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Brahms to Clara Schumann, Dec 8, 1855

March 17, 2012



Saturday, Dec.8

I wanted to write to Detmold again, but I must first send you my greetings and my best thanks for the dear letter received this morning.  You have told me nothing about your playing, particularly of Op. 106!  Did you play it and how did it go?  Beautifully?  How I should have loved to have heard the C major Symphony!  Out of the five it is my favourite, and of its four movements I prefer most decidedly the adagio.  Only a German could have composed such an adagio.  His deeply earnest eye alone could look so full of love when in the greatest suffering.  A reminiscence of this beautiful adagio would interest you in Bach’s Musikalisches Opfer, if you do not know it.

I have to play the C Sharp minor studies here almost every evening and they are all enthusiastic about them.  I also play Carnaval, Davidsblünder and Kreisleriana a good deal. Yesterday Jaëll arrived here.  We spent the evening together at Avé’s.  He raves about everything under the sun, not least of all about my things, and he played the F Sharp minor Sonata publicly in Frankfort.  He looks exceedingly comical, so very well fed.  Wagner is his God, evidently a kind one, for he can blaspheme him with impunity with the most atrocious transcriptions.  He played some of his stuff to us yesterday, also some arrangements of songs by Schumann and Franz.  It would be difficult to produce more wretched and more shallow rubbish, and yet Hoffmeister gives him a year’s salary for producing such inferior work.  The first contract is to last another eighteen months, so even if he wished to do so he could not spare the world; for a certain number of his pieces must be printed.

I shall probably have to play your husband’s Third Trio at Otten’s.  We only lack one cellist.  I am very much looking forward to it.  Today the Lobgesang will be played, then Beethoven s Phantasy with chorus, and the chorus from the Idomeneo, the andante, and finale from Chopin’s E major Concerto (which I don’t enjoy very much) and the Tannhäuser-Lohengrin Phantasy.

(The end of this letter is missing)

Litzmann, Berthold, Ed., Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms 1853-1896, Vol. I, Edward Arnold & Co. 1927, pp. 58-59.

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