Drei Duette, Op.20, by Johannes Brahms
Transcribed for Mixed Voice, Instruments, and Piano by John W. Pratt
Score for Soprano, Alto, and Piano; Transcribed upper voice Parts for Violin/Oboe, Alto Flute, and A-Clarinet; and Transcribed lower voice Parts for Violin/Oboe, Alto Flute, A-Clarinet, and Viola; PDF $12.99
Composed in 1858–1860, the Drei Duette, Op. 20, for soprano and alto are the earliest of Johannes Brahms' duets and quartets for solo voices and piano. The three songs are titled Weg der Liebe (1. Teil), Weg der Liebe (2.Teil), and Die Meere. Except for brief canonic passages in No. 1, the voices have the same words, sung simultaneously, mostly in parallel thirds and sixths. The accompaniments are straightforward, without Brahmsian ensemble challenges but not without harmonic interest. Many have found the songs Mendelssohnian. The words come from the collection Stimmen der Völker of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803). The first two are translations by Herder of two parts of a Northern English folk poem Love will find out the Way. The third is Italian in origin.
The vocal parts lie well for many instruments, opening the possibility of mixed voice and instrument, as well as fully-instrumental, performances. If one...