Joon-young and Song-Ah might not have it all in life and things don’t always go well for them, but the more they interact with each other, the more they learn about what really matters. They have each other and that’s more than they can ask for. That’s more than enough for them.
Do You Like Brahms? Episode 5: Accelerando, Accelerating
Joon-young wraps up the talk concert at his middle school with one last question. A student from the audience is curious as to whether her hard work and effort will eventually be enough for her to succeed in music or if natural talent matters more. Joon-young admits that natural talent is critical when it comes to playing music, but the biggest talent of all is the ability to dream. That can overpower everything else and help you become successful in music. As a concluding performance, Joon-young is scheduled to perform “Träumerei” by Schumann since it was the piece that Song-Ah recommended he play during their meeting prior to the talk concert. While everyone’s take on the song will be different, Joon-young’s rendition of the piece reminds her of her dreams which is why she likes it so much.
Unfortunately, Joon-young’s plans to perform “Träumerei” changes once he catches sight of Jung-kyung standing in the corner of the auditorium watching him. Song-Ah can feel the intensity in the room between Joon-young and Jung-kyung and she watches in uncertainty and concern. Eventually, the talk concert ends and Song-Ah is tasked with helping Mr. Joo clean outside in the lobby. While she’s away, Jung-kyung and Joon-young stay inside the auditorium to talk things out. Joon-young’s curious as to how Jung-kyung found out about his talk concert, but there’s something more pressing on Jung-kyung’s mind. Why didn’t Joon-young play “Träumerei”? It was a piece that meant a lot to them. Joon-young admits that the past is in the past and there should be no more meaning to that piece just like how should be no more meaning to his relationship with Jung-kyung.
Yes, Jung-kyung used to mean a lot to him in the past, but things aren’t that way anymore. Jung-kyung struggles to take in all the information and she abruptly declares her love for Joon-young. She loves him. She knows Joon-young doesn’t like hurting people so she’ll break up with Hyun-ho so she and Joon-young can be together. But Joon-young doesn’t give in and he refuses to accept Jung-kyung’s confession. Before leaving the school with Song-Ah, he encourages Jung-kyung to endure it. Endure all the pain and the heartbreak just like he did in the past. That’s all he has to say to Jung-kyung. Oof.
Joon-young and Song-Ah catches Jung-kyung leaving in a taxi as they exit the building together. Once she disappears, the two walk together and they have a conversation about the question that the student asked Joon-young during the talk concert. Song-Ah feels a bit jealous and envious towards the middle school students; they’re so young and yet they’re already working so hard to achieve their dreams. Having natural talent is a blessing when it comes to music, but Joon-young begs to differ. He feels as if things would have been better for him if he wasn’t talented. His response doesn’t sit well with Song-Ah and she argues against his logic. Joon-young was born with talent so he would never know what it’s like for a person with no talent who has to work endlessly in order to succeed. Talent is a luxury when it comes to playing music and that’s something that he should appreciate.
Jung-kyung returns home that night to an empty living room. Her mother’s piano isn’t at home since she had lended it for Joon-young’s talk concert. Song-Ah practices playing the violin that night, but she still can’t seem to shrug off all her doubts and negative thoughts about talent and hard work. She’s reminded of the moment when her family doubted her upon learning that she wanted to pursue music instead of finding a job after graduation. Song-Ah’s never even thought or dreamed of being at the same level of talent as Joon-young, but how is it that he doesn’t seem happy even with the amount of success and level of talent that he has? Jung-kyung goes through the packages and CD’s that Joon-young would send her every year for her birthday. Joon-young himself glances at the piano songbook that once belonged to Jung-kyung while Hyun-ho goes through photos of Jung-kyung that he’s saved on his phone. Everyone is feeling a little heartbroken that night.
