Music Composers

Johannes Brahms-Part 7

In early life Brahms was slim and slight of build. As the years passed he took on weight rapidly. He was rather short, had sandy colored hair, and was clean shaven. By the time he was fifty he looked stout, shaggy and unkempt. Moreover, a thick beard hid much of his face. Though neat and tidy in his youth, he would later wear alpaca rather than broadcloth. An old shawl was the garment he preferred. His aversion to visiting England seems partly to have arisen form his dislike for conventional society.

I became personally acquainted with Brahms in Vienna. As I was leaving the "Hoftheater" with him, after the general rehearsal of L'Amico Fritz, by Mascagni, I asked the master what he thought of the new opera. "I am not paid," he answered, alluding to teh critics, "to have an opinion." This answer reflected Brahms' character most decidedly; contempt for criticism, disregard for everybody, Teutonic rudeness.

On another occasion at an evening gathering, where Brahms was present, a mediocre singer, out of deference for him, sang several of his songs. When she turned to Brahms, apparently expecting a compliment, he said bluntly; "Singing is difficult, yet oftentimes it is far more difficult to listen to it." I must add that the young lady was not exactly good looking, for, notwithstanding all his extravagance, Brahms was very sensitive to the fair sex, if it was really fair. He would then have overlooked the mediocre presentation of his songs.

The Etude Magazine April 1921

 

 

 

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