I rarely use the car radio, despite its simplicity and its undeniable hi-fi. But sometimes Tesco can be so dispiriting... Punched the button just in time to hear the BBC Radio 3 presenter Sarah Walker (who's almost managed to suppress her northern accent but at the expense of inducing a disagreeable chuckle in her voice) announce Brahms' variations on Haydn's St Anthoni chorale. And suddenly Tesco and all other retailing engines faded as I embraced the great and good Johannes, knowing it made me a fuddy-duddy, knowing that the trend is away from his rich textures, knowing that his tunesmanship in this day and age is thought to be slightly simplistic. Said all this to VR and was astounded to receive this reply: "He has a sentimental attachment to me too. This was the first piece of music you played for me."
I never knew! And it all happened 54 years ago. For Brahms is surely the glass of glűhwein drunk in anticipation of a 3 km descent down a broad-boulevard blue run, groomed to show off one's parallel ski-ing abilities. A world now lost to my enfeebled legs but remembered in tranquillity and with affection.
Driving home, there was more. My last short story ended enigmatically with:
But couldn’t see playing Schubert trios day in day out. Felt sure the Brahms sextets would be a goer.
To which Beth commented:
I loved this story, and cringe for poor Brahms.
To which I responded:
Are you implying there's another mini-step between Schubert and Brahms I should have used?
To which she replied:
Oh no, just that poor old lumbering brown Brahms would be embarrassed, and since I love him so much anyway, I feel compelled to defend him.
So should we all, all love Brahms.
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