(Born at Hamburg, May 7, 1833;
died at Vienna, April 3, 1897)
THOSE WHO LIKE to know about composers as human beings rejoice in the knowledge that Beethoven was irascible, the despair of his landladies, given to rough joking; that Haydn was nagged by his shrew of a wife and fell in love in London with a widow; that Mozart was fond of punch and billiards; that César Franck's trousers were too short. There are many anecdotes about the great, some of them no doubt apocryphal.
In the excellent biography of Brahms by Walter Niemann 1 there is an entertaining chapter entitled " Brahms as a Man."
He was not fussy in his dress. At home he went about in a flannel shirt, trousers, a detachable white collar, no cravat, slippers. In the country he was happy in a flannel shirt and alpaca jacket, carrying a soft felt hat in his hand, and in bad weather wearing on his shoulders an old-fashioned bluish-green shawl, fastened in front by a huge pin. (In the 'sixties many New Englanders on their perilous journeys to Boston or New York wore a shawl.) He preferred a modest restaurant to a hotel table d'hôte. In his music room were pictures of a few composers, engravings—the Sistine Madonna among them—the portrait of Cherubini, by Ingres, with a veiled Muse crowning the composer[MDASH]"I cannot stand that female," Brahms said to his landlady—a bronze relief of Bismarck,____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes:Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers. Contributors: John N. Burk - Editor, Philip Hale - Author. Publisher: Doubleday, Doran. Place of publication: Garden City, NY. Publication year: 1935. Page number: 75.
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