September 13, 1819: Clara Josephine Wieck (Schumann) is born in a house called Hohe Lilie in the Neumarkt (present Preußergäßchen and Neumarkt), Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony, the second (and eldest surviving) of five children born to Friedrich Wieck, pianist and teacher and owner of a piano shop, and Marianne Tromlitz, singer and pianist, daughter and granddaughter of musicians.
September 17, 1824: After spending the summer with her mother, Clara Wieck (5) is legally given into the custody of her father in Leipzig.
September 11, 1827: Clara Wieck (7) plays a concerto for the first time in public, at an orchestral rehearsal before a small invited audience in Leipzig. She plays a concerto by Mozart (†35) in E flat.
July 3, 1828: The father of Clara Wieck (8), Friedrich Wieck, marries for a second time, to Clementine Fechner.
March 6, 1830: Clara Wieck (10) plays publicly outside Leipzig for the first time, in Dresden. She creates a sensation.
November 8, 1830: Clara Wieck (11) makes her official debut at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. She plays her variations on an Original Theme and a song, probably Der Traum to words of Tiedge. She also plays Rondo brilliant for piano and orchestra op.101 by Kalkbrenner (45), Variations Brillantes op.23 by Henri Herz (27), and Quartet Concertante for four pianos and orchestra op.230 by Carl Czerny (39).
October 9, 1831: Clara Wieck (12) plays for Goethe at his home for a second time. He presents her with a medallion of himself with a handwritten note on the box: To the artistically highly gifted Clara Wieck. In kindly remembrance of 9 October 1831. Weimar. J.W. Goethe.
March 19, 1832: Clara Wieck (12) gives the first of two concerts in Paris, at Stöpel’s Music School with a piano lent by Erard. She is one of several performers.
April 9, 1832: Clara Wieck (12) gives the second of two concerts in Paris, on a program with others, at Stöpel’s Music School. Her father originally reserved the larger Hôtel de Ville but the cholera epidemic has sent many Parisians fleeing the city. The small audience is impressed that all of her music not improvised is performed from memory.
September 30, 1832: Clara Wieck (13) appears at a Leipzig Gewandhaus subscription series concert, playing Moscheles’ Piano Concerto in g minor from memory.
January 13, 1833: Clara Wieck (13) plays her Caprices en forme de valse pour le piano op.2 for the first time, in a private concert given in her father’s house. She also plays what might be the first performance of any solo piano music by Robert Schumann (22), two of the op.3 studies after Paganini (50). See 27 January 1835.
January 17, 1835: Clara Wieck (17) and her father begin a concert tour of Hannover, Bremen and Hamburg.
January 27, 1835: Clara Wieck (15) plays her Caprices en forme de valse pour le piano op.2 publicly for the first time, in Hannover. See 13 January 1833.
September 13, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (26) is introduced to the members of the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, and conducts his first rehearsal. Later, he is guest of honor at the 16th birthday party for Clara Wieck. He entertains the assembled by doing imitations of Chopin (25) and Liszt (23) at the piano, then plays his own music alone and with Clara. At Clara’s request Mendelssohn plays the scherzo from Schumann’s (25) new Piano Sonata. Clara receives her presents, a new Capriccio, a birthday ode and a gold watch from the Davidsbund.
November 9, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (26), Clara Wieck (16) and Louis Rakeman perform J.S. Bach’s (†85) Concerto in d minor for three keyboards and orchestra for the first time in the composer’s home city of Leipzig since his death. The performance is very successful and continues Mendelssohn’s dedication to reviving the music of Bach. This day also sees the first complete performance of Clara Wieck’s Concerto for piano and orchestra in a minor, orchestrated by Robert Schumann (25), with the composer as soloist, Mendelssohn conducting. See 5 May 1834.
November 28, 1835: Robert Schumann (25) visits Clara Wieck (16) at the Wieck house in Leipzig before she leaves on a concert tour. At the end of the evening, as she is showing him out, they kiss for the first time. “I thought I was on the point of fainting...everything went black in front of my eyes; I could barely hold the lamp that was supposed to light your way,--I thought I was dreaming.”
