Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Wednesday, November 8

Schumann and Zaimont

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 use. Clara’s Op. 1, a set of four Polonaises, was published the following year. In 1840, over her father’s strenuous objections, Clara eventually married composer Robert Schumann, a handsome young man who had moved into the Wieck household as a boarder just a month before Clara’s 1830 Leipzig debut. Clara’s own 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

Additional Information

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