Background and Other Notes of Interest

Clara Schumann is remembered principally as the widow of the great and tragic composer Robert Schumann, who died in an asylum at a young age, leaving Clara with seven children to raise.  Clara was, in fact, one of the most celebrated concert pianists of the nineteenth century, and her career, beginning when she was only nine, spanned sixty-one years.  She was known as a great beauty, and she supported herself and her family solely with her income as a performer for all that time, no easy feat in a century in which women were expected to stay at home and out of the public eye.  She also left behind a lovely, but small, collection of her compositions.

There are some lovely pictures of Clara and samples of her music here, and do listen to Stella Doufexis’s gorgeous recording of her Lied, “Liebst du um Schonheit.”

Here’s a gorgeous instrumental recording of Brahms’s famous lullaby, which wasn’t completed until well after the time period of the novel:  Brahms Lullaby.