This absorbing and award-winning biography tells the story of the tragedies and triumphs of Clara Wieck Schumann (1819–1896), a musician of remarkable achievements. At once artist, composer, editor, teacher, wife, and mother of eight children, she was an important force in the musical world of her time. To show how Schumann surmounted the obstacles facing female artists in the nineteenth century, Nancy B. Reich has drawn on previously unexplored primary sources: unpublished diaries, letters, and family papers, as well as concert programs. Going beyond the familiar legends of the Schumann literature, she applies the tools of musicological scholarship and the insights of psychology to provide a new, full-scale portrait.
The book is divided into two parts. In Part One, Reich follows Clara Schumann's life from her early years as a child prodigy through her marriage to Robert Schumann and into the forty years after his death, when she established and maintained an extraordinary European career while supporting and supervising a household and seven children. Part Two covers four major themes in Schumann's life: her relationship with Johannes Brahms and other friends and contemporaries; her creative work; her life on the concert stage; and her success as a teacher.
Throughout, excerpts from diaries and letters in Reich's own translations clear up misconceptions about her life and achievements and her partnership with Robert Schumann. Highlighting aspects of Clara Schumann's personality and character that have been neglected by earlier biographers, this candid and eminently readable account adds appreciably to our understanding of a fascinating artist and woman.
For this revised edition, Reich has added several photographs and updated the text to include recent discoveries. She has also prepared a Catalogue of Works that includes all of Clara Schumann's known published and unpublished compositions and works she edited, as well as descriptions of the autographs, the first editions, the modern editions, and recent literature on each piece. The Catalogue also notes Schumann's performances of her own music and provides pertinent quotations from letters, diaries, and contemporary reviews.