Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 May 2019
Throughout his career, Brahms forged significant professional and personal relationships with a variety of instrumentalists, ranging from talented amateurs to highly accomplished professionals. The violinist Joseph Joachim (1831–1907), cellist Robert Hausmann (1852–1909) and clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld (1856–1907) numbered among Brahms’s closest friends. Through their performances and interactions, these men inspired the composer and gave him concrete advice about writing idiomatically for their respective instruments. Because many of their exchanges took place while making music at the homes of friends, we will never know the full extent of the impact that they had on Brahms. Nevertheless, letters, diaries, personal recollections of friends and the few remaining manuscripts revealing Brahms’s creative process, all provide us with a window into the multifaceted nature of their influence.