September 12, 1836: A surprise visit by Frédéric Chopin (26) to Robert Schumann (26) today in Leipzig inspires Schumann to complete his É tudes symphoniques . Chopin presents Schumann with a copy of his new Ballade in g minor. Chopin, Schumann and Clara Wieck (15) spend most of the day at the piano.
February 16, 1837: Clara Wieck (17) gives her first concert in Berlin, at the Opera House. She is the opening act for a ballet.
February 24, 1837: Clara Wieck (17) gives her first full-length recital in Berlin. This and the five to follow are given a fairly positive critical response. She is compared to Mendelssohn (28). The public love her. Her father reports, “Triumph, triumph, Clara created a furore last night. Her masterly playing was rewarded by an hour and a half of thunder and formidable bravissimos...Even Paganini (54) did not have such accolades here.”
March 1, 1837: Variation on Cavatine du Pirate of Bellini op.8 for piano by Clara Wieck (17) is performed for the first time, by the composer in Berlin.
November 12, 1837: Clara Wieck (18) gives her first concert in Prague, at the Conservatory. She receives 13 curtain calls.
December 3, 1837: Clara Wieck (18) gives her first concert in Vienna, at the home of Baroness Pereira.
December 14, 1837: Clara Wieck (18) gives her first concert at the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna. Through the winter, she will give six concerts here, two at the Kärntnertortheater, and appear at many private parties. She becomes the sensation of the city, compared to Paganini (55) for her technical virtuosity and depth of feeling.
December 26, 1837: Clara Wieck (18) plays before the Imperial court in Vienna. She will be given the title Imperial Court Pianist by Emperor Ferdinand.
January 9, 1838: The Wiener Zeitschrift publishes a poem by Grillparzer inspired by a performance of Beethoven’s (†10) Appasionata Sonata by Clara Wieck (18).
March 15, 1838: Clara Wieck (18) is named Royal and Imperial Virtuosa by the Emperor of Austria in Vienna.
April 12, 1838: Franz Liszt (26) plays some of his music, and that of Czerny (47) at the home of piano maker Conrad Graf in Vienna. There to witness it are Friedrich and Clara Wieck (18) who are extremely, though not universally, impressed. Liszt writes to Marie d’Agoult, “She is a very simple person, entirely preoccupied with her art, but nobly and without childishness. She was flabbergasted when she heard me. Her compositions are truly most remarkable, especially for a woman. They have a hundred times more invention and real feeling than all the past and present fantasies of Thalberg (26)” (Williams, 101)
April 23, 1838: Clara Wieck (18) writes to Robert Schumann (27) about Franz Liszt (26), “He is an artist whom one must hear and see for oneself...He rates your work extraordinarily highly, far above Henselt (23), above everything he has come across recently. I played your Carnaval, which quite enchanted him. ‘What a mind!’ he said; ‘that is one of the greatest works I know.’ You can imagine my joy.” (Williams, 103)
April 30, 1838: Souvenir of Vienna op.9 for piano by Clara Wieck (18) is performed for the first time, in Graz by the composer. It receives tumultuous applause.
August 12, 1838: Scherzo for piano op.10 by Clara Wieck (18) is performed for the first time, by the composer in Leipzig.
January 8, 1839: Clara Wieck (19) departs Leipzig for a concert tour to Paris with Claudine Dufourd, a French woman hired by her father to accompany her.
February 6, 1839: Clara Wieck (19) arrives in Paris from Leipzig, having traveled only with a French woman previously unknown to her. She will stay there for six months, eventually living with her friend, Emilie List.
March 21, 1839: Clara Wieck (19) makes her Paris debut in the Salle Erard. The same evening she plays for Paris society at the home of Pierre Zimmerman, a professor of piano at the Conservatoire. She creates a “sensation.”
April 9, 1839: Clara Wieck (19) writes to Schumann from Paris. She has discovered that her friend Emilie List has been corresponding with her father who threatens to disinherit her and begin a lawsuit against both of them unless their relationship is broken off.
August 18, 1839: Robert Schumann (29) meets Clara Wieck (19) for the first time in over a year, in Altenburg, near Leipzig. It is also the first time they have met since asking her father’s consent to marry. They will spend a few days together and go to Leipzig separately. When Clara arrives, she finds that she is no longer welcome in her father’s house.
