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Do You Like Brahms: Episode 1

The first youth music drama out of the gate, Do You Like Brahms, sets a soft romantic tone as we’re introduced to our music-loving characters. We meet our heroine as she seeks happiness through her love of violin, but her late discovery of this passion poses doubts about her future. She’s introduced to a music prodigy, who faces his own challenges with music, and we slowly learn about their overlapping struggles with friendship and love. And it has everything to do with Brahms.

Note: This is a first episode recap only. Coverage will continue with weecaps.

 
EPISODE 1: “Träumerei: Dream”

A group of friends surprise our heroine, CHAE SONG-AH (Park Eun-bin), with a cake to celebrate her admission to Seoryeong University’s School of Music. College friend KANG MIN-SUNG (Bae Da-bin) asks Song-ah for her reflections on being admitted to the music school at 26 years old after graduating from the business school, and another close college friend, YOON DONG-YOON (Lee Yoo-jin), interjects to take credit as Song-ah’s violin teacher. Min-sung asks if Song-ah is happy, and Song-ah smiles brightly as she nods.

Jumping to Song-ah as a fourth-year violin student, we see the first violins preparing backstage for the school’s 60th anniversary concert. The violinists complain about the inconvenience of getting to the famous Arts Center for the performance, having performed at the venue multiple times throughout their classical music training, but Song-ah confesses that this is her first time performing here. Unlike the younger students, Song-ah is nervously excited.

Song-ah marvels at the incredible venue, and a fellow violinist asks if she knows the featured pianist, PARK JOON-YOUNG (Kim Min-jae), who is the same age as Song-ah. Though they’re the same age and went to school together, Song-ah never knew Joon-young because they were in different majors.

After the orchestra rehearsal, the conductor welcomes Joon-young and introduces him to the orchestra as their honorable senior who just came back from touring. Joon-young prepares to begin the rehearsal, but just before Joon-young plays, the conductor tells the two violinists at the end to go home because the violin sound is too loud. Song-ah is one of the two violinists and hesitates to leave.

The irascible conductor asks why Song-ah isn’t leaving, and she timidly asks if she can stay because she practiced a lot. The conductor asks for her name and mishears her name as an apology (“Chae Song-ah” sounds like “I’m sorry.”). He gets angry when he hears an apology in response to his question.

Then, he points out that the seating is arranged by grades and yells at Song-ah that she shouldn’t have been last if she wanted to play. Oof, low blow. The uncomfortable silence is broken by cacophonous piano keys, and Joon-young apologizes for dropping his score.

Thankfully, the conductor decides to let Song-ah stay and turns to Joon-young to start the rehearsal. Once again, the capricious conductor stops right before Joon-young plays and tells Song-ah to leave. Nearly in tears, Song-ah exits the stage, and Joon-young looks bothered.

Backstage, Song-ah receives a message from Min-sung that she’s here to see Song-ah play, but unfortunately, the tickets are sold out. As Song-ah collects her emotions in the bathroom stall, she overhears her classmates’ conversation about graduate programs. Then, they wonder what Song-ah’s plans are and express discomfort with asking her directly. In the stall, Song-ah checks her email and opens a rejection email from a graduate program.

The concert begins, and Joon-young puts on an impressive performance. A technician notices Song-ah peeking inside the monitoring room and invites her to watch the performance from a better vantage point. As Song-ah watches the Joon-young’s passionate performance, she reflects, “I was brought to tears by the passion in his music. I cried because of how small and humble I felt.”

After the performance, Joon-young meets his mother outside and invites her to the reception. Mom declines the invite and seems intimidated by the prestigious attendees. Mom mentions that Joon-young’s performance fee hasn’t been deposited, and he offers to check with his company. Before she heads off to catch her bus, Mom assures Joon-young that his dad has been doing better. Hmm, interesting.

As Song-ah tries to sneak out of the bathroom, she runs into classmate Kim Hae-na, who asks her about the summer intern position with the Kyung-hoo Cultural Foundation. The classmate accepted her offer and reminds Song-ah that the deadline for their response is today. Song-ah says that she hasn’t decided yet, and the classmate seems uninterested in Song-ah’s decision.

Song-ah finds her friend Min-sung taking selfies with Joon-young outside, and she looks a bit embarrassed when Min-sung congratulates her for her debut performance at the arts center. Joon-young recognizes Song-ah, and we see that he purposefully dropped his score to interrupt the conductor’s tantrum. He feigns ignorance and thanks Song-ah for her hard work today.

At the reception, the director of the Kyung-hoo Cultural Foundation, NA MOON-SOOK (Yeh Soo-jung), shares remarks about her close ties with Seoryeong University’s School of Music, naming Joon-young and her granddaughter as alumni. Joon-young watches the speech with a close Foundation staff member Cha Young-in, who notes that they’ll rarely see LEE JUNG-KYUNG (Director Na’s granddaughter and Joon-young’s friend, Park Ji-hyun), since she’s teaching in the States. Joon-young looks slightly uncomfortable at the mention of Jung-kyung.

Over a celebratory dinner, Min-sung presents Song-ah with a birthday gift: a custom calendar starting on Song-ah’s birthday. Song-ah flips to the first month and sees the photo of her with Min-sung and Dong-yoon. Min-sung notes how Dong-yoon looks the same and scolds herself for still liking him years after they briefly dated. Song-ah seems a bit tense at the mention of Dong-yoon.

At the reception, Joon-young continues his fan service by taking selfies with the conductor. The conductor tries to recruit Joon-young to perform at an upcoming concert with his symphony, but Joon-young politely declines because he isn’t planning on performing this year.

Song-ah consults Min-sung on her intern offer from the Foundation. She’s worried about losing practice time, but Min-sung advises her to take advantage of this opportunity to cover the cost of her next semester. Song-ah asks about Min-sung’s graduation, and Min-sung scolds herself for liking chemistry enough to go to graduate school. Song-ah says the same about music and recalls that Dong-yoon was the only one who rooted her on.

While Min-sung steps away, a young girl approaches Song-ah and asks her what’s in the case. Song-ah responds that it’s a violin and sings a children’s song to help the girl recognize what a violin is. The girl asks Song-ah if she’s good at playing the violin, and Song-ah pauses. Her eyes turning melancholy, Song-ah responds, “I like the violin.”

