Created to celebrate 200 years since Clara Wieck Schumann’s birth in 1819, I, Clara tells her extraordinary life story in her own words.
Clara Schumann was a truly exceptional woman, not just a devoted wife to the composer Robert Schumann, but a groundbreaking musician in her own right. Over a period of 60 years she gave over 1,500 concerts and determined the format of the kind of piano recital that is familiar to us today.
As a child prodigy, she was groomed for stardom by her piano-teacher father, Friedrich Wieck. By the age of eight she was dazzling audiences throughout Europe. Having married Robert against her father’s wishes, she became the mother of eight children. When her husband declined tragically into mental illness and an attempt at suicide, she continued both to run the household and to make an international concert career to support the family.
Clara championed the works of her husband and of Chopin, Mendelssohn, Brahms and many others. She herself was also a talented composer, producing a piano concerto, numerous solo piano works, chamber music and songs.
The narrative of I, Clara, drawn from letters and diaries, is interspersed with live performances of her works, and of music by Robert Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny Mendelssohn and Chopin.
Acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest pianists, Lucy Parham applies her sensitivity and imagination not only to concertos and recitals, but also to portraits in words and music of composers as Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and Debussy.
She came to public attention as the Piano Winner of the 1984 BBC Young Musician of the Year. Since her Royal Festival Hall concerto debut at age 16, she has played throughout the UK and around the globe. Lucy is also a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine, Pianist Magazine and the Guardian and appears frequently on BBC Radio 3 and 4, as a jury member for the final of Young Musician of the Year. Lucy is a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music, London.
For more information on Lucy Parham, visit www.lucyparham.com
Narrator Harriet Walter’s most recent theatre work is the all-female Shakespeare Trilogy at the Donmar, Kings Cross, playing Brutus, Henry IV and Prospero, sometimes all three in a day. The films of all three plays are available to watch online. With the same director, Phyllida Lloyd, she played Elizabeth I in Schiller’s Mary Stuart, winning the Evening Standard award for Best actress and a Tony award nomination when the play transferred to
In 2015 Harriet starred opposite Sir Antony Sher in Greg Doran’s production of
Death of a Salesman for the RSC at Stratford and at the Noel Coward Theatre in
London and she played opposite her husband Guy Paul in the 2-hander play Boa at
the Trafalgar Studios. She has played most of the major female Shakespearean
roles with the RSC of which she is an honorary associate artist, these include
Cleopatra opposite Patrick Stewart and Lady Macbeth opposite Sir Antony Sher.
Notable TV appearances include The Spanish Princess, Succession, Black Earth Rising
(Eve Ashby), Patrick Melrose (Princess Margaret), The Crown (Clemmie Churchill),
Lord Peter Wimsey (harriet Vane), Law and Order: UK (D.I. natalie Chandler),
Downton Abbey (lady Shackleton) and Clare in London Spy.
Harriet’s film appearances include The Sense of an Ending (with Jim Broadbent,
Charlotte Rampling and Michelle Dockery), Mindhorn, (with Julian Barratt). Denial
(with Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall), Star Wars: the Force
Awakens, (“co-star” Chewbacca), Suite Française, Man Up, The Wedding Video, Young Victoria, Babel, Sense and Sensibility and Louis Malle’s Milou en Mai.
She is the author of four books: Brutus and Other Heroines, Other People’s Shoes, Macbeth (Faber “Actors on Shakespeare” series) and the photographic book Facing It. Harriet was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Birmingham university and a CBE in 2000, and she was made
a Dame in 2011.
1 Schumann Romance in F sharp Op.28 No.2 3’53
2 It is enough… 1’28
3 Clara Wieck Romance in B Op.5 No.3 2’54
4 I was born Clara… 4’14
5 Clara Wieck Polonaise in E flat Op.1 No.1 2’44
6 The glowing reviews… 2’00
7 Chopin Nocturne in F sharp Op.15 No.2 3’37
8 Chopin’s compositions… 3’58
9 Clara Schumann/Liszt Geheimes Flüstern hier und dort 2’45
(Secret whisperings here and there)
10 For one and a half… 1’39
11 Clara Schumann Prelude in G minor Op.16 1’50
12 We eventually married… 2’11
13 Schumann Sonata No.2 in G minor Op.22 (1st movt) 6’40
14 The door to our house… 1’42
15 Mendelssohn Song Without Words in A Op.62 No.6 ‘Spring Song’ 2’23
16 after one year… 2’15
17 Liszt Un Sospiro (Etude de Concert no.3) 6’02
1 Clara Schumann Konzertsatz in F minor (extract)* 1’02
2 In our early years… 2’18
3 Clara Schumann Romance in E flat minor Op.11 No.1 3’10
4 In order to bring… 1’16
5 Schumann Erster Verlust (First loss) Op.68 No.16 1’27
6 a few years later… 1’48
7 Brahms Intermezzo in A Op.118 No.1 1’52
8 But as our life… 2’43
9 Schumann Intermezzo in E flat minor Op.26 2’13
10 The doctors at endenich… 3’21
11 Schumann Kind im Einschlummern (Child Falling asleep) Op.15 No.12 2’20
12 at just 36… 2’23
13 Schumann Arabesque Op.18 6’49
14 When I came out… 2’49
15 Brahms Ballade in G minor Op.118 No.3 3’40
16 I, Clara… 1’47
17 Schumann/Liszt Widmung (Dedication) 3’43
*BBC Concert orchestra
Lucy Parham piano Barry Wordsworth conductor