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Clara Schumann: The Artist and the Woman Paperback – June 28, 2001
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"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."―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."―Women's Review of Books
"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 revised 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."―Journal of the International Association of Women in Music
"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."―Classical Music Guide Forums
"Foremost among the strengths of this book 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 first edition of this book 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."―Notes: Journal of the Music Library Association
About the Author
Nancy B. Reich received her Ph.D. from New York University and has served on the faculties of Queens College, New York University, Manhattanville College, and was a Visiting Professor of Music at Bard College and Williams College. In 1996, she was awarded the Robert Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau, Germany.
Top Customer Reviews
Features of this wonderful new edition include the use of new medical reports that have come to light regarding Robert Schumann's illness; reference to recently discovered letters and diaries that further elucidate Clara's friendships with people like Emilie List, Frederic Chopin, and the Mendelssohns; and the expansion of the Catalogue of Works.
The revised Catalogue alone makes this new edition compulsory for anyone-lay or professional-interested in Clara Schumann and her prodigious work and impact. The Catalogue records every known piece by Clara Schumann, reviews of her compositions, her own performances of her works, the location of autograph copies, and much more.
The 1985 edition of Dr. Reich's outstandingly researched biography clearly had a major impact on Schumann studies. It was followed by a continuing, worldwide outpouring of performances and recordings of Clara Schumann's works, articles about Clara, and studies of her music.
The biography is based on original research in German archives and first-hand consultation of letters, music autographs, diaries, and other primary sources. To this meticulous scholarship, Dr. Reich adds intelligent, compassionate analysis of Clara Schumann's life and music, the influences that shaped her, her inspirational marriage to Robert Schumann, and Clara's breathtaking, at times unbelievable strength and ongoing artistry amidst the sometimes horrific adversities in her life.
Rarely is such a magnificent feat of scholarship accompanied by such gripping and graceful writing.Read more ›
If reading any book on Robert Schumann or Brahms, get this book as well because it will complete the pictures of those composers lives. While reading this book one quickly becomes aware that Clara deserves much more than to be a footnote in her husband's life as she has often been designated. In fact, this work should be required reading in Women's Studies Programs for an interesting (albeit minor) point seems to have been overlooked: Clara Schumann was a contemporary of the great suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) and Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906). And Clara, in her more private way, also lived a life filled with integrity and passion. She rightfully deserves a place in that same pantheon on trailblazers. This is a wonderful book about an incredible woman.
From her childhood as a piano virtuoso through her 50 year performing career, Schumann was an international star of the concert stage, a composer and champion of the composers close to her, a woman who astounded and compelled those who knew her, a legend in her own time.
She was, as we know, beset by personnal tragedies of the most anguishing kind, beginning with her complex relationship with her taskmaster father, who taught her, drove her mercilessly, and made her a star at the age of 12, then refused to allow her to marry the love of her life,
She defied him at a dear price and married Robert Schumann anyway. The book explores at length her life as a beloved, then shunned daughter; as a lover, wife, mother, composer and performer.
She suffered terribly Robert Schumann's early and probably syphilis-induced insanity and death, the deaths of most of her seven children at a young age, and extreme financial straits in which she found herself most of her life.
Reich takes us step by step through all of the contingencies of her professional life: her lifelong celebration of Schumann's work; the 'Young Werther' relationship with her beloved Johannes Brahms, whose career she promoted tirelessly; her complex personality and deep involvement in her career and their effect on her maternal relationship with each of her children.
Throughout, Reich draws a richly variegated picture of the world of classical music in Europe from the early 19th century onward -- its characters, creations, rivalries, performances, highs and lows.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written, great woman pianist wife and friend of two greatest composers. Enjoy the reading and history.Published 5 days ago by Geno
All lovers of classical music will be fascinated by the sorrowful yet ultimately triumphant life of Clara Schumann. Nancy B. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jon Bromfield
Clara Schumann spent much of her life trying to fulfill the wishes and ambitions of the men in her life---her father who had decided that Clara would become a virtuoso musician,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Adele Fasick
Great !! My daughter is a classical pianist and loved this !!Published 8 months ago by James Compton
A simple historical accounting of a life with no real insight into clara schumann the pianist. The bibliography is impressive, but the author did not distill what she learned into... Read morePublished 8 months ago by mdquear58
This is an impressive and highly readable work of scholarship from which emerges a woman of towering stature, warts and all. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Raymond Hall
I found this to be very compelling reading as well as informative on a woman I knew little about beforehand. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Daniel E. Conrad
Easy to read and full of historic detail about the life of Clara Schumann that makes the woman come alive from childhood to adult. Read morePublished 16 months ago by BuzzBee