Clara Schumann (née Wieck) played many roles in the course of her life – virtuoso pianist and composer, wife of Robert Schumann, mother, teacher, friend and muse. She became one of the greatest performers of the century, competing alongside Thalberg, Chopin, Rubenstein and Liszt, the last of whom dedicated both the 1838 and the 1851 editions of his Paganini Etudes to her.

 

Clara was Schumann’s muse and musical voice, creative partner and interpreter of his work. Using her fame as a performer, she propagated her husband’s music. She also inspired and guided Brahms, who had fallen hopelessly in love with her when he was a young man. He called his friendship with her ‘the most beautiful experience of my life, its greatest wealth and its noblest content’.

 

She shared another mutually inspirational friendship with Mendelssohn, who had the highest regard for her as a musician and dedicated some of his music to her. She included at least one of his works in almost every recital she gave in her long career as a concert pianist.

 

This programme presents music by Clara herself, and by three of the men to whom she gave her love, friendship and guidance. Join us for an insight into the life of this remarkable woman.

 

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