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8:28 [m. 1]--Part 1.

The key of A-flat major lends the waltz a somewhat “warmer”


character than the A major of the duet version, perhaps a bit less bright. Other
than the key change, virtually all of the highly harmonized primo is transferred
to the right hand. The secondo is somewhat altered in the left hand. The off-beat
chords are rolled and actually more full than in the duet version. The pedal A
(now
A-flat) in the first four bars alternates between higher and lower octaves. The
lower octaves must be removed from the bass notes in the second half. The rolled
chords incorporate the bass notes on the third beats of bars.
8:44 [m. 1]--Part 1 repeated.
9:00 [m. 9]--Part 2. In the contrasting phrase, the entirety of the richly
harmonized
primo continues to be played by the right hand, which must grasp wide chords with
as many as five notes. The left hand also retains most of the secondo, and only
half of the lower octaves are removed from the bass notes. The leaping octaves are
obscured, however. The off-beat chords are not rolled in this phrase.
9:13 [m. 15]--The return of the opening is the same as Part 1 until the last two
bars. Some of the harmonies at the cadence are very slightly different from the
duet version.
9:28 [m. 23]--Part 2 varied. Except for the lead-in, the contrasting phrase from
9:00 [m. 9] is written out, but unaltered.
9:40 [m. 29]--In the varied return of the opening, the left hand is very slightly
altered from 9:13 [m. 15], unlike the secondo in the duet version. The chords are
mostly no longer rolled, and some top notes are removed to accommodate the lower
reaches of the right hand. The right hand alone takes the flowing sixths in
triplet
rhythm, which is quite awkward in comparison to the primo, where they were split
between the hands. This necessitates the removal of some of the lower harmony in
the two punctuating “straight” bars (the fourth and seventh bars of the phrase)
which
were played by the primo left hand under the high reaches of the triplets. The
melody
still reaches an octave higher than before, as in the duet version.
9:58--END OF WALTZ [36 mm.]

EASY PIANO VERSION


0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1. The key is the A major of the duet version. The harmonies
are thinner in both the right and left hands. Both play only two simultaneous
notes
throughout, whereas in the “main” solo version, both hands often played three-note
chords. All of the bass notes are raised an octave except for the first and third,
which had been played as high alternations in the solo version. Despite being only
two notes, most of the left hand chords are still rolled.
0:14 [m. 1]--Part 1 repeated.
0:27 [m. 9]--Part 2. In the contrasting phrase, the harmonies are again simplified
in both hands. The right hand is restricted to three-note chords (with one four-
note
chord) where the solo version had often required right-hand chords with as many as
five notes. The left hand chords are restricted mostly to two notes with three
three-note
chords in the penultimate and final measures. All of the lower octaves are removed
instead of only half.
0:39 [m. 15]--The return of the opening is the same as Part 1 until the last two
bars. The full cadence is created as in the other versions, but the right-hand
chords
are still restricted to two notes, even the final chord, and the bass notes are
still
raised an octave.
0:52 [m. 23]--Part 2 varied. Other than the left hand of the lead-in, which is
lower
and harmonized differently, the contrasting phrase from 0:27 [m. 9] is written out,
but unaltered.
1:04 [m. 29]--In the varied return of the opening, Brahms allows the left hand to
reclaim some of what was lost from the main solo version. Some lower bass notes
not heard in Part 1 or at 0:39 [m. 15] are played, and three-note chords with lower
bottom notes are heard in the third and fourth bars from the end. The right hand
greatly simplifies the awkward sixths of the flowing triplet rhythm, reducing them
to fourths, thirds, or single notes. The sixths are played in the first “straight”
bar (the fourth of the phrase), which had full chords in the solo version, and the
penultimate bar (the other “straight” bar) remains simplified from its presentation
in the “main” solo version. The melody still reaches an octave higher than before.

1:25--END OF WALTZ [36 mm.]

TWO PIANO VERSION


0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1. The key is A-flat major, as in the main solo version. Brahms
essentially redistributes material and adds new elements, as in the other two-piano
versions. The right hand of Piano 1 is the same as the right hand of the solo
version.
The left hand of Piano 1 plays the downbeat bass, with the full lower octaves
heard
in the duet version. After the first four bars, the bass is also played on third
beats. Piano 2 takes the off-beat chords, which are now spread across both hands
and reach into the piano’s treble register, something not possible in the other
versions.
They are rolled, and contain six, five, or even seven notes.
0:18 [m. 1]--Part 1 repeated.
0:35 [m. 9]--Part 2. In the contrasting phrase, the right hand of Piano 1
continues
to play the right hand part from the solo version. The left hand of Piano 1 plays
the bass notes on the first and third beats, as in the duet version. The leaping
octave is retained. Piano 2 continues to play chords with six or seven notes split
between the hands and often rolled, reaching even higher into the piano’s treble
register.
0:50 [m. 15]--The return of the opening is the same as Part 1 except for the
cadence
in the last two bars. The basic pattern is retained there, with the right hand of
Piano 1 playing the same part as the right hand of the solo version.
1:07 [m. 23]--Part 2 varied. The contrasting phrase from 0:35 [m. 9] is written
out, but unaltered, other than a slightly different lead-in with the voicing of the
Piano 2 chords.
1:24 [m. 29]--Piano 1 now emulates the duet version instead of the solo version.
The flowing triplet sixths in the varied return of the opening are now split
between
the hands, and the bars in “straight” rhythm are given full harmony in the left
hand.
Piano 2 must now take the bass notes in its left hand, including the lower octave.
The left hand leaps to participate in the off-beat chords, which are mostly rolled
and still reach into the treble register, but now contain no more than five notes.
The right hand alone takes the chords in the last four bars, where the left hand
also plays bass notes on the third beats.
1:55--END OF WALTZ [36 mm.]
END OF TWO PIANO SET

