’30 Sept: Herr Brahms from Hamburg
1 Oct: Finished the Violin Concerto. Visit from Brahms (a genius).
2 October: A great deal with Brahms. Sonata in F sharp minor.
4 Oct: Music at home at 5. Brahms’ Phantasie.’
Robert Schumann, housekeeping book
‘This month brought us the wonderful arrival of the twenty-year old composer Brahms from Hamburg. It is as though he has been sent by God himself! He played sonatas, scherzos, and so on that he had written, everything brimming over with imagination and emotional intensity, and consummate in form. It is really moving to watch this man,with his fascinating features, sitting at the piano with an expression of ecstasy on his face. He has very attractive hands, which master the greatest of difficulties with the greatest of ease- his works are very hard. Robert says one can only ope that Heaven will grant him health.’
‘I can still see, as though I were looking at a picture, a hall in a house in Dusseldorf, with a group of children gazing up in amazement at the banisters on the landing above. There a young man with long, fair, hair was performing the most hair-raising gymnastic exercises, hanging by his arms and swinging backwards and forwards, from one side to the other. Finally he swung himself up until he was balancing on his hands, stretched out his legs and leapt down into the hall below, landing in the midst of the admiring children. The young man was Johannes Brahms; the children were the Schumann family.’
Eugenie Schumann, memoirs
Robert Schumann, His Life and Work, Ronald Taylor, Panther Books, 1982.