Some good news for those of us who enjoy the shorter “traditional” Regencies! Signet/NAL is going to start re-releasing some older titles next year, in the form of of two-stories-in-one-volume omnibuses. Coming in Fall 2009 (just in time for Halloween!) you can find my two “ghost Regencies” One Touch of Magic and A Loving Spirit. In the meantime, look for the holiday anthology A Regency Homespun Christmas in October!

“Composing gives me great pleasure…there is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound” –Clara Schumann

And today is the 189th birthday of composer and pianist Clara Wieck Schumann, who was born September 13, 1819 in Leipzig. Her father (a rather, er, difficult man who was eventually divorced from her mother, a singer) was a renowned piano teacher. Early on he saw his daughter’s talent, and Clara gave her first concert at the age of 7 playing duets with him. She gave her first solo concert at the age of 11 before going on tour. She was known for playing her own compositions as well as Chopin, Mendelssohn, Scarlatti, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. (She performed for Goethe, and gained in him a new fan. He presented her with a medal inscribed “For the gifted artist Clara Wieck”)

In 1830, her father had a new pupil, the former law student Robert Schumann. By 1837, Clara’s career was blossoming (her Soirees musicales Opus 6 was particularly popular), and so was her romance with Robert. Her father did everything in his power to prevent their marriage, forcing the lovers to take him to court. They finally married on December 12, 1840. Clara went on composing and performing, despite having 8 children and taking charge of their household finances and duties due to her husband’s mental instability.

Following Robert’s death in 1856, she continued performing and teaching, and in 1876 was appointed teacher of the piano at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main, a post she held until 1892. She played her last concert in 1891, and died in 1896

A couple of good sources on her extraordinary life are Nancy B. Reich’s Clara Schumann: The Artist and the Woman and Monica Steegman’s Clara Schumann.

Who are some of your favorite composers? Or some of your favorite Regency romances? Have a great Saturday, Riskies!