How do you describe a love that has found no age bar, is rare and where passion is ignited by music? Such is the love story of Johannes Brahms and Johannes Brahms. It’s way too difficult to put into expression a love that only be felt ; a name to a relationship that cannot be elucidated except through knowing what they mean to each other.
Pulitzer-winning poet Lisel Mueller said about them:“…how a handheld overlong or a gaze anchored in someone’s eyes could unseat a heart, and nuances of address not known in our egalitarian language could make the redolent air tremble and shimmer with the heat of possibility. Each time I hear the Intermezzi, sad and lavish in their tenderness, I imagine the two of them sitting in a garden among late-blooming roses and dark cascades of leaves, letting the landscape speak for them, leaving us nothing to overhear.”
Johannes Brahms bumped into the life of Clara Schumann at a strange period in her life; she was 35 and pregnant with her seventh child with German composer Robert Schumann. Brahms was a child prodigy and was striving to make a name for himself as a composer. He was a 20-year old student of her husband.
Soon Robert Schumann was admitted to a mental asylum after he tried attempting suicide because he was unable to deal with hearing unceasing oratorios in his head. It was at that time, Brahms became significant to the Schumann family and virtually took hold of the house like a master, even managing and facilitating exchanges between the husband and wife.
The phase of close living, and Brahms’ providing emotional and mental support to the family, more particularly Clara, laid the foundation of a life-lasting connection with her. Two and a half years later, Schumann passed away. Nobody really confirms to the assumption whether Brahms proposed to her, and if he even did, she must have felt it too early to get into a relationship just after her husband’s demise. Clara seeing him off on a train to Hamburg in what she described felt as painful as a funeral.
The hopeless lover wrote to Clara, "I can do nothing but think of you... What have you done to me? Can't you remove the spell you have cast over me?" The pianist would give into and meet him again and again as they spent many holidays together.
Brahms remained a bachelor throughout his life. The relationship that the two had, physicality was really unimportant. Rather, from the extremely complex thread of emotions between them, what took birth was beauty, music and perfection; a heart touching love story to remember and be inspired from.
After Clara died at the age of 76, Brahms hardly could live. He died right after 11 months.
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