Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Clara's Father and Clara's Sister

I stumbled across an amusing and interesting book in the IMSLP. Frederick Wieck was, of course, the father of Clara Schumann.

Much of the book is written as a series of socratic-style dialogues and little plays concerning teaching music to children. It is a very interesting glimpse into a world most of us know about from what people wrote about Wieck and not from the man himself. The book first came out in 1853, and this 1882 translation by Mary Pickering Nichols was the first (and probably the last) translation of it into English. I imagine that it might be a scan from the translator's own copy because there is one instance when the word "shall" is crossed out, and the word "will" is written in its place.

Somehow, through all my years of reading about Clara Wieck Schumann, I missed out on learning much about her younger half sister Marie Wieck who also composed (here's a sample from a Scherzo for piano). Much of what Frederick Wieck talks about as a teacher rings true a century and a half later.


Willie Boggs said...

My greatgrandfather, who taught me how to play piano always refers to Clara as one of the first great female pianists. He said that one of the big things that "kids" do now, this was in the 1960s, was use too many books and don't play by memory, which is what Clara was famous for. I'm found this looking up some of Clara's work and I am glad I did. Thanks for the post.

Dave Wentwort said...

Hi Willie,

I also remember my mother being fond of Clara as she was one of the few female pianists who got credit. My mother grew up and had maybe a 3rd grade reading level, but she could memorize and play almost any song. Clara was from the same mold and was an inspiration to pianists male and female.