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Clara

by Janice Galloway

This novel is based on the life of Clara Schumann, the accomplished pianist and devoted wife of celebrated composer Robert Schumann. It's a fascinating and very personal portrayal of society in nineteenth century Germany. I found it passionate yet gentle, beautiful and very moving.

Extract

What did she do? She composed to keep her head from hurting, pieces not like Schumann's, not like Chopin's, like - like no one else's. For company she took extra singing lessons, exercises in orchestration. She took her faith in the biding of time. God loved patience. She knew it for a fact. She played. She played.

What did he do? Ah! At first he refused to believe it. He got drunk, he languished, he clung to his landlady who gave him a rent cut and a beer. He clung to the prose of Jean-Paul and the poetry of Schiller. He clung to Christel who clung back till both had mild abrasions. Then he found the ink. He wrote. He sent no letters but he wrote a great deal. A sonata, 'To Clara from Florestan and Eusebius' was delivered to the Wieck's front door in May. A sonata made of five notes falling. C-L-A-R-A. Let the pages fall at random, glance even for a moment and there it was - C-L-A-R-A - pulsing through the music like vesicles through meat.

Parallels

An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
The Last Master by John Suchet
Immortal Beloved - the film
 

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