Celebrating Clara is Muses Trio’s second studio album, celebrating Clara Schumann ‘s 200th anniversary of birth in 2019. In this contemporary reading of the many facets of her life story: pianist, virtuoso, composer, wife to a very unstable genius, and mother to eight. Clara’s personal piano trio is fragmented and reconstructed with music by female composers inspired by her legacy, including Kate Moore (AUS), Rebecca Clarke (UK), Nicole Murphy (AUS), Jennifer Higdon (USA), and Lera Auerbach (USA).
Celebrating Clara was first performed for International Women’s Day, March 2019 at heritage listed Wolston House, a 19th century residential farmhouse constructed during Clara Schumann’s lifetime. Although on the other side of the world, Wolston House gives a taste of Clara’s domestic life, coincindentally Wolston House was home to two families with a large number of children. By choosing this setting, there was a sense of the struggle between the artistic and domestic life Clara Schumann constantly juggled throughout her life, accentuated by Muses’ readings of Clara’s diary excerpts and letters. Guests could join the complimentary guided tour, and explore the grounds and farmhouse.
Clara Wieck Schumann was one of the leading pianists of her day and a composer in her own right. Although her output was relatively small, she wrote significant keyboard and vocal compositions. Born in Leipzig, 1819, Clara began studying the piano with her father, a teacher of high repute. Clara gave her debut concert in Leipzig at the age of seven, and by 1837 was recognized as one of the leading virtuosi in Europe. Her career as a composer was also blossoming.
Clara married Robert Schumann in 1840. They would have eight children and Clara would watch her husband slowly lose his sanity. Had Clara been able to devote more time to composition – she was occupied with maternal matters and concertizing to support her family – she might well have risen to the artistic heights of her husband. Clara composed little after Robert’s death in 1856. She took a teaching post at the Frankfurt Hoch Conservatory and continued to concertize until 1891. She died of a stroke in 1896. The Trio in G minor for piano, violin and cello, Op. 17, composed in 1846, is generally regarded as her finest work.
Recommended reading: Clara Schumann (Revised): The Artist and the Woman by Nancy B. Reich
Whoever you are, come forth (solo cello), Kate Moore
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17, 1st movt. Allegro moderato, Clara Schumann
Lullaby (violin and cello), Rebecca Clarke
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17, 2nd movt. Scherzo and Trio, Clara Schumann
Dies Irae (violin and piano), Kate Moore [World premiere recording]
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17, 3rd movt. Andante, Clara Schumann
Tarantelle (violin and piano), Pauline Viardot
Surface 2 (violin, cello and piano), Nicole Murphy
Nocturne (cello and piano), Jennifer Higdon
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17, 4th movt. Allegretto, Clara Schumann
Postscriptum (violin, cello and piano), Lera Auerbach