Johannes Brahms

Sonntag ("So hab ich doch die ganze Woche"), song for voice & piano, Op. 47/3

    Description by Erik Eriksson

    Brahms' Sonntag (Sunday) is a song of such straightforward radiance and affection (as opposed to affectation) that its like is not to be found among the works of any of the other great Lieder composers. Brahms frequently utilized folk music sources and here, set an anonymously written folk text edited by the much-admired Ludwig Uhland. In the process, he respected the essence of the work, even while updating the archaic spellings found in the Old German. The song retains the freshness of its folk origins, remaining throughout in its beginning key of F major. Only in the accompaniment did Brahms allow himself a few measures of harmonic intricacy and then only in the six-bar interlude separating the two strophes and in the nearly identical postlude. The song's effect is hearty and unabashed, the young narrator explaining why Sunday is so important -- it's the day he sees his sweetheart. "So I haven't seen my love all week," he says. "I last saw her on Sunday, standing before her door./Would God, I'd see her today./Still, I'll not forgo my laughter all week./I saw her going to church on Sunday, that thousand-times beautiful young girl./Would God I were with her today." In 3/4 meter, Sonntag moves energetically, not too slowly (Nicht zu langsam), in keeping with the lad's ebullient, but not to say impatient, feelings. Brahms calls for the singer and accompanist to control their volume, specifying piano at the beginning and permitting only a few mild crescendos to a mezzo forte, followed by a return to piano. Although the narrator is excited, his enthusiasm for his sweetheart is of the confiding sort. The rhythm is both jaunty and supple, the accompaniment primarily spun out in eighth notes while the singer unfolds his lines with a combination of eighth and quarter notes. The effect is one of breathless eagerness from the singer, while the accompanist alternately duplicates the vocal line and places accents in contrast to it. Although Brahms initially elected to follow the text as published by Uhland, he later inserted repeats of several emphatic lines to afford a more complete, more polished result. That result is a small masterwork loved by artists and audiences alike.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Somm SOMMCD 264
    2017 First Hand Records FHR 52
    2015 Orlando Records OR 0019
    2013 Harmonia Mundi HMX 290840108
    2012 Capriccio Records C 5148
    2010 Audite 95635
    2010 Gala Records 10067
    2010 Summit Records 543
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926490
    2008 Classic Options 3541
    2008 Berlin Classics 94582
    2008 Camerata Records 28133
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93554
    2008 Danacord 451/60
    2008 Whiterock / Zebralution
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 901926
    2005 EMI Classics 68509
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 62808
    2003 Arts Music 47665
    2002 Decca 467901
    2000 Delos 1618
    2000 Orfeo 507991
    2000 Testament 1198
    2000 Testament 119
    2000 Gala / Gala Records GL 318
    1999 Phonographe 5039/40
    1994 EMI Music Distribution 64820
    Preiser Records 89204
    Music & Arts 661
    Brilliant Classics 93936
    Virgin 91130
    Brilliant Classics 93554/45
    Claremont Recordings 785057
    Documents 223073-303