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Brahms to Clara Schumann 21 Mar. 1855

June 24, 2010

Brahms to Clara
Dusseldorf, Wednesday, March 21.

My Dearly Beloved Clara,

There was no letter by the first post this morning from you.  You have no idea how longingly I wait for every post.  Every day now seems to me an eternity and I cannot settle down to anything or get myself to work.  I cannot even play or think.  You must certainly be staying on longer, and I have ceased to hope that Monday will be your last concert.  Be calm and confident and hope as I do that when once you are here you will be able to recover from all your exertions and bear many things more easily.  You may be sure that I will do all I can to help you in this.  I cannot help being painfully stirred when I look through all the letters you have written me on this tour.  The first have such a courageous tone about them, and the last are so gloomy and sad.  But I cannot write calmly or cheerfully, it is as much as I can do to bear the parting.  I really ought not to write to you any more.  I only make you sadder.  If only I could have heard the Manfred music with you!  This and the Faust are probably the most magnificent things that your husband has ever written.  What a staggering impression it must make!  I often marvel at the melodramatic passages such, for instance, as Astarte’s appearance and spoken words.  That is really the highest form of musical expression.  It stirs me to the core.  What I am particularly looking forward to is that, besides taking walks, we shall also kill time with counterpoint.

We ought to set each other exercises, the same for each, and then make a collection of them.  If Joachim should come he must join us in this.  We have often talked of doing such studies together.  It seems to me it would be wonderfully interesting and amusing, and I shall see if I cannot find some fairly good exercises.  We must also go for walks often.  It is impossible to remain shut up in a room for long in the spring….Forgive my writing, but I cannot help it.  My thoughts are not at home because you are not there.  I send you the best of all spring greetings.  When we walk to Eller we see the snowdrops growing in the open.       Your Johannes.

Litzmann, Berthold, Ed., Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms 1853-1896, Vol. I, Edward Arnold & Co. 1927

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