January 19, 1840: Clara Wieck (20) plays a concert in Berlin in a state of nervous exhaustion due to the court case with her father. “...my limbs were so weak that I could not lift my hand.” She fortifies herself with champagne and actually blacks out a few times during the performance. Nobody notices.
March 22, 1840: Clara Wieck (20) writes to Robert Schumann (29) from Berlin, “When I heard Liszt (28) for the first time, at Graf’s in Vienna, I was overwhelmed and sobbed aloud, it so shook me. Don’t you feel the same, that it is as though he wanted to be absorbed by the piano? And then again, how heavenly it is when he plays tenderly...” (Williams, 126)
June 5, 1840: After nine months of living with her mother in Berlin, Clara Wieck (20) returns to Leipzig.
August 11, 1840: Clara Wieck (20) performs at the Grand Ducal Court in Weimar. Among the guests are the Empress of Russia and several foreign dignitaries. Unfortunately, the royals talk through the entire program, and allow their dogs to bark at will.
September 12, 1840: 10:00 After more than a year of legal wrangling with Friedrich Wieck, Robert Schumann (30) and Clara Wieck are married at the Gedächtniskirche in Schönefeld, near Leipzig, before a small group of family and friends. Today is the eve of Clara’s 21st birthday, at which time she will not require her father’s consent to marry.
March 31, 1841: Symphony no.1 “Spring” by Robert Schumann (30) is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, directed by Felix Mendelssohn (32). Also premiered today is Mendelssohn’s Allegro brillant op.92 for piano duet, and a song by Clara Schumann, Am Strande to words of Burns. Overshadowing all the music is the return to the Leipzig stage of Clara Schumann (21) for the first time since her marriage. She receives thunderous and lasting applause after each piece. And she is four months pregnant.
December 6, 1841: Two orchestral works by Robert Schumann (31) are performed for the first time, in Leipzig: Symphony no.4 (first performed as Symphony no.2) and Overture, Scherzo and Finale op.52. Franz Liszt’s (30) Studentenlied aus Goethes Faust for male chorus is performed for the first time on the same program. Clara Schumann (22) plays duets with Liszt, who is the star of the evening.
December 17, 1841: Robert (31) and Clara Schumann (22) give a small party in Leipzig. “Liszt (30) came--as always, very late! He seems to love making people wait for him, which displeases me. I find him just like a spoilt child, good-natured, masterful, kind, arrogant, noble, and generous, often severe towards others--a strange mixture. We have become very fond of him, however, and towards us he has never behaved in any but the friendliest way.”
February 25, 1842: After a concert by Clara Schumann (22) in Oldenburg, she is honored by a gathering at court, to which her husband Robert (31) is excluded. She decides to attend anyway.
March 10, 1842: In Hamburg on his wife’s concert tour, Robert Schumann (31) leaves his “undignified situation” and returns to Leipzig. Clara Schumann (22) continues on to give performances in Copenhagen. According to her, this is “the most miserable day of our marriage up to now; we parted, and it seemed to me that I would never see him again.”
March 20, 1842: Clara Schumann (22) arrives in Copenhagen for a stay of almost a month. She will meet the Danish royal family, Hans Christian Andersen, Niels Gade and will give seven successful performances.
March 22, 1842: Clara Schumann (22) meets Hans Christian Andersen for the first time, in Copenhagen. He will attend all seven of her concerts.
June 8, 1842: Clara Schumann (22) offers her song Liebeszauber to her husband Robert on the occasion of his 32nd birthday.
February 3, 1843: Friedrich Wieck visits his daughter, Clara Schumann (23), in Leipzig. It is their first meeting since the contentious court battles preceding her marriage in 1840. They begin to effect a reconciliation.
December 25, 1843: Robert (33) and Clara Schumann (24) spend the Christmas season in Dresden at the home of her father. They have effected a temporary reconciliation.
March 5, 1844: Clara Schumann (24) is named an honorary member of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society.
March 24, 1844: Clara Schumann (24) gives a private performance for Tsar Nikolay and the Russian royal family in St. Petersburg.
