Brahms (66 mph)


Sat in a friend’s car the other day going out to lunch, and got stuck listening to Brahms, whom I’m pretty sure I still hate. Like a thick smear of chicken schmaltz on a doughnut. But on the ride home just about an hour outside New York, I’m moving around the radio “dial” and I catch a classical bit that stood up to the top 40 about which I am (not) ashamed to say I listen to on the commute. But there it was, with some jaggedy parts and some sweet violin. Turned out to be a Brahms concerto, Double Concerto in A Minor for violin and orchestra. I’m thinking it was Kurt Masur who put that little bit of edge in it, at least as I thought I heard it at the time and now recall (falsely?). Then smarmy Alec Baldwin introduced the Brahms 2nd Symphony, and I was hooked the rest of the way in to City and over the George Washington Bridge. I’m convinced now that some music, let’s say Brahms should only be listened to very loud and at high velocity. At any less than 60mph, the music remains unbearable. (As for that chicken schmaltz and doughnut, well, no, that actually sounds pretty good.)

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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3 Responses to Brahms (66 mph)

  1. Gail says:

    One cannot play cello and hate Brahams. The Requiem is gorgeous.
    And I’m offended by your description; geez, at least make the smear vegan.
    Outre-modernist snob.

  2. Gail says:

    Or Brahms. Who is Brahams?

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