Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso

Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso

Susanna Reich
For ages 9 to 12
Clarion, 2005   ISBN: 978-0618551606

Often today people think of Clara Schumann as being the wife of a famous composer. In her own time though, Clara, and not her husband, was the one who lived in the limelight, a piano performer who moved audiences again and again with her superlative playing. She worked hard to familiarize her audiences with the works written by her husband and her friends, often being the first person to play the pieces in public. Clara had to try to find a balance between her work and the time that she spent with her large family. This was especially hard to do after her husband Robert died when he was only forty-six years old.

After Robert’s death Clara’s work was even more important as she was the sole provider for her children but for Clara playing the piano was much more than just a job. For her it was a calling. Playing the piano was vital for her well being and it helped her through the hard times. When Clara’s father imposed the long hours of practice on his daughter and when he drove her hard to improve her playing, he could not have known that his daughter’s music not only would make her famous, but it would also serve as her crutch when life was hard.

This beautifully presented biography highlights the life of a woman who refused to take a back seat in life. Instead she built a career for herself, becoming very famous in her own time, and showing the world that a woman not only could be a remarkable concert pianist and a teacher, but that a woman could also compose music. Despite a very hard life Clara never gave up and her story serves as an inspiration for musicians of all kinds right into the present day.