9 December: Brahms’ boozy barber visits

Every day throughout Advent, the season of overindulgence, we’ll be telling a tale of an overindulgent composer


Composer:    Brahms


How indulgent: Sensibly indulgent

How: On his deathbed, Brahms drank from a glass of wine, and his final recorded words are ‘that tastes nice’. He was an infamous drinker, visiting the Red Hedgehog Tavern in Vienna every day. Following the crisis of his friend Robert Schumann’s descent into madness, Brahms increasingly took to alcohol to soothe his anxiety. His drinking so troubled his barber that the hairdresser regularly replaced the composers’ alcohol with soft drinks hidden within liquor containers!

Did you know: Brahms only grew a beard as he descended into alcoholism. In his soberer youth, Brahms was known for always being clean-shaven.

Now indulge yourself with…..  Academic Festival Overture


Brahms drew upon student drinking songs as his inspiration for this Overture, and this – combined with the craftsmanship of tying such inanity together – is believed to have given the work its name!