COTW01A Messenger From God20141006Donald Macleod recounts the first meeting between Brahms and Clara Schumann.
Part of Radio 3's Brahms Experience.
For Johannes Brahms they were musical heroes who might just deign to hear out this unknown composer hoping to make his mark; for Robert and Clara Schumann the handsome young man was 'a messenger sent from God'. When he first called at their Dusseldorf home, little could Brahms foresee the extent to which their lives life would become inextricably connected. Donald Macleod tells the story of the first encounter between Brahms and Clara Schumann, who would become a lifelong friend, critic and inspiration.
COTW02Brahms To The Rescue20141007Donald Macleod focuses on how Brahms began to fall in love with Clara Schumann.
After Robert Schumann attempted to take his life by hurling himself into swirling waters of the River Rhine, Brahms rushed to comfort Clara, and offer all the emotional support and practical assistance of which he was capable. Donald Macleod continues the story of their friendship, as we find the young composer steadily falling in love with the woman he admired. For her part, we find Clara coming to depend on his support, and his invigorating company, and admitting him into the tiny company of those she was prepared to address as 'Du' rather than 'Sie'.
COTW03A Widow Into The Future20141008Donald Macleod discusses a critical moment in Brahms's relationship with Clara Schumann.
With the tragic death of Robert Schumann, Brahms reaches a critical moment in his relationship with Clara - should he offer to make her his wife? Or should he abandon the pursuit, and follow his own course in life? Donald Macleod continues his account of their lifelong (although volatile) friendship, and finds Brahms flirting with other female company, much to the annoyance of his first and only true love.
COTW04Secret Passions20141009Exploring the evolution of the complex relationship between Brahms and Clara Schumann.
Johannes Brahms might have rejected the possibility of marrying Clara Schumann, but that was no reason not to pursue one of her daughters, or indeed to flirt with an entire women's choir! Donald Macleod continues the story of their complex relationship, as youthful passion evolves into mature friendship, and Brahms settles into life in Vienna - and sports a beard. Although frequently strained, their friendship would endure, and would help nurture some of Brahms' most loved masterpieces.
COTW05 LASTRows And Reconciliation20141010Exploring how, despite their rows, Brahms and Clara Schumann stayed devoted to one another
The bearded and bloated Brahms of caricature continued to be inspired by Clara Schumann, despite a multitude of fleeting passions for other women. As Donald Macleod wraps up his account of their long and frequently troubled friendship, we find them at loggerheads in the late evening of their lives about something relatively trivial (an edition of Robert Schumann's 4th Symphony). Clara becomes jealous of the attentions of Frau Elizabeth von Herzogenberg, and feels snubbed. Nevertheless, through all her many personal tragedies, Johannes Brahms remains a constant support, whilst she remained for him an inspiration throughout his life. Right until the end of their lives, he refers his symphonies to her, and dedicates to her some of his most tender, valedictory piano compositions.