Saturday, February 14, 2009

musicians 'n love.

There is something about musicians and their romantic interests that I can not put my finger on. It's almost as if, musicians are doomed in that department.

Beethoven was once engaged to a beautiful lady. They had plans of getting married, until her father opposed and married her off to a nobleman. When the marriage ended years later, she tried returning to Beethoven. But he was cold as ice.

Beethoven had another love affair with young widow. But the relationship ended because of the disapproval of Josephine's aristocratic family.

Then there's Johann Brahms. He had a lifelong, passionate love for Clara Schumann who was 14 years his senior. He never married, despite once being engaged and having loved other women. And even after the death of his friend Robert Schumann, Brahms never declared his love for Clara.

Similarly, Frederick Chopin fell in love with a 16-year old girl named Maria. But because of her tender age and Chopin´s health (he was 26 years old then), the wedding was postponed and their engagement was kept secret. Sadly, this engagement never led to the altar.

A year later came the French author, baroness, and feminist better known by her pseudonym, George Sand. My music history professor used to say that we owe Chopin´s mature works to this French Baroness, who did not only nurse him when he became too ill, but also wrote a book about them. Their 10-year relationship ended on a sad note.

But it was said that although there were other women after Maria, she remained his muse.

Another person with an interesting story is world class pianist, Ignacy Paderewski. He married a fellow Polish named Antonina Korsakówna and together they had a handicapped son. Antonina died giving birth and as for Paderewski, he decided to devote himself solely to music.

The Hungarian piano virtuoso and composer, Franz Liszt, had a somewhat different story. He'd desired to marry a Catholic princess who was previously married to a Russian military officer. The Princess managed to convince him to concentrate on his composition and give up his career as a travelling virtuoso. They had two children, Daniel and Blandine who unfortunately both did not outlive their father.

Debussy's love life was too French. He married the friend of his live-in girlfriend and later on left her for what he called intellectual limitations and lack of musical sensitivity. He then cohabited with the mother of one of his students, which almost caused the life of his wife who attempted to commit suicide. Debussy then moved to England until the hysteria subsided. He eventually married the mother of his student. Together they had a daughter who died a year after Debussy did.

Believe it or not, none of these mentioned musicians have surviving heirs. Neither did J.S. Bach nor Mozart. Bach who had 20 children; and Mozart, two. As for Handel and Haydn, they were never married and they kept their personal lives very private.

So you're probably wondering.... could it be that music is a demanding mistress?


Aristarkhos said...

Very very very interesting! :)
Now you should do a piece on artists/sculptors...
Bach had a batch of 20! Whatever happened to them?

Yea, I guess when a prodigy is so focused or eccentric that relationships are the weak point. Dont know what the perception was for musicians...would an aristocrat give his daughter's hand in marriage to a musician?

I think the same applied to mathematicians and physicists, I think.
(Hello again. :))

Droomvla said...

I think, an art historian can write a better piece on artists and sculptors. I leave that to them. lol

Yes, Bach had 20 children. Some of them died in their childhood. Others, had children and grandchildren. I have no clue where they are now. Our music history professor told us that the last descendant of Bach died in the1880s.

During the time of Bach and Mozart, a musician was an employee of a patron (the church). Mozart tried to introduce the concept of a musician who is free, but this was not received well.

It was in Beethoven's time that the perception had changed. The musician/composer became an ARTIST, a person who is free to express what he feels. But even Beethoven himself, was not allowed to marry a daughter of an aristocrat.

I think, anybody who is married to his/her craft, has a lousy relationship/marriage. It was written in the Bible (is it not?) that man can't have two masters. hehehe

Thanks for popping round again. :)

Aristarkhos said...

married to the craft - those were the words i was looking for. :)

20 kids - i forgot it was so way back in time.:oP

i didnt know musicians at that time had to work for church. i knew they made compositions for them. because there are so many church choir pieces. now it figures... :)

Droomvla said...

Get over the 20 kids of Bach! LOL Most of them died before they even reached puberty. :(

In western societies, musicians were servants. It was only in the 1800s that their geniuses were recognized as a higher form of intellect.

But in non-western societies, musicians hold a very high place in society. In Indonesia (and also in India), they are considered to possess magical, healing powers.