It was an epochal sort of three-way love at first sight when Johannes Brahms first showed up on the doorstep, and then at the piano of Clara and Robert Schumann in 1853.
It was a “secret union of kindred spirits,” genius and love in many dimensions, and something more: Schumann, who was 43, saw a successor to Beethoven in the 20-year-old Brahms, but more than the “new eagle” of German music he saw “another John the Baptist,” a savior whose revelations would stymie the world for centuries. Clara, who was 33, saw a rare and beautiful character in Brahms, sent by God and transfigured by his own music.
In Robert Schumann, young Brahms saw a mentor on the way to madness; in Clara he saw the love of his life-a woman who didn’t promise heaven but revealed it to him. Together they lived the mysteries of romantic passion and wove them into every theme and variation of romantic music. Join us for A musical triangle for all time.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Veronica Jochum, pianist
Jan Swafford, author of “Johannes Braham, a Biography.”