Monday, June 25, 2012

Music Monday: Clara Schumann

Each Monday, I share a piece of music I really enjoy. This week, I'll be reminiscing a bit with a song by Clara Schumann.

Clara Schumann née Wieck (1819-1896)
Gedichte aus Liebesfrühling (1841)
"Er ist gekommen in Sturm und Regen"

It should be known that, pretty much from the moment I started college, I was dreading my senior recital. I loved choir, but I had absolutely no interest in singing on my own. My original plan was to become a school music teacher. Later my passion shifted, and I wanted to get my Ph.D. and become a scholar. Getting a performance degree wasn't something I ever considered. So why was it so important for me to do this?

As the time got closer, I discovered a loophole. According to the university handbook, I could do a "senior project" instead of a recital. But when I was discussing this option with my voice teacher, explaining my interest in musicology, the plan somehow turned into my giving a lecture recital instead. So, not only did I have to sing, but I had to do research and talk in front of everyone too? Not that the research and the talking were a big deal; this was the sort of thing I wanted to make a career of. But now I had to do all that ON TOP of the thing I was trying to get out of in the first place?! Because senior year wasn't stressful enough . . .

(I got through it, of course. I still would have much rather written a thesis, but I suppose giving the recital was good for me. Somehow. I guess?)

The biggest chunk of my recital was an eight-song cycle by Robert Schumann, but I'm so glad I decided to include a few songs by his wife as well. Clara Schumann is a fascinating figure. She was a virtuosa concert pianist, playing from the age of five, performing from the age of nine, and composing her own piano pieces from the age of eleven. Despite the fact that her husband is remembered by history, she was arguably the more renowned musician in her day.

Because of her background, the piano really goes above and beyond the role of mere accompaniment in her songs. This was the first piece on my program, and probably my favorite. The title translates to "he came in storm and rain." It's about a passionate meeting of two lovers, and the dramatic piano part really helps to feed the emotion behind the words.

Unfortunately embedding is disabled for this video, but here's the link. It's only a couple minutes, considerably shorter than last week. (And no, that's not me. I didn't record my recital. Also, I'm not Asian.)

Thanks for reading my latest Music Monday, my little way of sharing something I'm passionate about while introducing you to music you may be unfamiliar with. Let me know if you've enjoyed it, and let me know if there's something out there you think I should listen to.

No comments:

Post a Comment