As Joon-young waits for Young-in in the parking lot, he overhears the conductor deprecating Joon-young for declining his offer yet still agreeing to perform for the Kyung-hoo Cultural Foundation later this year. The conductor diminishes Joon-young’s fame, saying that he isn’t as great as he once was.

In the car, Young-in tells Joon-young about Director Na’s disappointment that she couldn’t see Joon-young or Jung-kyung in New York because of the long flight. Young-in figures that Joon-young saw Jung-kyung while they were in the U.S. together, and Joon-young recalls seeing Jung-kyung crying at his concert. Young-in says that Jung-kyung doesn’t call home often and wonders if she’s too occupied with her boyfriend.

Suddenly, it starts raining, and Joon-young notices Song-ah running to shelter. He starts to ask Young-in if they have an umbrella, but Song-ah covers her violin with her jacket and runs to the nearest convenience store to buy an umbrella.

Song-ah comes home drenched to her parents and older sister, Song-hee, who’s a lawyer. Song-hee asks about Song-ah’s plans after graduation, and at Song-ah’s silence, she suggests that her sister find a different path.

Trying to assure her family, Song-ah shares that she’ll be working as an intern with the Kyung-hoo Cultural Foundation planning team. She makes it a point to mention that she qualified by passing the test. Song-ah shares Kyung-hoo’s prestige and that the former president of Kyung-hoo Group is the Foundation’s director.

Song-hee asks if she plans on getting a job with the Foundation, and Song-ah rejects that plan. Mom regrets that Song-ah could have been working at other branches of Kyung-hoo with her business degree and blames her husband for raising Song-ah with classical music (lol). When Song-ah’s well-accomplished family asks her about her plans, Song-ah comes up empty and walks away from the conversation.

Song-ah looks at her name in the concert program and thinks about the conductor and her sister doubting her violin career. When she opens a beer, it spills on her precious program, and she looks so disappointed. Later that night, she officially accepts the intern offer.

Joon-young thanks Young-in for preparing an apartment for him, and Young-in credits Director Na for the generosity. When he arrives at his new apartment, Joon-young finds a welcome flower basket from Director Na and sees Kyung-hoo’s building outside his window.

Song-ah arrives at the Kyung-hoo Foundation for her first day with classmate Hae-na, and a planning team member mishears her name as an apology (like the conductor). Hae-na snickers at the familiar mistake. Planning Team Leader Young-in orients them to the space and the team, and we see a plaque commemorating pianist Jung Kyung-sun. After her work day, Song-ah practices her violin and squeezes in more violin by watching videos during her commute.

After work, Song-ah peeks into the rehearsal room and looks at the callouses on her fingers. Young-in finds her admiring the rehearsal room, and Song-ah cautiously asks if she can use the room to practice violin. Young-in is happy to let her use the room whenever it’s free and tells Song-ah to just check in with their scheduling point person, Deputy Lim Yoo-jin. Song-ah looks thrilled.

During her next lunch break, Song-ah excitedly heads to the rehearsal room, but she’s surprised to find it occupied. Joon-young is playing the piano, and Song-ah stands at the entrance, engrossed in his music. Song-ah’s buzzing phone interrupts the silence, and Joon-young apologetically asks if he’s using her space. Mortified Song-ah apologizes and rushes out to answer a call from Deputy Ryu, who belatedly informs her that Joon-young asked to use the rehearsal room.

Joon-young recognizes Song-ah from the concert rehearsal and her protecting her violin in the rain. When Joon-young tries to play another song, he struggles to play one note and tries again. He wipes down the keys and starts playing, but he continues to stumble on the same note.

The planning team goes out to dinner, and Song-ah shifts uncomfortably in her skirt. One team member notices the bruise on Song-ah’s neck and commends her dedication to practicing the violin. Hae-na slides in and proudly claims to have a penchant for the violin because she doesn’t have any bruises even after ten hours of practicing.

Young-in wonders if Joon-young forgot about the team dinner and says that he doesn’t have a Korean phone number yet. She asks Song-ah to retrieve him from the office, and Song-ah gladly goes outside to stretch her legs. She limps outside just as Joon-young arrives, and they recognize each other.

Song-ah introduces herself as the planning team intern and explains that she was about to retrieve him from the office. Joon-young apologizes for being late, and he notices Song-ah limping toward the door. She claims to be fine and then asks for 30 seconds to shake out her numb legs. Joon-young smiles in amusement.

Song-ah explains further that she was going to retrieve him because he doesn’t have a Korean phone. He says that he just got one and asks for Song-ah’s number. Song-ah looks confused that he’s asking for her number, so he explains that Young-in told him to call her if he plans on using the rehearsal room. She shares her number and starts to spell out her name, but Joon-young already knows.

They join the dinner, and we learn that Joon-young is finishing up his last semester at Seoryeong because he was too busy with concerts to finish his degree. Drunk Hae-na asks Joon-young if she can call him “oppa” as his high school and college junior, and Young-in realizes that Joon-young and Song-ah are the same age. The team members suggest that they drop the formalities as friends, but Song-ah says that she couldn’t do that to a superstar.

At home, Song-ah practices and notices something odd with her violin sound. She picks up a call from Dong-yoon, who brags that he got second place. She tells him about her violin sound, and he says that he’ll fly back tomorrow to check it out. He tells her to meet her at the airport and quickly hangs up to attend the award ceremony. Song-ah seems happy about the impromptu visit and looks at a photo of Dong-yoon, who’s currently in Italy.

Joon-young also receives a welcome correspondence from a long-time friend, who’s coming back from the U.S. and asks him to meet him at the airport. He admires the photo in the email, of the three close friends.

Song-ah looks up an article about Dong-yoon learning to be a violin maker in Italy and reads through it with a proud smile. She fixates on the word “dream” in the headline and remembers Joon-young playing Schumann’s Träumerei in the rehearsal room. She looks up Joon-young and Träumerei, but she doesn’t find any clips of him playing the song. She sighs that there are so many results when searching “dream,” but she can’t find hers.

