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Thursday, February 28, 2008

A New Day, A New Hope

m. 33: I64
m. 34: iii6
m. 35: I6 vi I64
m. 36: ii65
m. 37: IV6 Iv7
m. 38: vii half diminished 7 of V v
m. 39: iii6 V of vi
m. 40: vi6
m.41: IV vii65
m. 42: IV Fr+6
m. 43: I64 V7 of IV
m. 44: IV7 V7 of N
m. 45: N (6)
m. 46: V7 (42)
m. 47: V7
m. 48: I7
m. 49: I7
m. 50:I7 IV64
m. 51: iii half diminished 42 I

Die Mainacht is a very sad poem and Brahms’s musical setting is a perfect match for the mood. The song climaxes in m.45 on the word hisser, when the singer is describing the hot tear which she has just shed thinking about how alone she is. The tense emotions are echoed in the harmony under the climax by an N chord, which lends a major feel to the note, which may be a borrowed technique from early music. Often time when a moment of absolute disappear occurred in a text the composer would switched to a major key and in that contrast from the minor the pain is shown. It has an extremely dramatic effect.

As far as musical and textual phrasing is concerned, I feel that Brahms could have done a bit better. For example in the poetic line Wann, o L├Ąchelendes Bild, Welches wie Morgenrot durch die seele mir strahlt, find ich auf Erden dich? The singer is asking the smiling scene before her when the red dawn, which touches her soul, will she find him on earth? The poetic line is very beautiful and highly emotive, however right between the singers description of the scene and the way it affects her, Brahms end a phrase and begins a new one. This make it very difficult for a singer to convince an audience that the though continues. When performing this piece it is very pertinent that the sing should not let her face fall or let her concentration end with the musical phrase. Not the best example of a musical setting of a German text.

The piece ends with a short ascending piano postlude. I believe that here the piano is describing the sunrise and the major ending is hope for a new tomorrow, perhaps it is the new day, which will bring out sad sad singer a companion. I would certainly like to think so.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Good point about early madrigal practice related to Neapolitan chord. Brahms does keep the line moving, measure 35 doesn't have a proper cadence (I6 vi I64) even though the melody pauses. A slight crescendo in this measure will keep the ideas connected, along with your idea of facial expression.

How does the piano describe the sunrise? And notice the delay of tonic through tonicization of IV.

Several wrong chords, remember the +6 needs Fi as well as Le.