I heard from two readers apropos of last week’s posting about the “Alas, not by Johannes Brahms” anecdote that inspired my “Alas, not by me” running head. I feared the story was apocryphal. Alex Ross of The New Yorker wrote to say not so:
“Leider nicht von Johannes Brahms” is unquestionably by Brahms! He wrote the words on the autograph fan of Alice Meyszner-Strauss, the composer’s stepdaughter, next to the first notes
of the Blue Danube.
I wrote back to ask for a source, but answer came there none (not yet, anyway). Shortly thereafter, though, I heard from Phil Wade, who blogs at Brandywine Books. Phil sent along an excerpt from the obituary of Brahms that ran in The Musical Times in 1897:
Brahms was incapable of any mean or underhanded action. He never indulged in newspaper controversy, but kept his views to himself. . . . The catholicity of his taste is sufficiently shown by his immense admiration for the genius of Strauss–in which he shared the views of Wagner and Von B