Joon-young looks through the archives on his old phone and finds a video of his two best friends, Jung-kyung and Hyun-ho, wishing him good luck on his concert. He focuses on Jung-kyung at the end of the video and recalls their interaction at his concert in New York.

In the lobby of the concert venue, Joon-young found Jung-kyung and saw that she was crying when she turned around. Then, she kissed him. Drama! Bothered by this memory, Joon-young stuffs his old phone into his suitcase and forces the suitcase in the closet.

At the airport, Song-ah fixes her make-up and freezes when she receives a call from Min-sung. She doesn’t pick up and looks guilty as she remembers Min-sung saying that Dong-yoon never called her after leaving for Italy. She reassesses her look and wipes the gloss off of her lips.

As Song-ah waits for Dong-yoon, she looks around, and her eyes widen at the sight of Joon-young. They awkwardly greet each other and end up waiting for their friends together. Song-ah says that she’s greeting her guy friend and explains that she brought her violin because her friend makes instruments. Joon-young shares that he’s also waiting for a friend, and they awkwardly laugh to fill the space.

Joon-young asks about the test for the Kyung-hoo Cultural Foundation internship, and Song-ah explains that applicants need to submit a concert plan. She shares that she wrote performance program and a marketing plan. Joon-young is impressed by the submission, but Song-ah tries to downplay her work as something anyone could do.

Joon-young gives her more credit and asks what she included in the concert program. She tries to brush it off as nothing, but Joon-young asks again with earnest curiosity. Song-ah notices his sincere ask and shares that she included Brahms, Schumann, and Clara.

Reflecting on that selection, Joon-young wonders if the theme was “unattainable love.” Song-ah denies this and says that her theme was “friendship” among the three. Then, Song-ah asks, “Do you like Brahms?”

In narration, Song-ah wonders why she asked Joon-young this question. We see a quick clip of a violinist, a cellist, and a pianist. Then he responds, “No, I don’t like Brahms.”

Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of their friends, and Song-ah narrates, “Brahms’ love of his life was Clara, the wife of his musical mentor and best friend Schumann. Although Clara frequently played Brahms’ music, she always had Schumann at her side. Brahms lived his life alone by Clara’s side.”

Song-ah happily greets Dong-yoon, but Joon-young’s expression stiffens as he watches his friend, HAN HYUN-HO (Kim Sung-chul), arrive with Jung-kyung. Hyun-ho wraps his arms around Jung-kyung, signifying that they’re together. The brief clip of the violinist, cellist, and pianist are of these three modern day Brahms, Schumann, and Clara. Song-ah narrates, “I later learned that he doesn’t play Brahms.”

 
COMMENTS

I found this first episode to be sweet and pleasant, and then that last scene totally won me over. The story of Brahms, Schumann, and Clara as an analogy for Joon-young’s friendship and heartbreak was the perfect way to grip me. I went from “Aw, this is cute,” to “Wait, I love this show.” As the show introduced us to Song-ah and Joon-young, I noticed the intentional parallels drawn between the friend groups (read: love triangles), and I found the distinction at the end compelling. While the three musicians evoke a sense of loss for Joon-young, they mean something entirely different for Song-ah: friendship. I’m curious to see how these two different interpretations will clash or reconcile as Song-ah and Joon-young grow closer.

Song-ah’s love for the violin is so pure, and though she carries herself with a bit of shame, she’s so sure in her passion for the instrument. In the intimidating environment of musicians, she carries herself apologetically, and the explicit commentary on her name sounding like an apology reinforces this shame. I’m sympathetic to Song-ah’s predicament as an older student at a crossroads about her future, and I hope her journey to find a path doesn’t lead her to settle on something that mutes her love and passion for the violin.

I loooove Park Eun-bin in this and just in general because she’s a reliable actress in both her art and her eye for shows. There are some actors that I’ll watch a show for and bear the pain no matter how terrible the show is. We all have that ride or die in dramaland. For me, Park Eun-bin is like that ride or die but without any of the risks. I think Park Eun-bin gravitates towards characters that allow her to bring depth and dimension, and I’m sure the depth and solid presence she brings to Song-ah will largely benefit this show.

We didn’t get too much background on Joon-young in this episode other than his role as Brahms in his trio of friends, but his interaction with his mother indicates to me that his upbringing was a bit rocky. He’s the breadwinner for his family, and at first glance, he doesn’t seem to carry resentment about this burden. It seems that his career was largely sponsored by the Kyung-hoo Foundation, and I wonder if that debt to the Foundation affects how he navigates his career. He’s definitely not an open book, and I think it will take some effort to pry open his story.

Overall, I’m impressed by how thoughtful this first episode was and can sense the respect for music that these actors are bringing to their roles. Even with the cuts of Joon-young and Song-ah playing their instruments, I can tell they practiced, so we’re not getting any abrupt cuts to a double-casted musician. This show brought back my nostalgia for the piano, and I’m planning on tuning in for the more nostalgia, friendship, and love — the musical, platonic, romantic, and unattainable.

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I love this since the first episode. Joon-young is so unintentionally heart-fluttering. If I didn't know he was in love with his friend, I would think he likes Song-ah. I squeed when he asked for her number and offered to stand with her after her legs fell asleep. Not only did he take the coffee when he doesn't even drink coffee, but he traded with her and took a sip so she couldn't take it back. She waited for his taxi as part of her job, but he waited because he's a gentleman. I hope Song-ah learns why Joon-young knows that she lives near Seoul Arts Center because he saw her get caught in the rain after the concert and wanted to give her an umbrella. He was sweet reassuring her before her page-turning, "Even if you make a mistake, I have almost everything memorized." I'm elated they're donggap because banmal is my weakness. Let's be friends!!

This is a healing drama. Both of them are deeply relatable: she, choosing passion or practicality, and he, sacrificing happiness for family. I just want Joon-young to be happy. If piano no longer makes him happy, then I want Song-ah to support him if he chooses to quit. Or if Song-ah reignites his passion for music, then I want him to play and like Brahms for her. "If you're struggling or need something, no one will help you if you don't speak up." I sincerely hope Joon-young takes Young-in noona's advice to heart.

