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From Wagner's 'Siegfried Idyll' to Berlioz's 'Symphonie Fantastique', some of the greatest music ever written was inspired by the composers' friends and lovers. But it wasn't always smooth sailing for the men and women who found themselves the object of composers' affections…
"You are my right hand and you, you must take care of yourself so that nothing happens to you." – Robert Schumann
When Chopin first met George Sand he said "What an unattractive person – is she really a woman?" But she became the love of his life and his greatest muse.
When Berlioz saw actress Harriet Smithson performing he was inspired to write his Symphonie fantastique. The pair went on to marry… But the marriage was disastrous – they divorced seven years later.
Charles Gounod was infatuated with Georgina Weldon, even moving in with her and her husband… When his infatuation faded, she returned with one of his manuscripts – with her name written in crayon across each page.
"I wish I could write to you as tenderly as I love you and tell you all the good things that I wish you. You are so infinitely dear to me, dearer than I can say." – Brahms to Clara Schumann
"My angel, my everything, my very self… my heart is full with so much to tell you – oh – there are moments when I feel that language is nothing at all." – Beethoven to his 'Immortal Beloved'
"Three years with him were a single, intense battle of love. Never before have I tasted so much strain, so much hell, so much paradise." – Alma Mahler
"Up to the hour in which I recognised my true inner calling my life had been a dreary, unbeautiful dream… and I reject it with the whole of my now purified soul." – Cosima Wagner
"My darling heart – I do love you so terribly, not only glorious you, but your singing… you are the greatest artist that ever was." – Benjamin Britten to Peter Pears