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Brahms to Clara Schumann, 4 or 5 Dec, 1856

March 31, 2012



Friday midday.Dec.4 (5th)


Your remarks about the value which I attach to your own and J’s applause are amateurish.  You know perfectly well how pleased I am if my things please my friends, and you also know whose praise I value most.  But if I think of the actual value of the thing itself, the matter is of course different.  Then I should like to have some one who, after approaching it in an unfriendly spirit, was compelled to approve of it subsequently.

Joachim philosophizes and thinks a good deal about music and everything that may help it to prosper, and it is because I think some of his ideas so splendid that I am always encouraged if my things come up to his standard.  It is just like the various grades of the law.  The highest tribunal of all, however, is your loving nature and its yea.

I am not over-fond of Scarlatti owing to the similarity of his pieces (in form and character).  But I like to play individual pieces well enough and I happen to have a good volume of them…. Your remarks about young people remind me of Otten’s sons.  He complains bitterly that not one of them will work; but I blame him for this, as he has gratified their every whim.  They have all the toys and all the books they ask for.  They have looked at all the large illustrated books in their own home, and the consequence is that the other day, when I was trying to think of a Christmas present for the younger one, I was at an absolute loss.  I even ascribe his pale cheeks (in spite of the fact that he gets a lot of exercise) to his being surfeited in mind and body.  It would certainly be splendid if you were to come on Tuesday, but I will not try to persuade you to do so.  I know that if you can you will get away quickly enough.  I shall be on tenter-hooks now every day.  Yesterday we had some music at Av’s.  Everybody likes my A Flat minor Fugue very much indeed.  On Sunday I shall try it again on the organ.  With heartiest wishes for your welfare, and begging you to kiss me, Your JOHANNES

Litzmann, Berthold, Ed., Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms 1853-1896, Vol. I, Edward Arnold & Co. 1927, pp. 1075-76.

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