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Female composer Clara Schumann let her opinions be known

"I despise Liszt to the very depths of my soul."

Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann

The next woman in our line of female composers is Clara Schumann. She might be the most famous of the early women pioneers in classical music. Nannerl Mozart was not allowed to play in public after a certain age. Neither was Fanny Mendelssohn but Clara Wieck Schumann had a 61-year career as a pianist.

Video:

Clara Schumann

Piano Concerto Op. 7 — Francesco Nicolosi

Piano Concerto Op. 7 — Francesco Nicolosi

In addition to her piano playing, Clara was an active combatant in the war between Leipzig and Weimar. The battle lines were drawn with Brahms, Clara's husband — Robert Schumann, and Mendelssohn on one side and Wagner and Liszt on the other.

Bruckner, never an active soldier in this war of words, could be considered a civilian casualty after Clara blasted his Symphony No. 7 as being a “horrible piece.” She also routinely dressed down both Wagner and Liszt.

Liszt was her favorite whipping boy. She claimed, "I despise Liszt to the very depths of my soul." The despising appears to have started at a dinner party gone wrong which resulted in Liszt and Wagner insulting Robert Schumann’s music.

Clara was closely associated in the musical life of both Schumann and Brahms. She and her husband kept a musical journal together. Clara was very much an equal in her interactions with men.

As a composer Clara predominantly wrote chamber music. Her only two pieces for orchestra were a piano concerto and a scherzo for orchestra. The piano concerto is a quality piece of music.

Once she had a husband, children, and performance career, her composing all but dried up. She didn’t write much after the age of 36. It’s a familiar story.

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Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann

The next woman in our line of female composers is Clara Schumann. She might be the most famous of the early women pioneers in classical music. Nannerl Mozart was not allowed to play in public after a certain age. Neither was Fanny Mendelssohn but Clara Wieck Schumann had a 61-year career as a pianist.

Video:

Clara Schumann

Piano Concerto Op. 7 — Francesco Nicolosi

Piano Concerto Op. 7 — Francesco Nicolosi

In addition to her piano playing, Clara was an active combatant in the war between Leipzig and Weimar. The battle lines were drawn with Brahms, Clara's husband — Robert Schumann, and Mendelssohn on one side and Wagner and Liszt on the other.

Bruckner, never an active soldier in this war of words, could be considered a civilian casualty after Clara blasted his Symphony No. 7 as being a “horrible piece.” She also routinely dressed down both Wagner and Liszt.

Liszt was her favorite whipping boy. She claimed, "I despise Liszt to the very depths of my soul." The despising appears to have started at a dinner party gone wrong which resulted in Liszt and Wagner insulting Robert Schumann’s music.

Clara was closely associated in the musical life of both Schumann and Brahms. She and her husband kept a musical journal together. Clara was very much an equal in her interactions with men.

As a composer Clara predominantly wrote chamber music. Her only two pieces for orchestra were a piano concerto and a scherzo for orchestra. The piano concerto is a quality piece of music.

Once she had a husband, children, and performance career, her composing all but dried up. She didn’t write much after the age of 36. It’s a familiar story.

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