|Dame Harriet Walter||narrator|
|Scripted by Lucy Parham|
‘One of the must-see events of the musical calendar’ BBC Music Magazine
Created to celebrate 200 years since Clara Schumann’s birth in 1819, I, Clara tells her extraordinary life story in her own words. It is the sixth Composer Portrait created by Lucy Parham and it is receiving its London premiere at this concert as part of both the London Piano Festival and Venus Unwrapped.
Clara Schumann was a truly exceptional woman, not just a devoted wife to the composer Robert Schumann, but a groundbreaking musician in her own right. Over a period of 60 years she gave over 1,500 concerts and determined the format of the kind of piano recital that is familiar to us today.
As a child prodigy, she was groomed for stardom by her piano-teacher father, Friedrich Wieck. By the age of eight she was dazzling audiences throughout Europe. Having married Robert against her father’s wishes, she became the mother of eight children. When her husband declined tragically into mental illness and an attempt at suicide, she continued both to run the household and to make an international concert career to support the family.
Clara championed the works of her husband and of Chopin, Mendelssohn, Brahms and many others. She herself was also a talented composer, producing a piano concerto, numerous solo piano works, chamber music and songs.
The narrative of I, Clara, drawn from letters and diaries, is interspersed with live performances of her works, and of music by Robert Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Chopin. The narrator for this performance is the acclaimed actress, Dame Harriet Walter.
One of Britain’s finest pianists, Lucy Parham applies her sensitivity and imagination not only to concertos and recitals, but also to portraits in words and music of such composers as Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Liszt and Debussy. In recent years, Lucy Parham has established herself as a leading interpreter of the works of Robert Schumann and of his wife, Clara.