Love Songs

Welcome! 🙂 I hope the daily music posts here on the blog are giving you a boost, in these strange and unsettling times. If you’re new to the series and would like to check out earlier posts, you’ll find the first one here.

Today’s video features two of my favorite pieces by Romantic Era composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). Brahms was one of the greats of the Romantic Era, but he found his own fame and reputation hard to deal with. He became famous quite young, for his German Requiem (another amazing piece of music), but as a very shy and profoundly introverted person, he in many ways spent the rest of his life trying to deal with that success.

The two pieces in today’s video were written toward the end of Brahms’s life. He was always solitary, and though he experienced deep emotion, it seems he seldom expressed it except in his music. In these two pieces, we hear that emotion released.

To me, both of these pieces are love songs. Brahms himself never married, although he cared deeply for the widow of his close friend Robert Schumann. After Schumann’s death in 1856, Brahms did a great deal to support Clara Schumann and her children, who struggled financially until Clara was able to build up her career as a pianist. But it seems Brahms never asked Clara to marry him, as much as he loved her. It’s not clear how much she actually knew about how he felt, but I hear the profound tenderness and warmth of these two Intermezzi as a tribute to her.

As always, you’re welcome to share your thoughts and responses to the music in the comments. Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a daily dose of music, and visit back soon!

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