winds begin
a long passage in G-sharp minor of stepwise triplet motion harmonized
in thirds. After two loud punctuations, they become quiet.
Clarinets and bassoons, then oboes, then clarinets again, play the
sinuous thirds. Against this, and quite surprisingly, the
violins, playing pizzicato,
present the first phrase of Theme 1 in its entirety, all played on the
offbeat and harmonized by violas and flutes, the cellos and basses
providing a plucked foundation on the downbeats.
6:45 [m. 227]--Re-transition.
second part of Theme 1, the long note with the winding three-note
upbeat, is heard in two sequences with the four-note groups passed from
the flute to three string sections (violas, then cellos, then violins),
the other strings and winds alternating on the background
harmonies. The second sequence is a step higher than the first.
7:00 [m. 235]--Four shorter
sequences follow, each with a winding figure played by a wind
instrument followed by a descending figure played by a string
group. The first two alternate clarinet and violins, the third
one oboe and violins, and the last one (with the same pitches as the
third) clarinet and violas. The other winds and strings provide
background harmonies, again in alternation. These sequences
become very quiet. The entire passage from 6:45 [m. 227] has
moved from G-sharp minor in rising sequences to arrive back home at E
7:18 [m. 243]--After the last
sequence, the winds drop out and the strings very quietly (triple piano), led by cellos, bridge into
the mysterious beginning of the recapitulation, hanging on the
7:27 [m. 247]--The moment of
return is disguised, as the development began with Theme 1 in its
original form. The original notes of Theme 1 are heard in oboes,
clarinets, and bassoons, but they are twice as long, quiet, mysterious,
and sustained. At the arrival of the fourth note, there is a link
to previous passages such as 3:08 [m. 107] and 5:33 [m. 188]. The
note is underpinned with a new harmony (a C major chord colored by a
pervasive foreign note, A-flat), quiet string arpeggios, and a drum
roll, and is sustained for three bars.
7:40 [m. 253]--The same process
occurs for the next four notes (completing the “descending” portion of
the chain of thirds). The fourth note is underpinned by harmony
and arpeggios suggesting G major or E minor (the home key), with the
“color” note of D-sharp.
7:54 [m. 259]--After the
disguised beginning, the recapitulation slides into its normally
expected path, picking up with the “ascending” chain of thirds and then
continuing as at 0:19 [m. 9] and 0:27 [m. 13].
8:20 [m. 273]--Varied statement
of Theme 1, as at 0:38 [m. 19] and 0:52 [m. 27].
8:41 [m. 285]--The expansion
from 0:59 [m. 31] and 1:13 [m. 39] is greatly curtailed. The
removal of ten bars from the passage allows it to remain at home in E
minor for the transition and second theme group.
9:01 [m. 297]--Transition from
1:37 [m. 53] now in the home key. Woodwind fanfares and triplet
rhythms, followed by horn/cello melody with rhythmic accompaniment
(four groups of four descending thirds).
9:21 [m. 309]--Continuation of
melody on violins, as at 1:56 [m. 65]. Averted arrival on an
9:33 [m. 317]--Fanfares and
syncopated chords, as at 2:09 [m. 73] on C minor/major, then F
minor/major. This is followed by detached, unison two-note
figures passed between plucked strings and woodwinds, leading back to E.
9:55 [m. 331]--Theme 2, as at
2:31 [m. 87], now in E major.
10:10 [m. 339]--Continuation as
at 2:46 [m. 95], with the roles of the woodwind instruments
somewhat reversed. Arrival at point of repose.
10:32 [m. 351]--Closing
section, as at 3:08 [m. 107] and 3:21 [m. 114]. The fanfare
figures are played by a horn instead of a trumpet. The diminished
chords and string arpeggios are on C-sharp (sliding down to C), then
(following the major-key version of the fanfare and triplets) on
A-sharp. Drum rolls, as before. The sliding bass descent is
again followed by the joyous outburst of fanfares with trumpets and
horns, followed by the arching wind response in triplets.
11:04 [m. 369]--This passage
diverges from 3:40 [m. 125]. The shift of the fanfares is to
G-sharp, a half-step higher than the expected (and analogous) G.
The climactic passage is extended. Whereas the corresponding
passage in the exposition moved back to the major key after the shifted
fanfares, it now moves back to E minor (instead of major), since the
end is approaching and this ultimately tragic movement must conclude in
minor where it began. This occurs via the related key of G major.
11:22 [m. 381]--The closing
section is further extended with accented, syncopated string triplets,
passing down through F major (and including a last wind fanfare) to
arrive, finally, on E minor. The triplets become more and more
forceful and dramatic, culminating on two harmonized wind descents
(punctuated by two loud outbursts) and a tremolo string arpeggio leading
into the powerful coda. The end of this passage is surprisingly
similar to the quiet one at 6:27 [m. 217] in the development.
This earlier passage was underpinned by the quiet weak beat plucked
string version of Theme 1, whose apotheosis follows here.
