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Prelude Listening to Music Today
1 Melody: Musical Line
2 Rhythm and Meter: Musical Time
3 Harmony: Musical Space
4 The Organization of Musical Sounds
5 Musical Texture
6 Musical Form
7 Musical Expression: Tempo and Dynamics
8 Voices and Musical Instrument Families
9 Western Musical Instruments
10 Musical Ensembles
11 Style and Function of Music in Society
12 The Culture of the Middle Ages
13 Medieval Music
14 The Renaissance Spirit
15 Renaissance Sacred Music
16 Renaissance Secular Music
17 The Baroque Spirit
18 Vocal Music of the Baroque
19 Orchestral Music of the Baroque
20 Baroque Keyboard Music
21 The Classical Spirit
22 The Development of Classical Forms
23 The Classical Symphony
24 The Classical Concerto and Sonata
25 Classical Opera
26 The Spirit of Romanticism
27 The Romantic Miniature
28 Romantic Program Music
29 Romantic Opera
30 The Late Romantics
31 America's Emerging Musical Voice
32 The Impressionist Era
33 Main Currents in Early-Twentieth-Century Music
34 Early-Twentieth-Century Innovators
35 Nationalism and Music
36 Ragtime, Blues, and Jazz
37 New Directions
38 Contemporary Composers Look to World Music
39 Music for the Stage and Screen
40 The Many Voices of Rock
41 Some Current Trends

The Enjoyment of Music: Essential Listening Edition

Composers

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Clara Wieck Schumann

Clara Wieck Schumann


Born: September 13, 1819, Leipzig, Germany
Died: May 20, 1896, Frankfurt, Germany

- Biography
- Musical Examples
- Works

- Composer Index

In her own words....

"Composing gives me great pleasure . . . there is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound."

German pianist and composer. Clara was the wife of Robert Schumann, and one of the most celebrated performers of the century.

"A woman must not wish to compose—there never was one able to do it." These are not the words of an unsympathetic male detractor, but of Clara Schumann herself. That a woman of her abilities and talents would say this speaks volumes about the difficulties facing women composers in the nineteenth century. In fact, there were many women "able to do it" both before and during Schumann's lifetime. Their efforts, however, were usually met with resistance, and women often took the criticism of the male-dominated culture to heart. This is a shame, for we likely have been deprived of many significant contributions by these women.

Clara Schumann, like many other women composers, was the product of a musical family. Her mother had been a successful performer, and her father, Friedrich Wieck, was a famous teacher of piano. It was he who encouraged her in performance and composition, and at an early age she made a name for herself as a concert pianist. In 1840, she married one of her father's students, Robert Schumann (much against her father's wishes). The result was both a happy marriage (marred, however, by Robert's problems with depression) and a fruitful artistic partnership. Clara composed variations on themes by Robert and vice versa, and together they created a cycle of song settings of the poet Friedrich Rückert (her Opus 12, his Opus 37). After Robert's death in 1856, Clara continued an active concert career while supporting a family of eight, and was a champion of the music of Johannes Brahms, with whom she maintained a lifelong relationship.

Clara Schumann's music is typical for the early Romantic Era. Much of her music was written to be performed by her (piano concertos and pieces for solo piano), but she also wrote a number of songs and a well-respected trio (Opus 17). Most of her piano music consists of small single-movement works (preludes, various dances and the like). Her music shows a distinct lyrical quality and a solid though conservative approach to form.

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Musical Examples:

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Toccatina, from Soirées musicales 02:06
Notturno, from Soirées musicales
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04:39

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Works:

  • Solo piano music, including dances, caprices, romances, scherzos (including Op. 10, 1838), impromptus, character pieces (Soirées musicales, Op. 6, 183536; Quatre pièces fugitives, Op. 15, 1845), variations (including one set on a theme by Robert Schumann, 1854), and cadenzas for Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos
  • 1 piano concerto with orchestra or quintet (1837)
  • Chamber music, including 1 piano trio (1846) and 3 romances for violin and piano (185556)
  • Lieder, with texts by Burns, Rückert, Heine, and other poets
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