In the nineteenth century, the old principality of Lippe-Detmold lay hidden away on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest, which at that time was still inaccessible to the outside world by train and where paper money had yet to be introduced. Prince Leopold III resided at the castle dating from the Renaissance. His court still showed many traces of the protocol observed in the eighteenth century, and it goes without saying that music thus played an important role there. Leopold himself loved to sing, and his sister Princess Friederike was a competent pianist.
Johannes Brahms was offered a post at the court in 1857. It was an attractive offer – he would be paid a good salary simply for being present during the last three months of the year, conducting choral concerts, performing as a soloist with the court orchestra and playing in the prince’s private chamber ensemble. He would also give piano lessons to the princess. The young Brahms would have plenty of time to compose and, not least, to take long walks in the woods. Here Brahms could relax after a particularly trying and emotional period in his life.