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Clara Schumann to Brahms, 9 Dec, 1858

April 14, 2012
Clara Schumann



Vienna, Dec.9

I would have written to you again sooner, but was so worn out by my concert last Sunday that I could not…. After my concert, which by the way was packed, I found awaiting me at home a letter from Joachim telling me of Bach’s and Dirichlet’s death.   Both pieces of news upset me so much that I was unable to sleep all night.  Such events as these remind us of the vanity and evanescence of all things….After all we are only human and cling to life – but memory alone supplies no adequate substitute for what has been lost.  If only heaven would do as well by me and quickly snatch me away, the sooner the better….

You are wrong about the Hungarian Dances, for they are exceedingly rhythmic.  I knew that at once from the title “Hungarian”, and if they did not make the expected impression, the fault certainly lay with the public, because they had hoped to hear familiar Hungarian melodies.  I am going to play them at my third concert here, that is if I give another, and this will only be decided after I see the kind of audience I have at the second (next Sunday).  I have had some pleasant evenings at the Burg-theater again and also at the Kärntenertortheater.  For the first time since my childhood I saw the Räuber, with a young actor of twenty-two in the part of Franz, which he played extremely well.  Then I also had the great joy of hearing Iphigenie auf Tauris.  It would be impossible to describe the pleasure it gave me.  You know what it is.  To hear such music for the first time is a pleasure fit for gods…. I live in a house, or rather on a spot, where Mozart s house formerly stood and where he died.  The present owner has had a very fine memorial placed at the entrance of the house.  Whenever I pass it I always feel a thrill of reverence.  If only on each occasion I could receive a breath of music from him I should have enough to last my whole life!…. I am enclosing the programme of my next concert.  It contains nothing extraordinary, but is nevertheless fine.  Farewell, dear Johannes.  Write soon and remember YOUR CLARA

Litzmann, Berthold, Ed., Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms 1853-1896, Vol. I, Edward Arnold & Co. 1927, p.90.

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