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January 21, 2016 – Brahms and Clara

“I can do nothing but think of you and gaze constantly at your dear letter and portrait. What have you done to me? Can’t you remove the spell you have cast over me?”
(21 year old Brahms to 34 year old Clara)

The beginning of the affair between Brahms and Clara – which wasn’t an affair in the traditional sense – is usually what gets the most air time. But it’s much less interesting and deep than what followed. What followed was all those years of friction and love… and all that music! Now THAT is interesting. You are invited to the concert to hear what happens in between, but here is a fast forward to the calm after the storm…

Brahms, at 56, to Clara age 70… Dear Clara; That my D minor sonata is strolling tenderly and dreamily beneath your fingers is a most agreeable and friendly thought to me. I have actually placed it on the music stand have accompanied you very thoughtfully and tenderly through the pedal-point shrubbery, always with you near me. I simply know of no greater pleasure than to sit at your side or, as in this case, to stroll with you. 

And here is Clara’s essential truth about the two of them: “I can truly say, my children, that I have never loved a friend as I loved him; it is the most beautiful mutual understanding of two souls. I do not love him for his youthfulness, nor probably for any reason of flattered vanity. It is rather his elasticity of spirit, his fine, gifted nature, his noble heart that I love. Believe all that I, your mother have told you, and do not heed those small and envious souls who make light of my love and friendship trying to bring up for question our beautiful relationship, which they can neither fully understand, nor ever could they.”

Wie bist du meine Königen. (You are my queen)