A top tenor heard a busker singing Puccini and it stopped him in his tracks
10 hours ago
The great composers were just that – great at composing. But when it came to affairs of the heart they made their fair share of blundering errors. So, to help you avoid the same mistakes Mozart et al made, here are the lessons we've learned from the love-lives of the great classical composers.
Beethoven wrote an impassioned letter to his "immortal beloved" but presumably never sent it – the letter was found with his papers after he died. No one has ever discovered for sure who he meant to send it to.
Clara was married to the composer Robert Schumann but she fell in love with his friend and fello composer Johannes Brahms. There is much debate about whether the pair ever acted on their feelings.
Mozart began tutoring for the Weber family when he was 21 and fell in love with the second eldest of the family's four daughters, Aloysia. He eventually married Aloysia's younger sister, Constanze.
Johann Sebastian Bach had 20 children – though only ten survived to adulthood. Many of them, including C.P.E Bach, became respected musicians in their own right.
Berlioz was madly in love with the actress Harriet Smithson. His Symphonie fantastique is partly an expression of his unrequited love. The pair did eventually marry… but it was disastrous.
The Renaissance composer Gesualdo discovered his wife in bed with her lover. He killed them both, but being a nobleman he couldn't be prosecuted. He does appear to have been racked with guilt for the rest of his life, though.
Wagner wrote his 'Siegfried Idyll' for his wife Cosima's birthday. She was woken on the day by a small group of musicians performing the piece.
Benjamin Britten bought The Old Mill at Snape in 1937
Strauss himself described his wife, Pauline, as "very complex, very feminine, a little perverse, a little coquettish, never like herself, at every minute different from how she had been a moment before". His opera 'Capriccio' was modelled on his own (actually extremely happy) marriage.
Later in life Gounod became infatuated with a woman called Georgina Weldon. Things turned sour and she tried to sue the great composer – oh and she returned one of his opera manuscripts only after she'd written her name in crayon on every page.
The great Czech composer's String Quartet No.2 'Intimate Letters' was inspired by the 700-or-so letters he exchanged with Kamila Stosslova, almost 40 years his junior.