A Letter to Clara – With Hélène Grimaud

A reflection on love and music

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Jerzy May — Narrator

Elsa Hanewinkel — Clara Schumann

Volker J. Ringe — Robert Schumann

Sebastian Mirow — Johannes Brahms

Hélène Grimaud — Pianist

Albrecht Mayer — Oboist

Anne Sofie von Otter — Mezzo-soprano

Truls Mørk — Cellist

Staatskapelle Dresden

Esa-Pekka Salonen — Conductor

SWR Orchestra

Michael Gielen — Conductor

Program notes

Join brilliant French pianist Hélène Grimaud for a captivating journey into the life, loves, and music-making of Clara Schumann. Benedict Mirow’s exquisite documentary film sensitively knits together interviews with Grimaud and her colleagues, excerpts from Grimaud’s performances of works by Clara and Robert Schumann and Brahms, and dramatic readings of the three artists’ letters to one another.

Clara Schumann: virtuoso pianist and talented composer, beloved wife to Robert Schumann, and close confidant of Johannes Brahms. A touring superstar in an age when women were expected to keep out of the limelight, Clara’s long and complicated life—particularly well documented because countless numbers of well-preserved letters—has fascinated generations of musicians and music-lovers. A virtuoso pianist herself, Hélène Grimaud takes the time in this documentary to offer her own reflections on Clara. Her words are complimented by her performances of excerpts from Schumann's Romances Op. 94 with Albrecht Mayer and Piano Concerto in A Minor with the Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Johannes Brahms’s Cello Sonata No. 2 with Truls Mørk, and Lieder by Clara Schumann herself with Anne Sofie von Otter.

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

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