Brahms fills in the gaps


Two accidents today.

Accident one: thinking on my way to a meeting ‘I’ll listen to some music on my headphones on the way in.’

Then thinking, ‘What the f**k do I listen to? How do I avoid crying?’

And then for some apparent reason I cannot fathom right now, I end up selecting Brahms Piano Quintet in G minor.

The heart tightens. The eyes flicker. Simmering emotion threatens to bubble over. I realise I’m actually terrified of listening to any music.

Of course, I’m not terrified of the music. I’m terrified of the emotional response I’ll have.

This in a sense seems odd given that I’m ALL about exploring emotions. So much so that if I didn’t have the opportunity to explore my own emotions then I’d feel like I’d had nothing to say.

The effect of Brahms’ epic chamber work (first heard up close in Verbier a few years ago – Thanks Kenny) is odd. It is as though the musical ideas expressed in both melody and harmonic progression taps into the emotions I’m feeling at the moment: the dominant ones. The music is triggering an emotional equalizer – an indicator of where I am at the present time.

Only what it ends up doing is shining a light on some unexpected emotions. A glimmer of reslience. A sense of hope. A determination to reframe sadness into something more positive. Something more manageable.

Why do we never talk about music like this? Surely, that would help in conveying its appeal? It’s addictive qualities? It’s not something that injects a feeling; it’s music that helps identify what’s going on. You don’t need to know about music to listen to it, you need to know about your own emotions. And the only person who’s going to know about them is you, no?

Accident two: paying for a glass of wine at the Barbican with my debit card.

Whilst scribbling I was listening to Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor played Renaud and Gautier Capucon, Nicholas Angelich, and Gerard Causse