How Brahms used a sausage to prank one of his friends in a deliciously EVIL way

30 November 2015, 16:20

The Romantic master had a mean streak and enjoyed some pretty nasty jokes at the expense of those around him.

He could write a tender melody or a heartbreaking choral movement, but during his life Johannes Brahms had a reputation as a bit of a potty mouth and a cruel wit. 

Brahms' biographer Jan Swafford tells a Viennese tale that captures the meanness of the composer around his friends:

For a number of years there had been a story going around about how the composer and teacher Carl Friedrich Zelter found a scrap of the St. Matthew Passion, in Bach's own handwriting, being used as wrapping paper in a cheese shop. Johannes was in a devious mood and wanted to prank one of his musical circle.

The composer's good friend Gustav Nottebohm was a prominent Beethoven scholar of the time. On a scrap of old manuscript paper, Brahms jotted down a few notes, imitating Beethoven's handwriting. The composer took the scrawl and bribed a street vendor to wrap the manuscript around a sausage and sell it to his Beethoven-loving pal. 

As Nottebohm approached, Brahms took cover from a distance to watch the scholar buy and unwrap the sausage. Nottebohm then stepped under a streetlight to examine the paper, gasping in amazement at his chance find. He slipped his new-found Beethoven treasure into his pocket, finishing the greasy sausage barehanded, and hurried home to examine the manuscript.

Presumably the composer, still looking on, enjoyed every moment of it. *Cue evil Brahmsian laughter*

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

Relationship status music quiz

QUIZ: Can we guess your relationship status from your taste in music?

Britney painting to Mozart

Britney Spears painting to Mozart is one of life’s purest joys

french horn chair duet

We can't stop laughing at this duet for French horn and squeaky chair