This is such a lovely thread about how Brahms loved Clara Schumann. (Worth taking the time to hit translate on each one!) I’d like to add some things from her diaries and his letters—and this 1st person is so fun I’m gonna do it.
Brahms— The day after I played for you and your husband at your house, I was terrified to come back. All your husband said to me was “you and I, we understand each other” and I didn’t know if that meant he liked my music. I was too shy and insecure at 20 to know if that was good
Until you came to find me in the tavern. You searched I don’t know how many places to find me and bring me back to your house. Then you let me move in with you. I know you were nervous I might fall in love with your oldest daughter who was only 8yrs younger than me.
The same age difference as you and your husband had been when Robert had moved into your house to study with your father. But I saw only you. I didn’t care you were 14yrs older. It didn’t matter. You gave me lessons at the piano.
You played my music more beautifully than it deserved and gave me as much advice on my compositions as your husband, perhaps more. You were so delighted that I wanted your opinions and took your suggestions seriously. Your husband never did—which I didn’t understand.
Robert’s health was not doing well. But you insisted he was fine. You even toured to Holland with him—despite his nervous attacks. I had to leave you then. But I dedicated my 3rd sonata to you. The one you helped me write. I couldn’t stop thinking of you.
Three months later I read in the newspaper that Robert had jumped in the Rhine. I caught the first train back to you. I couldn’t stay away. Embarrassed if you wanted me there, I just said I’d come to comfort you with music. To my surprise, you wanted me to stay.
As long as you wanted me, I couldn’t leave. You were 5 months pregnant with your eighth child. I kept you as calm as I could leading up to your confinement. I comforted you as you cried each time the doctors reports came with bad news of Robert’s lack of recovery.
You shared your music with me. I wrote variations on your theme which Robert had written the year before. I spelled your name in the music and quoted your own work in mine.
You played a four hand score of Beethoven’s 9th symphony with me every day, helping me learn how to write a symphony and orchestration. Which I would start that summer in D minor and turn into my first piano concerto. Which you helped me write every step of the way.
I wrote to Josef Joachim that summer: “I admire her as much as I love and am in love with her.”

You toured and gave more concerts in those two yrs while Robert was in the hospital than in any other yrs of your life. I didn’t want you to work so much.
I encouraged you to accept charity but you insisted on supporting your children and your husband’s expensive hospital care yourself. You had more concert offers than you could take. You gave some to me—my first performances with orchestra. You coached me so I was ready for them.
I surprised you and followed you on tour whenever I could but mostly I stayed at your home to watch over your children. I tired to leave but I felt lost anywhere but at your house. I was so attached to you. I later called those my Wether yrs. dying of love for another man’s wife
But as much as you depended on me for support you only loved me as a friend. You were so tortured over your love for your dying husband. I asked you to marry me after he was gone. You said no. I was so angry I left you, cruelly with mean words you didn’t deserve.
I sent you all my compositions, even though I was so bitter I said nasty things to you. You loved my music and played it on all your concerts. You encouraged me in my work even when no one else liked it. Over the decades I told you many times to stop touring to come live with me
You always refused. You couldn’t bear to give up your performing life. I wrote music for you. My third symphony was a birthday present for you. On the day of your funeral I sobbed on your grave how much I loved you.
I played my last composition that day. I never wrote anything after you were gone. If I didn’t have you to write for, it wasn’t worth writing at all.
I’ll leave you with the second movement of my first piano concerto. I wrote to Josef Joachim it was my portrait of you.

(This is Leon Fleischer who plays it perhaps as beautifully as I did myself.)
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