|Choral composition by Johannes Brahms|
The composer in 1887
|Text||"Nänie" by Friedrich Schiller|
|Dedication||To Henriette Feuerbach, in memory of Anselm Feuerbach|
|Scoring||SATB chorus and orchestra|
Nänie (the German form of Latin naenia, meaning "a funeral song" named after the Roman goddess Nenia) is a composition for SATB chorus and orchestra, Op. 82 by Johannes Brahms, which sets to music the poem "Nänie" by Friedrich Schiller. Brahms composed the piece in 1881, in memory of his deceased friend Anselm Feuerbach. Nänie is a lamentation on the inevitability of death; the first sentence, "Auch das Schöne muß sterben", translates to "Even the beautiful must die". An average performance has a duration of approximately 15 minutes.
Schiller's lament is not for a specific person but the death of the abstract "beautiful" ("Das Schöne"). Schiller mentions three episodes from Greek mythology, but again mostly without names, assuming that the reader with knowledge will make the connections. The first episode refers to Orpheus who tries to rescue Eurydice from the underworld, the second refers to Aphrodite's mourning of her lover Adonis, the third refers to the failed effort of Thetis to save her son Achilles from death.
Auch das Schöne muß sterben! Das Menschen und Götter bezwinget,
Even the beautiful must perish! That which overcomes gods and men
Setting by Brahms
Brahms began his composition in spring 1880 as a response to the death of his friend, the painter Anselm Feuerbach. He chose the text referring to the frequent motifs from Greek mythology in the painter's work. Brahms completed the composition in the summer of 1881 and dedicated it to Henriette Feuerbach, the painter's stepmother. Written about a decade after Ein deutsches Requiem, it shows a similar approach of consolation of those who mourn a death.
A setting of the text by Hermann Goetz, written in 1874, is also extant and has been recorded.
- Nänie: Free scores at the Brahms Institut.
- Nänie, Op. 82: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- on YouTube, University of Memphis Chamber Orchestra and University Singers, April 2011
|This article about a classical composition is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|