Clara Wieck

Clara Wieck came to Zwickau for the first time as a thirteen-year-old child prodigy. Here, together with her father, the Zwickau Singing Society and musical director Meyer, she gave a concert on the 18th of November 1832 in the Gewandhaus (Cloth Hall) at which the first Robert Schumann composition premiere was held, namely that of the first movement of the G minor symphony, known today as the Zwickau Symphony. Clara Wieck also presented one of her compositions; sadly the Scherzo for Orchestra performed that night has been lost. It was never published. Together with her father, Clara Wieck performed his Notturno for Pianoforte and Physharmonica - the Physharmonica was a kind of travelling reed organ which Friedrich Wieck held in particularly high esteem as an instrument for practice. Wieck's Physharmonica was bequeathed to the Robert Schumann Collection from the estate of Clara's half-sister Marie Wieck at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, it is on display in the Memorial Room of the Robert Schumann House.

Clara Wieck (1840) watercolour pencil drawing by J. H. Schramm (Archive No. 10950-B2/A4)

Allegedly, on this first visit by Clara Wieck to Zwickau, as Robert Schumann's mother Christiane was standing at the window with Clara, and Robert Schumann walked past and waved up to them, she said prophetically: »One day you will have to marry my Robert!« Three years later, on St. Nicholas' Day in 1835, Clara Wieck once again gave a concert in Zwickau, this time in the Casino Hall of the Inn »Zur Grünen Tanne« on the Corn Market. The singer Auguste Piltzing, the sister of Robert Schumann's school friend, was also on the bill. This time, the programme featured Schumann's Toccata op. 7. In addition, Clara Wieck played works by Bach, Beethoven and Chopin, amongst others; this was an unusually demanding selection of pieces for the time.


The next time that Clara appeared on stage in Zwickau she had already been married to Robert Schumann for just over seven years. This time, not just a single composition by Schumann was performed; instead the occasion was a complete Schumann festival. For a concert in the Gewandhaus, the programme featured Schumann's C major symphony op. 61, his piano concerto op. 54 and the motet »Es ist bestimmt in Gottes Rat« op. 84, which was composed specially for the occasion. Hardly anyone could have guessed that this »Song of Farewell« (»Lied zum Abschied«) would indeed become Robert Schumann's farewell song to Zwickau; for the rest of his life, he never had another opportunity to visit his home city. Nevertheless, Clara Schumann returned to Zwickau. At a soiree in the German House (today's Student Club Tivoli) she played works by Schumann, Beethoven, Hiller, Chopin and Mendelssohn. Clara Schumann made the following entry in her diary regarding the concert:

Clara Schumann charcoal drawing by E. Bendemann (1859) (Archive No. 6025-B2)

»For the first time for many years, I played in Zwickau again ... quite a nice concert ... My sister-in-law, Pauline Schumann, came with her daugther Anna, which gave me great pleasure as I had not seen them since Robert's death.« (Bethold Litzmann, Clara Schumann. An Artist's Life Based on Material Found in Diaries and Letters. Vol. II, London 1913, S. 233).