I doubt Song-ah's unrequited love is unrequited. Why else would Dong-yoon tell her to meet him at the airport and volunteer to be her violin teacher? My heart skipped a beat at his out of the blue "saranghae." He knows her so well. "I'm always on your side. I'll root for you." My theory is Dong-yoon likes Song-ah but thinks she doesn't like him back, so he dated Min-sung for a few months to get over her. I was surprised our Brahms, Schumann, and Clara trio know Dong-yoon, so I wonder if the friends will play matchmaker for Dong-yoon and Song-ah, except Joon-young and Song-ah will realize they like each other instead. Jung-kyung is an ice princess, but I give her the benefit of the doubt that she's not stringing Joon-young along. She kissed him because she was confused if she liked him. Hyun-ho is really unperceptive if he has no clue about his girlfriend's and his best friend's feelings. Jung-kyung is going to be Song-ah and Joon-young's professor at Seoryeong University, isn't she? I'm curious how Director Na started sponsoring young Joon-young.

A big thanks for the recap, @dramallama!

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It's only been 2 episodes but Joon-young has had me squealing in almost every scene with Song-ah, I don't know how my heart is going to take it for the next episodes as their relationship develops. And yes I'm so happy they're same age because I love when characters speak informally, but they still speak formally with each other right?

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In the highlight, they still speak formally with each other later. sadface Fingers crossed they can move away from "Song-ah-ssi, Joon-young-ssi" to "Song-ah-ya, Joon-young-ah."

I squeed when Joon-young kept stealing glances at Song-ah while drinking his beer after she declined to be friends with a superstar as if he wants to be friends with her.

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yes i hope so too! ahh i love the subtle glances and expressions between Joon-young and Song-ah, I can't believe I ship them this much already but they're too cute

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I agree with you about Dongyoo liking SongAh, which makes me a bit sad because these two hace probably liked each other for years but have never spoken about it. And now there’s a third (or a sixth, I can’t count how many triangles are here) that may change Song Ah feelings. Timing is everything.

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Dong-yoon's "saranghae" that he played off for her violin was definitely for Song-ah.

If Min-sung was the first to confess, then timing really is everything because it would've stopped Song-ah and Dong-yoon from confessing for fear of ruining the trio's friendship.

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I love love how genuinely kind Joon Young is, that is such a very thing even today in dramas. So this made me like the drama a little more. I also like that Song-ah is also kind. There is a groundedness to their characters that I really enjoy.

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such a very rare thing

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Panshel, this is the comment section for episode 1. It is frustrating to me that so much of yours and others' comments here contain plot elements from ep 2 and who knows what else.
Beanies used to be much more careful about things like that and (in another recent series comments) pretty darn vulgar language.
I miss Javabeans and GirlFriday.

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Two separate love triangles. Now that’s not one you see often! I loved the first ep and I feel the same way about park eun bin. I’ll watch anything she’s in.

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At first I was wary of two love triangles in this drama because I'm not a huge fan of them because they're mainly used to create unnecessary drama, but in this drama it fits the theme of the show and it's used to bring more depth to our characters so I'm really interested in how it'll play out. I find the supporting characters just as interesting as our main characters so that's also a plus

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Someone please give me the algorithm to figure out what happens when two 3-dimensional love triangles collide inside of a small circle of musicians! 🤔😅🤣

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Count me in as someone else who isn't worried about the love geometry. For me, it is somewhat believable because:
- the love triangles developed independently, some of the characters still have not even met
- the triangles developed among close friends, when they were young
- the triangles developed because key points on the triangles have non-existent communication skills and/or have feelings they don't yet understand or can't accept
- most of the points on the triangles don't yet even realize they are in a triangle...

and it probably would have been better if the show had kept us in the dark, as well. As so many have pointed out, so much relationship setup this early is a bit off-putting in a drama that has so much else to say.

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Thank you for the recap @dramallama!

I went in to this expecting to not like it, and I was completely proven wrong. I love the general tone and mood that's been set up so far. The whole love geometry thing that we will eventually have to tackle isn't all that appealing to me, but I'm willing to see it through because I think our two leads are lovely and I'm looking forward to seeing them grow together.

Joonyoung is so swoony in this quiet and understated way. I love that he's gentle and polite, rather than this Tortured Artist that No One Understands. He's also not totally one dimensional and boring—he lets himself smile and laugh around other people rather than being the typical tropey Male Lead who starts out totally cold and haughty. That scene where he waited outside the restaurant with Songah was adorable!

The side characters have me feeling a bit mixed. I adore Minsung. She seems like a wonderful friend, so warm and supportive. I can't bear to think of the potential heartbreak that might come from this Thing that Dongyoon and Songah are skirting around. The same goes for Joonyoung, Hyunho and Jungkyung. From what we know so far, Hyunho seems like a loyal and caring friend. I don't want to pin Jungkyung down as the Bad Guy here, but I'm not all that fond of the little we've seen of her so far.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the show. Joonyoung is probably the first Kim Minjae character that I've liked so far 😅 Can't wait to discuss the rest of the episodes on our fanwalls!

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OMG that last part is-- 100%! Every role I've seen Min Jae in- I mean he's a good actor- but the character is kinda a brat, basically. Very different role here, and he's doing it justice thus far. And I'll watch anything for Eun Bin- she's just too good and her eyes are some of the most expressive I've ever seen. I also love how respectful the two lead characters are of each other- it's actually really realistic how two people would interact as well. Just love all of it. The show is in earnest but with sincerity.

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I didn't make it past ep 1 of Tempted, so I have no idea how he did in that one. But good god, I really wanted to like him SO BAD in Hit the Top and Flower Crew... but he just wasn't all that likeable in either of them, so I couldn't get behind him. Sorry Minjae! I'm backing you this time, at long last 😂

YES, earnest is the right word. It's very earnest. I'm loving it so far.

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I liked him in Romantic Doctor... and was mesmerized with him in Goblin (as the young king).

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I just love the thoughtful pace and the fact that the leads get to be reserved, but kind people. I'm sad that this is just a first episode recap, but I suppose we can just continue it as an ongoing thread and comment in the weeks to come. I have a feeling that I will be wanting to read and comment about this show a lot!

