Born in 1819, Clara Wieck was a celebrated piano prodigy who toured Europe and composed her first works before entering her teens.
Even after marriage—in 1840, to her tutor, Robert Schumann—Clara enjoyed great success as a concert pianist, performing works by her husband and other Romantic composer while also raising the couple’s eight children.
Yet recent years have brought renewed attention to Wieck-Schumann’s own compositions. At 8 p.m. Friday, April 12, Washington University’s Eliot Trio will perform one of her best-known works, the Piano Trio opus 17 in G minor, as part of its annual concert.
The program will open with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Trio (Sonata) in G major. Completed in 1786, the piece is second among the composer’s six piano trios, and the longest. It was likely written for Franziska von Jacquin, one of Mozart’s most talented students, and the daughter of his friend Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin.
Next will be Wieck-Schumann’s Piano Trio. Written in 1846, when the composer was pregnant with her fourth child (and thus unable to tour), the Piano Trio is among Wieck-Schumann’s most fully realized works. Divided into four movements—Allegro moderato, Scherzo: Tempo di Menuetto, Andante and Allegretto—the piece is notable for its lyrical expression, flowing melody and deft use of counterpoint.
Concluding the program will be Trio opus 8 in B major by Johannes Brahms. A close friend to both Schumanns, Brahms began the Trio in early 1854 and completed it shortly after spending a week in their company.
But in 1889, Brahms elected to revisit the work, announcing in a letter to Clara that, “I have rewritten my B major Trio…. It will not be as wild as before – but will it be better?” It is this version that the April 12 program will feature.
Named for university founder William Greenleaf Eliot, the Eliot Trio consists of Seth Carlin, professor of music and director of the piano program in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences; violinist David Halen, concertmaster for the St. Louis Symphony; and cellist Bjorn Ranheim, also with the St. Louis Symphony.
Tickets are $25, or $15 for seniors and Washington University faculty and staff, and $5 for students. The performance will take place in Holmes Lounge, located in Ridgley Hall, on the far side of Brookings Quadrangle, near the intersection of Hoyt and Brookings drives.
Tickets are available through the Edison Theater Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all Metrotix outlets. For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.