I do love the music of Brahms. Last week I had the pleasure of hearing his Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 performed by the Orion String Quartet with Peter Serkin, piano. And it was lovely to hear it live! I’m looking forward to hearing a couple more Brahms pieces during our upcoming season – Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1 played by the Belcea Quartet in October and then Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24 played by Simon Trpčeski in November.
Brahms started to tour in his early twenties and that is when he met many influential musicians and composers including Joseph Joachim, Franz Liszt, and the Schumanns. Robert and Clara Schumann had a life long influence on Johannes. Robert Schumann’s praise of the young Brahms helped bring him to the notice of the general public. They both encouraged him in his work. Brahms and the Schumann’s developed a strong and lasting friendship. When Robert was confined to a sanatorium, Johannes returned and moved into an upper apartment in the Schumann home to help out. He was allowed to visit Robert at the sanatorium (whereas Clara was not until just before his death) so he could keep them both apprised of what was happening. His friendship with Clara continued for many years after Robert’s death. There are many accounts of Brahms begin in love with Clara and her not returning his feelings but I’m not sure how important that is. It is obvious they had a strong friendship and respect for each other and that they supported and inspired artist creations as good friends should.