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I agree with everything you said, but on a totally unrelated note, I think it's very cool that my name is also Jules and I'm also a shawol 😂

But yes, that aside, I think I'm definitely going to be talking about this one on my fanwall. I know quite a few beanies plan on sticking with it, so hopefully we'll all be discussing it in the weeks to come!

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Really!! Nice to "meet" you. My nickname is Jules, but it is connected to my real name. I always like to meet new Shawols. There is a group of us here who are pretty active. Hopefully we will get a new album once they all get back!

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nice to meet you too! mine too, jules is a nickname related to my actual name that friends and family call me.

can't wait for the reunion but for now I'll listen to taemin's awesome new album!!

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Now that DB has given us a place to comment, there's no reason we can't come back here to keep discussing this show.

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Let's do that!

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I was very interested in this drama because of the classical music. So I was kinda disapointed when the drama started by the end of a semester and the FL working for the Foundation. I wanted to see her in her studies. Now, we just have people reminding her she started violin late but without the violin part.

So I hope she will play violin in the future.

I really like the relationship between the ML and the FL. Yeah, there were a lot of coincidental encounters (Kdrama rule :p) but it didn't bother me, I guess the musical environment is small.

The 2l ove triangles between best friends are dangerous. I hope it won't be too bloody :P

I need someone to tell to Hae Na to shup up, her little "innocent" comments get on my nerves.

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omg Haena got on my nerves so much and continued to do so in ep 2...

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I also hope to see them play more violin and piano. Maybe a duet? It will be great if they support each other musically as well as personally. After all, part of the story of Brahms was how he became a great musician by learning from the Schumanns while remaining best friends, which is an intriguing dynamic for a love triangle.

Hae-na has to shut up. She really gets on my nerves. I've come across her kind at uni - they may be good musicians, but they like to show off and feel good at the expense of others. She's a real bully to Song-ah. The way she talked about Joon-young's career going down the drain, as if she's ever won a major international competition, made me sick.

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A duet would be nice like Spring Beethoven's violin sonata! Or like in You Lie in April but without the same end of course...

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I love that one! I got into a fight with my violinist friend over it because she insisted the piano had to follow the violin (which rushed like nobody's business). I said the piano part was equally important and not just accompaniment, excuse me.
#real life music drama

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I agree with you. For me, the theme passes from one instrument to the other.

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Which by the way, is called "Sonata for Pianoforte and Violin" in the original manuscript and successive editions. There must be a violinist conspiracy that made it a "Sonata for Violin" ;)

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That seems like a thing violinists would do, pfffffff.

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Curse two-faced Hae-na. Which chair is she for her to be badmouthing an International Chopin Piano Competition winner?! Calling Joon-young "oppa" to his face, then scoffing he's only popular thanks to his looks behind his back.

Did Song-ah buy two of Joon-young's albums? They gave the conductor one over dinner, and Song-ah had one in her bag that she put on Joon-young's table when she went back to the restaurant.

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I guess she took one for her.

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I started this with no expectations except about the music and KMJ's voice, and 2 episodes in, things remain kinda the same. I'll stick around for a while longer for these two reasons, in the hope that I'll have more excuses soon. But so far, it isn't looking promising. IMHO, it has failed on pacing, energy (for 29-yo, they're awfully world weary already), plotting (love hexagon? for a while, I thought I was watching a run-of-the-mill c-drama)... I'd be delighted if all this turned around for the better!

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As a similar ager, I disagree, especially when jaded about the pursuit of dreams you hold dear to your heart more than anything else. My two cents!

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I agree with you. I’ll give this a couple of weeks to see where it goes. My reasons to watch are very much like yours, and I find the interactions between the leads so cute, but I jus don’t get all the rest, not really (and by the rest I mean the hexagon that gives me terrible roll eye vibes).

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😏, Kim Min Jae does have a great voice.

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I am 29...in between graduate studies, forging a future in a foreign land, fragile world condition anda less than ideal family dynamic I am world weary....life can be a bitch even if you're young. Just saying.

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hi beanies, this is my first comment but i've been on this site for ten years, asdasd.

after iontbo i haven't picked out any dramas since everything just flew under the radar or just didn't catch my attention or i simply wasn't in the mood for it.

and i checked the first episode out on a whim because park eunbin is always good and kim minjae has been on my radar for up and rising stars for awhile. i went in not knowing who the other supporting cast were and loved seeing familiar faces i loved.

now on the opening week, i absolutely fell in love with the characters and though the mirrored love triangle our leads were sharing would seem less than ideal on paper, the way it is portrayed on screen is lovely. i have just been waiting for the next episode and i hope it doesn't disappoint.

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Welcome and please go on commenting!

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Hey!!!

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Thank you for the recap @dramallama!

I somehow regret watching the first 2 episodes yesterday because now I want nothing more than to binge watch this show :(

Chae Song-hwa is admirable for being brave enough to pursue something that she loves despite the misgivings of everyone around her. Park Joon-young is such a gentleman and has that tortured and talented classical musician vibe (Kim Min-jae's voice is deep and lovely). And then Yoon Dong-yoon made my heart flutter in episode 2!

I love how the male pianist x female violinist reminds me of Your Lie in April. And I don't think I have watched a show with a double love triangle yet, so I'm really excited on how this goes.

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I hear you. I’m deliberately stopping myself from watching ep 2 and beyond. I want to have a big chunk of eps to marathon!!

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I liked the interaction between the leads, and the little we know about their background but that makes me want to know more about them. I know they can help each other, you can see how they are nice and sweet to each other, even unintentionally. I’m really happy about this, because I’m here for both leading actors which I love.

Having said that, and even with the Brahms - Schumann parallelism, I don’t like the hexagon and I have terrible vibes regarding the other four angles of it, because:

- it’s clear to me that Dong Yoon liked Song Ah, but for some reason he’s never told her and Min Sung is in the middle and we’ll have tones of noble idiocy and a terrible timing.
- I get JungKyung is depressed, but his relation with his longtime boyfriend seems to be like the one she would have with a plant.
- HyunHo plays the cheerful friend who is blind enough to see his girlfriend doesn’t care much for him and that his best friend is in love with his girlfriend and has been like that since they met.

I hope I won’t be asking for a ToD on episode 6 (or a piano of doom as @ndlessjoie said).

