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Zigeunerlieder, Op 103
author of text
translated from Hungarian folksongs

'Brahms: Zigeunerlieder' (CDA67775)
Brahms: Zigeunerlieder
No 01: He, Zigeuner, greife in die Saiten ein!
No 02: Hochgetürmte Rimaflut, wie bist du so trüb
No 03: Wisst ihr, wann mein Kindchen
No 04: Lieber Gott, du weisst, wie oft bereut ich hab
No 05: Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze
No 06: Röslein dreie in der Reihe blühn so rot
No 07: Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn
No 08: Horch, der Wind klagt in den Zweigen traurig sacht
No 09: Weit und breit schaut niemand mich an
No 10: Mond verhüllt sein Angesicht
No 11: Rote Abendwolken ziehn

Zigeunerlieder, Op 103
One of Brahms’s last sets of quartets with piano is the eleven Zigeunerlieder Op 103, composed in 1887. These ‘gypsy songs’ skilfully and shrewdly combine the appeal of his two most popular and successfully marketed works, the Hungarian Dances and the Liebeslieder-Walzer. Like the latter, though on a slightly more elaborate scale, they form a sequence of dance-songs for vocal quartet; but now in the rhythms and exotic harmonic shading of the former. Brahms, who at this stage in his life had no pressing financial needs, seems to have written them for sheer enjoyment, and they are further testimony to the extraordinary fascination and fertilizing effect of gypsy music on his style. The texts are from a collection of twenty-five Hungarian folksongs, translated by his friend Hugo Conrat for an edition originally published in Budapest with piano accompaniments by Zoltán Nagy. Choosing freely from Conrat’s words, but only intermittently evoking the original tunes, Brahms produced a concentrated song-sequence that rings as resourceful a set of changes on the 2/4 csárdás rhythm as the Liebeslieder had upon waltz-time. The ‘Hungarian’ idiom is otherwise rather diffuse, and some of the songs—notably the beautiful Nos 7 and 8—resemble strophic Lieder with Slavic colouring. The theme of the opening song, He, Zigeuner, greife, returns in varied form as the theme of the last, Rote Abendwolken ziehn, and in No 10 the piano part produces an uncanny imitation of the cimbalom.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2009

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67775 track 19
Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze
Recording date
25 October 2007
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
Andrew Mellor
Hyperion usage
  1. Brahms: Zigeunerlieder (CDA67775)
    Disc 1 Track 19
    Release date: May 2009
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