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An Intimate Brahms

Victor Rosenbaum

An Intimate Brahms

If a lullaby is a love song to comfort a baby, there is something of the “lullaby” in much of Brahms’s music. From the famous Brahms lullaby itself, to the late Intermezzi, Opus 117, which Brahms himself called “lullabies for my sorrow”, a tenderness and intimacy permeates much of this composer’s music. Of course, tenderness is often the prelude to passion, and the music of Brahms exudes plenty of passion and drama as well. Although Brahms did not write “program music” per se (music that tells a particular narrative), his music does seem to speak to us with direct emotions, telling the experience of the human condition. These emotions will be explored as the key to understanding and performing the music of this great composer which is such a central, but too often overlooked, part of the pianist’s repertoire. (Examples will be drawn from the 1st Ballade, Opus 10, the Rhapsody Opus 79 No. 1, the Intermezzos, Opus 117 No. 1 and Opus 118, No. 2)