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by Elaine Ernst Schneider
May 2, 2001
As a young
Brahms was a close friend of Robert and Clara Schumann. They socialized
publicly and Johannes was often in the Schumann home. When Robert
died, Johannes continued his friendship with Clara. Clara Schumann,
a renowned pianist, gave concerts that showcased her late husband’s
to support herself and her children. It is not known whether Johannes
always loved Clara or if the affection sprang from the relationship
grew after Robert’s death. History does tell us that Brahms professed
love for Clara though they never married.
1. Write a
might have taken place between Clara and Johannes after Robert’s death.
Begin the conversation with Brahms confessing to Clara that he loves
Use your imagination. Here are some questions to get you started
2. Write the lyrics for a song Brahms might have written for Clara. Keep in mind that words for songs during this time period usually rhymed.
3. If you play
create an original short piece that Brahms might have written for
Consider the emotions of love and how they might be conveyed through
music. Would the tempo be slow and the tone sad because love is
or might the tempo be fast and furious to show the frustration of two
that never connect?
you begin these assignments, remember to keep in mind what was and was
not “socially acceptable” in Johannes and Clara’s day. Also know that
love for Clara was made somewhat public when he dedicated several songs
to her. Clara Schumann died in 1889. Brahms attended her graveside
It was a cold and damp day and Brahms caught a “chill.” He died just a
few months later. Was it from the chill? Or was it from a lonely heart?
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