The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann

The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann

The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann

The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann


Contains letters written by Robert Schumann (1810-1856) and Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896) in 1839, documenting the major events of that year: Clara's concert tour and stay in Paris, Friedrich Wieck's continued vehement opposition to Robert's courtship of his daughter, Clara and Robert's legal action to obtain the court's consent for their marriage, Clara's reunion and stay with her mother in Berlin, and the death of Robert's brother Eduard. Includes a translator's introduction, lists of the letters and of editorial symbols, and an index of musical works mentioned. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.


This edition of the correspondence is divided into three volumes including a critical and historical commentary. The commentary and critical apparatus for all three volumes will appear together with the third volume of letters.

The arrangement of the letters follows that of the Berlin volumes to a large extent. Volume II, the most sizable in the present edition, exceeds by far the collections published by Clara Schumann, Litzmann, and Boetticher. While Litzmann often quotes the early engagement letters verbatim (Volume I of this edition), he frequently quotes only portions or individual sentences of letters from the year 1839. These letters, however, are surely just as important from the standpoint of psychology, music history and literature. Two very close friends of Schumann die in 1839: his brother Eduard, and Henriette Voigt, a patroness of the arts. His former fiancée, Ernestine von Fricken, marries and is widowed soon afterwards. The conflict with his future father-in-law becomes so intense that Clara Wieck goes on tour alone for the first time in her life. Toward the end of the year she returns to her biological mother after more than a decade of separation and sees her father again at the Leipzig Court of Appeals--as plaintiff in the lawsuit to obtain permission to marry.

Robert is generally more communicative in regard to his plans for compositions. Clara, too, gains self-confidence as a composer. There are differences concerning musical preferences, but their tastes become more compatible, too. Robert maintains his dislike of Italian operatic music, while Clara overcomes her aversion to the music of his English colleague, William Sterndale Bennett.

The restraint of previous editors certainly can be explained, not by the letters' lack of attractiveness, but rather by their psychological urgency, and their often aggressive, offensive, but also very depressed tone. Partial editions or biographies may hesitate to include such documents, but complete critical editions do not have this liberty. One has to keep this in mind as . . .

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