11:42 [m. 394]--Theme 1 is
presented in imitation with low strings and horns answered by the rest
of the orchestra. It is stark and powerful. After four
bars, the leading voice (low strings and horns) begins to play in
syncopation. The Theme 1 material continues with the following
elements (long notes with winding three-note upbeats, then the short,
detached upbeat figures), working toward a climax.
12:12 [m. 414]--The large
descending lines from the climax of Theme 1 before the transition in
both the exposition and recapitulation now become the climax of the
movement. They lead to accented, tragic short descents from the
winds and low strings against a powerful violin tremolo arpeggio. This
material builds even more intensity in the full orchestra over
thundering timpani rolls before a powerful E-minor cadence.
12:45 [m. 436]--Five
punctuating chords from the full orchestra mark the arrival. Then
the movement closes with a broad plagal
cadence, with a sustained “subdominant” (A-minor) chord over four
thumping timpani beats moving to the final E-minor chord. Such a
plagal cadence was originally planned by Brahms to open the movement
before he deleted it in favor of the more direct beginning.
13:05--END OF MOVEMENT [440 mm.]
Andante moderato (Varied Sonata form without development). E
MAJOR, 6/8 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Introduction.
introduction actually anticipates Theme 1, but these austere slow
fanfares, played first by a solo horn which is then joined by the other
winds (excluding clarinets), are not in the “right” key. The
fanfares begin on E, but the notes used are those from C major.
The fanfares are actually in the Phrygian
mode, which has a half-step between the first and second notes of the
scale. This mode is often associated with the note E because it
has no sharps or flats when centered there.
0:30 [m. 5]--Theme 1. The
absence of the clarinets in the preceding fanfares is explained by
their leading role in presenting the full theme that is derived from
their distinctive dotted rhythms. They share this very quiet
presentation with plucked violins. The remaining accompanying
strings are also plucked. Bassoons and later flutes provide
further accompaniment. While the theme is now clearly in major
because of the notes F-sharp and G-sharp, the persistent C-natural and
D-natural are vestiges of the Phrygian introduction.
1:18 [m. 13]--The horns take
over the presentation of Theme 1 from the clarinets and plucked
violins, with counterpoint from bassoons and continued plucked string
1:30 [m. 15]--Suddenly, the
clarinets re-enter alone with the bassoons. They now strongly
play the fanfares with the persistent foreign (“Phrygian”) notes.
The plucked strings have short punctuations. The other winds
enter on forceful rising arpeggios. These respond to the
clarinet/bassoon fanfares twice in sequence, the first suggesting B
major and the second G major. Clarinets and bassoons then play
trailing passages in groups of three that diminish in volume. The
horns enter in preparation for another statement of the theme.
2:08 [m. 22]--The trailing
clarinets and bassoons have moved back toward E. Theme 1 begins
another full statement. The plucked strings play as before, but
the horn, clarinet, and bassoons that support them drop out two times,
leaving the plucked strings exposed as they complete the first phrase.
2:32 [m. 26]--The clarinets,
bassoons, and horns re-enter at the end of the first phrase, and the
plucked strings drop out. The clarinets lead again for the second
phrase of the theme. The plucked strings make a tentative
appearance toward the end of the phrase. The leading clarinet
then suddenly and unexpectedly abandons the modal inflections and moves
to a full cadence in E, which has thus far been avoided.
2:57 [m. 30]--Theme 1 finally
flowers into a beautiful, warm melody in E major. It is played by
the violins, bowing for the first time in the movement. Violas
and cellos, still plucked, provide accompaniment in rising triplet
arpeggios. The winds also accompany with mildly syncopated
lines. The violins then plunge downward in arpeggios before a
change of key to the “dominant” of B, the line quickly rising again to
an expectant repeated note. Here, the remaining strings take up
their bows for the first time.
3:35 [m. 36]--Transition
theme. Beginning halfway through the bar, the woodwinds present
an austere and dramatic harmonized melody in detached triplet
rhythm. The strings then reply. This pattern is repeated
with altered harmony (natural instead of melodic minor). A single
horn begins to pulse on a syncopated repeated note under three rising
woodwind chords. The horn is isolated, quickly diminishing, then
the three chords are repeated an octave lower, stretched out, and at a
quiet volume, leading into Theme 2 (B minor).
4:02 [m. 41]--Theme 2.
The cellos play a very warm and beautiful major-key theme, slowly
rising and falling in a stepwise motion. All winds except
bassoons drop out. The violins provide a decorative accompaniment
characterized by short rests. The bassoons and violas provide a
counterpoint to the cellos. The theme reaches a full cadence (B
TRANSITION TO RECAPITULATION (in lieu of Development Section)
4:56 [m. 50]--The cadence of
Theme 2 merges into echoes from clarinet, violins, bassoons, and then
cellos again. The strings then lead an extension of the theme,
rising and falling in pitch and volume. This is echoed by flutes,
clarinets and bassoons, the strings continuing with rising two-note
5:34 [m. 57]--The music
dissipates into the rising two-note figures, passed from strings to
woodwinds. The flute is then isolated in alternation with the
violins. The violas take over the alternation from the
flute. The violas then expand the two-note figures into a
sweeping, but quiet arpeggio, passed to the violins, who move up and
back down twice The arpeggios are accompanied first by solemn
horns and bassoons, then by oboes and clarinets with bassoons. A
harmonized rising line from the flutes leads to the recapitulation.