Sung-jae and Da-woon chat about violin player, Jo Soo-an, who will be collaborating with Professor Yoo from Seoryeong University for her recital. Professor Yoo is also the same professor who mentored Joon-young since Joon-young’s middle school days so the two are well-affiliated. Song-Ah listens in quietly on the interesting conversation about Joon-young’s connection to Professor Yoo. Speaking of Professor Yoo and Joon-young, the two encounter each other outside of a bank that Joon-young had inquired about for loans. They quickly greet each other and Professor Yoo brings up the recital that he’s performing for alongside Soo-an. He encourages Joon-young to attend the recital and then shortly leaves afterwards. Upon walking away, he mutters under his breath for Joon-young to wipe off the grim expression on his face and to cheer up. Team Leader Cha introduces Hae-na to Soo-an during a short meeting between the two. The violinist recognizes Hae-na from a previous encounter and she’s surprised to learn that Hae-na is working as an intern for Kyunghoo.
Hyun-ho stops by Dong-yoon’s workshop to get his cello fixed. They chat a bit about Jung-kyung before Dong-yoon turns his attention on Hyun-ho and his cello. However, Hyun-ho wants to hang out with Dong-yoon outside of the workshop and asks if Dong-yoon has any other guests after him. The Kyunghoo team prepare for Soo-an’s recital that evening. It seems like both Hae-na and Song-Ah are envious of Soo-an’s success as a violin player. From Soo-an’s beautiful dress to her rehearsal for the recital, Soo-an is living the ideal violinist life that Hae-na and Song-Ah strive to have as well. Jung-kyung notifies Team Leader Cha about her attendance at the recital; she’ll be the only one attending since Director Na isn’t feeling too well. Joon-young too is interested in attending the recital and he inquires Team Leader Cha for tickets.
Hyun-ho and Dong-yoon hang out together at a cafe. Hyun-ho’s curious as to why Dong-yoon quit playing the violin so Dong-yoon shares his story and reasons on why he quit. Thanks to Song-Ah who he met and befriended back in college, he realized that his level of passion in playing the violin was not at the same level as Song-Ah’s. Thanks to her, he realized that he wasn’t serious, genuine, and passionate enough in playing the violin like Song-Ah so he ended up quitting. Playing the violin became a dread for him and he gave it all up since the love and passion just wasn’t there anymore. Hyun-ho calls Dong-yoon brave for quitting the violin, but Dong-yoon doesn’t think too much about it. He enjoys his current job and he wants to become better at it the more he does it.
Song-Ah and Joon-young interact with each other upon his arrival at the recital. They awkwardly greet each other as Song-Ah hands him the program, but there is little time for chatting as Joon-young is pulled aside by Team Leader Cha to greet Soo-an’s parents. Just when it seems like things are sailing smooth, news that Soo-an has forgotten her shoes is relayed to the team. Concerns of what she’s going to wear is brought up, but Song-Ah averts the crisis by offering her heels to Soo-an since they both wear the same shoe size. And so Song-Ah exchanges shoes with Soo-an and Song-Ah ends up putting on the violinist’s slippers. Soo-an also recognizes Song-Ah since they both attended the same university and she’s not shy to bring up Song-Ah’s failures. She points out that Song-Ah was the student who failed the entrance exam three or four times before she proceeds to get ready for her recital. Team Leader Cha isn’t happy with Soo-an’s harsh words and comments, but Song-Ah doesn’t think too much about it. All she cares about at the moment is Soo-an and making sure that the performer has everything she needs.
Team Leader Cha catches up with Joon-young after the small incident and hands him his ticket. It’s then that he discovers who the other ticket Team Leader Cha is holding in her hand is for: it’s none other than Jung-kyung. So the two head inside the venue together and sit next to each other. Joon-young isn’t interested in talking to Jung-kyung; instead, he’s more concerned about Song-Ah who he catches standing at the door leading to the stage. As part of her job, she’s there to open and close the door, but Joon-young can’t help but think about Song-Ah. Even though Soo-an’s performance is riveting and captivating, he’s more occupied by the thought of Song-Ah who he notices is also sporting Soo-an’s slippers. Once the recital ends, Joon-young rushes out of the venue upon noticing that Song-Ah is no longer standing by the door.
While Soo-an and her parents greet guests outside in the lobby, Song-Ah is busy inside of the rehearsal room watching Soo-an’s belongings. She receives a text from Joon-young who checks in with her on her whereabouts. Jung-kyung eventually makes her way to chatting with Soo-an and her parents and the small talk is fine at first. However, things go downhill when Soo-an brings up Jung-kyung’s appearance at Joon-young’s New York recital that she attended. Soo-an had wanted to chat with Jung-kyung at the recital, but couldn’t get to her since Jung-kyung disappeared into Joon-young’s dressing room. Soo-an’s father is even quick to point out how Joon-young and Jung-kyung attended Soo-an’s recital together. Before Jung-kyung can get a word in, she finds Hyun-ho standing not too far away from her and it’s obvious that he overheard everything.
