The program presents songs from Robert Schumann’s Myrthen, Op. 25, as well as their one cooperative compositional effort, Robert’s Op. 37 and Clara’s Op. 12.

Illustration of Robert Schumann talking to Clara Wieck who is seated at a piano

On Tuesday, May 31, Deutsches Haus at NYU will present a free concert, The Diary of Clara and Robert Schumann, by New York Poetry and Song.

Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck met when he was seventeen and she a pianist prodigy of eight years old. What unfolded over the ensuing years, as Robert briefly studied piano with Clara’s father and even boarded with the Wiecks, was a bond that blossomed into a romance. They would have to fight for their right to get married. Which they did, some twelve years later. The diary that began the first day of their marriage (September 13, 1840) was a weekly exchanged collection of their thoughts and business of the past week. The teasing tone of Robert’s statute to keep this co-journal, and Clara’s sincere and heartfelt consent, are a peek into their relationship and a foretaste of the diary that follows:

"If you agree with all this, wife of my heart, then sign your name underneath mine....I am truly your sincerely loving husband Robert, and you?" Clara responds with her signature underneath: "I too, your wife, Clara, who is devoted to you with her entire soul."

It is little wonder that their union should have been sweetened by initial struggle; but it was fortified by an intense love for one another, and for music.

This program presents songs from Robert Schumann’s Myrthen, Op. 25, as well as their one cooperative compositional effort, Robert’s Op. 37 and Clara’s Op. 12. In Myrthen, as in the diary, we find inside-jokes and gems, many composed while his future with Clara was yet uncertain. Robert had this “bouquet of songs” beautifully bound and given to Clara as a wedding present. The act of gifting one another music became a tradition in the Schumann household and prompted Robert’s desire that they should do something together. The result is the intertwining Op. 37/Op. 12, all of which use the poems from Friedrich Rückert’s Liebesfrühling (Love’s Springtime) – poems he wrote while courting his own wife.

The diary provides an intimate portrait into the lives of these artists: "our wishes, our hopes shall be recorded therein...it should also be a little book of requests that we direct toward one another whenever words are insufficient". These songs reach this same mark, where words are insufficient.

New York Poetry and Song is a concert series with the chief aim of creating coherent programs that engage the listener, irrespective of their previous exposure to classical music. Using songs, chamber music, and/or solo piano music, programs are bundled together by a cohesive thread to help the audience connect to the music. Linking ideas are discussed between pieces to allow listeners a big-picture scheme to hold on to. The entirety is presented in a digestible hour-long, intermission-free venture.

Artists: Sung Chung, Jazimina MacNeil and Suna Chung.

Events at Deutsches Haus are free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event, please send an email to deutscheshaus.rsvp@nyu.edu. As space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event to ensure you get a good seat.

Deutsches Haus is located at 42 Washington Mews, New York, N.Y. (212.998.8660).

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337