Theme and Variations

Thoughts and experiences of exploring classical, jazz, and other art music.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

A classical music love triangle (Part 1)

Someone wanting to create a movie with all sorts of plot twists, psychological drama, and great music, would do well to tell the story of Johannes Brahms, and Robert and Clara Schumann. And such a movie would not need dramatic embellishment; the real story is wild enough.

The story begins with Robert in Leipzig in 1828. He began taking piano lessons from Friedrich Wieck (pronounce "Veek"). Wieck had developed a method of piano instruction which involved countless hours of practice, including special fingering exercises. Robert was eighteen at the time.

Wieck's proof of his piano method was given by his daughter Clara, who was nine years old when Robert began taking lessons with her father. It was Wieck's plan to transform his daughter into the world's greatest pianist.

In four years, one of Robert's fingers became numb and mostly unusable, owing to the eight-hour practice sessions and the use of a finger-strengthening machine. He consulted a Professor Kuhl, who instructed Robert to soak his hand in an "animal bath,", essentially the entrails of a freshly slaughtered animal. The cure, of course, didn't work, and Robert's career as a pianist was nearing an end.

Wieck was appalled at Robert's injury. He was afraid that his piano method would be damaged by a reputation for injury, and began to estrange himself from Robert. This had caused pain for Robert, who was not only seeing his pianist career ending, but was also becoming a problem for a man he had begun to think of as a second father.

But this was not the end of Robert Schumann's connection with the Wiecks.

Wieck's daughter Clara began piano lessons at the age of five. At the age of seven, she was pulled from school and received private tutoring in languages, music theory, composition, and violin. She made her first public appearance at the age of nine as a pianist. By the age of ten, Wieck was parading his daughter before aristocrats and the wealthy. She played her first solo concert at the age of eleven.

Wieck and his daughter went on a concert tour across Germany, where she received great reviews for her playing. The money earned by Clara at these concerts was invested by Wieck in his own business. Wieck's scheme seemed to be working well.

By the time Clara was fifteen, her interest in music had waned, replaced by an interest in young men. By this time, according to Clara later in life, she had fallen in love with Robert. Robert, for his part, began to return the affections when she was sixteen.

At first, Wieck was unaware of the growing relationship between his daughter and his student. When he began to suspect what was going on, he removed Clara from Leipzig and sent her to Dresden. Robert thought that Wieck would welcome Robert into the family; for Wieck's part, Clara was his source of income, and was to be the world's greatest pianist, not a wounded student's housewife.

What was to ensue over the next few years was a love affair that was carried out mostly in secret (Wieck even claimed he would shoot Robert if he came near his daughter). During this time Robert had bouts of depression and drinking problems. Still, the relationship continued, with Wieck doing all he could to end it.

Finally, in 1839, Wieck began proceedings to disinherit his daughter, keeping the money made from her concerts. Robert countered with a suit against Wieck, after obtaining an affidavit from Clara, that would allow him to marry Clara (who could not consent to be married without her father's approval until she was twenty-one). The lawsuits went back and forth, finally ending in favor of Clara and Robert in August of 1840.

As a final thumbing of the nose to Wieck, Robert and Clara were married on September 12 of 1840, the day before her twenty-first birthday. It was the last day Wieck could be legally and finally beaten.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool blog you have. I have a music stores in florida with clarinet cases
related site. Check it out if you get a chance. The URL is music stores in florida with clarinet cases

9:59 PM  
Blogger wbrant said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a macbeth theme site/blog. It pretty much covers macbeth theme related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

3:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Join me and my circle of friends at, an online social networking community that connects people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards, upload music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

2:28 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Here you can sell and buy both new and used products.
This website is perfect for selling just about anything at all.
More at free classified ad

1:00 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

longchamp outlet online, true religion, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet online, red bottom shoes, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet, nike air max, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton handbags, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, longchamp handbags, ray ban outlet, prada outlet, coach outlet, christian louboutin, louis vuitton outlet, gucci handbags, coach outlet, oakley vault, cheap oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, nike free, tory burch outlet, nike shoes, coach outlet store online, burberry outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, christian louboutin shoes, true religion outlet, coach purses, michael kors outlet store, kate spade outlet online, prada handbags, longchamp outlet, nike air max, louis vuitton, tiffany jewelry, tiffany and co jewelry, christian louboutin outlet

2:07 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

sac vanessa bruno, nike free, michael kors canada, timberland, michael kors uk, air max, nike air force, air jordan, true religion jeans, ray ban pas cher, louis vuitton pas cher, louis vuitton uk, nike air max, sac michael kors, abercrombie and fitch, lacoste pas cher, nike roshe run, ray ban uk, true religion outlet, longchamp, oakley pas cher, nike roshe, mulberry, new balance pas cher, north face pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister, tn pas cher, north face, lululemon, nike blazer pas cher, barbour, ralph lauren, hermes pas cher, nike air max, hollister, sac louis vuitton, chaussure louboutin, nike free pas cher, burberry pas cher, guess pas cher, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton, scarpe hogan, vans pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, air max pas cher

2:10 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

chi flat iron, mac cosmetics, soccer shoes, jimmy choo shoes, birkin bag, rolex watches, ferragamo shoes, canada goose, vans outlet, instyler ionic styler, uggs outlet, canada goose outlet, soccer jerseys, north face jackets, babyliss pro, wedding dresses, p90x workout, giuseppe zanotti, mcm handbags, ugg outlet, asics shoes, celine handbags, ghd, nike huarache, bottega veneta, insanity workout, abercrombie and fitch, herve leger, ugg boots, nike trainers, ugg soldes, marc jacobs outlet, beats headphones, hollister, mont blanc pens, reebok shoes, canada goose outlet, lululemon outlet, valentino shoes, longchamp, north face outlet, nfl jerseys, new balance outlet, roshe run, ugg, canada goose outlet, uggs on sale

2:13 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

baseball bats, nike air max, ray ban, parajumpers outlet, toms outlet, timberland shoes, converse shoes, replica watches, moncler, hollister, lancel, moncler, juicy couture outlet, moncler, links of london uk, wedding dress, louis vuitton canada, ugg, vans, moncler, pandora charms, canada goose uk, louboutin, canada goose, oakley, juicy couture outlet, hollister canada, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, iphone 6 case, ralph lauren, canada goose pas cher, pandora uk, coach outlet, moncler, montre femme, converse, swarovski uk, uggs canada, supra shoes, hollister clothing, karen millen, swarovski jewelry, thomas sabo uk, canada goose, air max, gucci, moncler

2:15 AM  
Blogger harish kalyan said...

Very informative blog. Got more information about this technology.
Ionic Training in Chennai
Ionic Training Institute in Chennai
pearson vue test center in chennai
IoT Training in Chennai
Xamarin Training in Chennai
Node JS Training in Chennai
content writing training in chennai
spanish language in chennai
Ionic Training in Anna Nagar
Ionic Training in T Nagar

3:27 AM  
Blogger merlin said...

This is an Wonderful article for music lovers.thanks for sharing
Selenium Training in chennai | Selenium Training in anna nagar | Selenium Training in omr | Selenium Training in porur | Selenium Training in tambaram | Selenium Training in velachery

4:40 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home