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facing female artists in the nineteenth century, Nancy B. Reich has drawn on previously unexplored primary sources: unpublished diaries, letters, and family papers, as well as concert programs.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 She has also prepared a Catalogue of Works that includes all of Clara Schumann's known published and unpublished compositions and works she edited, as well as descriptions of the autographs, the first editions, the modern editions, and recent literature on each piece.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.
"Clara Schumann was one of the remarkable women of the nineteenth century, and she deserves this . . . well-documented biography. . . . This is the best modern study of Clara Schumann available in English."-Harold C. Schonberg, New York Times Book Review"The marvelous originality of Reich's book lies in the way she places the marriage and the celebrated friendship with Brahms in perspective among other critical factors in Clara's life. Reich's painstaking, scholarly detail and feminist insight recover not merely the events in the life, dramatic as they were, but its major themes, movements and connecting threads."-Elizabeth Wood, Women's Review of Books"In addition to telling us the story of Clara Schumann's life, Nancy B. Reich . . . includes chapters on Clara Schumann's children, her work as editor, performing artist, and teacher, and her relationships with Brahms, Joachim, Liszt, and other major figures of the era. . . . There is also a list and analysis of Clara Schumann's compositions. . . . Reich has written an eminently readable, well-researched, and thoughtful book that gives historical and psychological insights into one of the major artists of the nineteenth century."-Donald Isler, Classical Music Guide Forums"Reich, an internationally acclaimed musicologist, is a spellbinding storyteller. Erudite and fluent in German, she has translated fascinating letters and documents, creating a scholarly work that reads like a family-saga novel."-Ruth Taber. El Paso Times, August 2001"Reich's first edition contributed to the increase in interest in Clara Schumann and in the performances and recordings of her music. The publication of this second edition will continue to stir interest with the availability of new documents, letters and the extensive list of newly published music; further, this new edition offers a much more detailed look at Clara Schumann's life and music."-Anna E. Kijas, Journal of the International Association of Women in Music, Volume 9, No. 1, 2003"Foremost among the strengths is the delineation of Schumann's character. While pointing out the overwhelming challenges and devastating losses that dogged her entire life, Reich makes no attempt to paint her as a saint or hero. . . . The principal strategy by which Reich illuminates Clara's personality is the examination of her relationships to others. . . . The revised edition is enhanced by several additional photographs, including a daguerreotype of Clara and her daughter Marie dating from ca. 1845, and an 1855 photograph of six of the Schumann children. the bibliography gives a comprehensive list of published and unpublished sources relating to every facet of Clara's life. The index is thorough, well organized, and easy to use. The 1985 edition of this book won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and has gained acceptance as a standard resource on Clara Schumann. This revised edition preserves the strengths of the first edition while adding additional information and a fine-tuning of the presentation, assuring that Reich's work will remain central to the subject for the foreseeable future."-E. Douglas Bomberger, University of Hawaii, Notes: Journal of the Music Library Association, March 2003