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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hey, Make Way For Die Mainacht

Die Mainacht, Brahms, F# major for some crazy reason, Chords:

I64 V7 I64 I6 vi I64 ii6 V43/IV IV6 IV viio/V V V iii V7/vi vi IV vii halfdim65 vi vi6 V65/IV IV IV64 iv6 ii43 I64 V43/IV IV iv V7/N N N6 V7 I V7/IV V7/IV I V7/IV IV64 ii halfdim42 I

So here's what's going down here:
This chick is walking at night, and sees a pair of lovebirds cooing together like always. She's depressed, though, because she has yet to meet THAT GUY. She can't wait, though. She's pretty desperate and lonely, and tired of waiting for him. In the last stanza, she asks "when will I get my man?" and a lonely tear slides down her cheek. Except it doesn't just slide, it BURNS down her cheek.

How does the music reflect/add to this? I'll tell ya. One interesting thing about this is that the first root position tonic triad in this part is the last note the singer sings, in measure 48. This means all of the other tonic triads here are in inversion, delaying the feeling of resolution - like this poor chick's delayed meeting of her dream guy. We build to the first climactic moment of two - at Trane (tear) in m. 41-42 through a rising, hopeful line in the melody, and hold Trane through a series of suspensions. Then comes the "romantic" part - and this is how I would sing it to bring it out - we go to the real climax at m. 45, which is a Neapolitan harmony, on the word "heisser" (burning), which is not only the highest actual pitch the singer reaches, but the coolest because of the harmony it supports. The N6 here is a completely new harmony to the listener and really stresses the text - it's as if the poor timid chick, depressed and alone, steps out of her shell and reminds the guy, if he's listening, that her tear is BURNING down her cheek... like her burning passion for him. It also wakes him (and the other listeners) up and seems to be a sort of "hurry it up, will you?" message all inside this pivotal measure. The rest of the accompaniment is more subdued again, but very wistful and reflective, as if to say "Yeah, I wish you were with me, but you'll be worth waiting for." That's how I'd do ti.

No worries, chica. You'll get your guy someday. When he finally asks for directions, he'll find you.

PS - Mainacht backwards is Thcanaim. Neapolitan is Natilopaen. And Opera is Fun! So come see it. =)

1 comment:

Scott said...

Good connection: delay of tonic in bass = delay of love. And I like your interpretation of the climax. How would you perform "heisser" to make it more climactic than "Trane"? Would you sing it louder, with more rubato, with more portamento?

Following this interpretation, the final iiø42 - I progression sounds like the singer is emotionally exhausted. She can't wait forever!