Three Intermezzi for piano, Op. 117 (Brahms)

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The Three Intermezzi for piano, Op. 117, are compositions that Johannes Brahms created for solo piano. Brahms' Intermezzi were described by the critic Eduard Hanslick as "monologues"... pieces of a "thoroughly personal and subjective character" striking a "pensive, graceful, dreamy, resigned, and elegiac note."

The Intermezzi of Opus 117 were composed in 1892, and they are three in number:

The first intermezzo, in E-flat Major, is prefaced in the score by two lines from an old Scottish ballad, Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament, The lines are:

"Balow, my babe, lie still and sleep!
It grieves me sore to see thee weep."

The middle section of the second Intermezzo (B-flat Minor) seems to Brahms’ biographer Walter Niemann to portray a "man as he stands with the bleak, gusty autumn wind eddying round him."

The third Intermezzo (C-sharp Minor) has an autumnal quality also, suggesting the cold wind sighing through the trees as leaves are falling.


  • Walter Gieseking. Schumann Brahms. Columbia Masterworks (ML 4540), 1952.

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