Russell Steinberg
Johannes Brahms

Story

Among the most personal and intimate piano pieces by Brahms, op. 116 #4 in E Major has an overwhelming sense of nostalgia with chords that suggest sentimental songs, yet veer from sentimentality through exquisite voice leading. The "crown jewel" of this piece is the halcyon middle section where arpeggios welling up from a bass pedal suggest the richer harmonies of future eras—Impressionism, Expressionism, and even jazz.