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This piece was premiered by Brahms' close friend Joseph Joachim
and his quartet. The relationship between the two is shown even
from the very start of the piece: the violin's secod, third, and
fourth notes are F-A-E, which Joachim had once used as a personal
motto (standing for "frei aber einsam" - "free but lonely"). He
uses this F-A-E motif and reworks it throughout the first movement.
Later in the piece, Brahms inserts his own response to the mix,
F-A-F ("frei aber froh" - "free but happy").