“I would gladly write to you only by means of music, but I have things to say to you today which music could not express.” -Johannes Brahms
Title: Do You Like Brahms?
Main Cast: Park Eun-bin, Kim Min-jae
Writer: Ryu Bo-ri
PD: Jo Young-min
Timeslot: Monday and Tuesday / 22:20H
Genre: Romantic Musical Drama
“Do You Like Brahms?” centers around classical music students Chae Song-ah (Park Eun-bin), a violinist on her senior year, and Park Joon-young (Kim Min-jae), a famous pianist, and their journey to find happiness through music.
Major trope: Unrequited love
The last time I watched a story with a pianist and a violinist involved with each other, I had my heart broken in pieces, and my eyes were tired from crying. But since no one’s physically sick in Do You Like Brahms, I’m once again taking a risk on this type of pairing.
The first two episodes of DYLB focused on introducing us to our main characters: Chae Song-ah (Park Eun-bin) and Park Joon-young (Kim Min-jae).
Chae Song-ah decided to pursue music and enter the prestigious Seoryeong University’s School of Music. Everyone seems to be against her decision. Her family, especially her mother, are vocal in their opposition. Her best friend Kang Min-seong (Bae Da-bin) even tried to persuade her to change her mind. Because for her, it is crazy to enter music school instead of finding a job after studying business in college. The only person who supported Song-ah’s decision is violin maker Yoon Dong-yoon (Lee You-jin). Song-ah found a person who understands where she is coming from and I can’t blame her for secretly loving him. Pining for your best friend was already a sorrowful situation to be in but Song-ah has another problem. Min-seong, who dated Dong-yoon in the past, seem to still have lingering feelings for him. Well, I guess, Song-ah loves complicated things.
Another person who attracts complications as well is Park Joon-young. He has this calm and unbothered façade which is the opposite of his tumultuous mind. Unlike Song-ah, Joon-young started studying music at a young age. Even leaving his home to pursue his dreams. But he didn’t totally cut-off his ties with his complicated family life. It was only a glimpse, but I’m sensing his family background is more complicated than Song-ah’s. His love life is no better. He realizes too late that he’s in love with Lee Jung-kyung (Park Ji-hyun). He justified it by saying he was confused on how he would classify what he feels about his benefactor’s granddaughter. This quote from Clara Schumann seem to fit their situation: “He came, like a true friend, to share all my sorrow; he strengthened the heart that threatened to break, he uplifted my mind, he cheered my spirit when[ever] and wherever he could; in short, he was my friend in the fullest sense of the word.”
The analogy between Joon-young’s situation to that of Johannes Brahms’ complex relationship with Robert and Clara Schumann is genius. Aside from the fact that it stayed true to the drama’s theme, the analogy teases my curious mind on whether Joon-young and Song-ah will remain lonely in their respective on-sided love. Or will they find solace with each other? Of course, I’m placing my bet on the latter because Joon-young and Song-ah have glaring similarities.
I always have a soft spot for characters at their life’s crossroads, dreading to take a step forward. So it wasn’t surprising at all that this pair has my support already. It was really easy to empathize with Song-ah and Joon-young. I would love to see Song-ah learn to speak her mind. It felt like she doesn’t look at herself prettily. She lacks confidence (probably because of the lack of encouragement from people around her) and it would be so satisfying to watch her have her own crescendo – growing from the timid soft-spoken violinist to a confident musician ready to take on the world.
As for Joon-young, his internal conflict seemed to stem from external factors – like family issues, other people’s comments, and his seeming dwindling career. I hope that his relationship with Song-ah will help him rekindle his love for music. Or at least found a new reason to start over.
And I think, I have to prepare myself for another character-driven slow-burn romance that could test my patience and frustrate me from time-to-time.
-Listen to Echosmith’s Dear World because I feel like it could be a soundtrack of Song-ah and Joon-young’s life.
-If you’re curious about Brahms-Clara-Robert story, this one’s a good read: https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/02/21/clara-schumann-johannes-brahms-letters/
–Träumerei or daydream is part of Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), a collection of thirteen piano pieces composed by Robert Schumann. It is said to be Schumann’s “most quiet, introspective, and most popular pieces.” Read more here: https://www.npr.org/2010/06/08/127211553/robert-schumanns-childhood-dreams
–Tzigane (Rapsodie de concert), which was the violin-piano duet played by Joon-young in episode 2, was composed by French musician Maurice Ravel.
-Yes, I was pertaining to the story of Kōsei Arima and Kaori Miyazono from Your Lie in April in my opening line. This manga/anime is so tragic yet so beautiful. Also, I have a soft spot for Tsubaki Sawabe so you know why I support people braving their way out of the forest of one-sided love.
-Pianist Cho Seong-jin is the first South Korean to win the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition. I listened to The Wanderer collection while writing this. His music is available in Spotify:
-I actually made a playlist for music featured in Do You Like Brahms just because: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvNqKatYFZ1f8mcpCo9Qse3K22MX2jEFN