As a fun fact for you all, I can actually play the trumpet, trombone and keyboard. Not at the same time obviously but my childhood was spent playing these instruments and performing.
With that said, anything music-related instantly strikes a chord with me. When it was announced SBS would be bringing a music-centric Korean drama to their Monday/Tuesday line-up, I had to check it out. And so far it definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Episode 1 of Do You Like Brahms? begins with a celebration. Song-A passes her exams and is accepted into University. As they sit and celebrate, she smiles at the camera and admits that she’s happy.
From here we cut forward to the 60th Anniversary concert. The university is buzzing with life as Song-A looks over the different performers. One of which happens to be Joon-Young who’s on Piano.
As she collects up her instrument, Song-Ah joins the numerous other talented individuals and steps out for their rehearsal.
However, they all suddenly grow silent when their conductor makes his present felt. Young prodigal player Joon-Young steps out to rapturous applause and prepares to play. Only, just before he does the conductor tells Song-A to head home as the “violins are too loud”. She refuses to go though and things quickly become awkward.
A great silence descends over the auditorium until eventually he forces her to leave. Unfortunately this is made worse by a message from her friend Min-Sung arriving to see her.
Song-A takes herself to the bathroom to reply back, unable to face her friend after being booted out. To make matters worse, she receives an email from a music college informing her she hasn’t got in.
As she watches from the wings, tear well up as she hears Joon-Young’s amazing performance on the piano. Hae-Na notices Song-A her in the bathroom after and asks enthusiastically about the summer internship. Song-A quickly brushes it off as nothing.
Outside, Joon-Young sees Song-A awkwardly accepting praise from Min-Sung for her non-existent performance. Thankfully, Joon-Young is there to save her.
They head out for dinner together where Min-Sung gives her a gift. This happens to be a calendar which holds pictures of Dong-Yoon – the boy who taught her how to play violin.
Meanwhile Joon-Young politely declines an offer to perform as he wants to take some time away. Heading home in the car with Young-In, she brings up the topic of Jung-Kyung. This girl, as we see from flashbacks, appears to be romantically linked with him.
As Joon-Young looks outside, he finds a rain-soaked Song-A hurrying into a store to buy an umbrella. When she returns home, her family are less than supportive over her music career.
A defeated Song-A tells them that she’s going to get a job as a planning team intern given she passed the entrance exam. However, her Mum wants her to become a low-level civil servant instead.
The next day Song-A begins working with Hae-Na. In her free time, she continues to look at videos for learning the violin and even takes a peek at the rehearsal room.
When Ms. Cha arrives, she takes her chances and requests to use the room to practice violin. Thankfully she says yes. When she heads in for her first session, she finds Joon-Young playing a beautiful melody.
That evening, Song-A and Joon-Young exchange numbers and he seems to know exactly what her name is. There’s obvious chemistry between the pair and the group inside sense it.
They tease the duo over their similar ages. As they drink, the pair continue to exchange shy glances at one another. Already you can sense something between them.
At home, Song-A tries to play the violin but notices it needs to be fixed. This leads her to message Dong-Yoon who happens to be Min-Sung boyfriend.
He’s in Italy working as a violin maker but he’s also on his way back to Korea soon. Song-A is clearly crushing on him while Joon-Young’s heart lies with Jung-Kyung.
As fate would have it, both of them bump into one another at the airport again. While Joon-Young and Song wait, they discuss music and the themes linking their pieces together.
As she asks whether he likes Brahms, he replies he doesn’t. He’s not a fan. This is, of course, a throwback to this complicated web of feelings which is only exacerbated when Jung-Kyung and her boyfriend Hyun-Ho both show up. At the same time, Dong-Yoon shows up too.
The Episode Review
If there’s one thing Do You Like Brahms absolutely nails its the characterisation. Early on there’s some definite Whiplash vibes with the strict composer but soon it mellows out into something really quite beautiful.
There, we’re given the time to really get to know our main ensemble of characters and so far everyone has a lot of personality.
There’s lot to warm to in this and messy love triangle (square?) is really well written so far. I’m still rooting for Song-A and Joon-Young to get together at the end and their chemistry is excellent. So far so good, Do You Like Brahms certainly hits the high notes with its opener.