Stamp of the Month: September 2019

Germany 5.9.2019
Clara Schumann

The German pianist and composer Clara Schumann (nee Wieck) was born on September 13, 1819 in Leipzig. She died on May 20, 1896 in Frankfurt am Main. In September 2019, her birthday marks the 200th time.
Music pedagogue Friedrich Wieck spent all his energy training his daughter to become a pianist. He also provided improvisation and composition lessons, which was a rarity for women at the time. Clara was not only talked about as an ingenious pianist, but also as a composer. Traveling through Europe consolidated her fame.
Clara’s father was appalled by her decision to marry the unstable, financially unsecured composer Robert Schumann, so she had to win the marriage in court. Within 13 years she gave birth to nine children. In between she gave concerts as often as possible. In 1854, after the first symptoms of illness, her husband came in a mental institution, where he died in 1856. Clara Schumann was a close friend with Johannes Brahms and often gave concerts with him and the violinist Joseph Joachim. In later years she taught at the Conservatory in Frankfurt.
Clara Schumann’s compositions initially served primarily for her own performances and show the progressing virtuoso possibilities of the pianist. She composed 23 works with opus numbers as well as numerous songs, romances, overtures and piano pieces. In addition, she co-worked on several compositions of her husband Robert Schumann. The highlight of her work is the Piano Trio op.17. The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor op. 7, written at the age of 14, which does not formally conform to any of the piano concertos known to her, still elicits admiration today.
The video shows a live recording of the Piano Concerto No. 1, op. 7 by Clara Schumann. It is performed by the orchestra Collegia-Musica-Chiemgau under the direction of Elke Burkert. Soloists: Christoph Declara (piano) and Martin Weikert (cello); recorded on 31.1.2015 in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz.