K-Drama Review: ‘Do You Like Brahms?’: Three Reasons Why We Are Captivated with This Drama

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Credit: SBS

Do You Like Brahms? revolves around the classical music students who are at the end of their 20s. Just like the same-themed dramas Beethoven Virus and Naeil’s Cantabile, one can expect that Do You Like Brahms?, too, will portray the growth of genius musicians.

Contrary to expectations, however, the project chose to put romance at the heart of the story. However, it might be too soon to disregard the drama thinking that it’s going to be just another typical romance story. Even if the story revolves around romance, it can either be a boring repertoire or a heart-fluttering story depending on how it’s written. Fortunately, the drama, which recently aired its 8th episode (by the time this was written), is close to the latter. How did Do You Like Brahms? overcome the prejudice of the common romance drama and win the hearts of many?


Melodrama that Contains the Worries of Youth

The drama deals with the love of youth, but not everything is just “bright.” It describes the heavy reality like academic and employment issues that the youth face through the main character Chae Song Ah. Even after graduating from the prestigious university as a business major, she re-enters the same school as a violin major to live out her dream, saying, “music comforts us.” But still, she finds her new academic life daunting due to her lacking skills and uncertain career and struggles to find strength.

Then is Park Joon Young, the first Korean to win a prize at the Chopin Competition, living a better life? The answer is no. On the surface, he seems to be walking on a solid career path, but deep down, his troublesome family history and people’s expectations suffocate him.

Instead of putting the obvious melodrama with prince charming and Cinderella at the forefront, the drama increases the sense of reality by touching the agony of youth. Their own problems make them hesitant about their own feelings, but they become the rock for each other during difficult times.


Love Story that Flows Without Villain Roles

Credit: SBS

A love triangle, a byword for romance in K-dramas, also appears in Do You Like Brahms?, but it’s not “too obvious.” Song Ah has Dong Yoon, who asks her out, and Min Sung, who has eyes for Dong Yoon. Of course, Joon Young also has his own love triangle. At this point, it’s not abnormal to see some “catfights,” but fortunately, these intertwined relationships capture the characters affectionately.

In particular, the character of Lee Jung Kyung, who breaks up with Han Hyun Ho as her feelings for Park Joon Young get bigger, stands out. Jung Kyung is Kyunghoo Group’s CEO’s granddaughter and the kind of person who always stays true to her hearts. Rather than portraying her as a person who tries to dominate love with her background, the drama shows Jung Kyung hesitating to approach Joon Young for various reasons and sincerely suffering from parting with Hyun Ho. Thanks to this, there is no villain-like character or unreasonable elements in such complex relationships, and the story keeps its momentum. Instead, they increase the density of emotions by expressing the feelings of characters hurt by love.


Slow But Delicate Melodrama

Credit: SBS

The overall development is as slow as the subtle relationship between Song Ah and Joon Young, but the “freshness” between them makes viewers dive into the story slowly. Music plays a big part in expressing the emotions of the characters. In each episode, a musical term that implies the whole story is chosen as the title and a carefully selected song is introduced. Even if you are not a classical expert, you can guess why such music was chosen and what the drama wanted to say through it. Before one knows, music becomes an important message and fully supports the emotions laid out by the characters. It is a bonus to add elegance to the project with beautiful melodies.

Song Ah and Joon Young’s “inexperienced” sides also boost the pulling power. Song Ah distances herself from the world-renowned pianist Joon Young thinking that she is not good enough, while Joon Young keeps her at arms’ length due to his own problems. The drama adds to their sad feelings and gradually narrows the distance between the two. Sharing their daily lives, like having a cup of coffee or going on a walk together, they shorten the distance. The slow but simple flow of the story also eliminates the sense of distance from viewers.

From the ninth episode, a new story will unfold as Song Ah and Joon Young, who were reluctant so far, decide to take a step closer to each other. I hope that the lovely atmosphere that enliven the actors’ great acting and delicate emotions in every episode continues so that the drama remains a romance story that stole the hearts of many.


Verdict: Romance that contains the worries of the youth melts your heart with beautiful melodies (8/10)



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  • […] Do You Like Brahms?, which ended with a happy ending, ended its journey at No. 1. The drama drew positive responses from viewers throughout the show with its rare classic sensibility. Park Eun Bin and Kim Min Jae, who delicately portrayed wavering youth’s dream and love, were praised for their solid performance. On the other hand, Alice, which ended last weekend, failed to live up to the initial response and finished seventh. Except for the fact that MBC’s new drama The Spies Who Loved Me made it into the chart, the popularity chart remained pretty much the same.  […]

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