12 Clara Schumann pieces you should know [Playlist]

By Daniel Goldberg |

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Clara before she was a Schumann: this painting was completed just months before Clara Wieck married Robert Schumann. Johann Heinrich Schramm, 1840.

Clara Schumann was one of the 19th century's most celebrated composers and performers for the piano. Ahead of the 200th anniversary of her birth (she was born on September 13, 1819), celebrate her with a playlist of some of her greatest compositions.

Clara Schumann (née Wieck) was born in Leipzig into a musical family that nurtured her skills at the piano from a young age. As a child prodigy, she wowed European audiences performing strictly from memory in recitals the music of Bach, Beethoven, and other German composers, an uncommon practice at the time. Her performing career thrived in an era when, outside of singers, women artists almost never performed in public. She went on to champion and premiere works of her husband Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn, Joseph Joachim, among many others.

Clara was known as a great pianist, but she deserves greater recognition for her accomplishments as a composer, which were overlooked in part because of her gender and because of the popularity of her husband's music. Primarily consisting of solo piano works, chamber music, and lieder, Clara Schumann's compositions are melodic, romantic, and virtuosic. Her music was not popularized until the mid-20th century, and her works are now considered as an important part of 19th-century musical Romantic era. Below, find a selection of some of her greatest works.