Due to the fact that Clara was on concert tours from October until May, she had to place her seven children with the grandparents, other relatives and friends, and later in various boarding houses. Berlin was of course the point of reference, where the family occasionally gathered, but the children still missed a place that was a home for them. Ludwig, Julie and Eugenie were accommodated separately, Elise was soon self-dependant, and Marie accompanied Clara on her journeys. Ferdinand and Felix stayed in boarding houses in Berlin. Only in summer all the family members gathered. That might have been the decisive reason for the purchase of the house in Lichtenthal bei Baden-Baden. In summer 1862 she spent a longer stay in this charming and very popular health resort. Her friend Pauline Viardot-Garcia, who also took up residence there the following year, persuaded her to buy a little cottage.
The move-in in summer 1863 was organized by the two eldest daughters. Marie kept the house together with a cook. Clara spent the whole summer on her children, gave them piano lessons and taught them in foreign languages, such as English and French. They read, played music together and did recreational walks in the surrounding area. The children considered these summers to their happiest times, despite the tense daily schedule. A lot of visitors came to this house in Lichtenthal No. 14. To some extent they stayed in the house, such as for example Clara’s longtime friend Rosalie Leser from Düsseldorf. Some of them were accomotaded close by, like her mother or half sisters Clementine and Cäcilie Bargiel, who spent a couple of weeks in summer 1866 in Baden-Baden. One of the most frequent visitors was Johannes Brahms, but also Joseph Joachim, Julius Stockhausen, Anton Rubinstein, Alyos Schmitt, Theodor Kirchner and Hermann Levi came by quite often. In 1873 Clara Schumann was unexpectedly visited by the writer Fanny Lewald and her husband Adolf Staht. The photographer Julius Allgeyer introduced the painter Anselm Feuerbach and his mother Henriette to Clara Schumann. Both at hers and at Pauline Viardots place they played music together. Aditionally to that Clara gave public concerts in Baden-Baden.
After the exhausting concert tours in winter, the summers were supposed to have time to recover and focus on the health condition, but inactivity was totally unimaginable for Clara Schumann. When the weather was too hot, she left Baden-Baden and travelled to her beloved Swiss Alps.
In September 1869, the third daughter Julie married the count Vittorio Radicati di Marmorito and moved from Baden-Baden to the castle Passerano close by Turin. It wasn’t easy for the mother to say goodbye, also because she was always worried about Julie’s bad health condition. Still after the sale of the cottage in 1873, Clara and her daughters returned frequently to this place in summers and falls.
A joyful day in Baden-Baden was Clara Schumann’s 70th birthday, which she celebrated with a lot of friends and family in this intimate ambience.
(Julia M. Nauhaus, translated by Katharina Ma)
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