I’ve just started a Brahms Waltz – it’s my first Brahms and it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve worked with to date – extraordinarily lovely. As is my practice, I’m doing some digging on the piece. My quick web search revealed, on the site of violinist Timothy Judd, the fact that it’s Waltz #15 in A flat major, from Brahms’ Opus 39.
Wikipedia is great for quick investigations, but it can sure leave you wondering sometimes. The site reports that Brahms composed Opus 39, a set of sixteen waltzes for piano duet, in 1865. Judd notes that the Suzuki Book Two Brahms Waltz is waltz number fifteen of the sixteen from Opus 39. Wikipedia claims that “Waltz Number 15 in A major (or A-flat major) has acquired a life of its own” but provides no elaboration. Perhaps the Wikipedia article author is not fond of the Suzuki arrangement for violin! Whatever else it does, an inclusion in the Suzuki series does guarantee that a song gets played by many.
Interestingly, the Suzuki Book itself indicates that the source is Waltz Number Five from the set, but that does not appear to be the case based on my online explorations. As the waltzes were written for piano, let’s have a listen to number fifteen, the one I’m working on, played by Leopoldo Lipstein, the same performance Judd links to on his site. I mean, really, this thing is LOVELY. The violin part is basically the top melody line.
Thanks for reading.