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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Brahms "Die Mainacht"

Johannes Brahms, "Die Mainacht" (p.54) 1.63

It's a very beautiful and lovely piece. To me it sounds very soothing and reflective as well. As I was listening to this it calmed me down. The title is try translated to May Night and the story of the poem maybe is that there is a woman seprated by someone she cares a lot about. She is wandering around outside and she is reminded of this significant other when she sees a pair of doves. The words in the poem give the texture that she is being tormented from sepration and is longing to the day she finds him again.
Brahms does not use root-position triads on the downbeats. He first does this in measure 2 before the soloist comes in. The true phrase divisions are located where the stanzas begin and end. The ends of the phrases have authentic cadences. This combines the poem and the music to make the music match the text rather the text to match the music. There is mixture in measures 9-14 and a strong cadence in measure 13. After the cadene there is a short piano interlude that sets up for a new key at measure 15.
There are some text painting words like "traurig" meaning sadly that uses a mixture and goes in a downward motion in the melody. Another is "taubenpaar" meaning pair of doves and the text painting makes it look like a pair and the wide jumps gives an image of birds soaring. The word "wende mich" translates to turn away and is shown with the large leap and the eight note and doted quarter is the physical motion of turning. In the text "suche dunklere Schatten" it translates to seeking darker shadows and is shown with a sudden dynamic marking dropping to piano and getting softer and slowing down. The text "einsasme Trane" meaning lonely tear appears twice and has a downward motion in the melody and a pause that invisions a tear dropping. The piano postlude ends the poem and gives a feeling of contemplating and comming to a final decision and confirming it with an authentic cadence at the end.

2 comments:

Scott said...

Use the spell-checker to catch misspelled words (separate). There is also half cadences at measure 8, measure 26, and measure 32. The first authentic cadence is in measure 14 rather than 13, as the piano is on a minor cadential 64 chord at measure 13. The new key is rather sudden, though helped by the use of the minor tonic mixture chords in measures 12-14. These prepare the listener for the bVI key of D major.

Give details on how the music portrays the doves. Also write the measure numbers where these words and figures occur, so the reader can follow along. Also give more details on the mode mixture used, especially at the piano postlude, which finishes with a plagal cadence rather than an authentic cadence. The authentic cadence is at measure 48, and measure 51 has a iiø42 - I plagal cadence. Talk about performance possibilities.

Andre Mount said...

Oh dear...

"Use the spell-checker to catch misspelled words (separate). There is also half cadences at measure 8, measure 26, and measure 32."

Shouldn't the second sentence begin: "There are also..."?

Just passing through. Great blog!