Clara Schumann – A Life in Music
Lucy Parham piano
Harriet Walter narrator
Clara Schumann was a truly exceptional woman, not just a devoted wife to the composer Robert Schumann, but a ground-breaking musician in her own right. Over a period of 60 years she gave over 1,500 concerts and determined the format of the kind of piano recital that is familiar to us today.
As a child prodigy, she was groomed for stardom by her piano-teacher father, Friedrich Wieck. By the age of eight she was dazzling audiences throughout Europe. Having married Robert against her father’s wishes, she became the mother of eight children. When her husband declined tragically into mental illness and an attempt at suicide, she continued both to run the household and to make an international concert career to support the family. She was also a talented composer, producing a piano concerto, numerous solo piano works, chamber music and songs.
The narrative, scripted by Lucy Parham and drawn from letters and diaries, is interspersed with live performances of her works, and of music by Robert Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Chopin.
Festival regulars will know how superbly put together Lucy’s composer portraits are and I was so pleased she was able to come back this year along with the brilliant Harriet Walter to present her latest one.
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