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Johannes Brahms, Liebeslieder Walzer

By June 7, 2023No Comments

I am letting you hear the Libeslieder Walzer (both opus numbers) at your leisure. For me to have posted a translation of every song would have been madness (on my part). I am giving you links to all the translations. Read them or don’t read them!

The singers are marvelous: Erna Berger, Soprano, Gertrude Pitzinger , Contralto, Walter Ludwig, Tenor, and Erich Wenk, Bass
Ernst-Günther Scherzer & Gerda Falbe, Pianos.

These are really wonderful pieces by Brahms, and they’re not performed all that often. I hope that you enjoy them.

Liebeslieder waltzes, German Liebesliederwalzer (“Love Song Waltzes”), two groups of songs by Johannes Brahms intended for entertainment at casual social occasions. The first set (Op. 52), consisting of 18 songs, was published in 1869 and the second (Op. 65), called Neues Liebesliederwalzer (“New Love Song Waltzes”) and consisting of 15 songs, in 1874. Both were later revised and republished in new arrangements, in 1874 and 1877 respectively.

Brahms’s Liebeslieder waltzes capitalized upon two musical trends of the 1800s: dances to be played by piano duet (that is, one piano and two players) and vocal pieces on the subject of love. In both cases, the pieces were to be light and unpretentious, designed for the enjoyment of talented amateurs, rather than concert artists. Brahms himself enjoyed this unassuming music and, as the conductor of amateur choirs, he understood both the appeal of such compositions and the limitations within which to work so as to suit his audience.

Both sets of songs later reappeared in editions for piano four-hands with no singers at all, the vocal lines having been redistributed among the layers of the piano parts. The original versions with singers allow parts for soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone. This is sometimes interpreted as a mixed quartet and at other times as a full choir in four voice parts.

Schwarm, B.. “Liebeslieder waltzes.” Encyclopedia Britannica, February 22, 2018.