Mariane Wieck-Bargiel, née Tromlitz (1797–1872), mother of Clara Schumann

Mariane Bargiel, Fotoreproduktion nach einem Gemälde

Mariane Bargiel, photographical reproduction
based on a painting


Mariane Tromlitz was the granddaughter of the famous flute virtuoso Johann Georg Tromlitz and daughter of cantor Georg Christian Gotthold Tromlitz in Plauen. Mariane was initially a student of Friedrich Wieck, before she married him in 1816 at the age of 19. The talented musician sang in the first year of their marriage solo parts in the weekly happening Gewandhaus concerts. She also continued to take piano lessons; she played the piano better than her husband, whose reputation as a businessman and piano pedagogue became better and better as a as a result of Mariane's artistic successes.

Like her husband, Mariane gave piano and singing lessons. She also took care of the household and gave birth to five children during her marriage with Friedrich Wieck, of which two (Adelheid and Viktor) died at an early age. The second child, Clara Josephine, was born in Plauen, and after the birth of her two sons Alwin and Gustav Mariane continued in giving concerts at the Gewandhaus. On 12 May 1824, Mariane returned with her four and a half year old daughter Clara and the three-month-old infant Viktor returned to her parents in Plauen.

According to Saxon law the three oldest children belonged to the father, and so Clara was allowed to stay with her mother and grandparents until her fifth birthday. On 22 January 1825 Mariane and Friedrich Wieck were divorced. Although Mariane knew that the divorce reflected badly on her and she would lose her children, she found herself forced to take this step because she apparently could no longer endure the marriage with Friedrich Wieck. Wieck was sometimes very gruff and hot-tempered, constantly controlled and to some degree  also shortchanged his wife. The burden of pregnancy, the practice under Wieck's instructions, performing as a singer and pianist, teaching, helping in the business and the care of friends and business partners demanded a lot from the young woman. Already at the time of her marriage Mariane had contact to Adolph Bargiel, perhaps, she took piano lessons with him. She married him in August 1825. As long as Mariane was living with and her second husband in Leipzig, she was allowed to see her children, including Clara.

When Adolph Bargiel took over a piano school in Berlin, the contact reduced due to the distance. Although Clara corresponded with her mother and met with her from time to time, but the main caregiver was from then on Friedrich Wieck. Mariane found in Adolph Bargiel a gentle, loving man, who unfortunately had little business sense. He had a very solid musical education, but after he was forced to close the piano school in 1830 because of a cholera epidemic, and soon after suffered a stroke, Mariane maintained the family – she had four more children with Bargiel – by exhausting teaching. Sometimes she had to make use of financial help from friends, later also from Clara and Robert Schumann. She tended her husband devotedly until his death.

Clara became closer to her mother again when the break of relationship with her father in 1839 was no longer to avoid and Clara found a home in Berlin. Robert Schumann had a very good relationship with Mariane Bargiel. Latter often came to visit Clara, especiall to assist her during or after the birth and temporarily took care some of her grandchildren after Schumann's death.

(Julia M. Nauhaus, translated by Katharina Ma)

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