Who’s in the mood for a little crying?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by lady in the radiator

When the Son came home early in the semester and announced that he’d enrolled in an “Introduction to Music” course, I felt a mix of emotions.

The “mother” part of me felt great pride because this meant that my having exposed him to great musical composers would finally trigger a response other than “Can we switch the old dudes’ music to something more actual?”

However, the news affected another side of me; the “woman” side.

Allow me to explain.

I was in college when I succumbed to the spell of music from the Classical and Romantic Periods.

The first time I heard Brahms, it was as if Earth had stopped turning and I was enveloped in a cloud of fluff.

Brahms’ music had the power to transport me to a seventh heaven and while it was the most beautiful music I’d heard, it was also the saddest.

I didn’t know how to describe this new-found music style.

I likened it to a paradox; captivating yet haunting; uplifting yet depressive.

Wanting to discover how this paradox was possible, I set out to find some answers.

For months I listened to dozens of musical composers.

Some of them gave me headaches, others had the ability to induce sleep, and others lifted my mood significantly.

Yet the melodies of Chopin, Vivaldi, and Brahms always had the power to reduce me to tears.

Never having been a woman who succumbed to waterworks, I was terrified with this outcome.


Because after years of promoting female empowerment, advocating assertiveness, glorifying the term “bitch” and using the slogan “Bring it” to show I was fearless, I was not willing to accept that a simple melody was my kryptonite.

And yet it was.

One such example is Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F Major.

The minute I hear the cellos and the yearning main melody, I’m a goner.

The flutes, clarinets, and strings finish me off.

What can I say?

The Son is just a week shy of finishing the Romantic Style period and for that, I am grateful.

I have used up three tissue boxes in the last two weeks and my bloodshot eyes are proof of just how powerful this kryptonite can be.

Nevertheless, this time has allowed me to learn that while I welcome the occasional “mellowed-out-mood-floating-on-air-I’m-happy-I’m-sad” effect of this music, I can only be exposed to it short-term.

Fortunately, that’s just enough to make me human, but not enough to take away my super powers!

I leave you with Brahms’ haunting melody.

Listen to it and let me know what effect it has on you.


12 thoughts on “Who’s in the mood for a little crying?

  1. Bella, I think that it’s beautiful and brave to allow such a tough woman as yourself to be affected by this incomparable music. I personally shy away from this specific Brahms symphony… it makes me think of past mistakes and hopes that I’ve never been courageous enough to fulfill. Thank you for inspiring me to challenge myself and listen to it again!

    1. Good for you, Louise! We should all look back occasionally to see how far we’ve come! I’m so glad you felt inspired to listen to it again! :)

  2. Y’know I always had a hard time crying. I just never liked it. And it got to a point where I refused to cry about anything. During a particularly tough time in life my voice coach said something to me that finally clicked: crying doesn’t mean you’re weak, it just means you have a living soul. Because tears are a part of life whether they be of joy or pain. And I want people to know that my soul is alive, awake and can be stirred. Since then, I have learned to embrace and welcome the waterworks. Because sometimes thing do something to us that is so profound we actually have to let it spill from our bodies, and tears are the best way to do that sometimes. Romantic composers are my favourite too, Debussy particularly, and they always bring me to a hysterical, bawling fit, and I love it, because I know that my soul can be moved. :-)

    1. Ashley, that is another beautiful way of seeing the expression of tears. I think one’s life experiences determine how one views crying. I’m glad you had a coach who was able to show you different way to see them. I love Debussy;s “Clair de Lune”. I will be sure to play one of his melodies and keep in mind your charming analogy tears and the living soul. :)

  3. I love Brahms. I listen to a lot of classical music, but I always come back to Brahms and Rachmaninov. My favorite Brahms is Intermezzo in A Major Opus 118 No.2. There’s a great version arranged by Alexandre Desplat on the Lust, Caution film soundtrack.

  4. Music is my kryptonite too, Bella. Always has been. Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. So beautiful it hurts my heart. I’m a sucker for the violin, you see.

  5. A gorgeous symphony, indeed. Wow. My current fave in classical music is Bellini’s opera “Norma” (yes, he’s a Sicilian composer)–especially Maria Callas singing Casta Diva.

  6. This music is very apropos for my current feeling, and my last post on my blog. I always feel better after a good cry.

    The picture you used…can we say “sensual”? It was perfect for this post!

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