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Clara Schumann to Brahms, 25 Jan, 1862

March 27, 2012
Clara Schumann

[1862]

CLARA to BRAHMS

DÜSSELDORF, Jan.25, Saturday.

DEAR JOHANNES,

First of all many thanks for your letter and the Variations.  You see I am still in Düsseldorf.  On the journey here I had the misfortune to get a severe attack of rheumatism in my right arm (I had been leaning out of the window on this arm) and I was hardly able to move it for several days.  Of course I had to telegraph to Bonn and Frankfort, cancelling my concerts there.  You can imagine how hard this was for me, the more so as up to the present my earnings have been very poor, in fact I have lost almost the whole month.  Fortunately I was able to arrange to play at the Museum in Frankfort after all on the 31st.  Last Tuesday I gave a soirée in Cologne (Stockhausen sang) and on Thursday one in Bonn.  Both were quite successful.  This is the first day I have been able to write at all, for I feel the rheumatism more in writing than in playing.  I returned here yesterday evening, and my first thought today is to write to you.

Although my arm was in a sling I went to Cologne to hear Faust and cannot remember ever having enjoyed anything more in my life.  I feel convinced that this work will one day take its place among the greatest of masterpieces.  The second part is at least as great as the third.

Seldom have I received such a deep impression from a new work as I did from this one.  What a crescendo of delight from beginning to end, not a moment of boredom!  And how can I possibly describe the moving quality of the harmonies? If one has not heard it, there are many things in it of which one can have no idea – Ariel, for instance, at the beginning of the second part, the sunrise, Faust’s death and a good deal more.  I am sending you an article of Bischoff’s (I happen to have it here).  Let me have it back, it belongs to Fr. Leser.  The beauty of Stockhausen’s singing defies description.  Unfortunately at the end and for fear lest the public should get up and go, Hiller started the Leonora Overture immediately on the close of the Faust, which made a very unfavourable impression on everybody.  It was really terrible – he hardly allowed the last notes of the Faust to die away.   I should never have believed that I could possibly listen to this Overture except with the utmost delight, but to all us musicians this was impossible.

All the musicians from the neighbourhood were there, even Kirchner and Walter who had come from all that distance.  Everybody missed you and nobody could understand how you could be absent when this particular work was being given.  I was very glad to hear that you derived so much pleasure from your quartets and that Scholz is at last beginning to appreciate your music.  Please greet both of them heartily from me….And now with affectionate greetings, Your CLARA

Litzmann, Berthold, Ed., Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms 1853-1896, Vol. I, Edward Arnold & Co. 1927, pp.144-145.

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