There was a time, Clara Schumann was the most famous pianist player ! Even Robert Schumann was nicknamed "the husband of Clara Wieck".
Here is the story of the most talented romantic piano Woman player who is not a man !
Here is the biographical portrait of her and illustrated fun facts of this amazing woman !
1.A child prodigy, daughter of Friedrich Wieck
Clara was born in Germany and grew up in Leipzig. His father was Friedrich Wieck : a well known and talented Piano teacher -maybe the best - : Everyone who wanted to be a piano prodigy went to his school to attend the famous.
" Wieck's Piano Education for a Delicate Touch and a Singing Sound".
Divorced, Friedrich keep his daughter and trained her to be a child prodigy.
She attend daily courses based on a one-hour musical theory lesson and two hours of intense piano practice.
2.Clara wieck plays Sell-out concert in Vienna
Aged 17, Clara Wieck performed concerts to sell-out crowds in Vienna.
Among the Critical reviews, we could read :
"To the celebrated artist, Clara Wieck"
Even a critic wrote a poem "Clara Wieck and Beethoven"
Chopin described her playing to Franz Liszt and received the Austria's highest musical honor. " Königliche und Kaiserliche Österreichische Kammer-virtuosin"
3.When Robert met Clara
Clara Wieck stared to tour at the age of 9. She was pretty, young, talented. It's natural all the boys were falling in love with her.
During her piano lessons, she met another gifted young pianist : Robert Schumann. She is 9, He is 17.
Little story is Robert, after meeting the young prodigy, convinced his mother to stop his law school and enrolled to the prestigious Wieck School and take music lessons with Clara's father.
One eye on the keyboard, one eye on Clara...
4. Fathers Love VS Robert Love
Robert Schumann was mad in love with Clara and Clara's father was mad in love with her prodigy daughter : this leads to a severe Love affair !
After years of secret relationships tons of love letters, Robert finaly asked Clara's hand : she was 18 and had her majority. She says yes But her father refused.
If Clara marries Schumann, I would say upon my death-bed that she is not worthy to be my daughter. - Friedrich Wieck
Clara's father wrote anonymous letters picturing Schumann as worthless and untalented Musician.
He was really furious seeing his daughter leaving the musical world when being a wife and mother, wasting her talent : he took the matter to court.
At the age of 22, Clara finally marry Robert. Resulting in two years "cold relationship" with her father. Friedrich Wieck reconciled himself with the couple, eager to see his grandchildren.
5.Part time mother / concert pianist
Their marriage worked like a great business partnership : with Clara acting as an inspiration, critic, and piano executive : Robert can't play everything with his wounded fingers.
She's pretty but extremely strong-willed and energetic : The pregant woman is not afraid of the overcharged schedule of concert tours and take care of her numerous children.
She gave birth to eight children ! And had to make sacrifices to be a Mother and Pianist : she abandoned her musical career as a virtuoso and Composer and work as a part time concert pianist in order to support her family.
Robert is not yet famous - he is known as "the husband of Clara Wieck", don't earn much money and have a fragile mental health.
6.Clara Schumann eight Children
The couple get married in 1840 : he was 30 and Clara was 21. They spent 10 years as partners in family life and careers.
She took charge of finances and general household affairs and gave birth to 8 children every 18 months !
She organised her musical tour and hired a housekeeper and a cook to keep house while she was away. Her first Child Marie was a great support and help in theses tasks as well. Here are all the Childrens :
- Marie (1841–1929)
- Elise (1843–1928)
- Julie (1845–1872)
- Emil (1846–1847)
- Ludwig (1848–1899)
- Ferdinand (1849–1891)
- Eugenie (1851–1938)
- Felix (1854–1879).
She was the breadwinner for her family and the the sole one after Robert was admitted in an Asylum and then died.
6.Clara Schumann and the young Brahms
As Robert becoming more and more consumed by his madness, Clara met a young and brilliant musician as the person of Johannes Brahms. She took care of his talent and makes everything right for him to met the right people and becoming a musical star of the nineteen Century.
After his drowning attempt, Robert is admited in a mental health medical institute. Clara is completely Alone, she found company With of her young protégé. The nature of their relation was writen on all the letters between Clara and Brahms.
But Johannes Brahms decided to burn all his letter correspondence with something on his mind :
- having a desire to control the conversations around his legacy.
- To protect Clara about gossips on a romantically affair .
The exact nature of their relationship is still unknown, but they both stay very close until 1896, the year Clara Schumann passed away
7.Clara Schumann's husband mental illness and death
Ten years of happy times between Clara and Robert then followed by first symptom of madness for Robert. He attempted a suiscide in 1854, jumping into the Rhine river. Not the first suiscide attempt but this one leads him straight to an asylum.
Clara was left alone with their children and close friends. Robert passed away two years later in July 1856 after an ultimate encounter where he holds his wife in his arms a last time.
"With his departure, all my happiness is over. A new life is beginning for me." - Clara Schumann
8.Clara Schumann and Composition
"A woman must not wish to compose."- Clara Schumann
Following the death of her husband, Clara Schumann did not go back to composing music.
Her career as a composer was well and truly over, but not as a pianist. Clara Schumann performed all around Europe her organised tours to perform the works of her late husband Robert
A kind of final homage to bring all his work and hers to Posterity.
Want more details ?
The print of is available on my website with plenty more details put indide the portrait.