2nd May: Lunchtime Concert – “There’s something about Clara”

In our first lunchtime concert of 2017 to feature a singer, cathedral lay clerk Jonathan Hanley takes a break from his day job as St John’s parish administrator, and performs for us some of the 19th century’s most beautiful songs, works by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, including one of Schumann’s great song cycles, his opus 39, “Liederkreis”.

Ben Horden will provide the piano accompaniment for Jonathan’s fine tenor voice.

As usual the café will be open from noon, serving a range of hot drinks and homemade quiche, cakes, scones etc. All profits from the café will go to The Green Backyard.

The concert will begin promptly at 1pm. Admission is free, but those who are able to afford it are asked to make a donation. The suggested amount is £4.

Something about Clara!

Clara Wieck, who was already touring Europe as pianist from the age of 11, earning the admiration of such heroes of the Romantic Era as Goethe, Paganini, and Chopin, was only 18 years old when in 1837 she received and accepted a proposal of marriage from composer Robert Schumann, nine years her senior, and then a pupil of her father Friedrich. Friedrich was bitterly opposed to the proposed marriage, and the couple were only united in 1840, after successfully suing Friedrich and obtaining a judge’s permission to marry. In the years that followed, inspired by his love for Clara, Robert composed many wonderful songs. In 1853 the young Brahms, then only 20, became a protégé of the couple, but in 1854 tragedy struck, when Robert, in the grip of mental illness, attempted suicide and was confined to an insane asylum for the remainder of his life. Brahms had been staying with the family and continued to live with Clara and her children until Robert’s death two years later in 1856, and he and Clara remained devoted friends until their deaths, only eleven months apart, some forty years later. So it was that Clara, herself a composer, became the inspiration for two other great German composers.