Composers Datebook

Schumann and Zaimont

Clara Schumman (1819 – 1896) Four Polonaises, Op. 1 Josef de Beenhouwer, piano CPO 999 758 Judith Lang Zaimont (b. 1945) September, fr Calendar Collection Judith Lang Zaimont, piano Four Tay 4001


Composers Datebook for November 8, 2020

2:00


November 08, 2020

Synopsis

On today’s date in 1830, an 11-year old piano virtuoso named Clara Wieck took the stage of the Leipzig Gewandhaus for her first solo recital. Her father was a piano teacher, who had groomed Clara for a solo career since infancy.

This was the age of the great composer-pianists Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin, and little Clara also wrote original works for her own performances. Clara’s Op. 1, a set of four Polonaises, was published the following year. Clara’s career as a composer and performer would eventually span five decades, and, like her father, she became one of the most famous piano teachers of her time.

Nowadays composer-performers are more common in the world of jazz than classical music, although there are exceptions. One of them is Judith Lang Zaimont, who, like Clara Schumann, developed a triple career as composer, performer, and teacher. “Composing is the central fact of my life,” says Zaimont. “My music seeks to appeal both to the heart (the Ahh! response) and to the head (the Aha! response). When this mix is just right, I can sense it—and reactions from audiences can be positive, too.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Clara Schumman (1819 – 1896) Four Polonaises, Op. 1 Josef de Beenhouwer, piano CPO 999 758

Judith Lang Zaimont (b. 1945) September, fr Calendar Collection Judith Lang Zaimont, piano Four Tay 4001

On This Day

Births

  • 1770 - German composer Friedrich Witt, in Niederstetten, Württemberg; Like Beethoven, he composed 9 symphonies, and one of them, his “Jena Symphony,” was for a time mistakenly believed to be an early work by Beethoven;

  • 1883 - English composer Arnold Bax, in Streatham;

  • 1945 - American composer and pianist Judith Lang Zaimont, in Memphis;

Deaths

  • 1599 - Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero, age 71, in Seville;

  • 1890 - Belgian-French composer César Franck, in Paris, age 67;

  • 1894 - Russian composer Anton Rubinstein, age 64, near St. Petersburg (Gregorian date: Nov. 20);

  • 1924 - Russian composer Sergie Liapunov, age 65, in Paris;

Premieres

  • 1879 - Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 1 in G, Op. 78, in Bonn, by violinist Joseph Joachim and the composer at the piano;

  • 1919 - Stravinsky: "The Soldier's Tale" Suite (for violin, clarinet and piano), in Lausanne; The staged version of "The Soldier's Tale" had premiered in Lausanne at the Théatre Municipal on September 28, 1918;

  • 1926 - Gershwin: musical "Oh, Kay!" at the Imperial Theater in New York City; This show featured Gertrude Lawrence, and included the classic Gershwin songs "Clap Yo' Hands," "Do, Do, Do," and "Someone to Watch over Me";

  • 1936 - Jean Françaix: Piano Concerto, in Berlin.