6:14 [m. 64]--Theme 1.
The theme is rescored. The violins are still plucked, as are
cellos and basses, but the violas are not. They substitute for
the clarinets in presenting the melody. The woodwinds themselves
pass harmonized descending groups (usually thirds) between them.
Flutes, clarinets, horns, and bassoons are heard, but oboes are
not. The timpani are heard for the first time on soft rolls.
7:00 [m. 72]--Horns begin
another presentation of Theme 1 with bassoons and plucked strings (now
including violas), as at 1:18 [m. 13].
7:12 [m. 74]--The fanfares
enter again as at 1:30 [m. 15], but now all woodwinds play together in
unison. The violins (bowed) take over halfway through the first
statement. A very active counterpoint with shorter notes takes
over in the violas. This then moves to the violins as well, as
the woodwinds enter with their response to the fanfares. The
response suggest B major, as before.
7:23 [m. 76]--The second
statement of the fanfares is taken by the low strings. The
following response continues the active, rapid motion in shorter notes,
mostly in arpeggios, expanding on what was heard in the exposition, but
still suggesting G major. The winds drop out, and the strings
continue, the violins playing the fanfare rhythms in a descending
sequence before passing them to the low strings and moving to the
faster notes with the violas. The passage moves to B-flat.
7:43 [m. 80]--A harmonized
blast of the fanfare from winds and horns is followed by a string
response. The strings forcefully continue, and the winds then
respond to them. The strings begin another sequence, but they
continue with a resumption of the rapid motion, including triplets in
the violas, as the winds respond with the fanfare rhythm. This
passage moves from B-flat to B and builds to a climax.
8:06 [m. 84]--Transition
Theme. The preceding development has replaced the last statement
of Theme 1 from 2:08 [m. 22] and its more melodious variation at 2:57
[m. 30]. Now the transition enters in the home minor key (E
minor), played forcefully by the whole orchestra, including thundering
timpani. This is the climax of the movement. The triplet
rhythm is extended by half a bar, but there is only one statement of
the three rising chords (in their longer version), now from horns and
bassoons without the repeated pulsation.
8:32 [m. 88]--Theme 2, in the
home key of E major. The violins play the melody. The
decorative accompaniment with the rests is absent, and the cellos play
the counterpoint formerly taken by the bassoons. The winds are
completely absent until the end of the melody, where bassoons and
clarinets, then flutes and oboes enter in syncopation in thirds and
sixths, while violins and violas suddenly and actively descend over a
9:36 [m. 98]--Theme 2 is given
a new and dramatic variation in place of the previous transition to the
recapitulation. It is played in exuberant syncopation from both
strings and woodwinds with timpani rolls.
10:01 [m. 102]--This suddenly
breaks off. The strings quietly begin the second half of the
theme. Then clarinets and bassoons, accompanied by a horn, take
over in thirds with four rising figures containing dotted rhythms as
the strings begin to pluck, leading into the coda. The clarinets
and bassoons then play the three slow, syncopated rising chords from
the end of the transition.
10:28 [m. 106]--The low strings
play a sustained note (the dominant note, B), while the violins and
violas play mysterious arpeggios (marked triple piano) on a diminished chord and
the timpani begins a soft roll. The clarinets play fragments of
Theme 1 similar to those heard at 2:32 [m. 26]. The oboe later
takes over the fragments. This moment is reminiscent of the
similar “mysterious” passages in the first movement.
11:02 [m. 111]--The rapid, soft
arpeggios and the timpani roll break off. After a notated general
break, the principal clarinet resumes the Theme 1 material with string
accompaniment, slowing to a satisfying resolution and cadence on E.
11:22 [m. 113]--At the moment
of the cadence, the horns suddenly start to blast out the original
fanfares as heard in the introduction. They are accompanied by
rising lines in bassoons, violins and violas, and rising triplet
arpeggios in the cellos. The accompaniment, still in E, clashes
with the “Phrygian” horns. The woodwinds join with the horns on
the fanfares. Now, the Phrygian mode is re-interpreted as C major
mixed with E major. C begins to function as a “dominant” chord,
suggesting the previously unheard F major.
11:44 [m. 116]--The fanfares
end and the music again quiets down. Three rising arpeggios
follow with an unusual harmonic sequence. First, the cellos play
one in C major. Then the clarinets in E major. Finally, the
flute and oboe play over a timpani roll in F major, a harmony strongly
implied earlier. This F-major arpeggio slides down to the final
E-major chord. This cadence is known as a “Phrygian” cadence, and
is highly appropriate given the use of that mode in the movement.
The final chord is sustained by woodwinds and horns. Strings
(with timpani) punctuate it three times, the last time plucked
12:09--END OF MOVEMENT [118 mm.]
Movement: Allegro giocoso (Sonata form with foreshortened
recapitulation). C MAJOR, 2/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1, Part
1. Brahms adds piccolo, contrabassoon, and triangle to the
orchestra. The opening is played by the full orchestra in a loud,
exuberant manner. There are two lines in contrary motion,
descending steps from the higher instruments and ascending steps from
the lower ones. These change direction on longer notes.
