Brahms, Clara and Robert Schumann: Love, Inspiration, and Music in the Romantic Era
This seminar will begin by focusing on the famous relationship between the well-known nineteenth-century German composer, Robert Schumann, and his wife, composer and pianist, Clara Schumann. Into their busy and successful lives walked a young Johannes Brahms, whom Robert Schumann instantly anointed, “our next musical genius.” Brahms became a close friend to both Robert and Clara. Though much has been speculated on about the relationship between Clara and Brahms, there is no question that Clara was inspirational as artistic muse both to Brahms, as well as to her increasingly mentally unstable husband, Robert, who eventually drowned himself in the Rhine River. It's one of the most fascinating and yet tragic love triangles in the history of music. This seminar will trace the roots of their relationships through their letters, and of course, the great music that was written for and played by each of these three iconic musical figures, who continued to inspire each other even after Robert's untimely death. Live music of the three composers will be performed as a weekly part of the class, and a class trip to Carnegie Hall will culminate the seminar.