Clara Schumann (Sept. 13, 1819 - May 20, 1896) was a German composer and pianist, born to musical parents in Leipzig. Her father was well-known throughout Leipzig, where he sold and repaired pianos, and gave piano lessons. She took lessons from him, and he also made sure she was educated in music theory, counterpoint, harmony, and composition. She had her first recital at age 10, and had a wildly successful career as a pianist from that point onward, receiving praise from audiences and critics alike. The day before she turned 21 she married composer Robert Schumann.

Equally gifted as a composer as she was a pianist, she wrote many works that thankfully are beginning to get more attention from pianists and listeners. Her Impromptu in E Major is wonderfully bright piece written in 1844, but wasn't published until 1885. The main theme climbs up and down chromatically, and her use of all those half-steps gives it a salon-like quality. Coming in at a little over three minutes, it's short but sweet!

Here are some recordings of this lovely work for you to enjoy:*

Junghwa Lee
Michal Tal

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