Composers Datebook®

The Schumanns in love

Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) (transcribed by Franz Liszt) Widmung (Michael Ponti, piano) Marco Polo 223.127 Robert Schumann Widmung, fr Op. 25 (Sophie Daneman, soprano; Julius Drake, piano) EMI 72828


Composer's Datebook - 20210912

2:00


September 12, 2021

Synopsis

In the year 1840, the immensely talented German pianist Clara Wieck was eagerly awaiting the eve of her 21st birthday, when she would be free to legally marry the 30-year-old composer and music critic Robert Schumann. The couple had hoped to wed years earlier, but the match was bitterly opposed by Clara’s father.

Clara and Robert kept in touch by letters, which were sometimes intercepted by Papa Wieck.

Early in 1840, Clara wrote, “Dear Robert, I love you so much it hurts my heart. Tell me what you’re writing. I would so love to know, oh please, please. A quartet, an overture – even perhaps a symphony? Might it by any chance be – a wedding present?”

The marriage finally took place on today’s date in 1840. As she had guessed, Robert presented Clara with a musical wedding present: not a quartet, overture, or symphony, but a set of 26 songs, published as his Opus 25.

The opening song, entitled “Dedication,” is a Rückert poem which contains this refrain: “You are my heart and soul, my bliss and pain, you are the world I live in and the heaven I aspire to, my good angel, my better self.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) (transcribed by Franz Liszt) Widmung (Michael Ponti, piano) Marco Polo 223.127

Robert Schumann Widmung, fr Op. 25 (Sophie Daneman, soprano; Julius Drake, piano) EMI 72828

On This Day

Births

  • 1825 - Austrian flautist and conductor Karl Doppler, in Lwow;

  • 1901 - German composer Ernst Pepping, in Duisburg;

  • 1906 - Soviet composer Dimitri Shostakovich, in St. Petersburg (Gregorian date: Sept. 25);

  • 1939 - American composer Phillip Ramey, in Chicago;

Deaths

  • 1764 - French composer Jean Philippe Rameau, age 80, in Paris;.

Premieres

  • 1910 - Mahler: Symphony No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand") in Munich, with the composer conducting;

  • 1932 - Villa-Lobos: "Bachianas Brasilieras" No. 1, in Rio de Janerio;

  • 1937 - Milhaud: "Suite Provençale" in Venice, conducted by the composer;

  • 1954 - Bernstein: "Serenade" (after Plato's "Symposium") at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, with composer conducting and Isaac Stern the violin soloist;

  • 1967 - Kokonen: Symphony No. 3, in Helsinki;

  • 1969 - Henri Lazarof: Cello Concerto, in Oslo, Norway;

Others

  • 1840 - Marriage of Robert Schumann, age 30, to Clara Wieck, on the day before her 21st birthday.