1853 ff., 1869 Amsterdam

Amsterdam, around 1850, steel engraving (StadtMuseum Bonn)

In November and December 1853, Clara and Robert Schumann went on tour to the Netherlands, which turned out to be a great triumph. Schumann conducted his third symphony, Clara played amongst others his concert op. 134 for the first time. Both received numerous proofs of admiration and enjoyed the hospitality of friends. In Rotterdam, the couple was welcomed by 100 singers conducted by Johann Joseph Hermann Verhulst performing the choir of “Der Rose Pilgerfahrt” in front of the hotel. Recognition and tributes were very pleasant for the couple since the conflicts with the concert hall in Düsseldorf peaked out.

Felix Meritis in Amsterdam
The (still preserved) Felix Meritis Hotel in Amsterdam, where Clara Schumann guested with various concerts. Steel engraving, begin 19th century (StadtMuseum Bonn)

Clara Schumann returned in 1855 to Holland, but this time the circumstances were a lot more difficult, since her husband was in the asylum for already one year. Allthough Clara draw hope on recovery, she suffered from a bad physical health state and barely sat out the concerts. The audience in Rotterdam, Leiden, Utrecht, Amsterdam and The Hague was again enthusiastically celebrating the pianist. Furthermore, she had friends in many Dutch cities, who accommodated her with heartiness: in Utrecht she knew the elder brother of the in Brussel living Ferdinand Kufferath, Johann Hermann Kufferath; her student Emma Engelmann-Brandes or Verhulst in The Hague (conductor like Kufferath).

However, in Utrecht, Clara received a letter from her husband that plucked her heartstrings. Allthough she travelled in the company of her student Agnes Schönerstedt, she missed the close interchange of ideas with Johannes Brahms and she also suffered from loneliness.

Claras extended tour to the Netherlands in February 1860 promised better conditions. Her students in Utrecht gathered together and serenaded her and arranged torchlight procession in Clara Schumann’s honor. The two concerts in Amsterdam, where she performed Schumann’s piano concert and his piano trio in D minor were very successful, same for the further concerts in The Hague and Rotterdam. In latter city, Clara’s half brother Woldemar Bargiel was acting as musical director from 1864 onwards.

In 1863 and 1869 Clara performed two times in Amsterdam. During the former concert, she had to fight again with health problems (migraine and spasms). In 1869 she played ander the conduction of her dear friend Verhulst Beethoven’s third piano sonata in C minor. After Utrecht and 1860 Clara returned for four times: In January she performed two times in Amsterdam and also in Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague. In March 1876 she returned from one of her journeys to England and attended a exclusive Schumann evening, where she played the piano concert, a canon from op. 56 and one of the phantasy plays op. 12.

The fourth symphony, several songs, the overture to Manfred and the overture to Genoveva was also included in this concert.

In 1877, Clara’s performance was again crowned with success and she also received an invitation to the queen. On the 1st of Dec.ember 1883 she gave her last concert in Utrecht where she again performed Schumann’s piano concert and smaller pieces by Scarlatti and Chopin as well as her interpretation of the Paganini-Caprices by Schumann. Also on the program: Overture to Genoveva, mixed choirs of Schumann from op. 59 and op. 55, as well as Schubert’s symphony in C major DV 944.

(Julia M. Nauhaus, translated by Katharina Ma)

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