Brahms’ moving fidelity
Johannes Brahms (1833-97) was 23 years younger than Robert Schumann and 14 years younger than Clara Schumann.
It was Schumann who discovered him
and brought him out into the open
to the musical attention of the world,
and he was like a son to him
and soon was like one of the family,
and Clara Schumann loved him.
When the crisis of her husband came,
Brahms was the one to help her out
through the most difficult time of her life,
alone with seven children
with a constant strain as concert pianist
obliged to all alone support her seven children,
and her gratitude to Brahms was always infinite.
The letters of those years of Schumann’s hospitalization
between Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms
were by agreement later on destroyed by them,
most probably to have no word remaining
that could possibly inflict on Robert Schumann’s reputation.
She did never leave her widowhood,
and Brahms remained a bachelor throughout his life,
in constant loyalty to her;
and when she died an honoured lady and musician,
greatest and most serious of all pianists at that time,
forty years after her husband,
her most loyal friend Johannes Brahms
died only six months afterwards,
although he was so much younger.
He had indeed tried to engage himself
with other women, even on her own recommendation,
but found never anyone like her,
the wife of his best friend and mentor,
who became in fact his only friend for life.