It was the spring of '53. Liszt was a pianistic phenom and middle-aged poseur, seeking to widen his New German circle and transform himself from iridescent celebrity to Great Composer. Brahms was a twenty-year-old accompanist with the face of an acolyte, touring the provinces with the flashy Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi. Brahms carried a letter of introduction from the virtuoso Joachim. The two young musicians arrived in Weimar at Liszt's palatial villa, The Altenburg. T...
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