No. 16 in D MINOR (C-SHARP MINOR in solo version).

DUET VERSION
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1. There are two main melodies in counterpoint. Both are
melancholy,
and the whole waltz is a kind of “valse triste,” a strangely subdued note on which
to end the set. The first melody is more active and conjunct, moving entirely in
steps. It is heard in octaves from the primo. The second melody is played by the
right hand of the secondo. It has fewer short notes and contains several wide
leaps.
Both melodies feature dotted rhythms (long notes followed by shorter ones), the
more active one following the long note with three equal short ones (like the
similar
main rhythm of #15). The melodies come together rhythmically at the end as the
first
part moves toward the related major key of F. The left hand of the secondo plays
supporting, wide-ranging broken chords with very detached notes throughout the
waltz.

0:17 [m. 9]--Varied repeat of Part 1. For the only time in the waltzes, Brahms
uses
invertible counterpoint, the process of placing two melodies against each other and
then reversing their top-to-bottom placement in a second statement. The melody
with
longer notes and more jumps now moves to the primo and makes a play for prominence,
being played not in two, but in three octaves and reaching much higher. The melody
with shorter notes and no leaps moves to the right hand of the secondo. The
melodies
are thus reversed in their placement. The detached broken-chord accompaniment in
the secondo left hand is unchanged.
0:32 [m. 17]--In the second part, the two melodies come closer together by adopting
aspects of each other. The melody with shorter notes moves back to the primo, but
adds about four skips to its otherwise entirely stepwise motion. Again, it is
doubled
in octaves. The slower melody with more leaps moves back to the right hand of the
secondo in only one octave, but it also includes the three short notes following
one long note (in two places) that were typical of the other melody. Part 2 moves
gradually from F major back to D minor, and the slower, leaping melody is given
more
harmony at the end. The left hand of the secondo plays the detached, wide-ranging
broken chords to the end.
0:50 [m. 17]--Part 2 repeated without inverting the melodies. Slowing as the final
cadence is approached.
1:26 (including run-off time)--END OF WALTZ [24 mm.]
END OF DUET SET

SOLO VERSION
9:59 [m. 1]--Part 1. In keeping with the keys of the previous waltzes in this
version,
the waltz is a half-step lower, in C-sharp minor, creating a connection to No. 7
in that key, which is somewhat similar, if less overtly tragic, in character. The
melodies are placed as in the duet version, but the right hand plays both of them,
so the upper octave of the faster melody is eliminated. The left hand duplicates
the secondo left hand. The music moves to the related major key of E.
10:17 [m. 9]--Varied repeat of Part 1. The parts are inverted, as in the duet
version,
but the right hand now only plays the skipping, slower melody--in octaves,
preserving
the prominence of the duet version at this point, but removing the highest of the
three octaves. The faster, stepwise melody is played by the left hand, which must
abandon the detached and constant broken chords, supporting the faster melody with
rolled chords on the first and third beats of each bar.
10:32 [m. 17]--The faster melody returns to the right hand, but it is now in
octaves,
as in the duet version. The slower, leaping melody moves back to the left hand,
which continues the pattern of rolled chords on the first and third beats to
support
the melody, as it had with the faster melody in the varied repeat of Part 1. The
rhythm must be altered, however, specifically in those spots with three short notes
following one long note, which are now two long notes followed by two shorter
notes.
Some aspects of the detached broken chords return, such as occasional harmonies
under the second beat of the bar. Motion from E major back to C-sharp minor.
10:50 [m. 17]--Part 2 repeated without inverting the melodies. Slowing as the
final
cadence is approached.
11:27 (including run-off time)--END OF WALTZ [24 mm.]
END OF SOLO SET

EASY PIANO VERSION


0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1. The key is the D minor of the duet version. The main other
alteration from the solo version is in the left hand, where the detached broken
chords
are re-arranged to change direction more often and avoid the lowest notes. This
also facilitates the simplification of the right hand, which still mostly plays
both
melodies, but passes the lowest notes of the leaping, slower melody to the left
hand.
The left hand can play these notes with its simplified, generally higher detached
broken chord line.
0:14 [m. 9]--Varied repeat of Part 1. The right hand only plays the slower,
leaping
melody in one octave, cutting the lower one. The left hand retains the rolled
chord
support of the faster, stepwise melody, with some minor simplifications toward the
end.
0:27 [m. 17]--Part 2. In a very artful simplification, both melodies are played
by the right hand with the upper octave cut from the faster, stepwise melody. The
left hand now plays the detached, wide-ranging broken chords, generally up an
octave
from those in the duet version, but preserving most of the large leaps. The easy
piano version thus preserves most elements from both other versions through
selective
re-arranging and deployment, and is therefore perhaps the finest of these
simplifications.

