Geheimes Flüstern hier und dort
, Op. 23, No. 3
Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 9 Track 36
Her name reminds us of a conflict from the early years of her life: her father's vision of her future challenged by Robert's interest in her future. This child of divorced parents, who made good of her father's influence as a piano teacher, became a devoted wife. And, most interestingly, would survive her husband forty years.
It is my impression that in those forty some years, the Wieck/Schumann argument far behind her, Ms. Schumann was in a unique place in music history. She had the support of two of her children and a few friends. With her friends, good health and remarkable piano skills she was able to use that time to become perhaps the first pianist to thoroughly delve into the repertoire her late husband left behind. The tune we have here is memento of her marriage and the belief she shared with her husband that music should not do anything without meaning.
What I like about her song, written when she was thirty-four, is the appearance of seconds in the third line of the poem. Because the piano part, written by one with as speedy fingers as Liszt, is so understated, the listener is not overwhelmed and thus more sensitive to a change from thirds to seconds and back again.