Composers in Love
Love - it does strange and wonderful things. One thing it certainly has produced is a fine array of classical works written at the peaks and troughs of many composers' romantic liaisons. Here's just a selection of composers inspired to pen pieces by their lovers.
In 1812 in the midst of a mid-life crisis and following a harzardous journey to the Bohemian spa town of Teplitz for the summer, Beethoven wrote a passionate love letter at four in the morning to "My angel, my all, my own self"; "My immortal beloved". This unidentified woman is believed to be Julia Gucciardi, his former piano pupil to whom he dedicated his so-called Moonlight Sonata.
Schumann fell madly in love with gifted musician Clara Wieck. A pairing strongly opposed by Clara's father, the two met secretly after Clara's concerts before finally marrying in 1840. Schumann wrote many of his beautiful songs in moments of rapture and despair as he loved Clara from afar.
German writer Countess Marie d'Agoult wrote under the pen name Daniel Stern. She fell in love with virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt, even leaving her husband for him and giving him three children.
Another composer who fell for a masculine pen-named writer was Chopin, who had a famous love affair with George Sand, the alias of the French author Aurore Dudevant. She was older than him by 6 years, divorced and had two children. The pair had to part ways as her son deeply disapproved of their relationship.
Liszt and d'Agoult's daughter Cosima von Bulow was married to the conductor Hans von Bulow when she met the love of her life, composer Richard Wagner. In 1868 she left the conductor to be with him, whereafter they married in 1970. Wagner composed his Siegried Idylle for their son.
Berlioz fell for his muse when he saw her on the stage. Enchanted by 'Henriette' (his affectionate name for her) in the roles of Ophelia, in Hamlet, and Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet, she became his first wife until her sad death in 1954.