View Cart
Use Facebook login
LOGOUT  Welcome
 

Work

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms Composer

4 Balladen und Romanzen, for vocal duet, Op.75   

Performances: 6
Tracks: 13
Loading...
Musicology:
  • 4 Balladen und Romanzen, for vocal duet, Op.75
    Year: 1877-88
    Genre: Solo Song / Lied / Chanson
    Pr. Instrument: Voice
    • 1.Edward
    • 2.Guter Rat aus 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn'
    • 3.So lass uns wandern
    • 4.Walpurgisnacht
Brahms spent the summers of 1877-79, some of the most productive of his life, in Carinthia. These years saw the composition of the Ballads, Op. 75, the Second Symphony, the Songs, Opp. 69-72, the Motet, Op. 74, the Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76, the Violin Sonata, Op. 78, the Violin Concerto, Op. 77, and the Rhapsodies, Op. 79.

No doubt this burst of creativity was at least partially related to Brahms' "re-acquaintance" with Elisabeth von Herzogenberg (née Stockhausen). Brahms had met Ms. Stockhausen in Vienna in 1863, when she began to take lessons from him. He found her so attractive he could not talk around her, much less teach her anything, and suggested she study with Julius Epstein.

Probably because the texts verge on the style of epic poetry, in the tradition of the Medieval Ballad, Brahms' Op. 75 settings occasionally take on the air of a dramatic scene. Although Brahms had begun to distance himself from the language of the folk song, some aspects remain in his Ballades, Op. 75, such as mainly diatonic melodies, repetition of the last words of a verse, consistent rhythmic patterns and the lack of lengthy piano introductions. However, harmonic and formal procedures of the "art song" tradition are at the core of each duet. The Ballades and Romances, Op. 75, were published in 1878.

"Edward," the first of the Op. 75 set, is from the traditional Scottish, as translated in Herder's Volkslieder. Brahms' setting, for alto and tenor voice with piano, was first performed on December 17, 1879 in Vienna. Edward's mother asks him why there is blood on his sword and Edward eventually admits he has killed his father. Beginning on an unstable F minor, the song follows a pattern of alternation between the mother's questions and Edward's answers, each question and answer set to a varied form of the original melody.

The text of "Guter Rat" (Good Advice) is from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, (The Youth's Magic Horn), a two-volume anthology of German folk poetry edited by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano and published between 1805 and 1808. When a mother learns of her daughter's desire to leave home with a man, the mother advises the daughter to stay for a year. The daughter wishes she were a boy so she could do as she wishes. After alternating their contrasting verses the mother (alto) and daughter (soprano) enter a central section in G major, in which they both sing new material. When the opening material returns, only the daughter's verse appears, in 6/8 meter and varied to create a strong close.

Brahms set "So lass uns wandern!" (So Let Us Wander!), a traditional Czech folk poem translated by Joseph Wenzig, for soprano and tenor voices with piano. Enchanted with a woman, a man offers her a green dress if she goes walking with him. Through-composed in overall form, "So lass uns wandern!" contains subsections that are varied strophic in construction. Chromatic inflections in the melody and harmonic adventurousness set "So lass uns wandern!" apart from the rest of the Op. 75 set.

In Willibald Alexis' (1798-1871) "Walpurgisnacht" (The Witches Sabbath [the night before May 1]) a conversation between a mother and daughter reveals the mother to be a witch. Mother and daughter alternate phrases in this varied strophic setting that moves away from the tonic, A minor, to E flat major, creating the interval of a tritone (an interval associated with the devil during the Middle Ages). The mother repeats her dramatic final line before a close on A major.

© All Music Guide

1.Edward

Brahms spent the summers of 1877-79 in Carinthia. These extremely productive years saw the composition of the Ballads, Op. 75, the Second Symphony, the Songs, Opp. 69-72, the Motet, Op. 74, the Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76, the Violin Sonata, Op. 78, the Violin Concerto, Op. 77, and the Rhapsodies, Op. 79.

No doubt this burst of creativity was at least partially related to Brahms' "re-acquaintance" with Elisabeth von Herzogenberg (née Stockhausen). Brahms had met Ms. Stockhausen in Vienna in 1863, when she began to take lessons from him. He found her so attractive he could not talk around her, much less teach her anything, and suggested she study with Julius Epstein, who had the same problem with her. It was only after Stockhausen married Heinrich von Herzogenberg that Brahms was capable of being comfortable with the woman he affectionately called "Liesl."

Probably because the texts verge on the style of epic poetry, in the tradition of the Medieval Ballad, Brahms' Op. 75 settings occasionally take on the air of a dramatic scene. Brahms once wrote to Clara Schumann that the folksong is the ideal toward which the composer of songs must strive. By the release of the Nine Songs, Op. 69, Brahms had begun to distance himself from the language of the folksong. Some aspects, however, remain in his Ballades, Op. 75, such as mainly diatonic melodies, repetition of the last words of a verse, consistent rhythmic patterns and the lack of lengthy piano introductions. However, harmonic and formal procedures of the "art song" tradition are at the core of each duet. The Ballades and Romances, Op. 75, were published in 1878.

"Edward," the first of the Op. 75 set, is from the traditional Scottish, as translated in Herder's Volkslieder. Brahms' setting, for alto and tenor voice with piano, was composed in 1877 and first performed on December 17, 1879 in Vienna. Edward's mother asks him why there is blood on his sword and why he seems so distraught. At first he tells her the blood is from his hawk, which he has killed. His mother rejects this, saying his hawk's blood is not that red, to which he replies that he has killed his horse. She points out that his horse is very old and of little value, so why should he be so sad? Edward finally admits he has killed his father, saying that for his penance he will sail away across the sea, leaving his court house to crumble, his wife and children to become beggars and his mother to flee. Beginning on an unstable F minor, the song follows a pattern of alternation between the mother's questions and Edward's answers. We hear Brahms' tendency toward variation technique at work as the alto, taking the other's part, returns with a varied version of the same music for each question. The tenor part, delivering Edward's answers, uses the same procedure, becoming more ecstatic with each appearance.

