Music Composers


Johannes Brahms-Part 4

Schumann's Death

The year 1854 brought much sadness. Schumann was overtaken by the mental malady which clouded his few remaining years. He attempted to throw himself into the Rhine, but was rescued and taken to an asylum, where he lingered on until 1856. This tragedy affected Brahms very deeply. He rushed off to Dusseldorf to offer his sympathies to the poor wife and in common with other friends set himself to do all that he could to help and comfort her. Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann enjoyed for many years a friendship of the purest and highest artists aims. Evidences of it were soon forthcoming in the set of pianoforte variations written by Brahms On a Theme by Clara Wieck, Clara Schumann's maiden name.

Meanwhile the problem of the future was before him and he realized that both composition and teaching were very uncertain means of earning an income. He therefore, in 1858, decided on becoming a concert pianist. In this capacity he played in concerts at Bremen and Hamburg with sufficient success to justify this determinations, although some of the critics spoke quite unkindly of his playing, and said that his technic did not satisfy the demands of the time. Although Brahms worked hard to perfect himself, there is a consensus of opinion that he was not a pianist of the first rank. In his later years that was still more the case, and he was considered as a heavy, and not particularly brilliant player.

The friendship with Joachim and Clara Schumann was invariably renewed during the summer vacation. Clara Schumann introduced at a concert in Duseldorf some of his Hungarian dances, by which Brahms in many quarters is not known more than by his more serious works.

The Etude Magazine April 1921





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