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Robert Schumann:
Clara Schumann


Clara Wieck was born in 1819 in the German city of Leipzig. Her father, Friedrich Wieck, was a piano teacher who decided even before his daughter was born that she was going to be a famous pianist. Clara toured all over Europe, playing in concert halls and for royalty.

When Robert and Clara Schumann got married, they had a wonderful musical partnership. In addition to composing her own music, Clara Schumann played the first performance of everything that Robert wrote for the piano, and introduced his music all over Europe.

Music heard in this episode:
Clara Schumann: Soirees Musicales
Clara Schumann: Scherzo
Clara Schumann: Pieces Fugitives
Clara Schumann: Piano Concerto
Clara Schumann: Das Ist Der Tag
Clara Schumann: Piano Trio
Clara Schumann: Quatre Pieces Caracteristiques
Clara Schumann: Variations on a Theme by Robert

Other shows about Robert Schumann:
About Robert Schumann
All in the Musical Family
Music for the Harvest Season

Download this month's activity sheet



About Robert Schumann
6/8/1810 - 7/29/1856
Born in Germany

Robert Schumann’s father was an author and book dealer in Zwickau, the German town where Schumann was born. Robert grew up with books all around him, so he fell in love with books and writing. Robert also fell in love with music. As a kid, he took piano, flute and cello lessons, and also started composing.

When he was a teenager, Schumann still wasn’t sure whether he wanted to be a writer or a composer when he grew up. But after heading off to the University of Leipzig to study law, he knew he didn't want to be a lawyer. In Leipzig, Schumann took piano lessons with a teacher named Friedrich Wieck, whose star pupil was his daughter Clara. In spite of the fact that she was nine years younger than he was, Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck fell in love. Clara’s father absolutely refused to let them get married. It took years -- and a court battle with Clara's father -- before Robert and Clara Schumann could finally get married.

The whole year following their wedding, Schumann was so in love that he couldn't stop composing songs. That became known as Schumann's Year of Song. Schumann then went off on a couple of other year-long binges. The next year, he worked on three out of his four numbered symphonies, and the following year was Schumann’s year for chamber music — pieces written for small groups of instruments.

Even though a hand injury kept Schumann from becoming a concert pianist, there was still a famous pianist in the house -- his wife Clara. She gave the first performance of many of his pieces, including his piano concerto. When the Schumanns’ daughter Marie turned seven, her father gave her a small album of piano pieces that he’d written for her. Later, he added to it, and published it as the Album for the Young — 18 pieces for little kids, and 25 more for older ones.

See other composers born in Germany

 

This Week's Quiz:

1. Before she was born, Clara Schumann's father wanted her to do what?

Go to college.

Play soccer.

Become a famous pianist.

Learn to cook

Play the drums


2.At what age did Clara first perform in public?

21

15

12

9

5


3. How did Clara support her family?

Composing Music

Writing Books

Painting

Baking Bread

Concert Tours



 

Robert Schumann
Album for the Young


Composed in 1848
Performed by
Rico Gulda, piano

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