Pleasure to do with the variation of Brahms

As I have written else where in this blog, all the variations by Brahms attract me a lot. He has composed a part of or whole music in many works with this technique. Coming up with at this moment, I could count several variations composed by him, such as Haydn Variation, the 4th movement of Symphony Nr4, the 2nd movement of String Sextet Nr2 or the 4th movement of Clarinet Quintet. This one, the 2nd movement of Piano Trio Nr2 could not be forgotten. The passionate beautiful theme is given by the strings in unison. It will be varied with different rhythms and tonalities. The melodies are all fascinatingly impressive to me. In every variation, there is a song like breathing, crescendo and slight accelerando toward the climax, and then decrescendo and slight ritardando toward the end of the variation. 

What was this form of music meant to Brahms? I don't know of the answer to this question. Undoubtedly, this form must have not been only a composing technique but have been a form quite necessary to express himself. Life must be like a variation for him, I guess.

As I already told here, with the cataracts surgery done, I could read the score quite well. Before that, flats and sharps looked the same! Reading score is only the very 1st step in performance. But this is a big difference. I asked the violinist and the pianist to start practicing the trio again. They had been so kind to offer that last year when I told them I should quit the ensemble with the vision problem. In a week after the 2nd surgery, we will be immersed in this music. On Jan 31st, we will bring it to a small concert held for amateur players in Tokyo.       

This is another performance by the musicians in '50s. I love this dignified way of performance as well. I still remember, when the cello solo by Mainardi started playing the last variation of sadness in the 2nd movement, I felt my heart was tremoring with its beauty.

I don't know how long I could play such a music by myself even with better vision. Not so long, I believe. So far as I am allowed to do that, however, I still appreciate it from the bottom of my heart and go on enjoying it with such nice company.


  1. Great stuff. I still remember my first day in college when my new room-mate, a fellow from the Washington DC suburbs, showed me his classical music collection ... all on 78 RPM LP records. Nearly all were classic music, along with some show tunes. The very first record he played featured E. Power Biggs at the pipe organ of some large European cathedral, playing "Fugue in E-Flat Minor." It totally blew me away, and opened the window of timeless music to me. Wow. I still love the R&B of the Fifties and Sixties, and the Rolling Stones, but classical music now is one of my great joys. Thanks for this post, Shin-san. Jim N3BB

    1. Jim,

      It was the days of that LP you spent your student days. You might have wonderful time with your room mate then.

      I was also in a dorm of med school where I have known of classical music. I was with a room mate who was an oboist at the school orchestra. We have listened to a variety of music with a component stereo we gathered. It was the days when I first experienced with the tunes familiar to me now. No ham radio. But still very fond memories.

      I am just reading a book on the last 4 years of Mozart. He has travelled to Leipzig where he met a number of friends or disciples of great Bach there. As soon as Mozart passed away, there was Beethoven coming to Wien. What a productive era it was!

      See you soon.