ALEXANDRA GIJSBERTSEN BEENHOUWER
This brand new album for the very first time brings together the complete songs of Clara Schumann in the original key – a long-overdue present for the two hundredth anniversary of her birth! Why is this collection so compelling and vibrant? Because all the songs are heard in the original keys and in each case fittingly performed by a female or male voice. Miriam Alexandra and Peter Gijsbertsen of course contribute their share here, while Jozef De Beenhouwer’s experienced and sovereign piano accompaniment shows them in the very best light. Clara Schumann enjoyed international fame as a pianist and continued to concertize with great success throughout Europe even when she was the mother of a growing brood of children, a housewife, and her husband Robert’s assistant. She revealed her compositional talent while she was still a young girl- as the twelve-year-old’s “Der Wanderer” and “Der Wanderer in der Sagemuhle” demonstrate. Later Robert Schumann encouraged his beloved wife to compose new works and even published joint collections of their songs- a very unusual practice during a time when people at most turned up their noses at compositions by women. Clara reached one high point in her vocal oeuvre with the Jucunde songs. The demanding piano part reveals the keyboard virtuoso- but not without offering the singer sufficient room for the luscious design of this music radiating charm, mirth, and joie de vivre. Robert was especially fond of her last song based on Goethe’s “Veilchen,” even though it had to vie with Mozart’s setting.