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  • Writer's pictureTim Braithwaite

Brahms' Advice to Sir George Henschel

Münster, Westphalia, February 3, 1876.

'Brahms arrived yesterday. I am glad my hoarseness is gradually disappearing, for the thought of singing, at the concert day after tomorrow, those high notes in his "Triumphal Hymn" for Double Chorus and Baritone Solo, rather troubled me. I asked him if eventually he would object to my altering some of the highest notes into more convenient ones on account of my cold, and he said: "Not in the least. As far as I am concerned, a thinking, sensible singer may, without hesitation, change a note which for some reason or other is for the time being out of his compass, into one which he can reach with comfort, provided always the declamation remains correct and the accentuation does not suffer.

George Henschel, Personal Recollections of Johannes Brahms (Boston: R. G. Badger, 1907).

The image is a portrait of Henschel painted by Lawrence Alma-Tadema in 1879.

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