January 14, 2016


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3. The Sexy Brahms

Today’s song is Unbewegte laue Luft. But before I go any further, I have to warn you –Brahms and sex… It’s complicated. A little biographical back-drop might be in order: Picture the wharfs of Hamburg: sailors, prostitutes, rats. Now picture a pre-pubescent Johannes Brahms sent there by his father, into a brothel to play dance tunes nightly. For a year. If you go there just for a minute, you won’t be surprised to learn that Brahms grew up with a few, eh…issues.

Love, he would, but marry, he would not. Biographers put it another way: Brahms could not marry a woman he loved or bed a woman he respected. It’s a long story, (join us for the concert to hear more) but one thing is for certain, passion, pain, longing, grief – these are never wasted in an artist’s life, and in the hands of a genius, they can become like gold. Brahms wrote incredible songs for, and inspired by, the women he loved: Clara; Agathe; Bertha; Elisabet; Ottilie and Julie. To name a few.

Today’s song then, is the very sexy Unbewegte laue Luft. This song is from the time of his last big infatuation, with none other than Clara Schumann’s daughter, Julie. The layers of Oedipal complications are mind-boggling here, but never mind, just enjoy this fabulous song.

Unbewegte laue Luft (Still, tepid air)

Still, tepid air,
Nature, deeply at rest;
Through the still garden-night
Only the fountain splashes.
But in my heart there surges
Hot desire,
And in my veins swells
Life, and a longing for life.
Should not also your breast
Be lifted by longing wishes?
Should not the cry of my soul
Reverberate deeply in yours?
Softly, with ethereal steps,
Do not tarry to float to me!
Come, oh come, so that we might
Give each other heavenly satisfaction!
– Georg Friedrich Daumer






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