The Pleiades Project| German Romantics: Clara

Art Song, Romantic, Women's Voices, Lieder
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While public interest in the life and works of composer Clara Schumann has increased over the past few decades, she still does not get the recognition that she rightly deserves.

Clara Schumann was a virtuosic pianist, composer and piano pedagogue.  From the age of eleven, she maintained a sixty-one year concert career, touring throughout Europe. Her success as a concert artist secured essential income for her family, including her husband, the renowned composer Robert Schumann, who suffered from mental illness, and their eight children. She began composing as a child, and her compositions later included solo piano pieces, chamber music, choral works and Lieder.

For German Romantics: Clara, The Pleiades Project reconceptualizes the three Lieder of Clara Schumann’s Op. 12, which was originally part of a collection of twelve songs jointly published by Clara and Robert to poetry by Friedrich Rückert. In 1841, soon after their marriage, Robert urged Clara to collaborate on a project together. Clara began to work on the songs of Op. 12, although she found the compositional process challenging. As the set took shape, Clara was at the beginning stages of pregnancy, and was generally ambivalent about composing Lieder.

While these songs may have marked the beginning of Clara and Robert’s union, our protagonist navigates Op. 12 as she copes with the end of an important partnership. As she comes to terms with the conclusion of this cherished chapter of her life, her imagination travels to vibrant fantasy worlds of the past. In becoming the heroine of her own story, our protagonist reaches closure and enters a new world of possibilities.

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