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Inspired by Love: A Vocal and Pianistic Delight

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

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The great German Romantic composers Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms shared more than just their love of music. They also loved the same woman.

Clara Wieck, a brilliant concert pianist and composer, was the daughter of Schumann’s piano teacher, Friedrich Wieck. Against the wishes of her father and following a long, acrimonious legal battle, Clara and Robert were married in 1840.

Thirteen years later, in 1853, 20-year-old Johannes Brahms presented himself with a letter of introduction at the Schumann’s home in Dusseldorf. He played some of his own compositions on the piano for the Schumanns, who were amazed by the young musician’s talent, and the three became good friends.

A year later at a concert in Leipzig, Clara played the Andante and Scherzo from Brahm’s Sonata in F minor, Op. 5 – the first time one of Brahms’ compositions was performed in public. From his letters of the time, it is clear that the young Brahms was in love with Clara but conflicted by his respect and admiration for her and her husband. Robert Schumann died in 1856 and in the following years, Clara and Brahms remained close friends and musical collaborators.

Now WAAPA will shine a spotlight on the music of these two giants of song from the Romantic era, performing Robert Schumann’s charming Spanisches Liebeslieder and Johannes Brahm’s endearing collection of love songs, Liebeslieder Waltzer in one unforgettable concert.

“There was such a close link between these two composers, their personal friendship and Clara, muse to both and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to program the two works together,” says Patricia Price, WAAPA’s Head of Vocal Studies and Opera. “The Schumann cycle was the inspiration for the Brahms cycle and both men were inspired by their love for Clara.”

Inspired by Love: Two Composers, One Muse will be performed by WAAPA’s Postgraduate Classical Vocal students with pianists Anna Sleptsova and David Wickham on Thursday, 7 April at 7.30pm in WAAPA’s Music Auditorium, under the musical direction of Patricia Price.

Solos, duets, trios and quartets for voices will be accompanied by the visually thrilling ‘piano four hands’ – two pianists playing together on a single piano. This sparkling evening of song promises to be collaborative music-making at its most dazzling.

For all venue and performance details, please visit the Inspired by Love: Two Composers, One Muse performance web page.

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