December 5, 1844: Clara Schumann (25) plays Beethoven’s (†17) Emperor Concerto in public for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus. It is “the hardest concerto I know.” It is her last performance there as a citizen of Leipzig. The Schumanns are moving to Dresden.
August 1, 1846: Clara Schumann (26) probably suffers a miscarriage on the island of Norderney where she and Robert (36) have gone for a vacation.
January 1, 1847: Robert (36) and Clara (27) Schumann give their third concert in Vienna. Clara plays Schumann’s piano concerto, conducted by the composer, as well as music of Chopin (36) and Mendelssohn (37). Eduard Hanslick reports, “Attendance was very poor, the applause cool and obviously only directed to Clara.” It is the first time that a concert involving Clara Schumann loses money.
January 10, 1847: Jenny Lind participates in a concert by Clara Schumann (27) in Vienna, ensuring a success.
January 15, 1847: Trio for piano and strings op.17 by Clara Schumann (27) is performed for the first time, in Vienna, the composer at the keyboard.
March 15, 1847: Clara Schumann (27) writes from Berlin: “I have taken a great fancy to Madame Hensel and feel especially attracted to her in regard to music, we almost always harmonize with each other, and her conversation is always interesting, only one has to accustom oneself to her rather brusque manner.” (Todd, Fanny Hensel, 337)
May 7, 1849: 03:00 Clara Schumann (29), seven months pregnant, travels from Maxen to Dresden (partly on foot) and arrives in the middle of an artillery barrage. She retrieves her three younger children and returns them safely to Maxen by 11:00. Robert (38) can not accompany her for fear of being impressed into the revolution.
September 9, 1852: At Scheveningen, a spa near The Hague, Clara Schumann (32) suffers a miscarriage.
December 20, 1853: Clara Schumann (34) completes her 13 concert tour of the Netherlands in the French Theatre in Amsterdam.
May 25, 1854: A copy of the Sonata in b minor for piano by Franz Liszt (42), dedicated to Robert Schumann (43) (now in an insane asylum), arrives in Düsseldorf at the home of Clara Schumann (34). She calls it “merely a blind noise--no healthy ideas anymore, everything confused, one cannot find a single, clear harmonic progression...It really is too awful.”
May 30, 1855: Franz Liszt (43) and Joseph Joachim spend a musical evening at the home of Clara Schumann (35) in Düsseldorf. They play the music of Robert Schumann (44), presently in an insane asylum. Clara tells her diary of Liszt, “But it was so horrible, that my feelings could find an outlet only in tears. How he banged the piano, and what a tempo he took! I was beside myself that His work should be so desecrated in these rooms...” (Williams, 317)
April 14, 1856: Clara Schumann (36) makes her London debut playing Beethoven’s (†29) Emperor Concerto in the Hanover Square Rooms. “A positive sensation, even among those who are moved with difficulty.”
July 14, 1856: After Clara Schumann (36) learns that Robert (46) has spent the last two weeks picking names out of an atlas, and that swollen feet have confined him to bed, she goes to the insane asylum at Endenich to see for herself. As always, Dr. Franz Richarz refuses to allow her to see him, although he does inform her that her husband has less than a year to live.
July 27, 1856: Clara Schumann (36) returns to Endenich to see her husband (46) for the first time in two-and-a-half years. He appears to recognize her but can not communicate.
July 28, 1856: Clara Schumann (36) and Johannes Brahms (23) begin a constant vigil outside the room of Robert Schumann (46) in Endenich. “He smiled, and put his arm round me with a great effort, for he can no longer control his limbs. I shall never forget it. Not all the treasures in the world could equal this embrace.”
July 31, 1856: 19:00 The mortal remains of Robert Schumann are laid to rest in the Alter Friedhof, Bonn in the presence of family members, Johannes Brahms (23) and Joseph Joachim, but without great ceremony. Clara Schumann (36) does not accompany the coffin to the cemetery, remaining in the chapel, weeping and praying. As the small funeral procession winds through Bonn, ordinary citizens stream towards the street. The poet Klaus Groth will remember, “…it was as if the people of Bonn, quite suddenly and involuntarily, had felt the message run through their minds that one of the noblest of Germans was on his last journey.”