After playing the “happy birthday” song on the piano inside of the rehearsal room, Song-Ah is accompanied by Joon-young who rushes into the room to hand her a gift. It’s a signed CD album specifically for Song-Ah and he addresses her as ‘violinist Chae Song-Ah’ in his written message for her. Song-Ah is in shock upon seeing the autograph, but she’s grateful nonetheless and tears swell up in her eyes as she holds the album in her hand. She has no words to describe how she’s feeling at the moment. Aww. I’m gonna cry too.
Hyun-ho and Jung-kyung have the dreaded talk about their relationship. Hyun-ho is speechless upon hearing from Jung-kyung herself that she was at Joon-young’s New York recital. It’s much more challenging for him to take in all the news, but he’s still willing to give Jung-kyung a chance. He assumes that they’ve been together for too long so she’s just curious and she wants to venture. Sure, Hyun-ho is willing to let Jung-kyung go shortly so she can explore, but he pleads for her to eventually come back to him. He’s sure she’ll regret it once she does go, but Jung-kyung thinks otherwise. With tears falling from her eyes, Jung-kyung pleads that they end everything and she walks away. Dong-yoon and Min-sung too have a serious conversation on their end. Min-sung confesses her feelings for Dong-yoon, but his response is cold and harsh. He pretends as if he didn’t hear Min-sung confession. He’ll pretend as if nothing ever happened. Min-sung also tears up with Dong-yoon’s reaction and she expresses regret in ever having feelings for Dong-yoon in the first place. She exits from his workshop in tears. Everyone but Song-Ah and Joon-young are heartbroken and conflicted that night. Everything seems to be crumbling in their lives all at once.
A meeting for the Korean Violin Teacher’s Association concludes and it’s there that retired violin teacher, Professor Yoo (Gil Hae-yeon), greets another professor, Professor Lee (Baek Ji-won). While out for lunch, Sung-jae, Da-woon, and Hae-na have a conversation about Professor Yoo and her chamber orchestra that she keeps trying to recruit members for. Long story short, Professor Yoo is using the chamber orchestra as a way for her to keep teaching. Since professors at music departments are supposed to perform instead of write dissertations and Professor Yoo hasn’t practiced in about 30 years, the orchestra chamber is her way of playing while still keeping her profession as a professor.
And so Professor Yoo invites Professor Lee to an upcoming performance by her orchestra chamber when the two encounter each other in the bathroom. They even go as far as to compare both of their assistants to each other. While Professor Yoo raves about her assistant, Professor Lee notes that her assistant is leaving soon since well, she shouldn’t hold an assistant with that much talent back from achieving their dreams. Eventually, Professor Yoo advises Professor Lee to become acquainted with Jung-kyung who plans on applying for Professor Yoo’s position. Jung-kyung is the daughter of Kyunghoo Group and Professor Lee could use some connections to get sponsored.
Min-sung breaks the news to Song-Ah about her confession later on when the two friends hang out that day. Song-Ah is shocked and taken aback upon listening to Min-sung’s story. Min-sung is still hurt and heartbroken by Dong-yoon’s response and how meaningless and small it all felt to him. It meant a lot to Min-sung, but Dong-yoon just merely brushed it off and didn’t even acknowledge her feelings. Song-Ah remains silent about Min-sung’s confession and doesn’t say much. The two eventually bid farewell with each other after they finish hanging out.
Director Na encourages Jung-kyung to attend the next Board of Directors meeting since she is a director for Kyunghoo Group. If she doesn’t want to engage in such a position, Jung-kyung should find someone to replace her. Jung-kyung then brings up her break-up with Hyun-ho and announces that they’ve separated. Director Na doesn’t have an initial response or reaction to the news, but she follows up by asking for the reason a few seconds later. In fact, Director Na is quite relieved with the break-up. Although she likes Hyun-ho, he never had any courage or ambition and was too carefree. There’s no place for someone as carefree like him, but it’s not just Hyun-ho who Director Na is referring to. Jung-kyung understands what Director Na is trying to say and she walks away. That day, Joon-young receives a phone call from his mom while practicing piano in the rehearsal room while Song-Ah is distracted by the photo of her, Min-sung, and Dong-yoon when she puts her violin away.
