Johannes Brahms – His Life was Marked by Extremes. This is especially true with the ladies. He had a difficult time striking a happy medium. After Schubert, Brahms has become my favorite composer. His music has such a soul searching quality. I feel musically he was always searching for ideal love. Brahms was also charitable. To help out his family, he gave music lessons. He also played the piano in taverns, bordellos and local dance halls in his early teens. He never married. I quote The Classical Music Experience by Julius H. Jacobson. In his chapter about Brahms:”That (taverns) was my first impression of women…..And you expect me to honor them as you do?” The constant rough work with irregular hours affected his health. However, his attitude toward Robert and his wife, Clara Schumann, was totally different.
Brahms first visited the couple in Düsseldorf on 30 September 1853. Both welcomed him warmly. Robert was highly enthusiastic about the young man’s compositions. He went so far as to call the coming savior of German music!
However, Robert Schumann was becoming more and more unbalanced. He attempted suicide and was hospitalized. Brahms often visited Schumann in the hospital, . His friends, Joseph Joachim and Albert Dietrich, came with him. Brahms then lived with Clara and the children in the Schumann house. He became was helplessly in love with Clara. He wrote in frustration during 1855: “I can do nothing but think of you… What have you done to me? Can’t you remove the spell you have cast over me?” All accounts point to them as having had a strictly Platonic relationship.
How Johannes Brahms Paralleled Scott Joplin in America
Scott Joplin, like Brahms, played bordellos and taverns for income. He was also hailed by Europeans as the first great, original, legit, American composer. Kaiser Wilhelm of Austria is quoted as saying, at last someone has produced authentic, original American music. The King loved ragtime! Joplin officiated the American style of fun and syncopation. In this way he was not only a savior, but also, the father of American music. Enjoy my rendition of Scott Joplin’s Entertainer.
Conclusion: It’s fun to make comparisons. Who would ever think to compare Johannes Brahms with Scott Joplin? And yes, I have one or two openings for piano students in Sarasota.