The relationship between Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann is not merely a difficult-to-identify love triangle that hides special sympathies that only arise among people who live for music. It was also a source of many famous works by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.
In the world of classical music, all three Germans are big names. Their strange relationship began with a young Brahms’ trip to Düsseldorf on September 30, 1853. He nervously brought a letter of introduction from violinist Joseph Joachim to the knock on the door of famous couple Robert and Clara Schumann. At that time, Brahms asked Robert to teach composition and timidly play some of his skits.
Hearing a few notes, Robert stopped, stopped Brahms from playing the guitar, and quickly invited Clara into the room to enjoy the talent of the unknown young man. When the whole room was filled with the magical music that Robert and Clara had never heard, it signaled an important moment in Brahms’s life. And this is also a memorable moment in the history of music: a blend of the souls of three artists, three composers whose names are tied together forever.
At that time, Robert Schumann at the age of 43 was an illustrious composer with a range of compositions spanning many genres, from lied, chamber music to concerto, symphony, opera, chorus. He co-founded Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, a music magazine dedicated to new perspectives compared to his contemporary, and introduced Chopin to Europe. Besides, Robert Schumann is also known for his romantic relationship with Clara Wieck. She was a talented, beautiful pianist and the daughter of his own teacher, Friedrich Wieck, who had objected to a marriage that made Robert wait for Clara to be 18 years old so that she could make her own life.
By the time of the meeting between the future composer and the Schumann family, Clara was 34 years old, the mother of seven children, and was preparing to welcome another child next year. Clara is not anonymous. Her name has resonated throughout Europe on tours since she was a nine-year-old prodigy debuting at Leipzig Gewandhaus and publishing her first works, four Polonaise. Top contemporary composers like Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin, Felix Mendelsohn, Nicolo Paganini, even the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, all admired Clara’s talent.