There’s pressure, hidden secrets, and unspoken words in careers and dreams, but these components also exist in relationships. Whether in relationships that have existed since young or newly founded relationships that has only been a few days old, there is both beauty and pain in everything.
Do You Like Brahms Episode 2: Poco a poco, Slowly, Gradually
It’s the summer of 2013. Min-sung, Dong-yoon, and Song-Ah are all hanging out like usual at a restaurant. Both Dong-yoon and Song-Ah announce their violin plans right at the same time. Song-Ah plans on pursuing music by playing the violin while Dong-yoon is going to quit playing the violin. Min-sung can understand Dong-yoon’s plans to stop playing the violin in order to become a violinmaker, but she has trouble understanding Song-Ah’s wishes to pursue music after graduating with a business degree. She disproves of Song-Ah’s decision and knocks out after a few drinks. Dong-yoon feels quite the opposite and he voices his support for Song-Ah. He even volunteers to be her violin tutor as a former violinist himself and Song-Ah excitedly agrees. Aww, they’re both so cute.
Fast forward to the present, Jung-kyung bids farewell with Hyun-ho, Dong-yoon, Song-Ah at the airport while she ignores Joon-young. Dong-yoon and Song-Ah also make their way back to Dong-yoon’s place when he receives a sudden phone call from Min-sung who invites him out to a friend’s gathering. Song-Ah also joins in on the gathering and everyone is quick to point out Dong-yoon and Min-sung’s former relationship. Meanwhile, Hyun-ho and Joon-young catch up with each other over some drinks at the Han River. They first talk about Joon-young and his travels. It’s been a while since Joon-young’s been back in Korea having spent the past few years in Berlin so he’s not even sure what place he can call home anymore. They move on to talking about Jung-kyung who plans on applying to Seoryeong University as a professor since all her applications in the United States were rejected. Her dad isn’t so thrilled at the news, but Grandma (who is also the director for the Kyunghoo Cultural Foundation) is relieved at the decision.
Hyun-ho updates Joon-young with the news about Jung-kyung and then moves on to talking about Joon-young’s New York recital which he apologizes he couldn’t attend. He also apologizes on behalf of Jung-kyung who he assumes didn’t attend the New York recital either, (when really she did and kissed Joon-young on that night). Hyun-ho seems excited to be back in Seoul, especially with Jung-kyung. The gathering eventually concludes and Min-sung is sent off home by Song-Ah, Dong-yoon, and another friend. Song-Ah’s friend expresses her admiration for Song-Ah who she assumes is living a great life since she’s getting to do what it is she wants to do. However, what her friend doesn’t know is that it’s not all like what it seems. Things aren’t so bright and happy for Song-Ah.
Back at Dong-yoon’s place, the violin specialist takes a look at Song-Ah’s violin and fixes it for her. She’s a bit nervous to play in front of Dong-yoon, but it’s only until she starts playing that Dong-yoon immediately notices what’s wrong. After reminding Song-Ah to take better care of her violin as its owner, he abruptly pronounces the words “I love you.” Song-Ah is taken aback by the sudden statement and she freezes as she stares at Dong-yoon’s back. Did he declare those words to her? However, Dong-yoon follows it up by instructing Song-Ah to say the words “I love you” three times to her violin so as to show the instrument some love and care. So Song-Ah does as she is told, but she still hasn’t forgotten how Dong-yoon sounded when he originally said the words. Song-Ah also takes some time that night to re-read the congratulatory card that Dong-yoon wrote for her when she first got accepted into the music department at Seoryeong University. While Hyun-ho catches up some sleep that night, Joon-young seems bothered and agitated. Jung-kyung takes some time to stare at the photo of her, Joon-young, and Hyun-ho back when they used to practice music together.
