Clara Schumann (1819-1896) was a virtuosic pianist, composer, and piano pedagogue. From the age of eleven, she maintained a sixty-one-year concert career, touring throughout Europe. Her success as a concert artist secured essential income for her family, including her husband, the renowned composer Robert Schumann, who suffered from mental illness, and their eight children. She began composing as a child, and her compositions later included solo piano pieces, chamber music, choral works, and Lieder (songs).
In German Romantics: Clara, streaming on INVISION, The Pleiades Project reconceptualizes the three Lieder of Clara Schumann’s Op. 12 through film, which were originally part of a twelve-song collection jointly published by Clara and Robert to poetry by Friedrich Rückert. Soon after their marriage in 1841, Robert urged Clara to collaborate on a compositional project. Clara began to work on the songs of Op. 12, although she found the compositional process challenging. As the set took shape, Clara struggled with an ambivalence towards her own compositions.
While these songs may have marked the beginning of Clara and Robert’s union, the protagonist of German Romantics: Clara navigates Op. 12 as she copes with the end of an important partnership. As she comes to terms with the conclusion of this cherished chapter in her life, her imagination travels to vibrant fantasy worlds of the past. In becoming the heroine of her own story, our protagonist reaches closure and enters a new world of possibilities.
Starring Noelle McMurtry (soprano) as Clara and Marina Iwao (piano)
Caroline Miller, Director
Elizabeth Van Os, Director of Photography
Caroline Miller, Audio Editing
Noelle McMurtry, Dramaturg
Brian K. Shaw and Noelle McMurtry, Costume Design