They are arrested by an accented loud chord with a drum roll
0:09 [m. 6]--Theme 1, Part
2. The theme resumes with detached repeated chords, beginning
with a short-short-long rhythm and continuing with faster notes than at
0:12 [m. 10]--Theme 1, Part
3. A very abrupt harmonic shift leads to a loud fanfare in E-flat
major with descending neighbor-note turns. The accents are very
strong and on the weak beats of bars. There are more drum
rolls. A descending string arpeggio in triplets leads back to C
0:21 [m. 19]--Theme 1, Part 2
resumes after the interruption of Part 3, now played more smoothly and
quietly, without the short-short-long repeated notes. It is
greatly extended. A long crescendo begins, culminating in an
extended timpani roll and downward-arching, rushing string scales.
0:37 [m. 35]--Theme 1, Part 1,
now inverted with the higher instruments moving up and the lower ones
moving down. The arresting loud chord is now more fully
harmonized, and marks the first entrance of the ringing triangle.
0:43 [m. 40]--Transition.
Theme 1, Part 2 seems to begin again with the triangle, but its
direction is altered, and there is a motion toward the “dominant” key
of G major. All instruments except the low strings drop
out. They descend by thirds in the short-short-long repeated
notes, quickly diminishing in volume. The violins and violas play
another chain of descending thirds with the repeated notes.
Finally, the flute, clarinet, and bassoon play a longer chain of
descending thirds in single notes, the repeated notes continuing in the
0:54 [m. 52]--Theme 2. A
more gentle and graceful, but jaunty melody from the first violins with
light accompaniment from the other strings and running responses from
piccolo, flute, clarinets, and bassoons. A trill leads to the
next phrase (G major).
1:06 [m. 63]--The winds take
over the melody, straightening it out and passing it between
them. The strings play a more rhythmic accompaniment, all plucked
except for a bowed triplet rhythm counterpoint in the violas. The
triangle enters here with light rhythmic tapping.
1:20 [m. 77]--The strings, all
bowed, begin a closing phrase that develops into a re-transition.
This becomes more ominous, and the whole orchestra enters, including a
large timpani roll, over a huge crescendo. The motion is back to C
major and to Theme 1.
1:32 [m. 89]--Theme 1, Part 1
begins as at the start of the movement. The “arresting” chord is
now expanded and passed between two large groups. The first
includes strings, bassoons, horns, and timpani. The second
includes the other woodwinds, trumpets, and a prominent, rolled
triangle. Clarinets play in both groups. The first group
plays loudly, the second softly for two rising sequences.
1:45 [m. 100]--The two large
groups unite and play alternating low and high chords for three rising
sequences. Timpani are only played on the low chords; flute,
piccolo, oboes, trumpets, and triangle only on the high ones.
Following these sequences, Theme 1, Part 2 begins. It is
interrupted by two large, syncopated chords (with triangle and timpani
rolls), then continues and is developed, moving to the related minor
key, A minor.
2:01 [m. 117]--Further
development of Theme 1, Part 2. Fragments are passed between
strings and winds, the latter accompanied by plucked strings. The
strings and winds then unite, playing in counterpoint on the material
of Theme 1, Part 2. This passage moves from A minor to E major.
2:23 [m. 139]--Development of
Theme 1, Part 1 in C-sharp minor (the relative key to the previous E
major). First the winds play the “inverted” version in harmony,
with syncopated accompaniment from violas and cellos (playing with the
bassoons). Then the strings play the original “descending”
version in stark unison. The groups join for a brief bridge
before the winds drop out completely.
2:36 [m. 151]--Further
development of Theme 1, Parts 1 and 2 in C-sharp minor by strings
alone. This becomes ever quieter, trailing off to triple piano. The fragments become
shorter, the low strings begin plucking, and all is suspended on a
plucked unison C-sharp from all strings before a pause.
2:55 [m. 168]--The triangle
punctuates a very quiet, syncopated entry of Theme 1, Part 1 played by
all winds and horns. This is in D-flat major (the major-key
version of the previous key; C-sharp and D-flat are the same
note). The “arresting” pause from the plucked strings leads to a
trailing, descending bassoon line with chords from the other
winds. The strings then enter, bowed, as does a timpani roll for
two quiet transitional chords.
3:11 [m. 181]--Re-transition.
marks this passage Poco meno
presto. It is a moment of respite, despite the
transitional character. The horns, bassoons, and clarinets begin
a very tranquil version of the formerly boisterous Theme 1, Part 3 in
D-flat major, accompanied by plucked strings. The oboe then takes
over the melody. The strings take up their bows as the music
moves away from D-flat. Flute and piccolo enter. The music
is passed between strings and winds, and moves to the expectant
“dominant” chord of the home key, C major. This passage is
somewhat reminiscent of the main theme from the second movement.
