New Release: Arcadi Volodos Plays Brahms

Johannes Brahms’ three Op. 117 Intermezzos are a mix of serene, autumnal beauty, solitary introspection, and underlying sadness. Brahms wrote these solo piano works in the summer of 1892 with his longtime friend, Clara Schumann in mind. He described them as “lullabies of my sorrow.” The score is inscribed by a quotation from a Scottish poem from Johann Gottfried Herder’s Volkslieder:

Sleep softly my child, sleep softly and well !
It hurts my heart to see you weeping.

Here is the first of the Op. 117 Intermezzos from a newly-released album by Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos. (The recording includes two other late Brahms works: the Op. 76 Capriccios and Intermezzos and the Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118). It opens in E-flat major with the gentle rocking motion of a lullaby. In Brahms’ piano music we often get a visceral sense of the breadth and range of the keyboard, especially in the sensuous interval of the sixth. As the melody enters in the low register around the 30 second mark, it suggests bigness and gentleness, simultaneously. The middle section sinks into E-flat minor and increasingly dark and mysterious territory. Then, suddenly, the clouds subside and we find ourselves back home.

Ultimately, words fail to convey the experience you may have with this music, so plug in your best headphones and take a moment to listen:


  • Volodos Plays Brahms iTunes
  • Arcadi Volodos’ complete discography iTunes

Photograph by Ali Schafler

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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