CLARA SCHUMANN by Susanna Reich

CLARA SCHUMANN

Piano Virtuoso
Age Range: 10 - 16
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Extremely well-researched and presented, this sumptuous book presents the extraordinary career of Schumann, who was more celebrated during her lifetime than her composer husband, Robert, was. Born in 1819 to a tyrannical father who used her talent to promote his own reputation as a music teacher, Clara was a musical prodigy who captivated Europe from the time she was nine years old until her death. Throughout her life she defied the 19th-century conventions that routinely subdued women. While the author sets forth Clara’s vibrant career thoroughly, the central strength of her book comes from her portrayal of Clara’s tumultuous domestic life. First, she and Robert rebelled against Clara’s father, eventually going to court for permission to marry. Later, Robert’s struggles with depression and mental illness intensified the tension under which the devoted couple lived. Yet, this mother of eight children continued to perform, compose music, and teach, helping to lay the foundations for much of today’s classical music world. The book is heavily illustrated with drawings, playbills, and photographs from Clara’s life. Anyone interested in music history or in women’s history will find a compelling story well told here. (index, not seen, b&w reproductions and photos, chronology, source notes) (Biography. 10-16)

Pub Date: April 19th, 1999
ISBN: 0-395-89199-1
Page count: 111pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999




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