Photo credit Alisa Connan
I am absolutely delighted to be able to bring to the 2024 festival a concert that is very different. To begin with, it is on a Sunday at 4pm, and this is to cater for Patricia Hodge’s theatre schedule.
I, Clara was written by Lucy Parham in 2019 to celebrate 200 years since Clara Wieck/Schumann’s birth, and tells her extraordinary life story in Clara’s own words. The ‘show’ (for want of a better word) will consist of an 80 minute monologue by Patricia which is drawn from Clara’s letters and diaries, and is interspersed with live performances, given by Lucy, of Clara’s works, plus music by Robert Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Chopin and Mendelssohn. After the performance, there will be a short interval, where people can buy refreshments, followed by a question and answer session to both Lucy and Patricia. This show can be quite moving and the Pianist Magazine commented:
“A beautifully crafted portrait of Clara Schumann. Be prepared to shed a tear”
Lucy Parham is a professor of the piano at the Guildhall school of Music, London, as well as being a superb touring concert pianist. Lucy was the piano winner of the 1984 BBC Young Musician of the year (where she met Emma Johnson). She has appeared at all the major venues in London and around the UK, and is frequently heard on BBC Radio 3, the Today Programme and Woman’s Hour.
Patricia Hodge needs little, if any, introduction. An acclaimed international actress famous for her TV roles in ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’, ‘Miranda’, and ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. Her large body of work also includes the TV adaption of ‘The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil’ and ‘Hotel du Lac’. Her stage roles number over 30 and she is the recipient of a BAFTA and numerous Olivier awards.
Clara Schumann was a truly exceptional woman, not just a devoted wife to the composer Robert Schumann, but a ground-breaking musician in her own right. Over a period of 60 years she gave 1,500+ concerts and determined the format of the kind of piano recital that is familiar to us today.
She was a child prodigy, groomed for stardom by her piano-teacher father, Friedrich Wieck. By the age of eight she was dazzling audiences throughout Europe. Having married Robert against her father’s wishes, she became the mother of eight children. When her husband declined tragically into mental illness and an attempt at suicide, she continued both to run the household and to make an international concert career to support the family. Th