Director Na stops by the convenience store that Hyun-ho works at to talk to him about the vacant professor position at Seoryung University. She encourages him to apply for the position even though Jung-kyung also plans on applying. Director Na believes there’s a time and place for everything and she feels as if Jung-kyung is meant for the director position at Kyunghoo, not as a professor at Seoryeong University. Hyun-ho worries about whether he’s qualified for the position or not, but Director Na reassures him that talent is irrelevant in this case. Sometimes, what matters more is the people who support you and Director Na is fully supportive of Hyun-ho. Plus, when a good opportunity arrives, you should take it. If Jung-kyung is a director of the foundation and Joon-young is a successful musician, then Hyun-ho should also do something big and grand in his life. It’ll help balance out their friendship or else he’ll fall behind and things will go sour in the friendship. Hyun-ho gives Director Na’s words and comments a thought.
Team Leader Cha catches up with Professor Lee at a recital and the two chat about both Hae-na and Song-Ah. They’re Professor Lee’s students, but they’re also interns under Team Leader Cha. Professor Lee isn’t so impressed with the information; Hae-na and Song-Ah aren’t the brightest students per se, but at least Hae-na’s dad is the Dean at the College of Engineering over at their universit. Soyng-Ah on the other hand? Professor Lee is just glad and relieved Song-Ah is good at something since she wasn’t the best at playing the violin. Team Leader Cha grows uncomfortable with Professor Lee’s demeaning comments about Song-Ah.
Speaking of Song-Ah, she and Joon-young check in with each other that night both through text and phone call. Joon-young is out for a nice walk and he calls Song-Ah to just chat with her. She assumes he’s near the palace he usually frequents which Joon-young is surprised about. Wait, how did she know?! Song-Ah already had a sense he would be there, but she’s also curious as to why he’s walking near the palace by himself at this time of the night. Joon-young notes that it’s not like he had anyone to walk with which causes a short moment of silence to erupt between the two (pssttt, you could have asked Song-Ah to walk with you, Joon-young!). Eventually, Joon-young and Song-Ah make dinner plans for the next day before hanging up. Song-Ah is super duper excited after the phone call ends and she squeals in her bed (I feel the same way too Song-Ah). Joon-young himself is in a good mood after the phone call. Hehe. They’re way too cute for me.
The next day, Joon-young stops by the bank to inquire about loans and whether he can apply for more. However, he’s already maxed out on his loan limit so he’s unable to apply for more. Afterwards, the pianist meets with his violin friend for some dinner like they had planned the night before. They have some small talk over dinner and then grab some fresh air by going on a casual stroll near the palace. Joon-young didn’t have such a great day, but he admits that he feels much better after spending time with Song-Ah. Just like last time, he feels a lot better after meeting up with her. He offers the same support to Song-Ah and encourages her to contact him when she’s having a rough day, but Song-Ah would rather contact Joon-young on a good day when she has good news. Joon-young too likes the idea and he stops Song-Ah to make sure she follows through with her words. He holds out his pinky for a pinky promise which Song-Ah returns and the two make a promise with each other. They proceed with their walk and at one point, their hands slightly brush up against each other (EEEEEK). The two friends are shy and awkward, but they also somehow feel comfortable around each other. And so for that night, Song-Ah and Joon-young go on and on and they walk and walk. It’s a beautiful night to remember.
I originally wasn’t going to post any commentary for this episode, but then I saw the ending scene for this episode and knew I HAD to say something. I mean, Song-Ah and Joon-young are just way too cute and adorable for me. I sometimes can’t handle it. It’s sometimes hard for me to keep quiet during their interactions and moments because they’re just way too cute. I really love how awkward and shy the two are around each other, but I love it even more because despite the awkwardness, they’re still so comfortable around each other. Maybe a part of it is because they’re in the process of getting to know each other better and Song-Ah is at a point where she’s slowly crushing on Joon-young, but I just love how fresh and peaceful their relationship with each other is.
