I'm writing this when politics around the world is volatile, the virus is still creating havoc, lockdowns are in abundance in many countries, and in the UK, our government has told us that Christmas has to be severely restricted, from five days to just one. It's all very bleak.
I would like this to be a gentle distraction from everything out there, so I have collected together a few wonderful historical recordings both recorded in the 1950’s of two of Clara Schumann’s best students when they were at the end of their lives. Both reminisce about Clara Schumann and Brahms, and each recording has examples of their own playing.
Ilona Eibenschutz describes her friendship with Brahms, how she heard him play his Op 117, Op 118 piano pieces to her privately and then she gave their first performance in London. She said that he "played as if he were improvising, with heart and soul, sometimes humming to himself, forgetting everything around him. His playing was altogether grand and noble, like his compositions."
The recording stops before the intermezzo she mentions, so here it is on another recording with a Schumann Romanze.
Adelina De Lara describes more specifically how Clara Schumann taught and what she was like. For pianists in particular, this is a gem.