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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Longest night of my life....

Brahms' Die Mainacht's last verse says, " When, O smiling image, which like rosy dawn through my soul shines, shall I find you on earth? And the lonely tear trembles, burning, down my cheek."
The chordal analysis for measure 33-51 are as follows.
m. 33 - I 64 , V7
m. 34 - I64
m. 35 - I6 , vi , I64
m. 36 - ii6 , V43/IV
m. 37 - IV6 , IV
m. 38 - V7/V , V
m. 39 - III6 , V/vi
m. 40 - vi , IV , vii65
m. 41 - vi , vi6 , V/IV
m. 42 - IV , Fr+6
m. 43 - I64 , V7/IV
m. 44 - IV7 , V7/N
m. 45 - N , N , N6
m. 46 - V7 , V42
m. 47 - V7
m. 48 - I , I7
m. 49 - I7 , I
m. 50 - I7 , IV64
m. 51 - ii half diminish 42 , I

This blog may actually manage to top the awfulness of last week's seeing as it is being written after opening night.
The climax of this piece is quite obvious. The F in measure 41 is obviously being built up to both by the melody and the harmony. The word means tear which would seem to mean that the last verse is meant to focus in on that word, the display of the singer's sadness. It is not only built up to and then held but it is also brought down from by and arpeggio, not simply a jump. I found it interesting when doing the chordal analysis that this song really does not use very many root position one chords. The first one in this last verse is found in measure 48 on the word cheek. It is also the last word of the piece. To me this means that the singer has finally resolved his or herself to come kind of end. It enforces the idea of completeness and conclusion at the end of the song even though it is a sad thought that it concludes with. I do not think that the word Morgenrot in measure 38 is the end of a phrase. If I were to perform this piece I would think of it more as a breath point, a moment to collect my thoughts on the rest of the line and a way to add emphasis to the word Dawn. Measure 44 also does not feel like the end of the phrase because the idea is immediately repeated with text. I feel like this is used simply as a growing point for the singer/performer to gather all their emotion into the next note, the chromatic claim that is intensified by the use of the Neopolitan chord. The final use of the one chord in the end I believe is used to help the listener and the performer come to some kind of peace. The song never does but I think that the composer was trying to show that even apart from the text there is some kind of hope and resolution. If I was performing this piece I would use the piano's conclusion to reform my thinking and thus my facial expression from the tenseness that is shown in the final plea in measures 45-48 to the resolve and calmness of the repeated one chord in order to show a sense of peace.

1 comment:

Scott said...

m. 42: IV iiø43 (no Fi)
mm. 48-50: V7/IV instead of I7.

What about the higher note at m. 45, coupled with the neapolitan harmony? That could also be a climax. Good interpretation of root position tonics. And nice idea about dramatic portrayal during the postlude.