It’s another day of work for Song-Ah at Kyunghoo Cultural Foundation. As she heads into a meeting with Yoo-jin, she’s asked about the rehearsal room in which Song-Ah notes that she hasn’t received any communication from Joon-young in regards to using the room. Just then, Yoo-jin begins to feel excruciating pain and she’s admitted into the hospital. Yoo-jin is then placed on maternity leave so Team Leader Cha decides that they can discuss duties and responsibilities another time. While waiting for Director Na to have some lunch together, Song-Ah and Hae-na chat about Jung-kyung. Hae-na explains that Jung-kyung was a famous child prodigy when she was younger and people had high expectations of her, but her skills deteriorated once her mother passed away. She no longer was as good as people had thought, but she was still a talented violinist. Director Na then enters the room and hands both Hae-na and Song-Ah her business card.
Team Leader Cha, Sung-jae, and Da-woon head out to eat together for their lunch. Da-woon reads an article about popular pianist, Seung Ji-min, who won first place in the Chopin competition as well as sold 200,000 albums for his debut. It’s an impressive feat and it seems as if Joon-young has a rival. While Sung-jae remains honest about Joon-young’s decline, Da-woon nor Team Leader Cha is in the mood to hear such comments and they leave Sung-jae by himself. Director Na shares her background and story with Hae-na and Song-Ah and describes how she created the foundation. It’s a tradition of hers to treat new team members out for a meal when they join Kyunghoo Cultural Foundation and our two interns is no exception. When lunch finishes, Song-Ah and Hae-na head back to the office to meet with Team Leader Na on their new tasks and duties given Yoo-jin’s maternal leave. Sung-jae is a bit concerned and doubtful about Song-Ah’s capabilities, but Da-woon is confident that she can help and assist when needed.
Joon-young meets up with Jung-kyung at a cafe. After creating small talk, Jung-kyung asks for Joon-young’s thoughts on getting married. Should she get married to Hyun-ho? It’s been a while since they’ve been together and maybe it’s time. Instead of congratulating Jung-kyung, Joon-young questions if she’s serious to which Jung-kyung plays it off as a joke. No, she doesn’t plan on getting married, but it’s obvious she was testing Joon-young’s reaction with the question. Joon-young then addresses the incident on the night of his New York recital when Jung-kyung kissed him on the lips. He’s curious as to why she did such a thing, but Jung-kyung reasons that she was lonely and merely just missed Joon-young. That was it. There was nothing more to that kiss. Joon-young has a hard time accepting the response, but he lets it go. He warns Jung-kyung to not attempt such a thing again. He then exits the cafe and lets out a big sigh upon disappearing from Jung-kyung’s sight.
Song-Ah returns to the office with some coffee for the team. She recalls the moment when she saw Joon-young and Jung-kyung at the same cafe and overhearing Jung-kyung ask Joon-young if she should get married. Song-Ah reflects on this moment and gives it a long thought. Jung-kyung herself recalls the night of the New York recital. After watching Joon-young sign some autographs for fans at the reception, she left the party without saying a word to him or anyone. However, that was when Joon-young chased after her in an attempt to stop her. Jung-kyung then took the chance to give Joon-young a kiss on the lips and then left without saying anything afterwards. In a voice over, Song-Ah notes,
She said later that she felt jealous. She didn’t like seeing him somewhere she couldn’t be. That’s why she wanted to check whether she was still an important person to him.
After a few minutes outside of the cafe, Joon-young knocks on the cafe window and reminds Jung-kyung to head with him to Kyunghoo Cultural Foundation. They come across Hyun-ho while waiting at the elevator and the trio head to their meeting with Team Leader Cha who updates them about Yoo-jin’s hospitalization. Song-Ah will be filling in for Yoo-jin in the meantime as the liaison for our team of three and she too joins the meeting with the coffee that she bought earlier at the cafe. With Team Leader Cha gone, our team of now four prepare for their meeting. Although Joon-young usually doesn’t drink coffee, he volunteers to switch cups with Song-Ah’s cup of coffee that she accidentally spilled on her way back to the office earlier. Hyun-ho finds it odd that Joon-young is drinking coffee, but Joon-young merely brushes it off.
