It's fascinating to realize that many people have heard of Brahms, Bach and even Robert Schumann, Clara's husband, but few have ever heard about the renowned German composer and pianist, Clara Wicok Schumann. Clara was a child prodigy who started public performances in 1831 at age 9 under the tutelage of her father. This biography traces both Clara's musical career and her personal life which were both filled with struggles and challenges. Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to other famous musicians and composers who were friends of Clara's and who were in awe of her ability to make the piano sing. A wonderful story about a brilliant female musician.
Children's Literature - Pat Metz
Gr 3-6-Written in a clear and lively style, Her Piano Sang gives young readers insight into a female musician and composer of the romantic period. Starting with nine-year-old Clara's first concert as a professional pianist, Allman portrays an extremely talented, creative woman whose life was not easy. Clara Schumann had an overbearing, demanding taskmaster of a father and her husband, Robert Schumann, was a musical genius who suffered from mental illness, yet she was still able to perform, compose, and raise a family. More has been written about Robert, and it is refreshing to read about the Schumanns from Clara's perspective. Full-page black-and-white illustrations appear throughout. A worthwhile purchase.-Mollie Bynum, formerly at Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, AK
Clara (Wieck) Schumann was surrounded by music her entire life; her father devoted himself to grooming her as a concert pianist, and she became a virtuoso performer, playing her first concert at age nine. But Clara had more than her share of difficulties in life: She was separated from her mother at age five when her parents divorced; and although her father was a good music teacher, he was also controlling and overbearing, forbidding Clara's marriage to Robert Schumann. In straightforward prose, Allman chronicles Clara's refusal to give up her concert career after marriage, despite the conventions of the times. Robert suffered a complete mental breakdown and died years before Clara; the author makes plain to readers that throughout this tragedy, as in all aspects of Clara's life, music was her solace.
A fine introduction to a strong, disciplined artist. Haas's black-and-white illustrations feature unusual compositions and fit the text well.