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Brahms Four Quartets for Choir op. 92

BREITKOPF & HARTEL - 15131

Brahms Four Quartets for Choir op. 92

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Brahms Four Quartets for Choir op. 92

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The Four Quartets op. 92 were composed in 1884 during Brahms’ summer’s stay in Mürzzuschlag (Styria). The opening piece, however, was a revision of an earlier vocal quartet composed in 1877. Brahms had announced this to his friend Elisabeth von Herzogenberg on 13 November 1877 as “a bad joke on music paper” with which he was reacting to her reproach regarding an earlier lied (op. 71 No. 4) with an ironic text insertion before the beginning of the reprise. In the revision of 1884, Brahms significantly changed the C-major middle section especially. In the present edition’s appendix, the early version of “O schöne Nacht!” is disclosed for rediscovery in comparison with the version published as op. 92 no. 1.

The quartets were published on 1 December 1884 by Simrock, one week later, the first public performance of the work took place in the Large Gürzenich Hall in Cologne. The pieces found their primary target audience, however, in private performances as domestic music. Even today, they recommend themselves for smaller choral scorings or ensembles with piano accompaniment. The night-time melancholic text selection with works by Daumer, Hebbel and Goethe seems fit for these.