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I'm totally in it for the leads so I don't care how many ToDs and PoDs show up as long as they don't harm a hair on my OTP. In fact, I'd enjoy the show more if the PoD would take out the second FL right now.

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I totally concur!! I love our leads and I’m already tired of SFL (or third, who knows, so many triangles involved...)

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Now I see that dear mugyujoie is following through with her intention - to direct all the frustration onto the second FL. I really am feeling sorry for her lol.

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Your comment further down almost has me watching Alice. I haven't seen a good ToD in ages.

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I kind of wanted PoD to make an appearance after they showed the scene of her kissing Joon-young for the 4th or 5th time. XD

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You, me, and the Universe 🙄

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I have suggested such a hit when I first read the script but at last either PD-nim did not have the budget to ship me to New York for the shoot or Writer-nim considered such a move would trigger excessive confusion mourning on the ML's part. Let's just hope that the SFL would just kimchi slap herself out of her very first world problems.

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Kimchi slap herself! 😂😂😂😂😂 That’s how you can do the kimchi slap on another level!

Btw, you just appeared in ep.4 of Alice. I guess the PDnim or the writer-nim thought you were too busy these days.

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I see that the threat of competition (piano of doom) has peaked your interest @sincerelytod. I'd be happy with a kimchi self own, but your involvement would be even better.

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It is really nice TOD that you checked in.

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I think I'm already blocking her out or becoming immune since I remember no kisses. Good for me!

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The reason that flashback is replayed so much is because that's how many times Joon-young thinks about the kiss.

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Probably. At least they showed different angles and different moments leading up to it. I’m still majorly annoyed at her for it though.

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@ndlessjoie,
Re 2FL Lee Jung-kyeong (Park Ji-Hyun). We are only 2 episodes in so there is more to the story, right?
She has a great grandmother (I hope).
Interesting it was only when I read @dramallama’s recap and checked PJH’s work at AsianWiki that I remembered that she was in my favorite episode (24) of YOUR HONOR. In that episode her facial expressions are pretty much what we have seen so far in BRAHMS.

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I'm sure they'll continue to try to make me feel sympathetic toward her, but I refuse.

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You, me, and the whole Universe.

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Woo you are tough! LOL.

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I love this conviction!

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@choijunu is it conviction or stubbornness?

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I watched Rookie Historian Goo Hye Reung recently, and she was the 2FL, but not in a love triangle with ML/FL. She was pretty much in the same character type, having an inexplicable push pull relationship with the Crown Prince and her acting is exactly the same as in Brahms.
She does surprisingly look much prettier in modern Brahms than in historical hairdo.

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Yes, she had the exact same annoyed look!!

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That’s why she looks familiar.

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@marcusnyc20 I’m sure we will find out more about her. She also has a dad (or brother? Uncle? Who is that guy?) who apparently thinks becoming a professor at a Korean university is not good enough, and that she should have won a teaching position in the USA. I’m still not going to give her a pass for kissing Joon-young though.

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@wishfultoki,
The first episode kiss by Jung-kyung was unusual by kdrama standards but all things considered I thought Joon-young handled it well with the trope: open-eyes and closed lips. For me how it is messing with his mind is the issue.
Another kdrama trope that maybe playing out is how trauma in youth shows itself when one is an adult. In Jung-kyung's situation it has to be the death of her mother.

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Thank you so much for the recap @dramallama. I'm so happy to see Kim Min Jae in another lead role and it looks like one that will be a good fit.

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After seeing the first two episodes, I'm ready to sink slowly into this one. As @lillamy commented elsewhere, it has a similar feel to When the Weather Is Fine...I thoroughly enjoyed that show's slow, languid melt into a new spring and, after the intensity of IOTNBO (which I LOVED), I think I could be down for taking the backroads vs the highway this time. Part of that is because both the FL and ML seem like well-written and multi-faceted characters. Having seen the preview for ep 3, I'm really curious to see how their relationship develops.

I think Song-ah is stronger than she realizes - she wears her vulnerability and uncertainty honestly but remains quietly true to herself and her music. We often see characters "going their own way" presented as independently strong and defiant. But there is also courage in people who acknowledge their fear and yet choose to pursue their happiness anyway. I am curious to see how this character unfolds.

I'm down for a slow burn, for still waters that run deep - and I'm hoping this show will give us something warm with substance and thoughtfulness. I think it's off to a good start!

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Thank you for this recap!!! I love this show so much even with my ignorance of classical musical. It just feels right to watch this drama. ❤️

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Well, the various romantic entanglements might give us both heartache and bewilderment as this show progresses and the second FL is, to put it lightly, not a favorite of mine so far. But the tone of the show is lovely and fits my autumn mood, so I'll probably continue watching it.

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Yay!!! There is a recap! I wasn’t expecting one, but with Park Eun Bin, there was bound to be one! I love the reserved nature of this. That conductor is an a-hole though and really turned off my husband on the first few minutes of this. As an amateur musician on both the piano and violin, I thought that Eun Bin did a wonderful job looking like she is actually playing with a real vibrato! I think that it’s a bit distracting that some scenes have Kim Min Jae’s hands playing and in others, someone else’s more tapered, less veiny, hands. But I’ll forgive it and hopefully get used to it.

It’s hard for me to see Song-Ah as a business major because she is so shy but a music major makes more sense. I love the natural sweetness between Joon-young and her. It’s my favorite. I can’t wait to see how they get to know each other better—they keep meeting up unintentionally which I also love. The others are just background music for now, with these two the soloists. Aw, but that violin-maker is super sweet too. I hope he ends up with someone deserving of him. I don’t get why Joon-young is smitten with his childhood crush—she seems like such an Eeyore.

And the music selections are really good! I’m glad that other famous composers are featured in this show as well. Schumann is one of my favorite piano composers as is Brahms. I also quite like Mendelssohn who came before them but also in that Romantic period.
Maybe we’ll get some of him too? We know both were German. And Chopin has already been featured I believe. The Romantic period was really very prolific in terms of music produced.

So happy to have some place to talk about things! Thank you, @dramallama!