3:38 [m. 199]--The expected
arrival on C at the moment of the recapitulation is thwarted by the
sudden blast of Theme 1, Part 3 in its original form and in its
original key of E-flat (as at 0:12 [m. 10]). We thus hear two
very different versions of this material juxtaposed. The
beginning of the recapitulation here also indicates that the openings
of Parts 1 and 2 of the theme at the beginning of the development
constituted their “reprise.” Compare the first movement, whose
development also begins with the main theme.
3:47 [m. 208]--Theme 1, Part 2,
as at 0:21 [m. 19], with some very minor variations in the string
4:03 [m. 224]--The “inverted”
version of Theme 1, Part 1 from 0:37 [m. 35] is stretched to twice its
length and mixed with the “original” version before the large
“arresting” chord with triangle.
4:13 [m. 233]--Transition.
begins a fourth higher, so that the music can remain in the home key
rather than moving to G major. There is also some slight
variation, including some jaunty syncopation. The descending
thirds from the low strings, then the violins and violas, are
heard. Clarinet and horns insert a slight extension before the
longer chain of thirds in the winds. Here the oboe takes over
from the clarinet. The repeated notes are not heard in the violas
4:27 [m. 247]--Theme 2, in the
home key of C major. An oboe joins the violins in the
presentation of the jaunty melody. The running responses are
heard from the same instruments as before. There is some new
harmony in the horns. The previous quiet trill is replaced by a
large swelling and a timpani roll.
4:39 [m. 258]--The passage from
1:06 [m. 63] is transformed into a very martial passage with triplets
in the character of Theme 1, Part 3. The material still belongs
to Theme 2. The passage is also extended with new chromatic
harmonies. There is a steady buildup of energy and excitement.
4:58 [m. 276]--The closing
phrase from 1:20 [m. 77] is now played in loud, punctuating two-chord
descents from the whole orchestra. These seem to be leading to a
strong cadence, but diverge over a bass line that descends in
half-steps. The harmony moves to the “dominant” chord in this
transition to the coda.
5:04 [m. 282]--Very suddenly
and quietly, the short-short-long rhythm begins to be tapped on the
timpani. This continues at some length. The string basses,
later joined by cellos, start a long series of repetitions of the note
G. In G minor, fragments of Theme 1 are heard passed between the
instruments. This builds in volume with loud horn blasts, the
timpani beats and low string thumping on G remaining constant.
5:27 [m. 305]--C major seems to
emerge over the thumping G’s, which are joined by horns and
trumpets. The thumping G’s are suddenly abandoned, and the music
is unexpectedly diverted to the “subdominant” key of F major, where
Theme 1, Part 1 is heard and reaches a full cadence.
5:39 [m. 317]--The F-major
cadence merges with sequences of high and low chords similar to those
at 1:45 [m. 100]. All instruments play on the high chords, and
only the flute, piccolo, and triangle drop out from the low ones.
There are five chords, high-low-high-low-high.
5:49 [m. 326]--Loud statements
of Theme 1, Part 2 developed in B-flat major (reached from F major by
the preceding chords), then a half-step lower, in A major. The
B-flat major portion has thumping timpani and ringing triangle on the
6:00 [m. 337]--The purpose of A
major is revealed: The relationship of A to C is the same as that from
C to E-flat. The A major was to prepare for the sudden entrance
of Theme 1, Part 3, heard for the first time in the home key of C
rather than E-flat, the key of its two previous (equally sudden)
appearances. The difference here is that the preceding music is
also strong and loud. Theme 1, Part 3 itself is therefore
intensified with ringing triangle rolls. The strings play
flourishes of Theme 1, Part 2 underneath it.
6:09 [m. 347]--Final appearance
of Theme 1, Part 1. The strings now play only the descending line
in unison. The longer chords are harmonized. The winds
gradually enter. A violin flourish with a timpani roll leads to a
joyous chord with triangle roll. Three short chords with triangle
and timpani bring the movement to a close.
6:25--END OF MOVEMENT [357 mm.]
Movement: Allegro energico e passionato - Più Allegro
(Passacaglia [Chaconne] with coda). E MINOR, 3/4 and 3/2 time.
FIRST SECTION (Theme and Variations 1-11), 3/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme. Brahms retains the
contrabassoon from the previous movement and adds three trombones, not
heard in the other movements. The eight-bar Chaconne theme is
presented by the winds and brass. It is an ascending scale to the
fifth degree (B), with a chromatic note (A-sharp) on the firth
bar. The theme ends with a motion back to E. The
harmonization of the theme is very ambiguous and suggests A minor
almost as much as E minor (the first chord is an inversion of A
minor). The entrance of timpani and trumpets on the fifth
(chromatic) note gives it the emphasis that will reach its full
fruition in the coda.
0:19 [m. 9]--Variation 1. The theme is
broken up. Timpani and horns play on the first beat of each bar,
plucked strings (with trombones in the first four bars) on the second
beat, and there is a rest on the third. The harmony is unchanged.
0:34 [m. 17]--Variation 2. The upbeats to
this variation dovetail with the end of Variation 1. The oboe and
clarinet begin a smooth line. They are joined by the other
winds. Plucked strings continue. The harmony is less
ambiguous now, more clearly in E minor (confirmed by the “dominant”
chord in the seventh bar).
