What might as well describe me is in fact a quote assigned to no other than
J O H A N N E S B R A H M S
Johannes Brahms. One of the big big bosses of German composers, and with a beard (and a belly) so mighty even Santa Clause envies it. More than 200 songs, concert pieces, innumerous chamber music, a mighty mighty requiem and of course his symphonies – four delightful and wholesome pieces I equally love and caress like a bunch of kittens. I can’t even pick my favourite. Now that the season of wuthering heights is here and winter is coming, it is the perfect time to put on your favourite oversized boyfriend hoodie (no boyfriend required), snuggle up on your couch, enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and switch on Brahms’ Symphonies No. 1-4.
Done? Good. Proceed.
Now imagine the wind howling outside. Hear the window lattice rapping, tapping (not above the chamber door). Feel a slight cold draft through the cracks in the wall. You get the picture. THIS, and all this, is what Brahms’ symphonies sound like. Very cosy, very comforting, yet you can sense a danger lurking just around the corner; a very disquieting and disturbing danger. But for now, the chocolate and the snuggling keep you safe and you appreciate it – because you know it could be over any time. I don’t even have to imagine it because that’s exactly what the weather is like tonight. Brrrr. Because I had brownies today (the innocent ones) it’s Yogi Glückstee instead of hot chocolate, but apart from that the symphonies are on! Classic Friday night.
Actually, what would be even better with Brahms and a cosy couch night is the famous chocolate mug of sadness with the absolute best recipe intro story in the history of food bloggers. And yes, this quote is a topical detour longer than the whole Brahms article. But this blog’s called chaos for a reason. So deal with it. Where was I? Right. Sad. Chocolate Mug. Sad. Read:
There’s just something so… sad about chocolate cake for one. In a mug. So… not right. It should not be this easy to make your own cake in the microwave, for one thing. Maybe that’s what bothers me- how close I am to making chocolate cake. Every. Day. Just for myself. Just for myself in my apartment. Using my Sleepless in Seattle mug. Swarmed by cats as I dig in, all hunched over it, wrapped in a shawl I knit for myself. Plucking a stray piece of cat hair off my Chocolate Mug Cake for One. Feeling the thick cake hitting the bottom of my empty, loveless womb. Waiting for death. So, you know, ENJOY MAKING THIS RECIPE.Some Kitchen Stories
Alright, with an existential-crisis-appropriate dessert to fill our wombs and nourish our love handles, it’s back to Brahms and off to listen our way through his rich and romantic oeuvre. As a dedicated french horn player (alas, if only I practiced with as much dedication!) of course one piece of chamber music gets special mentioning here:
TRIO FOR HORN, VIOLIN AND PIANO, op. 40, E-flat major
I was lucky to enjoy a life performance with David Pyatt at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, UK. Brahms himself was a french horn bro. Probably not a pro but at least he knew what he was composing for. He explicitely wished for it to be played on the natural horn (i.e. without valves), due to its “truer” sound and living up to his impracticality quote because for modern day horn players, no valves are a nuisance. Back in 1865 however, when opus 40 was composed, it was common practice to practice (hehe) and perform without valves. According to legend, Brahms in Baden-Baden, so right around the corner from where I am writing this, when the beautiful landscape surrounding him woke his muse and inspired him for his trio. Or, as another American trio I once shared a train cabin with, put it:
Germany is so Bob Ross-esque!
Unfortunately Brahms and BRoss – yet another proud beard bearer – lived in different eras but at least we get to hear the rossesqueness of Baden-Baden in four movements musically painted on a canvas partitura and capturing blooming nature and black forest romance. Between nature, romance and cheerful hunting tunes lies the core and heart of the piece; a poetic and lamenting third movement, Adagio mesto. Rumour has it it was composed in the aftermath of and subsequently heavily influenced by the death of Brahm’s mother – who was quite a fan of the French Horn, too.
I’m not too much a fan of overanalyzing music and rather just have you listen to it and have your own thoughts about it so I will now go back to my own listening of wholesome and versatile music perfect for the season and bid you farewell with a symbolic melody…
♥ ♪♫♫♪ ♥