Meet the muses of the great composers
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…
1. Clara Schumann
"You are my right hand and you, you must take care of yourself so that nothing happens to you." – Robert Schumann
2. George Sand
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.
3. Harriet Smithson
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.
4. Georgina Weldon
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.
5. Brahms and Schumann
"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
6. Countess Josephine von Brunsvik
"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'
7. Alma Mahler
"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
8. Cosima Wagner
"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
9. Peter Pears
"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