Romantische Klaviermusik by Clara Schumann

vol.ii, ed. F. Goebels. Süddeutscher Musikverlag


Of course it's good to have a further selection from Clara Schumann's piano music in this highly presentable (if also highly priced) edition. But the commentary and its translation look rather perfunctory. No doubt the editor “strived to grasp the prism of her creative message', as his foreword assures us; but it seems to have slipped through his fingers. He believes for example that none of these pieces (opp.3, 11, 14, 15, 21/1, plus a previously unpublished Andante con sentimento and a B minor Romance) was written before 1838. If he had recalled that op.3 provided the theme for Schumann's op.5, published in 1833, he might have been more disposed to give the work of the 12-year-old Clara its right date and its full due. But he seems altogether uninterested in sources, including his own. Thus this volume is strangely silent about the provenance and validation of the two new pieces, unknown even to Pamela Süsskind's full and informative doctoral thesis on Clara Schumann (Berkeley, 1977). Unlike the editor, I would find it interesting and indeed touching to be told that Clara, after six months of grieving widowhood, had composed a piece inscribed “Liebendes Gedenken” (in loving memory) ­ containing a clear reminiscence of the slow movement of Brahms's F minor Sonata, which itself bears a poetic quotation about two hearts united. Romantic piano music indeed; but such billets-doux and belles-lettres surely need loving interpretation by editors as well as performers.


The Musical Times, Dec., 1978 (p. 1059) © the estate of eric sams