October 28, 1856: With seven children to support, Clara Schumann (37) gives her first concert after her husband’s death, in Karlsruhe.
November 27, 1857: Clara Schumann (38) writes to Joseph Joachim that she has had to cancel several concerts because of intense rheumatism. Opium has been prescribed.
January 15, 1861: The first two of the Twelve Songs and Romances op.44 for unaccompanied chorus by Johannes Brahms (27) are performed for the first time, in Hamburg: Der Holdseligen sonder Wank, to words of Voss, and Von allen Bergen nieder, to words of Eichendorff. Brahms’ Songs for female chorus, two horns and harp op.17 are performed completely for the first time, conducted by the composer. This is part of a joint concert by Brahms, Joseph Joachim and Clara Schumann (41) which includes Beethoven’s (†33) Kreutzer Sonata and Robert Schumann’s (†4) Variations for two pianos op.46.
April 10, 1868: Movements from Ein deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms (34) are performed in Bremen Cathedral conducted by the composer. Sections 4, 6 and 7 are heard for the first time. Many eminent musicians from around Europe attend including Clara Schumann (48), Joseph Joachim and Max Bruch. The performance is a universal success. See 18 February 1869.
January 5, 1870: The Liebeslieder waltzes op.52 for vocal quartet and piano-four hands by Johannes Brahms (36) to words of Daumer are performed completely for the first time, in the Kleiner Redoutensaal, Vienna, the composer and Clara Schumann (50) at the piano. See 6 October 1869, 19 March 1870 and 14 November 1874.
June 5, 1872: Triumphlied for baritone, chorus and orchestra by Johannes Brahms (39) to words from the Bible is performed completely for the first time, in the Karlsruhe Hoftheater. It is spectacularly successful. Clara Schumann (52), who is present, writes that it is “certainly the deepest and grandest piece of church music since Bach.”
September 8, 1875: In Munich, Clara Schumann (55) witnesses a performance of Wagner’s (62) Tristan und Isolde for the first time. “It is the most repulsive thing I ever saw or heard in my life.”
October 20, 1878: The Frankfurt Conservatory fetes their newest faculty member, Clara Schumann (59). She is escorted down a flower-strewn path to a chair bedecked with garlands to listen to speeches, receive a laurel wreath, and listen to a concert of her own works by students and teachers.
October 24, 1878: Clara Schumann (59) is given a day of celebration in Leipzig, commemorating the 50th anniversary of her first public performance at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. In the morning she receives numerous presents, telegrams and flowers. At her concert, she plays Robert Schumann’s (†22) Piano Concerto. The orchestra presents her with a laurel wreath, with the names of composers whose music she performed during her career on the leaves. Later, she attends a party in her honor, serenaded by the Paulinerchor on her arrival.
May 2, 1880: A Robert Schumann (†23) memorial sculpted by Adolf von Donndorf is unveiled in Bonn. The music for the three-day event is provided by Johannes Brahms (46) and Joseph Joachim. Clara Schumann (60) is somewhat disappointed. “We could not get to like the relief; the likeness is not bad but it lacks the spiritual expression.”
September 21, 1887: Joseph Joachim and Robert Hausmann meet with Johannes Brahms (54) in Baden-Baden, together with Clara Schumann (68), to run through the new Double Concerto. Clara sees it as a reconciliation. It is the first time Brahms and Joachim have seen each other in years. The concerto is deemed a success.
November 1, 1892: An obituary for Robert Franz written by Eduard Hanslick appears in the Neue Freie Presse. "With the death of Robert Franz, the last of the glorious circle has now departed which in youthful enthusiasm rallied around the banner of Romanticism unfurled by Mendelssohn and Schumann...Only Clara Schumann remains as the Madonna of the Davidsbündler-and God grant her a long life! The last fading lights are now extinguishing from Leipzig's golden age. Robert Franz was one of the most appreciated and talented of this circle." (Haas, 48)
May 20, 1896: Afternoon. Clara Wieck Schumann dies at Myliusstrasse 32 in Frankfurt, German Empire, following two strokes, aged 76 years, eight months and seven days.