These quartets were published between the two sets of Liebeslieder Waltzes, but the first was composed earlier and has more in common with the Vocal Quartets, Op. 31. Unlike those Quartets, though, these three have a more choral-like quality in their setting, and indeed, in a letter to his publisher, Brahms suggested their use for that medium.
"An die Heimat" (To the Homeland). This was written during Brahms' first extended stay in Vienna, and may reflect a certain longing for Hamburg, as inspired by the text. The contrapuntal and ensemble writing for the voices is similar to Brahms' a cappella style.
"Der Abend" (Evening) is quite different than the first quartet. Its fast tempo dramatizes the dialog between Apollo and Thetis. Apollo's horses are depicted in the piano accompaniment in this lively quartet that utilizes imaginative pairings of the four voices.
"Fragen" (Questions). This quartet pits the solo tenor as the lover being questioned by the other three voices. It is clearly meant as an ironic setting of the text.