After the meeting, they all head out to the restaurant that Team Leader Cha reserved for them for dinner. Hyun-ho goes on to share the story of how he fell in love with Jung-kyung and how she rejected him at first. In a strange turn of events, she changed her mind and reciprocated the same feelings later on. Although it’s not exactly known why she did, it’s obvious Joon-young and Jung-kyung feel uncomfortable with Hyun-ho’s story. The night is young and our team of four (mind if I call them ‘Fantastic Four’) head to the rehearsal room to watch Joon-young play some piano. Song-Ah is given the chance for a song request so she pitches the idea of Joon-young performing to Schumann’s “Träumerei” — a song that she watched him perform back at the rehearsal room. The title sounds awfully familiar to Hyun-ho and he checks with Jung-kyung on whether her name was inspired by the piece or not. Song-Ah quickly realizes the awkward situation and she suggests that Joon-young play another piece, but Joon-young accepts the challenge. He’ll play the song, but also warns that they should listen carefully as it’ll be the only time. With that being said, he performs “Träumerei” as the rest of the three watch in awe. That night, Jung-kyung reflects on Joon-young’s performance while Joon-young takes a drunk Hyun-ho home. Joon-young is torn upon hearing Hyun-ho call out for Jung-kyung unconsciously in his drunken sleep.
Team Leader Cha assigns our two interns some new work relating to Joon-young. They both head to an album store to purchase one of Joon-young’s albums that they plan to give to a conductor. While there, Hae-na notices a section dedicated to popular pianist, Seung Ji-min, and speaks about Joon-young’s decline. She assumes he probably returned to Korea since he failed abroad and wouldn’t be anywhere where he is now if not for his good looks. Before Song-Ah can even say anything, Hae-na leaves to pick up a call from Sung-jae so Song-Ah is left alone. Seconds later, she encounters Joon-young who is also at the same store as Song-Ah and the two exchange an awkward glance. It’s obvious Joon-young heard Hae-na’s harsh comments and he immediately leaves the store. Song-Ah trails behind him, but she fails to exit the store because of the album she’s holding that she’s yet to pay for.
On the way out, Joon-young reflects on his pianist career and comes to a realization. Although he never was one who enjoyed competitions, he only played the piano for two reasons: to support his family financially and as gratitude for being given the opportunity to continue playing the piano. With Jung-kyung’s mother’s death, Joon-young was given a scholarship from the foundation to fund his pianist career. It could explain as to why he decided to befriend Jung-kyung in middle school and become closer to her. When Jung-kyung lost her mother, Joon-young gained something out it which made him feel indebted. However, as he will come to realize, playing the piano was not all rainbows and sunshine. Playing in competitions throughout the world was tough, but placing second at the Chopin competition especially killed Joon-young’s self-esteem and confidence. The only thing he could think about the entire time were both Jung-kyung and Hyun-ho who he adored and cherished.
It was the kiss with Jung-kyung on the night of Joon-young’s New York recital that he finally understood his emotions and came to acknowledging them: he had always loved Jung-kyung. Fast forward to the present and Joon-young is starting to face a new reality. After overhearing Hae-na speak harshly about him, he realizes that he can no longer avoid the things he already knew. He ponders what could possibly come after him next.
Joon-young arrives at the house where he’s scheduled for another collaboration performance. Song-Ah, Team Leader Cha, and Da-woon too are present at the house and Song-Ah awkwardly greets Joon-young before he goes on to meet his violin partner, Ji-won. Inside her bedroom, Jung-kyung and Hyun-ho spend some time together. While helping put on Jung-kyung’s earring for her, Hyun-ho checks in with his girlfriend to see how she’s feeling. She suffered bad migraines back when she was in New York to the point where she couldn’t even go to Joon-young’s recital. This captures Jung-kyung’s attention and she questions if that was what Joon-young specifically told him, but Hyun-ho answers that it wasn’t. It’s just a conclusion that he came to since he knew just how bad Jung-kyung’s migraines were. It’s not like she went to his New York recital, right? Jung-kyung denies the accusation and they both head out to watch the rehearsal.
