Clara and Robert. These two began their relationship as young lovers facing parental disapproval, marrying just before Clara’s 21st birthday in 1840. During their years together they both pursued careers in music as well as raising seven children, all of this ending in 1854 when Robert entered an asylum for the insane, dying there two years later. The year of their wedding is often called Schumann’s Liederjahr; during this ‘year of song’ he composed more than 150 songs, and his wedding gift to Clara was in fact a song cycle, Myrthen, Op. 25. Sixteen songs dated 1840 can be found here, including the Frauenliebe und Leben cycle, the crowning achievement of the year. But Robert also encouraged Clara to write songs and in 1841 they jointly published a collection entitled The Spring of Love. Clara had composed three of the songs (the 3 Lieder, Op. 3) and Robert the remaining nine, including Der Himmel hat eine Träne geweint, but at the first publication the authorship of the individual songs was left unspecified. As Clara would become aware, however, it was far more acceptable for a woman to perform music than to write it. At the age of 34 she stopped composing, but not before she had written further songs. Four of these can be found here, as can Robert’s final song cycle, composed in 1852 and focussing on the life and tragic end of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.
Animating these varied and various portraits, Miah Persson is increasingly in demand as a recitalist, parallel to her highly successful career in opera. Performing regularly with Joseph Breinl, she gives recitals in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Concertgebouw. For BIS she has previously recorded a collection of Mozart arias which caused reviewers to praise her voice (‘has a silvery purity that does not preclude sensuality and warmth’, Sunday Times) as well as her approach (‘Here nothing is contrived; it is sung with one ear listening to the heart…’ Diapason).