By: Johannes Brahms
A master of the art song, Brahms extended his exceptional artistry to the delightful solo vocal quartets contained in this volume. Included are the Liebeslieder, Op. 52, 18 songs for vocal quartet (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) and piano four hands; Neue Liebeslieder, Op. 65, 14 songs and a closing piece for the same ensemble; and Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103, 11 songs for vocal quartet and piano (one player).
Of the two sets of Liebeslieder, Grove's Dictionary remarks: "The former shows Brahms in his most genial Viennese vein … and some of the quieter pieces are unexpectedly touching. The second set is rather more somber in coloring and ends with a remarkably beautiful finale, to words by Goethe, in which the dance rhythm seems to fade away in the distance." The Zigeunerlieder elicit this comment: "The general atmosphere of the music is essentially Brahmsian … and most delightfully in quality."
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