Back outside in the living room, Joon-young requests for Song-Ah to be his page-turner. She’s the only one who can read music and, therefore, is the only one who can assist him in turning the pages for his piano book. Although hesitant at first, Song-Ah agrees to the request and is advised by Joon-young to pay attention to his breathing. This technique will help indicate when she should turn the page. And so rehearsal begins. As planned, Song-Ah sits next to Joon-young to help turn the pages. At one point, they both grab for the page at the same time so it seems like Song-Ah is getting accustomed to her role as the page turner. Eventually, it’s Joon-young’s turn to join in on the performance and Song-Ah pays close attention to Joon-young’s breathing to turn the page at the right time. She hits it right and the rehearsal ends on a good note.
During the break, Hyun-ho bids farewell with everyone as he has a rehearsal to attend. Team Leader Cha, Joon-young, Song-Ah, and Jung-kyung overhear Ji-won getting yelled at by her coach so Jung-kyung checks in with her afterwards. After changing into black clothes to fit in with the theme of the performance, Song-Ah catches Joon-young observing Jung-kyung chatting with Ji-won. Jung-kyung approaches Joon-young afterwards to check in with him. She finds the cloth that she gave him prior to his Chopin performance and notices how he still uses it to this day to wipe down the piano keys before each performance. Through a good look at the piano, Song-Ah realizes that the piano Joon-young is playing on belonged to Jung-kyung’s late mother whose name was also written on the wall back at the Kyunghoo Cultural Foundation building.
With that, the actual performance is set to begin and Director Na welcomes the special guest who is also there to watch. Everyone does their part well and Song-Ah succeeds in her first attempt as a page-turner. Everyone rejoices with some dinner afterwards at Director Na’s house. Our two interns are out eating with Da-woon who grows curious as to what they plan to do post-graduation. While Hae-na has a few offers lined up for her, Song-Ah’s goal at the moment is to simply graduate and focus on her senior recitals for the next semester.
Joon-young is given some advice from the special guest who recommends that he not try too hard to impress everyone. Instead, he should follow his heart and not be afraid to do what it is that he wants. Joon-young and Song-Ah bid farewell with everyone after the performance and wait with each other for another taxi. However, as they will come to realize, they both don’t live too far away and was actually waiting for the other person to get home safely. Haha. Too cute! So they walk back to their places together, but Joon-young stops by a restaurant to get some food. He usually doesn’t eat well before or after a performance.
Before going their own ways, Joon-young asks for Song-Ah’s feedback and thoughts on his performance. What did she think? Did she like it? While Song-Ah answers that she did, she throws the same question back at Joon-young. What did he think about his performance? Although Joon-young is usually more focused on how others felt about his performance, Song-Ah reminds Joon-young to place himself first. No, how did he feel about his performance? Not what others thought, but what did he think? Song-Ah shares that she still can’t seem to forget the memory of Joon-young playing Schumann’s “Träumerei” in the rehearsal room from her mind. Every time she thinks about that moment, she’s moved by the performance and her heart flutters at the thought of it. Eventually, the two bid farewell and Song-Ah makes her way to the subway station.
While walking in the subway station, Song-Ah finally remembers about Joon-young’s album that she had purchased from the album store which she pulls out of her purse. Back at the restaurant, Joon-young reflects on his conversation earlier with Song-Ah and how she had asked him how he felt about his performance. It’s as if it’s the first time someone’s ever asked him that question. Although the two separated a few minutes ago, Song-Ah reunites with Joon-young at the restaurant by presenting to him his album. With Joon-young’s approval, Song-Ah seats herself next to the pianist and for the remainder of the night, the two chat and get to know each other better. What might have been coincidental encounters before has now transformed into something more. Our two Brahm’s are finding comfort in each other.
I wanted to try something a little different and new for this recap 🙂
Extra screenshots from the episode~