Brahms was not fond of giving his works descriptive titles, and often simply used the matter-of fact "Klavierstücke." (Piano pieces). Another noncommittal term often resorted to was Intermezzo, which is the case with the first three pieces in this collection, quite different in structure and character.
The first piece is one of the most harmonically rich and ambiguous of Brahms’s works – the mysterious first chord is a B-minor triad "embedded in a chord that looks, but cannot be said to function, like an E-minor ninth" (Walter Frisch).
The fourth and final piece of the set, a Rhapsody in E-flat major, but with a firm close on E-flat minor, is the longest of Brahms´s late piano works.