The other aspect about their relationship that I wholeheartedly love and appreciate as well is just how much they respect each other. I too was moved when Joon-young referred to Song-Ah as ‘violinist Chae Song-Ah’ on the signed CD album. Song-Ah already feels so insecure and conflicted on her skills and journey as a violin player and she’s heard so many people speak harshly about her, but Joon-young not only gave her a signed CD but also supported her by acknowledging her as a violin player. To Song-Ah, it’s a dream and goal that seems so far away and impossible, but to Joon-young, he already views and perceives her as a violin player. Everybody else doesn’t associate Song-Ah with the violin and they rather put her down for it, but to Joon-young, he sees her and he knows how hard she’s working and he wants to make sure that Song-Ah knows just how well she’s doing. He wants to make sure that she knows that he knows all her hard work and effort is not going unnoticed. I mean, their relationship is truly, truly so beautiful. Joon-young and Song-Ah prove to be the best thing about this drama for me and they will probably will be until the end (hopefully).
‘Do You Like Brahms?’ emits a melodramatic tone and mood, but I’m glad that nothing so far has been too dramatic. Everything has been relatively stable and consistent so far which has made the drama an easy watch. I’ve seen plenty of dramatic break-ups in K-dramaland so it was nice that there was a relatively calm and normal break-up in this episode between Hyun-ho and Jung-kyung. It really made the break-up a lot more heartbreaking than I originally thought it would be. I was never really one who cared about Hyun-ho and Jung-kyung as a couple, but I have to admit that their break-up was sad and heartbreaking, especially for Hyun-ho who clearly didn’t want to face the truth. He didn’t want to face the reality that not only was Jung-kyung breaking up with him but that she was also in love with his best friend. All the suspicions he had this entire time became true after all and was what eventually lead to the breakup.
I mean, that’s heartbreaking in its own way, but to be willing to let Jung-kyung go in hopes that she will eventually return to him and come back? Oof, now that was sad. Hyun-ho clearly doesn’t want to break up and he’s still very much in love with Jung-kyung, but yet, there’s nothing he can do about their relationship. If one person in the relationship wants to give up and doesn’t want to give things a try, there’s nothing that can be done. For Hyun-ho unfortunately, that person was Jung-kyung and the break-up was something that she was more prepared for more than Hyun-ho.
I’m glad that this episode focused again on Song-Ah and her journey to pursuing music. After being excluded in the last episode, episode five shed some light on her life again which was relieving to see. I love and appreciate all the little conversations she has with Joon-young about dreams and music and talent and everything else in between. The two get along well and understand each other quite nicely and they lift each other up, but they also have their moments where they have conflicting thoughts on different topics. I like that they can be honest with each other on how they really feel about certain subjects and topics, as demonstrated by Song-Ah and her disappointment with Joon-young’s comment about how he wished he had not been born with talent.
It’s so interesting how the drama presents two different sides to a certain topic; it’s interesting how we see things from both Joon-young and Song-Ah’s perspective who are both so different but similar to each other. Song-Ah’s comment about Joon-young’s talent and whether he realizes just how fortunate he is to be born with natural talent was an eye-opener to me. Whereas Joon-young feels as if his talent is a burden to him, Song-Ah wishes that she’d have some ounce of talent in her to get somewhere. It’s so fascinating how different Song-Ah and Joon-young feel individually about certain situations and topics because they’re on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of experience and skills and yet it’s also what compels them to be empathetic and to think from the other person’s point of view.
I understand that Jung-kyung and Joon-young’s complicated relationship is probably going to hang around for a little longer, but a part of me also just wishes for it to be done and over with so that we’ll be given more Joon-young and Song-Ah moments. Other than watching Song-Ah and Joon-young navigate a challenging phase in their respective lives, I just want to see more of our two adorable friends hang out. The drama has been doing phenomenal so far in showcasing and highlighting the beauty of their friendship and all the little details in between, but it’s going to be even better when romantic feelings and affection blooms afterwards. When that happens, I’m not too sure what’s going to happen to me (I might explode, who knows), but I’m all here for it and I can only wish for it to come here sooner. Song-Ah and Joon-young, I’m rooting for you two.
Extra screenshots from the episode~