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Work

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms Composer

5 Lieder, Op.106   

Performances: 27
Tracks: 51
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Musicology:
  • 5 Lieder, Op.106
    Year: 1885-88
    Genre: Solo Song / Lied / Chanson
    Pr. Instrument: Voice
    • 1.Ständchen
    • 2.Auf dem See
    • 3.Es hing der Reif
    • 4.Meine Lieder
    • 5.Ein Wanderer
Like Opus 105, this is an eclectic mix of types, though of a more even quality and style than that set.

1. Ständchen (Serenade). Here, the staccato of the accompaniment invokes the strumming typical of a guitar serenade. Later, other instruments are cleverly imitated as they are referred to in the cheerful poem.

2. Auf dem See (On the Lake). This is a floating and tuneful folk-like setting of an innocent love song. The harmonies and melody are simple and undemanding of performer and listener.

3. Es hing der Reif (The Frost Hangs). A woman's rebuff is likened to winter in this song. Brahms was criticized for his use of repetitive rhythms, but the subtle harmonic inflections are all the more effective as a result. The economy of material in this song is more in keeping with Brahms later style than his more expansive and obviously emotional songs.

4. Meine Lieder (My Songs) is the best of the Opus. Its beautiful melody is perfectly balanced by the softly arpeggiated accompaniment. The reversal of the direction of the arpeggios that occurs at the words "my songs have a dark sound" is a subtle and expressive touch.

5. Ein Wanderer (A Wanderer). A disconsolate protagonist believes he has no choice but sorrow regardless of his path. The accompaniment at the beginning is appropriately troubled in its dark harmonies and counterpoint. After a climactic cry of despair, the opening material returns with a simplified accompaniment. This song is not the most effective of the set as it seems a bit forced in its expression.



© All Music Guide

1.Ständchen

Brahms wrote two songs with the title Ständchen (Serenade), each quite different from the other. The first, the famous Gut Nacht, gut Nacht, was a lullaby completed in 1858. De Mond steht über dem Berge is quite another thing. Written three decades later, it employs a text by Franz Kugler whose poetry collection Gedichte was part of Brahms' own library. Kugler was a man of diverse talents, not only a poet, but also a musician, artist, and historian. The latter preoccupation, perhaps, led to his re-creating so many legends in poetry. The mood is buoyant, as is Brahms' music. A narrator sets the scene. The moon stands above the mountain, so appropriate for those in love. In the garden a fountain splashes and all else is quiet far and wide. In the shadows by the wall stand three students with flute, fiddle, and zither and they sing and play. Their strains quietly enter the dreams of the loveliest of girls. She envisions her blond love and whispers, "forget not me!" The abruptly ending chord suggests the young lady awakens with a start. Allegretto grazioso is the tempo marking at the beginning. A pick-up quarter note leads to a measure of strummed chords in each hand, the left sounding them on the beat, the right echoing on the offbeat. Two measures of similar, but unbroken, chords pique the interest before the right hand plinks five descending staccato chords as the trio prepares its serenade. Is it the tuning of instruments or the tinkling of water in the fountain? Or both? The vocal line lifts and dips in bemused description of the scene as the accompaniment crisply moves underneath. The flute and fiddle play first, even before they are introduced. Then the zither enters, prominently heard in the broken chords of the first interlude, recalling the tuning heard in the introduction. The upward-rushing arpeggiated chords of the second interlude waft the serenading into the girl's quiet dreams. Is her blond boyfriend one of the serenaders, or is his image simply conjured by the music? No one can be sure, but that ambiguity is fully and delightfully matched by the song's light touch. Little question can remain about why this Ständchen is so popular.

© All Music Guide
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