Adolph Bargiel (1783–1841), stepfather

Adolph Bargiel, oil painting
Adolph Bargiel, oil painting (cf. https://staatsbibliothek-berlin.de)

Clara Schumann’s mother Mariane married her second husband, the violinist, piano and singing teacher Adolph Bargiel, in 1825. Bargiel was running a singing school in Leipzig according to the Logier method between 1822 and 1825. In 1826, the couple moved to Berlin where Bargiel assumed the direction of the Logier Academy which was very successful initially. However, the School had to close as early as 1830, as many pupils stayed away from lessons due to a cholera epidemic in Berlin and there was thus a lack of revenues. In 1836, Bargiel suffered a stroke and Mariane Bargiel cared for him; after his passing, she gave piano lessons to maintain her family. The joint children were Woldemar (1828–1897), Eugen (1830–1907), Cäcilie (1832–1910), and Clementine (1835–1869).

Clara Wieck went to see her mother and stepfather in Berlin several times, for instance, in April 1835, on her return from a tour in northern Germany, or in February/March 1837, during her first concert tour in Berlin. Between September 1839 and the beginning of June 1840, due to the rift with her father, Friedrich Wieck, Clara stayed with the Bargiels in Berlin, who accommodated her at that difficult time. The Bargiels first lived directly by the Logier Academy at Behrenstraße street 32, then, after moving twice, at Unter den Linden boulevard 24 until the end of September 1839, and at Hinter der Katholischen Kirche street 2 until 1841. In 1839/40, although Clara stayed with Mariane and Adolph Bargiel with some interruptions (concert tours, going to see Schumann in Leipzig), she still witnessed the cramped living conditions of the family. These, however, did not prevent the Bargiels from accommodating the regular and always welcome visitor Robert Schumann in their flat at Christmas 1839 and Easter 1840, as can be seen in a letter by Clara to Robert: “[… Bargiel is letting you know he would be most pleased to make room for you if you wished to come, and that he would be offended if you did not want to stay with us. You are right this would also save you some money; if only you will not find the room too little and our whole way of living too simple for you …].” Clara’s diary entries and letters to Robert Schumann of that time also occasionally mentioned her mother’s financial worries and the condition of her ill stepfather. In October 1839, Clara helped her mother financially with state bonds issued to Robert Schumann. After Adolph Bargiel’s passing on 4th February 1841, Clara wrote in the marriage diary: “[… he was a most righteous person, dedicated, on ill and healthy days, with all his soul to the art, of which he was very knowledgeable. I hope my poor mother, once she has found some solace after this painful loss, will be able to lead a quiet life which she has needed for such a long time; as otherwise, if this illness had gone on like this, it would certainly have ruined herself as well. He had been ill for five years during which time my mother was taking full care of him. May heaven soon give her a better and more carefree life].”

Cf. Hanna Bergmann: “[Bargiel, Marianne, Mariane, née Tromlitz, married Wieck, married Bargiel].” Online: Lexikon Europäische Instrumentalistinnen des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts. Sophie Drinker Institut 2009, URL: https://www.sophie-drinker-institut.de/bargiel-marianne [31.7.2020].

Cf. Clara Wieck, Jugendtagebücher 1827‒1840, edited by Gerd Nauhaus and Nancy B. Reich, with the collaboration of Kristin R.M. Krahe, Hildesheim, 2019, pp. 237, 256, 342, 388.

Cf. Elisabeth Schmiedel and Joachim Draheim: Eine Musikerfamilie im 19. Jahrhundert: Marianne Bargiel, Clara Schumann, Woldemar Bargiel in Briefen und Dokumenten, Vol. 1, Munich et al., 2007.

Adolph Bargiel (1783-1840), Pastell/Pastell, ca. 1810 ( https://staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/fileadmin/user_upload/06-15.pdf#page2)

(Theresa Schlegel, 2020, translated by Th. Henninger)

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