What is the course about?
At the time of her marriage, Clara Wieck was far and away more famous than her husband-to-be, Robert Schumann. A child prodigy who became a distinguished mature virtuoso, her career involved collaborations and friendships with numerous important musicians, writers, artists and others. A number of her most important female friends were not, as she was, in the public eye as a paid professional. This course provides an opportunity to explore Clara Schumann’s own biography as well as to lift the lid on the rich and crucially important world of the salon, and domestic cultural gatherings, in nineteenth-century life. Tutor: Dr Katy Hamilton [external website].
What will we cover?
- Clara Schumann’s training and performance career
- Her compositions, including collaborations with her husband
- Her importance to other composers as a performer and critic: Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms above all
- Her close working relationship with singers such as Pauline Viardot and Julius Stockhausen
- The significance of female poets and musicians in her social circle and as unofficial colleagues (for example, in providing poetry to be set to music)
- The interaction of public and private music-making in her career.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Summarise the importance of Clara Schumann as a virtuoso performer
- Outline the reasons for repertoire by women composers and poets conforming to a particular kind of shape
- Understand the importance of the social network in music-making and cultural discourse in nineteenth-century life.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior knowledge of the subject is required. You do not need to read music to take this course (although we will look at music notation for time-to-time). You will be asked to do some reading in class and between sessions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor presentation and explanation, including handouts, powerpoint slides or writing on a whiteboard
Guided listening and watching of audio and audio-visual examples
Class discussion and debate
Listening and reading outside class is encouraged and once enrolled further online resources will be recommended.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a notebook and pen.
You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details