English Blog

Clara Schumann and Her Contribution in 19th Century Music 10/29/14

October 29, 2014

Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck) is considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. She exerted her influence over a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital and the tastes of the listening public. Her reputation brought her into contact with the leading musicians of the day, including Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt. She also met violinist Joseph Joachim, who became one of her frequent performance partners. Liszt and Chopin praised Clara’s technique and ability at the piano. Along with Robert Schumann, she encouraged Johannes Brahms, and she was the first pianist to give public performances of some of Brahms’s works, notably the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. She played a leading role in restoring Brahms’s D minor concerto to the general repertory. After the death of Robert, she promoted his music throughout her career.

Clara Schumann’s influence also spread through her teaching, which emphasized a singing tone and expression, with technique entirely subordinated to the intentions of the composers.

Clara Schumann provided everything for her family through giving concerts and teaching, and she did most of the work of organizing her own concert tours. She refused to accept charity when a group of musicians offered to put on a benefit concert for her after the death of Robert. In addition to raising her own large family, when one of her children became incapacitated, she took on responsibility for raising her grandchildren.

I am very excited to perform two concerts on “a Theme of Clara Schumann and her Contribution in 19th Century Music”. The first of 2 concerts will be on Monday November 10 at 12:45pm for  Occidental College’s “Noontime Concert”, including Mendelssohn’s rondo capriccio Op. 14, Clara Schumann’s Scherzo Op. 14, Robert Schumann’s Fantasie Op. 17 (1st movement only), Brahms’ Intermezzo from Op. 118, and Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 Op. 23. The details will be found at http://www.oxy.edu/music .

The second concert will be on Saturday November 15 at 4pm at FUMC Pasadena for “Third and First” concert, including Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet (Jin-Shan Dai and Johnny Lee, violins, Michael Larco, viola, and David Garrett, cello), Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano, Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata, and Clara’s solo piano work “Scherzo”. The details will be found at http://fumcpasadena.org/.

I hope you can come to enjoy some of the best romantic music! And both concerts are free for admission.