ANDOVER | In 1853, a young Johannes Brahms visited Robert Schumann to learn from his mentor. There, Brahms met Clara, Schumann’s wife, who also was a musician. Brahms soon fell in love with Clara and what ensued is what some claim to have been one of the greatest love triangles of all time.
Andover Chamber Music will celebrate the love and emotions of these two composers and their love for the same woman in its annual Valentine’s Concert, “Portraits of Genius: Brahms & Schumann,” this weekend at the West Parish Church in Andover.
“There has never been a lack of music with themes of yearning or desire, and there is vast repertoire from the Romantic period,” said Julie Scolnik, artistic director. “This year we decided to feature music from one of the greatest love triangles in history. There is no more passionate music than that of Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.”
It is well documented, Scolnik explained, that Brahms was “madly in love” with Clara. Thirteen-years his senior, Clara found a musical soulmate that Brahms, yet it is unclear if she acted on her love for the young musician. Schumann, you could say, was in love with them both. He courted Clara for years and in the young Brahms, he saw his successor.
“This program features some of the most-beautiful music ever written,” said Scolnik, who added that during the performance excerpts from love letters written by the composers will be read.
There is an abundance of letters written by both Schumann and Brahms.
Brahms wrote the following to Clara in 1856: “I wish I could write to you as tenderly as I love you and tell you all the good things that I wish you. You are so infinitely dear to me, dearer than I can say. …”