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Clara Schumann’s double life

Janice Galloway reclaims a life and the biographical novel

By Rebecca Abrams   July 2002

The name of Clara Schumann is eclipsed by that of her more famous husband, Robert. She is known as the devoted and long-suffering wife who played his work, composed a little, bore him eight children in 12 years, and supported him through his mental illness.

What is less well known is that she was herself a respectable composer and one of the most brilliant pianists of her day. Her reputation far outweighed her husband’s in his lifetime. Chopin and Liszt came to hear her. She commanded the devotion of Mendelssohn and Brahms, both of whom championed her career when Robert…

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