German Pianist and Composer: Clara Schumann

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German pianist and composer Clara Schumann (1819 – 1896) was a person to be considered despite opting to settle for a position overshadowed by male composers and wedded to her better-known partner, Robert Schumann. Anyone who has been playing the piano nowadays must not have heard about Clara Schumann. Music is treated by many as an expression to communicate how they feel and what they feel. That feeling had no difference with Clara Schumann when she started her career. Her career traversed decades, 61 years in concert, to be specific, and she led to winning the highest recognition and accolades for her unparalleled musical style.

Clara Schumann was sometimes attributed to the Piano’s European Queen due to her unique technical ability. Since she lived when female composers of her caliber were extremely rare, she also holds a special place in history. Throughout her long and successful career, she transformed the configuration and repertoire of the piano. She left behind an impressive body of the composition that is still enjoyed and performed today. Clara received excellent training to become one of the leading women in piano in the 19th century. Long before she was born, Clara’s future had already been determined by her successful and ambitious father, Friederich Wieck. As such, Clara started receiving her training early on because her father had set a goal to make her a performing piano professional of the highest rank. As a result, she had already begun playing when she became nine under her father’s supervision. Aside from these facts, many happenings in Clara’s life made her way to success.

Clara’s parents got separated in her early childhood after her mother had an affair.

Her father, Friedrich Wieck, was an abusive music teacher and owned a piano store. Her mother, Mariane Tromlitz Wieck, was a singer. The year Clara became six, Friedrich and Mariane got separated. She was divorcing suggested that Mariane was obliged to give up guardianship of Clara. She ended up falling in love with a colleague of Friedrich’s.

Trendsetter – Performing from memory. At the tender age of 13, Clara was one of the leading pianists to play from memory. This has now grown standard practice for most professional pianists.

Clara stopped writing at the young age of 36. She had an early end to composing. In later life, she said: “I once thought that I owned creative talent, but I have yielded up this idea; a woman must not aspire to compose—there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?”

She was involved in a love triangle. Johannes Brahms was in love with Clara. Unfortunately, she was married to his best friend. Robert Schumann’s mental health declined later in life, and he tried to commit suicide before staying in an asylum. When this occurred, Brahms came to visit their home to assist the family. Clara and Brahms’s relationship bloomed into more than friendship. Although it’s unclear what precisely went on, this love triangle takes a position as one of the most retold love stories in music history.

He was premiering the work of Brahms. Clara had a complex personal relationship with Johannes Brahms, but he always supported her professional career. She was the first person to publicly perform Brahms’ work (specifically the Andante and Scherzo from the Sonata in F minor, in Leipzig, October 23, 1854).

Recitals, where people purchased tickets to listen to a pianist or violinist play in a public arena, were a new idea in the 19th century, but then so was the very concept of classical music. Clara Schumann did more than anyone to spread both. She created the classical piano recital. But she wasn’t an actress. She took the performances and the collection seriously, and this was an approach that can be traced back to the impact of her father, Friedrich.

Clara Schumann was also known and called a wonder woman during her time. Having excellently practicing music while being a mother to her eight children. Apart from her compositions, her most enduring influence probably rests in her concert programs, which evolved from the virtuosic but trifling pieces of her youth to complete sonatas and cycles by a canon of composers including Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Bach — and of course Schumann, whose posthumous fame she tirelessly promoted. Clara Schumann died in Frankfurt on May 20, 1896, at 77 years old.