0:51 [m. 25]--Variation 3. The full
orchestra plays on this variation, which is louder than the preceding
Variation 2. The winds introduce a three-note (or three-chord)
lower neighbor motion. The upper strings continue to play plucked
notes, but the cellos and basses play bowed arpeggios. E minor is
even more clearly established here, already in the second bar
There is a timpani roll in the seventh bar.
1:06 [m. 33]--Variation 4. With E minor now
established, the first violins begin a broad, arching melody above
second violins and violas, who play on syncopated off beats. All
strings are now bowed. Bassoons are the only winds present.
The “theme” itself is now moved to the bass instruments in downward
1:26 [m. 41]--Variation 5. Flowing
naturally out of Variation 4, the broad melody is embellished with
extra notes. All notes have smaller duration values. The
winds add descending embellishments, some in a clashing 3-against-2
1:41 [m. 49]--Variation 6. The contour of
the broad melody is changed so that it mostly arches downward.
The violins and violas still play the melody. Cellos play triplet
arpeggios. The wind commentary is more sparse, largely in
two-note descents. The oboes double the second violins in the
last four bars.
1:56 [m. 57]--Variation 7. The motion is
more rhythmic and heavily dotted (sharp long-short figures). The
violins again lead, with woodwind responses. The “theme” in the
bass also uses these dotted rhythms. The violins introduce a hemiola (two 3/4 bars rhythmically
re-arranged to suggest one 3/2 bar) in the sixth and seventh bars.
2:12 [m. 65]--Variation 8. The violins play
with even faster notes in a rapid oscillation with the lower notes
moving steadily downward. These oscillations are broken
twice. The wind accompaniment is slower. In the second
half, the variation becomes suddenly quiet, and a descending chromatic
(half-step motion) flute (and viola) line is added to the violin
oscillations, along with a soft timpani roll. The harmony and the
notes of the theme itself in the bass are altered to suggest a motion
to A minor.
2:28 [m. 73]--Variation 9. This is
essentially an embellished version of Variation 8 (compare variations 4
and 5). It introduces triplet motion, even faster than what was
heard in Variation 8. The sudden quiet in the fifth bar is
preserved. Oboe and bassoon (the latter in contrary motion) are
added to the descending chromatic flute line, but the violas no longer
play it. This soft timpani roll is played in the same
place. The oscillations in the second half are now on octaves (on
E) rather than the downward-moving lower line.
2:45 [m. 81]--Variation 10. The first of
two transitional variations. It begins in A minor, following the
endings of Variations 8 and 9, which were in that key. It is
played very quietly, with alternations between string and wind chords
with no brass. A motion back to E minor at the end is sidestepped.
3:01 [m. 89]--Variation 11. This also
begins in A minor. The soft chords from Variation 10 are broken
up. The first and third bars use triplet rhythm. There is
much emphasis and playing on the second half of each beat, especially
in the violins and violas during the last four bars. Winds and
strings play mostly together here, and horns are added in the first
four bars. The actual “theme” is still in the low strings.
The last bar appears to be moving toward E minor again, and while this
motion is not sidestepped, the preparatory “dominant” harmony is
delayed until the last bar so that the arrival of E minor at Variation
12 is stronger.
SECOND SECTION (Variations 12-15), 3/2 time.
3:20 [m. 97]--Variation 12. Although these
variations seem to be at a slower tempo, in actuality the bars are
simply twice as long. Brahms specifically indicates that the
speed of the notes should be the same. This variation is a very
expressive flute solo with short off-beat accompanying chords from
violins, violas, and horns. The theme is embedded in the long and
beautiful, but somewhat halting flute melody.
4:03 [m. 105]--Variation 13. This is the
first variation in the major key (E major). The violins and horns
continue their soft, detached off-beat chords. The clarinet and
oboe pass gentle rising and falling lines between them. The
cellos and violas add upward winding lines. In the last four
bars, the flutes join the oboe and clarinets, and all play the off-beat
chords as the strings, including violins, continue with the upward
winding lines. The notes of the theme are buried inconspicuously
in the musical texture. A descending oboe line leads to the next
variation. The resolution through a plagal cadence is delayed.
4:38 [m. 113]--Variation 14. The end of the
oboe line merges with this variation, also in major. The
trombones, heard for the first time since Variation 3, enter in a very
solemn chorale with expressive rests. They are joined by bassoons
and horns. The violas and cellos play short rising arpeggios
against the trombone chorale. The resolution in the last measure
is delayed, again using a plagal cadence (motion from A to E). A
horn line similar to the preceding oboe line in Variation 13 provides a
5:14 [m. 121]--Variation 15. The chorale
continues (still in major), but now the woodwinds (except flutes), join
the brass instruments, including now trumpets. The violins join
the other strings on the short responses, the violas and violins
playing descending lines against the rising lines of the cellos.
The resolution of a plagal cadence is again delayed, and this time it
is not fulfilled at the beginning of the next variation. The
flute enters with a similar descending transitional line, but then it
breaks off at a pause on A minor before the sudden and powerful entry
of the next section. This prepares for the opening A-minor chord
of Variation 16, which is highly similar to the original Theme.
