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But," he adds, "if she inspired music like Schumann's C major Fantasie then I don't care what sort of woman she was.
It's what she meant to Schumann that counts." Lane's recital series at the Wigmore Hall includes the Fantasie, a masterpiece from the courtship period.
Until then, Schumann filled his works with ciphers and sent them as coded love letters.
"It's interesting that in Schumann's song cycle, Frauenliebe und Leben, which is sometimes deemed demeaning to women, the protagonist is a very strong character. "She was only interested in her career." But after Schumann's breakdown, Clara had to support her children; presumably she had no choice but to resume performing?"Lots of people offered her assistance," Isserlis points out, "but the only person she allowed to help her was Paul Mendelssohn."Clara as an elderly, embattled lady was much more interesting than Clara as a simpering bride," Johnson says.
"And there was the fact that she had allowed one of her sons to die in someone else's arms while she was giving a concert." Eugenie had escaped relatively lightly, for the Schumanns comprised a tragic catalogue."But after Schumann died, Clara decided the Romances weren't good enough and destroyed them." He also points to an incident in 1854, when Clara was upstaged by the soprano Jenny Lind in a shared concert.