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They definitely chose the right musical era for this show and these characters - really, Brahms, Schumann, Mendelssohn... it's that golden era of early Romanticism where the music could easily be quiet, introspective... for me it is a sweet spot between the much more structured and rules-oriented music that preceded it (like Mozart or Haydn) and the heavier, more complex, and increasingly more intellectual (think Rachmaninoff) music that followed it. It feels personal and intimate and totally fits a story about the gentle clash between dreams and domestic entanglements.

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If Dramaland has done one thing for me, it has sharpened my power of vein observation. Despite Kim Min-jae's fantastic job acting as a pianist, I too cannot unnotice the absence of veins of his hand double! 😆

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@ally-le It looks like the conductor turned off a few viewers. It's disturbing for me that I found it entirely normal, which shows how much I'm used to seeing the conductor as the almighty figure in an orchestra. I was screaming "my goodness, just get out of there!" when Song-ah just stood there quietly. I've met some great conductors who know how to bring out the best in their players through real leadership and great sense of humour, but others are just cranky and power-hungry.

Lol, I also noticed the dainty hands playing Ravel's Tzigane. The PD wasn't counting on having beanie viewers, who spend a lot of time researching veiny forearms and hands.

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Jo Seung-yeon really nailed it as nasty Conductor Ahn. He showed a much nicer side as Director Joo Jun in HOSPITAL PLAYLIST.
I hope that is the last we see of Conductor Ahn.

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That conductor scene was super cringey. I do have some classical music background, although I'm not expert, but my impression is that the classical music portion is a disappointment so far. We have first, second, third violin but I have never heard of fourth violin, and is there ever such a unprofessional conductor that can take out players for being too loud, and right before an important performance ? The ML and FL is play acting instruments look amateurish, and the fake hands are very obvious.
I shall therefore ignore the classical portions and just enjoy the slow burn romance and Park Eu Bin is really lovely and great performance here. I'm still on the fence about Kim Min Jae but so far he does look the part of a sensitive introverted pianist.

My favorite classical music drama is still Nodame Cantabile, where the classical portions are truly a joy to watch.

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Thank you for the first episode recap @dramallama!!

I like the premiere week. It's the perfect combination of what I'm currently watching. A slow and easy watch. And as dramallama mentioned, Park Eun Bin chooses her project well. Also, what I love about her portrayal in every character she plays is that I cannot see the characteristics of her previous roles. There's always something different.

I hope the writing does not focus too much on the 2nd FL and turn her more into the typical chaebol-manipulative-female-2nd-lead than she already is. I'm no music expert but I'm loving the selection and posts from beanies.

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I liked the first two eps and the MLs. Hopefully they'll *actually* continue to play their instruments not be a drama-with-some-classical music-stuff.
Fingers crossed that this double love triangle won't bring the drama down.

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Yey! This got recapped! Thanks @dramallama 😊

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Only the first episode.

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Lol I was so excited I commented this before reading the content 😂 It's regrettable though. This drama looks promising.

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They just announced there will be weecaps!

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It's a good news, we will have a place to discuss the story and swoon over KMJ :D

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Brahms is one of my favorite composers so this drama's happy ending for me would be KMJ's embracing Brahms' music despite his early ambivalence due to identifying with Brahms' position in the trio of friends! 😆

Miscommunication is one of the most frustrating drama tropes for me so I cannot wait for our leads to find the new way of communicating to each other through music. How sexy and rewarding would it be that would draw PEB out of her shell of inconfidence and lead KMJ back to loving performing!!

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I agree. It's interesting that both of them are a Brahms-type character within their respective love triangles, with Joon-young focusing on the "unattainable love" aspect and Song-ah on "the friendship between three people". I'm also hoping they grow closer through music, develop as musicians, and regain their confidence.

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What do you think of the use of Traumerei, @wishfultoki? I thought it was well chosen not only because it was written by Schumann but the fact that JY was possibly mourning the loss of his youthful dream of their everlasting friendship over that selfish decision of a kiss by JH. Taking the sabbatical is also perhaps needed for him to reconcile his past and the new reality both with his career and personal life that he has to confront.

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Kinderszenen in Korean is "어린이의 정경 (eorinie jungkyung)," and in Episode 2, Hyun-ho reveals that Jung-kyung got her name from it, which she denies. So Jung-kyung's namesake is likely the reason why Joon-young plays Träumerei.

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When I watched that scene I wondered for a moment why he picked Traumerei over the other 12 pieces in Kinderszenen and the most likely answer I came up with was that it is the most well known one to the viewers (and of course it is also sublimely contemplative and beautiful) 😆

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Ah, thanks for that @panshel! I didn’t understand what they meant by Jung-kyung getting her name from Träumerei... so it’s from Kinderszenen. I guess her mother loved Schumann.

@kimbapnoona I also thought playing Träumerei had to do with Joon-young‘s nostalgic memory of their friendship pre-love triangle. Closing the piano and declaring he’ll never play it again (he is quiet but dramatic, uri pianist) is like deliberately telling “Clara” that he is over her, I think.

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Haven't started it yet, but I'm wondering if the Schumann parallel means he goes crazy and has to be committed. I'd love to see the drama actually follow the real history of the relationship between Schumann, Clara and Brahms (who even babysat their kids) and was by her side always. I'm not really expecting it to go that far, but would some production company please do a k-drama version of the real story!

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I really like Song-ah. She may seem quiet and passive, but she's not really. She went against her family and friends to study music because that's what she really wanted. She spoke up in front of the whole orchestra when the conductor wanted to kick her out. So she's strong enough to risk everyone's disapproval. I think she's quiet because she hasn't found anyone to open up to yet. She can't share with her family. She doesn't really get any support from her friend, and due to her friend's long-term crush on Dong-yoon, she chose to hide her feelings rather than risk her friendship. She doesn't fit in with her fellow students because she is so much older and didn't come up through an arts high school. So I think more than anything she is lonely. Really lonely. And Joon-young is every bit as isolated as she is. So I'm looking forward to them being able to open up to each other, and watching that friendship develop into something more.

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Excellent analysis of Song Ah's quiet strength! Two of them are such lonely but sweet souls... I can't wait to witness how their friendship and romance will progress :)

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Dramallama is right about Park Eun-bin's ability to pick good shows. STOVE LEAGUE was the most recent example. I can think of only one show in the past where she missed the mark.