THIRD SECTION (Variations 16-23), 3/4 time.
5:55 [m. 129]--Variation 16. With great
force, the winds begin the variation, back in 3/4 and back in the minor
key. It opens as had the original Theme, but with somewhat
different harmonization (still beginning on A minor, though, now with A
in the bass). The strings enter with a new and powerful
descending scale in the last four bars. The timpani roll begins
in the same place and is now more sustained. The last chord, with
an F-sharp in the bass, is more dissonant and unstable than it was in
the original Theme
6:08 [m. 137]--Variation 17. String tremolos
swell from a quiet volume. Flute, oboe, and bassoon play unison
two-note phrases on weak beats. The original theme is in the tremolo cellos, but, as at the end
of Variation 16, the F-sharp bass at the end reveals this group of
variations as developmental and less stable.
6:19 [m. 145]--Variation 18. The tremolos
continue in the violins and violas. Bassoons, horns, cellos, and
basses alternate with flute, oboe, clarinet, another horn, and
trombones on a swelling up-down neighbor-note motion with dotted rhythm
on the second and third beats. The trombones drop out and the
instruments come more together in the second half of the
variation. This one, unlike the previous two, ends with an
6:30 [m. 153]--Variation 19. Strings and horns now
alternate with woodwinds four times on a detached, moving line, arching
in the strings and more angular in the winds. In the last two
alternations, the winds play the more arching version. The
strings take the angular version in the last alternation. The
cellos and basses, along with trombones, provide a solid foundation to
the first three string alternations. This, as with Variations 8,
9, and 13-15, ends with an A-minor chord.
6:41 [m. 161]--Variation 20. A feverish
triplet motion begins in strings, winds, and horns. There is a
strong syncopation with a trombone blast on the second beats of the
first, third, and fifth bars. The strings play the triplets
continuously, while the winds and horns break in the second and fourth
bars. In the last three bars, the winds abandon the triplets
entirely in favor of punctuating chords. This variation also ends
on an A-minor chord, as does the next one.
6:52 [m. 169]--Variation 21. The tension
increases greatly here, as the flutes and violins play sweeping upward
scales against swelling wind lines, viola tremolos, and timpani
rolls. This occurs in the first and third bars. The
trombones play weak beat blasts on the second beats of the second,
fourth, fifth, and sixth bars. The fourth, fifth and sixth bars
consist of punctuating chords from winds and strings on the first and
third beats, interrupted by the trombone blasts. The last two
bars are suddenly very quiet. The sweeping, rapid scales are
passed between the strings over a soft timpani roll and sustained wind
and brass chords.
7:04 [m. 177]--Variation 22. This variation
is quiet throughout. Trombones drop out temporarily. The
strings pass an oscillating triplet rhythm from cellos to violas to
violins. The winds play off-beat chords in straight rhythm.
The strings come together in the fifth bar. In these last four
bars, the triplet oscillations and off-beat chords alternate between
strings and winds. This variation ends on E minor.
7:15 [m. 185]--Variation 23. This variation
is transitional and louder than the last one. The strings play
upward arpeggios in triplet rhythm, alternating with oscillating motion
in the winds, also in triplet rhythm. The horns play the first
six chords of the theme very distinctly. A strong timpani roll is
heard in the fifth bar (against the “chromatic” fifth note, as
before). The last three bars alternate the string and wind
triplets at the distance of one beat before they come together in the
last bar. These last three bars are on a sustained preparatory
“dominant” harmony, similar to the end of Variation 11. There is
a dramatic pause at the end.
FOURTH SECTION (Variations 24-30)
7:27 [m. 193]--Variation 24. The
structure is quite similar to that of Variation 1, but the character is
entirely different. The downbeats are played by horns and
trumpets with a timpani roll. For the first six bars, this is a
unison E. The responses (which carry the notes of the theme) are
from the strings with a downward neighbor-note figure in
triplets. These are supported by trombone chords and repeated
chords in straight rhythm from the woodwinds. The variation is a
powerful moment of arrival.
7:39 [m. 201]--Variation 25. This variation
is essentially a more powerful version of Variation 2. Like that
variation, it begins on the upbeat from the previous variation.
The oboe and clarinet line is transferred to forceful violins playing
in tremolo, supported by
oboes and bassoons. The triplets from the previous variation, now
in repeated chords, are played by brass, timpani, flutes, and
clarinets. The low strings play with these triplets, but they
play rising octaves in straight rhythm. After this variation, the
trombones drop out until the coda.
7:52 [m. 209]--Variation 26. This variation
is similar to Variation 3, but it takes the opposite path from the
previous variation, and is more subdued than Variation 3 had
been. The horns take the slow lower neighbor-note motion.
