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#1376209 - 02/17/10 04:42 AM Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem!
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
Dear ABF members

I wondered, how many of you have tackled this sublime Brahms Intermezzo? I wasn't familiar with it myself until I heard Radu Lupu play it in New York recently, after which I decided I simply had to learn it.

I sometimes still come across pieces I haven't heard before or with which I was only vaguely familiar. This Intermezzo belongs to the latter category and now, I can't listen to it often enough. At the moment it's at the very top of my list of favorite piano music, alongside the likes of Schubert's Impromptu Op 90 No 3 and Chopin's Nocturne Op 27 No 2. I especially love music which is lyrical, poetic and which touches me deeply, often to tears. To elucidate and, as only one example, J.S. Bach's music never affects me in the same way. I'm learning to love, or rather appreciate, his music on a different level.

Anyway, I've downloaded the score and I'm making slow, steady progress. Typical of Brahms, it's full of obstacles - at least for me! - in the form of numerous accidentals.

For anyone not familiar with the Intermezzo, here's a link to a recording by Radu Lupu (sound only) although to date, the interpretation I love the most is by Van Cliburn, from his album "My favorite Brahms". The piece is in ABA form... listen to the lovely interplay of the voices in both hands in the B section, beginning at 2:13 of the linked recording.

I hope others are, or will be, captivated by this heavenly music, as I am. Perhaps even a study group?

Best wishes
Michael

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#1376240 - 02/17/10 06:30 AM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: cruiser]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
I played about 4 of the op 118 - #s 1,2,3 and 6 - never got to 4, and 5 for some reason.
My favorite from that set is #6. Here is a good performance of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUxb6ITdQA0.

#1 and 2 go together very well.

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#1376318 - 02/17/10 09:22 AM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: Phlebas]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
Love it here as well. We seem to like the same music as I also love the Schubert!

I have several recordings of the 118/2, some I like better than others.

A funny story.

At NE piano parties we try to share pieces that we love or recently have been learning.

At one party 4 of us were prepared to play the 118/2! We all looked blankly at one another as the first person played it, like oh no, how could we now play the same thing? Until we decided that we would all play it!... sharing and enjoying the different interpretations.

Bernard, Terrytunes, KathyK and I all had quite different takes on it. All nice. It is one of those songs where the heart enjoys baring itself.

I am enjoying the Lupu recording as I write. Very nice!

I need to go play it again!

_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1376643 - 02/17/10 04:54 PM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: lilylady]
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
Thanks for your replies, phlebas and lilylady.

lilylady, in the light of your experience, do you have any advice to offer me with regard to working on this Intermezzo? At the current rate of progress, I estimate at least two months before I've learned - and memorized - it, not to mention doing it justice expressively!

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#1376660 - 02/17/10 05:12 PM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: cruiser]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5021
Loc: Europe
2 months is not really bad. It's not an easy piece. The repetitions are not absolutely the same, so you do need to be careful, the phrases are very carefully crafted, the dynamics remain subtle for most of the time and the rubato is a (not in the score) given for the piece!

In all it's a complete piece, with plenty of variations and immense interest in it.

Kudos for loving this piece so much Michael! Just enjoy the ride and don't worry about the time it will take to master it! It will be much worth it! smile Just don't get too hooked with any performance you know. This pieces deserves your own personality and your own ideas, even if they resemble someone elses!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1376792 - 02/17/10 07:32 PM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: Nikolas]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
Michael, it probably took me that long to be comfortable with the piece. Less than a month for the notes, but then each time I played it, I would emote a different feeling and I enjoyed exploring that.

My playing of it this morning was disaster. I haven't played it in well over a year and need a day or two of reviewing (yikes). It certainly isn't a sightreadable piece for me at the moment. But it will be enjoyable to review it.

If I see anything in playing that I can share, I shall.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1376798 - 02/17/10 07:38 PM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: lilylady]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
Phlebas, that link didn't work. I haven't played 6 yet. Just heard the Gould interpretation on youtube.

It is haunting and dark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8bCl7atQt4&feature=related
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1377339 - 02/18/10 12:18 PM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: lilylady]
Tmoose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 111
Loc: Washington State
I love the Gould recording of 118/2 - I find many of the others to be either too slow or too rigid in tempo - his is restrained but has a lot of contrast without eccentricity. Now if only *I* could play it even 1/20th as well! I've been struggling to make that arpeggiated high A sound decent seemingly forever...
_________________________
1906 Steinway B (#124401)

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#1377352 - 02/18/10 12:31 PM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: Tmoose]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1637
Loc: Colorado
Never listened too much to 118...Thanks for bringing this to the forefront.

I very much enjoy 117 (1, 2, 3), especially 117-2. When I attempt to play at it, I further realize my limitations. Still way too much of a beginner...

These Brahms Intermezzos are simply wonderful. He is one of the three Bs, no doubt. Such a genius, so deep.

Glen
_________________________


March piano audio
https://app.box.com/s/evl3yyp1kj52ve8l069u


A Bit of YouTube

PTG Associate Member

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#1381355 - 02/23/10 04:54 PM Re: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No2 - a gem! [Re: Inlanding]
ec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 73
Loc: Long Beach, CA
Here's a wonderful interpretation by Georgian Ion, a European pianist I think should be better known than he is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlEWx-9T7Ek.
And Nikolas is bang on--this piece, like most Brahms, is much more difficult than it looks at first glance. I've been playing it for almost half a century, yet I find something new and amazing in it every time I return to it...
_________________________
ec
Long Beach, CA
*********************

Crazy work schedule = shorter pieces for now:

Brahms - Op. 116. No. 6, No. 7


Chopin - Nocturne, Op.62, No. 2
Mazurka, Op. 41, No. 1 (C# minor)
Etude, Op. 25, No. 9
Polonaise, Op. 40, No. 2, C minor

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