Clara Schumann (German, 1819-1896): Piano Concerto in A minor, mvt. 3
Anniversary of her death on May 20
Clara Schumann, born Clara Wieck, was one of the most influential and sought after pianists of the nineteenth century. Like Fanny (and Felix) Mendelssohn, she showed incredible talent as a pianist and composer beginning at an early age, nurtured by specialized tutors and a practice routine set by her father. But when it came to her musical career, she had the advantage over Fanny of being LESS wealthy. Touring Europe, performing in public, teaching, writing works for large ensembles, etc.--these activities were not quite as controversial for a middle class woman as they were for women from very wealthy families like Fanny's. As a result, she made quite a lasting contribution to piano performance and pedagogy, and not just because she happened to be married to Robert Schumann, whose music we heard in week 2.
Clara began writing her Concerto in A minor at age 13, completing it at 14. Though it is already on a larger scale than anything Fanny ever was able to write, remarks Clara made later in her life showed that even she still felt the limitations of being a female musician. Happily, things are VERY different for female composers today.
In May 2017 I challenged my students to practice every day for 30 days in a row. In addition, I asked them to listen to 30 bite-sized musical selections I emailed daily. I collected my picks in this blog for posterity. So these are works I find particularly fun, interesting, or important, including a handful by composers who were born or who died in May. Please enjoy!