I have a few old books with biographies of music composers translated into Portuguese. It is a memorable experience to read about their lives while listening to the right music. Two weeks ago I picked by pure chance the name of Johannes Brahms and I learned a few things about the composer:
– As his father married an older woman, some people used to say that Brahms was born thanks to a “well baked pudding”;
– His favorite drink was made with 12 eggs, 4 lemons, 1 pound of sugar and a bottle of rum;
– He never married, but had lovers. Until the last moment his heart belonged to Frau Clara Schumann, wife of composer Robert Schumann, and it looks like they were lovers too. He was divided between his love for Clara and his admiration and respect for Schumann. That could explain his leit motif: subdue your passion. From sublimation, came geniality;
– The first time they met, Schumann listened to Brahms playing Sonata in F- with tears in his eyes. It was Joseph Joachim who introduced Brahms to the Schumanns. Joachim and Clara are regarded as “the first executants who really played like composers”;
– From all the compositions related with passages of his biography, my favorites so far are the symphonies, piano works and Hungarian dances;
I was deeply touched when I was reading about the moment he knew Clara was dead. He was on holidays somewhere and had to take a train back home but he was so disturbed with the news that took the wrong train and had to travel during two whole days before he could reach the place where Clara was buried.
I cannot explain how clear this message was to me. Here I was reading about a proud, genial man and all I could feel was his love and his sorrow. He survived her for less than one year.
Coincidence? Signs? Fate? Odds? I don’t even want to think about, yet, a week ago, in a dream, I saw his figure standing. He had some soil in his right hand and was slowly releasing it over a tomb. He was looking straight into my eyes while saying the words: “Go back! Go back!”
As I am curious by nature and also in the position to understand the meaning of such strange request, I have decided to do what the composer asked me. I’m going back. I don’t want to have regrets.