0:40 [m. 17]--Part 2 repeated without inverting the melodies. Slowing as the final
cadence is approached.
1:10 (including run-off time)--END OF WALTZ [24 mm.]
END OF EASY PIANO SET

BRAHMS LISTENING GUIDES HOMEFIVE SONGS (LIEDER) FOR FOUR-VOICE MEN’S CHORUS, OP.
41
Recording: North German Radio Chorus, conducted by Günter Jena [DG 449 646-2]
Published 1867.

These five songs represent the whole of Brahms’s output for a cappella men’s
chorus.
There are two other large works for men’s chorus and orchestra (in each of which
the chorus is joined by a highly extensive part for a soloist). Of these, the
cantata
Rinaldo, Op. 50 is one of the least known of all his compositions, while the so-
called
“Alto” Rhapsody, Op. 53, is one of his most popular. These a cappella choruses
preceded both, and are probably even less known than Rinaldo or most of the other
smaller choral works. This has nothing to do with Brahms’s skill in writing for
men’s voices, which is impeccable. Rather, the very dated militaristic German
texts
of Nos. 2-5 are somewhat jarring for modern listeners. Nos. 2 and 5 are blatantly
nationalistic, and even belligerent, while No. 4 presents a rather silly stereotype
of soldiers. But these songs should not be condemned unfairly for their texts.
Brahms set these poems by Karl Lemcke at the height of the nationalistic fervor
surrounding
Otto von Bismarck’s plans to unite the German empire in the late 1860s. Brahms
idolized
Bismarck as much as he did Beethoven, so it was natural that he would set such
patriotic
texts at that time. Neither Lemcke nor Brahms could have known anything about the
course German nationalism would take in the next century. If the songs are enjoyed
with the historical context in mind, they are not offensive. Of them, the dirge-
like
No. 3 is probably the best. Nos. 2 and 4 are extremely exuberant and must be great
fun to sing, while the simple strophic No. 5 is darker, but has a wonderful low
part
for the second basses. Of a different character entirely is No. 1, an utterly
gorgeous
setting of an old German poem in an archaic style that is infinitely superior to
its arrangement for solo voice and piano in Op. 43. The timbre of men’s voices in
harmony is exploited to its fullest in this fine piece, whose style is completely
different from that of the other four and whose text is timeless rather than dated.
Despite the differing voices, its character is much closer to that of another
“old
German” setting for mixed chorus, Op. 62, No. 7, than to the following four Lemcke
songs.

Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily Ezust’s site at
http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.
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-Institute Lübeck)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)

1. Ich schwing mein Horn ins Jammertal (I Blow my Horn into the Vale of Tears).
Anonymous Old German text from the famed collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn.
Andante.
Durchaus nicht zu langsam und ziemlich frei vorzutragen (To be presented not too
slowly and rather freely throughout). Simple strophic form. B-flat major, Cut
time
or Alla breve (2/2).

German Text:
Ich schwing’ mein Horn ins Jammertal,
Mein Freud’ ist mir verschwunden,
Ich hab’ gejagt, muß abelahn,
Das Wild läuft vor den Hunden.
Ein edel Tier in diesem Feld
Hätt’ ich mir auserkoren,
Das schied von mir, als ich wohl spür’,
Mein Jagen ist verloren.

Fahr hin, Gewild, in Waldeslust!


Ich will dir nimmer schrecken
Mit Jagen dein’ schneeweiße Brust,
Ein ander muß dich wecken
Mit Jägers Schrei und Hundebiß,
Daß du nit magst entrinnen;
Halt dich in Hut, mein Tierlein gut!
Mit Leid scheid’ ich von hinnen.

Kein Hochgewild ich fahen kann,


Das muß ich oft entgelten,
Noch halt ich stät’ auf Jägers Bahn,
Wie wohl mir Glück kommt selten.
Mag mir nit g’bürn ein Hochwild schön,
So laß ich mich begnügen
An Hasenfleisch, nit mehr ich heisch,
Das mag mich nit betrügen.

English Translation

Each eight-line stanza corresponds to four musical lines in each verse. It is a


simple strophic form with repeat signs. The musical style is very archaic. The
austere-sounding harmony stems from the fact that the chords are all in “root
position”
(meaning the keynote of the chord is always in the lowest 2nd bass voices--a B-flat
chord will have B-flat in the bass).
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1. No introduction. The first musical line (two lines of
text),
is exactly the same as the second (at 0:20--here the line is marked with repeat
signs
in the score, differing from the Op. 43 setting, which writes the second line out).
The rhythm of the poetry leads to unusual 11-measure phrases. The voices swell,
rise, and fall in volume as the rhythm of the text dictates. Brahms marks the
vocal
parts mezza voce (medium vocal strength). The lines reach a half-cadence in G
minor.