The strings play in quietly oscillating triplets underneath. In
the second half, the oboes in thirds take over the neighbor-note
figures from the horns. The most important difference is the
harmony, which is shifted to C minor/major. The basses hold that
note for the first four bars, and the variation ends on the “dominant”
chord of C. This harmonic shift helps build tension in the final
8:05 [m. 217]--Variation 27. This variation,
in full C major, is entirely new. Flutes, oboes, and clarinets
play long two-note descents harmonized in thirds. The low strings
are plucked on the two weak beats. The violas and some cellos
play decorative lines that begin on an off-beat. In the last four
bars, the violins join with a slow arching motion, also harmonized in
thirds. The variation is quiet and gentle.
8:17 [m. 225]--Variation 28. This also
begins in C major. The flutes, clarinets, and bassoons play a
smooth line, still harmonized in thirds, but including many biting
chromatic notes. The low strings continue to be plucked, but move
to the first two beats. The violas and violins pass arching
triplet arpeggios between them. The last four bars move strongly
from C back to E with a bass line rising in half-steps. Despite
its transitional and chromatic nature, the variation is one of the most
beautiful since the “slow” section.
8:28 [m. 233]--Variation 29. In the
penultimate variation, which returns to the home key of E minor, Brahms
makes a reference to the main theme of the first movement. The
strings, playing in plucked unison off the beat, play a continuous
chain of descending thirds in the first four bars, a major
characteristic of the first-movement theme. Against this, the
flute, supported by clarinets and bassoons, plays two-note rising leaps
that obscure the bar line. In the last four bars, the strings
take their bows, a horn enters, and all instruments play in smooth,
partly chromatic lines, the winds moving up at the end while the
strings turn downward.
8:40 [m. 241]--Variation 30. The last
variation makes the descending third chain even more explicit. It
is played loudly and with heavy accents. The low strings lead the
violins in imitation on the descending third chain at the distance of
one beat. The winds and violas play sharp chords off the beat
(where the plucked unison strings had played the descending thirds in
Variation 29). The fifth bar of the variation changes to strong
upward leaps in the violins, the off-beat chords continuing in the
winds and violas. The timpani and trumpets enter in the sixth bar.
8:52 [m. 249]--In a dramatic
extension to Variation 30 that acts as a transition to the coda, the
eight-bar units are finally broken. The leaping violins and
cellos widen to octaves and tenths. The horns also play
octaves. These are held across bar lines, first in the horns and
low strings, then in the violins, then horns and low strings again,
creating cross rhythms and a hemiola
(four 3/4 bars clashing with two implied 3/2 bars). The winds
play chords with the violins. The violas are isolated, playing
thirds in faster syncopation. The timpani beats become faster and
louder, emerging in a roll, and the tempo slows just enough to prepare
the coda. The last bar is on a striking “augmented” chord that
suggests both E major and C major.
9:00 [m. 253]--The tempo speeds
up slightly for the coda. It begins with what sounds like
“Variation 31,” with full winds and brass (including trombones)
blasting the harmonized theme against cascading string arpeggios played
tremolo. It stalls,
however, on the fifth bar, the dissonant note A-sharp (now notated as
B-flat) This note, and the chords supporting it, are stretched
out to four bars with two strong timpani rolls and two dramatic pauses.
9:08 [m. 261]--In what sounds
like “Variation 32,“ the B-flat slides up to B-natural in a chord with
winds and plucked strings. This slides again up to C in a second
chord, yet again giving that note and that harmony emphasis. The
bass continues to move chromatically upward with both half-steps and
leaps (usually of a fourth) against strongly arching violin tremolo arpeggios. The
trombones enter in the fifth bar. The “variation” is extended
four bars, vacillating strongly between E major and F major (a key
introduced by the C and the B-flat). It increases steadily in
9:21 [m. 273]--“Variation 33”
brings the music back to the realm of A minor and E minor, despite
beginning with a strong implication of F. The trombones play a
rising line that clearly recalls the Theme. Strings and winds
play punctuating chords separated by rests. This creates another hemiola, with eight 3/4 bars
re-arranged into four implied 3/2 bars. The trombone lines are
extended by longer chords and drum rolls. The “dissonant” note is
still notated as B-flat rather than the A-sharp used throughout the
variations. The “variation” is an extension of the first four
bars of the Theme, facilitated by the implied 3/2 bars.
9:28 [m. 281]--“Variation 34”
begins with a drop in volume, but steadily and dramatically
builds. The violins and winds lead an exhilarating alternation of
ascending and descending harmonized three-note groups. Timpani,
trumpets, and horns punctuate this while the violas play shimmering
repeated thirds in triplets. This passage is the last of the
“pseudo-variations” in the coda.
9:35 [m. 289]--The winds appear
to play the Theme in faster notes. A loud syncopated accent from
the rest of the orchestra on the “dissonant” note, again notated as
A-sharp, finally interprets the harmony underneath it as a “German
sixth” chord, which leads to the “dominant” chord of E minor, then
strongly resolves there. The sequence is repeated a second
time. This confirmation of E minor has a severe, even “tragic”
9:42 [m. 297]--The last bars
consist of a fast and syncopated version of the Theme, then a series of
five cadence gestures beginning with three-note upbeats, all confirming
E minor. The last of these is extended, winding downward. The
final two chords strongly punctuate the arrival with a timpani roll.
10:02--END OF MOVEMENT [311 mm.]
END OF SYMPHONY
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