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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Brahms Take Two!

Here we are again!

Roman numerals:
33: I64 V7
34: iii6 I64
35: I6 vi
36: ii65 I7
37: iv6 IV
38: vii 1/2 diminished/ V V
39: V I65
40: vi IV vii65
41: vi vi6 I7
42: vi7 vi ii43 FR+6
43: I64 I7
44: iv7 ii65 bVI
45: V/V
46 and 47: V7
48 and 49: I7
50: I7 vi6
51: ii half diminished 42 I

Brahms creates a wonderful accompaniment for the singer of "Die Mainacht." Throughout the song Brahms colors the tone with I64, vi, and iii chords. These chords give an unsettling feeling that lacks resolution. Brahms approaches a climax in measures 28 through 30 but it does not happen. Instead, he brings the line back to ominous I64. The mood is quieted before the line "When, O smiling image, which like rosy dawn through my soul shines, shall I find you on earth?" This beautiful image of the speakers lover is a bittersweet lead-in to the tragic tear which burns down the speaker's face at the thought of her.

If I were performing this piece I would keeps the intensity going even if I took at breath before the high g natural in the last line. It would accentuate the word, "burning" and make it especially dramatic. The change in accompaniment relays the despair of the narrator though the strict quarter and eighth notes underneath the sweeping melody. When it returns to the original syncopated rhythm the audience can tell that the love is lost.

This postlude is a false unsatisfying sense of calm which pains the text beautifully. The ii half diminished 42 going to the I give a feeling of a doubtful resolution. The ending is melancholy for both the singer and the audience.

Brahms uses complex harmonies under a oozing melody to create the feeling of love long lost in "Die Mainacht." By using many minor chords and tonic seventh chords he avoids any kind of cadential resolution. The is a strong accompaniment for any singer as well as a helpful insight to the meaning of the piece.

1 comment:

Scott said...

36: ii65 V7/IV
39: V iii
41: vi V7/IV
42: IV iiø43 (no Fi)
43: I64 V7/IV
44: iv V7/N
45: N N6
All of the I7s you list are V7/IV.

Give more details on how Brahms approaches a climax at 28, and what it has to do with 33-51 (the assignment). Where is the climax in this section? 45 echoes 30, but up a half step for the powerful Neapolitan. Good performance thought.