Lately, before sleeping, I am often listening to the Intermezzo OP118-2 by Brahms. One of the famous piano pieces he has composed 3 years before his death. Together with other five other pieces of OP118, it was dedicated to Clara Schumann.
This intermezzo expresses what he felt in the latest chapter of his life. It is as if he talked of that to his old friend Clara. I could not help imagining him close to her talking softly of memories they had shared. In the most intimate way. Possibly in the garden having sun ray in the Indian summer.
A good old memory of this music comes up in my mind whenever I listen to it. In my med university days, I had a good friend junior by 3 or 4 years. He was a proficient violinist and would take the seat of the concert master later years at the university orchestra. He was always shyly speaking in subdued voice. In the week ends, we used to have regular rehearsal of the orchestra at a women's university. That university was in coalition with ours for the orchestral activities.
We often came home together after the rehearsal. It was sometime in fall. The campus was lit here and there with street lights. I can't recall what we were talking about and in what context he told this to me. That guy all of sudden wanted me to agree that the intermezzo by Brahms was great. I was surprised to hear that and stared at him walking beside me. There was his beautiful profile emerging lit by the street light in the darkness. Honestly, even though I have loved his chamber musics, I had least knowledge of his piano pieces. I might not say anything to him at that time. I just wondered what had made him ask that to me.
If I should have a chance to see him again, I sure would like to ask if he still remembered of that episode and what he had thought of at that time. I wonder if he has already noticed of the intimate story telling of the old memories in this music. And, all after our lives almost for the past half a century, what does he thing of with this music.
Recently, a few serious news of lives have come to me from old friends. The friend and/or the spouse have often had health issues. It is not only their problems. The same thing might happen to me any time in the coming years. It is not always a pleasant thing but is a kind of struggle to live our old age. May we have chances to talk on our sharing old memories as if Brahms might do with Clara. It may give us some power to walk along this uphill course before us. It is not a sentimentalism but a wisdom to go through this tough time in our lives.
I have turned to be 71 years old today. Having thought of my parents who raised me in such poverty and of my family members who are with me, I have spent today.