I used to like those spot-the-difference cartoons that appeared in the comics I read as a lad. At first glance, both images look the same but you have to look closer until you find a specified number of differences between the two.

Whenever I teach Brahms’ Intermezzo in A from the op. 118 set, I find it strange that pianists rarely seem to notice the differences between these two parallel passages (and another towards the end). What might Brahms have meant by them?

How many differences can you spot, and what changes will you need to make to voicings, timings and pedallings to reveal these beauties to the listener?

brahms_1*

brahms_2*

 

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