"These songs are a source of endless delight, and when, as often happens, this beautifully polished musicianship is set alight with the glow of personal emotion, the results are of the highest and most lasting value." — Grove's Dictionary.
Brahms's melodic gifts and genuine emotional response to poetry produced some of the finest German songs, equaling and occasionally surpassing Schubert in lyricism. Frequent performances and recordings of these songs continue to prove Brahms's lasting contribution to this domain and create a need for authentic, accessible printed music. The finest complete musical transcript of Brahms, published by Breitkopf & Härtel (for whom Brahms worked as an editor), is reproduced here — the authoritative texts with new translations of the lyrics.
This volume (Series I of the complete Dover Brahms songs, published in four volumes) contains Stanley Appelbaum's new literal prose translations of 55 songs, published from 1854 to 1869, including the 15-song cycle Die schöne Magelone, based on Tieck's novella (synopsis provided). Grove's Dictionary characterized this cycle as "full of very individual music, ranging in mood from the beautifully serene lullaby 'Ruhe, Süssliebchen' to the rugged energy of 'Verzweiflung,' and the splendidly broad opening melody of 'Wie froh und frisch.'" Brahms found inspiration mainly in the German poets (with an occasional translation of the Persian Hafiz or the French poet-king Thibault IV) but his rhythms and melodies most often reflect his own complex personality rather than the conventional German folk-song style advocated by his fellow "nationalistic" composers.
In addition to the song texts, a translation of the original editor's commentary has been included, plus new listings of titles, opening lines, and the poets. With this edition one may appreciate, play, and sing Brahms's lieder from legible notation, printed with wide margins on strong opaque paper, bound for durability on the music stand. Nowhere else are the great songs of Brahms available to musicians, students, and classical music lovers, at the lowest price and highest quality of design and reproduction.
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