Friday, February 08, 2008
The piece “Die Mainacht” is an interesting piece. Die Mainacht means “The May Night” which is certainly suiting in this particular instance. The piece is about an individual wandering restlessly through the night. It seems as if the character is searching for happiness, or at least peace in his/her life throughout the course of the piece. The composer (Brahms) actually avoids giving us the tonic chord, making us feel that the character is wandering in search of something. One thing in particular I noticed about the phrase structure is that it is not really typical. The first phrase does not truly end until the final words “Busch zu Busch” meaning bush to bush. Brahms wants each stanza of the poem to be its own phrase, which is understandable. The key then changes, and the mood is a bit happier, and we find that this part of the poem is more uplifting as well. He actually throws in some mixture as well beginning in measure 9 and continuing to do so through the end of the phrase as he uses scale degrees b3, b6, and b7. All are used in measure 10. We also see a great deal of text painting in this piece. Words that have a sad infliction have diminished or minor chords such as the word “traurig” which means sadly. The happier portions use definite I and V chords which are more uplifting, like “Taubenpaar” meaning a pair of doves. Brahms also uses minor ascending triplets to emphasize the words “wende mich” which means to turn away. Finally, we can tell that he wants us to recognize the words for lonely tear “einsame Trane”. He does this by throwing us up with the singer on the high F# for 5 beats twice in the song. At the end of the piece, we can tell that the character has given up his/her search for the time being, but will continue to look onward for his/her happiness as the piece ends on an inauthentic cadence. The piece itself is quite interesting.