I think that I am really going to enjoy this show.

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I had no expectations at all, I loved classical music, but most dramas I watched are very cringy when the actors were playing the instrument. But somehow, I gave it a try because I didn't have anything to do. Maybe because I'd like to know if I'd roast this drama or not. But it turned out to be the exact opposite.

Now I'm falling in love already, and obsessing over Kim Min Jae the moment he played Piano for the first time >0< I just discovered about him, and he's so talented! (actor, singer, rapper, dancer, pianist, etc) And of course, I love the chemistry and somehow the 'tension' between the leads. It sounds cheesy, but both of them make my heart aches in a way that I like it, lol.

Now I regret watching it with so many episodes left. The waiting is so torturous omg.

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You might watch Because it's the First Time for him. It's easy to obsess over him there too.

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Thank you @dramallama for the recap!! Now we have a place to set up musical camp and discuss every week. I hope I wasn't prematurely optimistic, but I really liked Episodes 1 and 2.

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Do You Like Brahms just got added to CURRENTLY RECAPPING. /flails

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\^O^/

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At first there was no thumbnail for this drama in the recap section, but now I see one and the recap has been updated to state there will be weecaps! Yayyy. It seems like many ppl are interested in this show.

First episode didn't immediately grab me and I'm not crazy about all the love triangles. ...But not only do I like PEB & KMJ, I like their genuinely nice characters so here's hoping the drama will be a good one. :)

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A web of triangles.

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I'm not disappointed when I still didn't drop the show.

Note: For full recaps from second to final episodes, there's a Marymekpop website: https://marymekpop.com/tag/do-you-like-brahms/

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At the end of episode 1 I finally understand why the drama title is "Do you link Brahms?"

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Yay for upcoming weecaps! Thank you, @db-staff, for always being attentive to us Beanies and giving us a space to discuss the dramas we're excited about 💙

I watched the first episode, and oh, how I fell for this show's quiet, contemplative mood. They way the scenes give the viewer space to notice and understand the leads' emotional worlds is the fangirl's textbook example of "show, not tell".

Also, did anyone chuckle at the conductor's behaviour? I understand how it's necessary narratively (to make Joon-young notice Song-ah, to show us the prejudices Song-ah deals with). But the usual way, really, is to tell the violins to play more softly rather than cutting two people out of the performance 😅

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Also, I'm so excited to see actors whose performances in previous youth dramas I enjoyed immensely! Hyun-ho was in To.Jenny, Jung-kyung was in Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung, Min-sung was in My ID is Gangnam Beauty.

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And Lee You Jin was the young TV producer and ex-boyfriend of the FL in Be Melodramatic

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Yes! Though I don't quite consider Be Melo a youth drama (more slice of life). But the characters are of a similar age to those in Brahms, come to think of it.

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I did roll my eyes at the conductor's behavior!! 😆 Yes, why not just ask the whole section to play quieter, or ask the last stand to not play at softer passages and rejoin when the music needs more heft which Rachmaninoff's music often demands?

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Ehehe. When our over-analysing ways barrel off in the wrong direction 😝

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The BTS scenes :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp-1GxW_8cI

Park Eun Bin at 5:21 xD

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Thank you @dramallama for the recap and for all the beanies’ comments. I am looking forward to hearing some great music and learning more about classical music.
I am glad to see @ally-le here. It was your comments that brought me on board with THIRTY BUT SEVENTEEN which was very enjoyable.

As anyone noticed that the first two episodes are like a PPl for Steinway and Sons pianos. Steinway pianos are still made in the US in Astoria, Queens NY across the East River from Manhattan. Here is some history. It is a short piece.
https://www.steinway.com/news/features/steinway-an-american-story

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Aw shucks! I'm quite liking this one--I imagine I would be similar to these characters if I went to conservatory.

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I finally found another good show to follow after a brief hiatus. I loved the first 2 episodes and also love the leads. I realized now that when it comes to Park Eun-Bin - I did love her on the 3 out of 3 shows I watched her in. She is really a very good actress. Always had a soft spot for Kim Min-jae too, after Dr. Romantic 2. Glad to see him here as the ML.

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I just watched Episode 3. I'm ALL in.

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Had to give this drama a go because 1) I loved Park Eun Bin's acting in Age of Youth and enjoyed Kim Min Jae in Romantic Doctor 2 but didn't really watch either of their works after because I either wasn't interested in the plot or the other cast of their dramas prior to DYLB to get invested, so as soon as I saw this pairing, I was like "YEEEESSSS" and 2) I spent my childhood playing piano and although I ended up stopping, this brings back nice memories. I'm so glad I did. Really enjoyed the first two episodes. It was light and the interactions between our leads is just so awkwardly adorable that I just can't help squealing. Can't wait to see how these two progress from strangers, to friends to soul mates.....argh. I know I shouldn't start a drama that is still airing but...I guess I better strap my heart for another rollercoaster ride.

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Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and a modern allegory to the conflicts between Brahms and the Schumanns and I am also totally won over!
I visited the Schummans house in Leipzig, I visited Beethoven's house and was in the room he was born... I love Rachmaninoff and have listened to the second piano concert (played today in this episode) at least once in my life...

I am happy I can remember... this drama! Thank you, Dramaland! 😊😅😆😄😁😀😂

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Good drama ❤❤❤❤

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I finished watching all four episodes that have aired and good Lord, I'm in love with Joon Young. He's so swoony in a way no other male lead is. There is something about a male lead with a good heart and less traumatic baggage to carry. He is so mesmerizing in his own way and that captured my heart and soul.

[SPOILER REDACTED]

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I'm waiting for Twoset Violin to roast this drama =)))

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I love the tone of this show. I love how swoony Joon-young is. I love how relatable Song-ah is. I love the classical music. Basically, I think I more than like you Brahms. I think I love you.

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Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges.
It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!

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Thank you, I have just been searching for info approximately this topic for ages and yours is
the greatest I've discovered till now. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the source?

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Does anyone here knows the song that is playing while Song ah and min sung are having their congratulatory dinner? The one that is mellow, after the scene of the conductor inviting Joon-young to.play at new years event. I've been haunted by that music I've been trying to find it.for weeks now.

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