Classical Haiku: Johannes Brahms
No women have you known?
Your music says as much: you’ve
wed mankind instead.
We don’t know all that much about the personal life of Johannes Brahms. We know he had plenty of friends, and that perhaps the closest of them were Clara and Robert Schumann, kindred musical spirits who mentored the young Johannes during his most formative years as a composer.
It has been alleged that Brahms took more than a platonic liking to Clara Schumann and that Clara didn’t entirely discourage it. Some researchers have pushed the notion even further, hypothesizing a Brahms-Clara Schumann liaison at some point during the years of Robert Schumann’s permanent institutionalization.
We don’t know and, really, I’m not sure we care. What we do know is that Johannes Brahms never married, and that listening to his music is like walking into an embrace. Not a note among those Brahms penned lacks the full presence of his being or fails to convey his full understanding of the depths of the human soul.
This would seem the resume of an ideal spouse, and yet Brahms didn’t go there. He gave all of his offspring – music of unrivaled beauty and emotional depth – to all of us.
Today’s Classical Haiku is for the bachelor composer Johannes Brahms, who so loved the world – and his music says as much.