© John Palmer, Rovi

3.So lass uns wandern

Brahms spent the summers of 1877-79, some of the most productive of his life, in Carinthia. These years saw the composition of the Ballads, Op. 75, the Second Symphony, the Songs, Opp. 69-72, the Motet, Op. 74, the Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76, the Violin Sonata, Op. 78, the Violin Concerto, Op. 77, and the Rhapsodies, Op. 79.

No doubt this burst of creativity was at least partially related to Brahms' "re-acquaintance" with Elisabeth von Herzogenberg (née Stockhausen). Brahms had met Ms. Stockhausen in Vienna in 1863, when she began to take lessons from him. He found her so attractive he could not talk around her, much less teach her anything, and suggested she study with Julius Epstein, who had the same problem with her. It was only after Stockhausen married Heinrich von Herzogenberg that Brahms was capable of being comfortable with the woman he affectionately called "Liesl."

Probably because the texts verge on the style of epic poetry, in the tradition of the Medieval Ballad, Brahms' Op. 75 settings occasionally take on the air of a dramatic scene. Brahms once wrote to Clara Schumann that the folksong is the ideal toward which the composer of songs must strive. By the release of the Nine Songs, Op. 69, Brahms had begun to distance himself from the language of the folksong. Some aspects, however, remain in his Ballades, Op. 75, such as mainly diatonic melodies, repetition of the last words of a verse, consistent rhythmic patterns and the lack of lengthy piano introductions. However, harmonic and formal procedures of the "art song" tradition are at the core of each duet. The Ballades and Romances, Op. 75, were published in 1878.

Brahms set "So lass uns wandern!" (So Let Us Wander!), a traditional Czech folk poem translated by Joseph Wenzig, for soprano and tenor voices with piano. Composed in 1877-8, "So lass uns wandern!" was first performed on February 14, 1881, in Vienna.

Through-composed in overall form, "So lass uns wandern!" contains subsections that are varied strophic in construction. The tenor opens with the first verse, describing how his sweetheart's dark eyes have enchanted him. To the same music, although an octave higher and with altered accompaniment, the alto answers him, claiming that even if her eyes were darker, she would never deliberately enchant him. When the tenor returns to cite the example of a crow and its impending marriage, he sings new music, which the alto, in a similar manner as in the second verse, repeats. Singing the music of his first verse with new accompaniment, the tenor promises the woman a green dress, after which the two begin to sing together. The final verses are varied strophic. Both the chromatic inflection in the melody and its harmonic adventurousness set "So lass uns wandern!" apart from the rest of the Op. 75 set.

© All Music Guide

4.Walpurgisnacht

Brahms spent the summers of 1877-79, some of the most productive of his life, in Carinthia. These years saw the composition of the Ballads, Op. 75, the Second Symphony, the Songs, Opp. 69-72, the Motet, Op. 74, the Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76, the Violin Sonata, Op. 78, the Violin Concerto, Op. 77, and the Rhapsodies, Op. 79.

No doubt this burst of creativity was at least partially related to Brahms' "re-acquaintance" with Elisabeth von Herzogenberg (née Stockhausen). Brahms had met Ms. Stockhausen in Vienna in 1863, when she began to take lessons from him. He found her so attractive he could not talk around her, much less teach her anything, and suggested she study with Julius Epstein, who had the same problem with her. It was only after Stockhausen married Heinrich von Herzogenberg that Brahms was capable of being comfortable with the woman he affectionately called "Liesl."

Probably because the texts verge on the style of epic poetry, in the tradition of the Medieval Ballad, Brahms' Op. 75 settings occasionally take on the air of a dramatic scene. Brahms once wrote to Clara Schumann that the folksong is the ideal toward which the composer of songs must strive. By the release of the Nine Songs, Op. 69, Brahms had begun to distance himself from the language of the folksong. Some aspects, however, remain in his Ballades, Op. 75, such as mainly diatonic melodies, repetition of the last words of a verse, consistent rhythmic patterns and the lack of lengthy piano introductions. However, harmonic and formal procedures of the "art song" tradition are at the core of each duet. The Ballades and Romances, Op. 75, were published in 1878.

Willibald Alexis' (1798-1871) "Walpurgisnacht" (The Witches Sabbath [the night before May 1]), composed in 1877-8, is set for two sopranos and piano.

"Walpurgisnacht" is a conversation between a mother and daughter. When the child asks about the thunder she heard last night from the mountain, her mother explains that the noise was witches, for today is the first of May. As the two continues to talk of witches, the mother explains that witches are everywhere, and that they ride about on brooms. After the daughter remarks that their broom was missing during the night, and that her mother's bed was not used, the mother admits she is a witch. Mother and daughter alternate phrases in this varied strophic setting that moves away from the tonic, A minor, to E-flat major, creating the interval of a tritone (an interval associated with the devil during the Middle Ages). The mother repeats her dramatic final line before a close on A major.

© All Music Guide
Portions of Content Provided by All Music Guide.
© 2008 All Media Guide, LLC. All Music Guide is a registered trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.
AMG
Select a performer for this work
Loading...
 
© 1994-2014 Classical Archives LLC — The Ultimate Classical Music Destination ™