Frühlingssinfonie (Spring Symphony) (1983)






Director:    Peter Schamoni.

Starring:    Nastassja Kinski (Clara Wieck), Herbert Gronemeyer (Robert Schumann), Rolf Hoppe (Friedrich Wieck), Anja-Christine Preussler (Clara as a child), Edda Seippel (Schumann's Mother), Andre Heller (Felix Mendelssohn), Gidon Kremer (Nicolo Paganini), Bernhard Wicki (Baron von Fricken), Sonja Tuchmann (Baroness von Fricken), Margit Geissler (Christeri).

German film (with subtitles).




Not a great movie.  It is the story of the famous musical composer Robert Schumann and his love affair with Clara Wieck, a well-known concert pianist of the Romantic period  (praised by Goethe, Mendelssohn, Paganini and Chopin) who became his wife.   Clara aides the ignored Schumann and his compositions by including his compositions in her concerts.  (Symphony No. 1 in B Flat, Op. 38, known as the  "Spring Symphony," was dedicated to her.)

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background:

1810  --  birth of Robert Schumann in Zwickau, Saxony. 

1816  --  at age 6 he began to compose music.

1819  --  Clara Josephine Wieck born. 

1826  --  he completed a novel "Juniusabende".

1826  --  his father died and his mother and guardian did not approve of a musical career for the young man. 

1828  -- he left school and later went to Leipzig to study law. 

1829  -- he went to Heidelberg, but his law studies took second place to his desire to compose music.

1830  -- he was back in Leipzig taking piano lessons with his old master, Friedrich Wieck.  But Robert soon injured his right hand permanently, which made any performance career out of the question.

1832 --  while Schumann was visiting his family  at Zwickau and Schneeberg, 13 year old Clara Wieck gave a concert at which she played Schumann's unpublished symphony in G minor.

1833  --  Schumann suffered the loss of his brother Julius and his sister-in-law Rosalie, leaving him in a state of depression.

1833  --  at age 14 Clara Wieck began composing her first work.

1834  --  Schumann was briefly engaged to sixteen year old Ernestine von Fricken.

1835  --  Schumann met Felix Mendelssohn at Wieck's house.

1835  --  at age 16 she completed her composition; she played with the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra, conducted by Mendelssohn.

1836  --  Schumann fell in love with Clara Wieck. 

1837  --  Schumann asked Clara's father for her hand in marriage, but was refused. 

1838  --  Schumann composed the Kreisleriana. 

1839  --  he visited Vienna and then composed Faschingschwank aus Wien.

1839  -- without the consent of her father, Robert and Clara married. 

1840  --  Robert composed around 150 musical works.

1840  --  the University of Jean bestowed the degree of Doctor on Robert. 

1841  --  Robert wrote two of his four symphonies.

1842  --  he devoted himself to composing chamber music

1843  --   the Conservatorium of Leipzig offered him a professorship.

first half of 1844  --  Robert was with his wife in Russia.

second half of 1844  --  back in Germany, he fell ill from nervous prostration.

1846  --  Robert recovered his health and revisited Vienna.

1847 (spring)  --  he traveled to Prague and Berlin.

1847 (summer)  --  he traveled to Zwickau, where he was well received.

1848  --  he wrote his opera Genoveva

1849  --  he composed the music to Byron's Manfred.

1850 --  he succeeded Ferdinand Hiller as musical director at Düsseldorf.

1851-1853   --  he visited Switzerland, Belgium and Leipzig. 

1853  --  the 20-year old Johannes Brahms met the couple.  He formed a friendship with Clara that lasted until her death. Later that year, she met violinist Joseph Joachim who was often her performance partner. 

1854  --  Robert again suffered from nervous prostration, this time even hearing imaginary voices.  He threw himself into the Rhine River, but was saved by boatmen on the river.  He was considered insane, probably suffering from bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) and he was placed in a private asylum in Endenich near Bonn.

1856  --  Clara performed in England; her husband's works were met with a chorus of disapproval.

1856  --  still in the asylum, Robert died. 

1865-1882  --  with the exception of four seasons, Clara returned annually to London  to perform. 

1885-1888  --  Clara performed in London. 

1878-1892  -- Clara was the teacher of the piano at the Hock Conservation at Frankfurt am Main. 

1896  -- death of Clara. 


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