Emilie Steffens, married Heydenreich (1830-1910)

Emilie Steffens came from Detmold to Dresden in 1848 to take piano lessons with Clara Schumann. In Robert Schumann's budget book, she is the first time mentioned on 27 February 1848. The couple Schumann took the 18 year old under their wing, and Emilie was often allowed to spend afternoons and evenings with them and also participated in private music events.

Especially in 1849 Schumanns took Emilie on trips and holidays were spent together. In 1848 and 1849 Emilie celebrated her birthdays with the Schumanns. She performed for the first time in public on 25 February 1849 in  Dresden - together with Clara Schumann and Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient. On 24 October the same year she was giving an own concert in her hometown, and on 6 Novemver 1849 she performed together with Joseph Joachim in Bremen. At that time she was already giving piano lessons. On 11 June 1851 she married the preacher Julius Carl Heinrich Heydenreich in Dresden, with whom she had two sons and a daughter. It seems that Emilie Steffens after her marriage did not appear on stage any longer. In April 1848 she joined a choral club as a contralto, which was founded by Schumann.

In March 1850 Clara confided Emilie with her children and the household, as the housekeeper was ill and she was staying in Leipzig and Hamburg. Even during a longer stay in Leipzig on occasion of the Genoveva rehearsals from 18 May until 10 July1850 Emilie was in charge of Schumann’s household. Most letters from Clara Schumann to Emilie Steffens, from the years 1849 and 1850, are preserved. The 25 letters of Clara Schumann and four letters from Emilie Steffens to Clara and Robert Schumann as well as their recollections are published in one volume in 2005: Alltag und Künstlertum. Clara Schumann und ihre Dresdner Freundinnen Marie von Lindeman und Emilie Steffens. Erinnerungen und Briefe nach den Quellen edited by Renate Brunner. Sinzig 2005, Schumann-Studien Sonderband 4. The correspondence ended in 1853, since Emilie's marriage in 1851 with the Rev. Carl Heinrich Heydenreich apparently caused estrangement.

Later, Clara Schumann alligned in letters to a mutual friend of Marie von Lindeman greetings to "Mrs. Heydenreich," and no longer used the familiar form that they were used to from their friendly intercourse in Dresden. On occasion of Clara Schumann’s 60th anniversary as an artist in 1888, Emilie Heydenreich congratulated her and gave a short overview of her last years, from which one can conclude that there was no previous contact for a long time. Her memories give interesting insights into the personalities of Robert and Clara Schumann, the activities of the choir singing group and the time of the intense intercourse between student and teacher in Dresden.

From the assets of the former student, memories of Clara and a valuable autograph album ended up in the collections of the Robert-Schumann-Haus Zwickau.

(J.M.N., translated by Katharina Ma)

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