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Interview SZ with descendant of Clara und Robert Schumann:

"All of him lies therein"

Rarely played works / Her own concerts not thought possible

By Thorsten Eberding

She does not have a lame finger. Nevertheless, she has inherited something from her celebrated great-great-grandparents, Clara and Robert Schumann. Music is a part of Barbara Schumann’s world, too. The descendent of the married couple of composers came to Sontraud Speidel's concert at the Sindelfingen Odeon. SZ spoke with Barbara Schumann, who lives in Cuxhaven.

SZ: "How do you feel having such celebrated ancestors?”

Barbara Schumann: "It's very nice for me. I enjoy people always being friendly to me, and shaking my hand. It allows me to have contact with many people, for example the director of the Schumann Museum in Zwickau, and many others. I travel a lot.”

SZ: "Do you participate in the management of the Schumann heritage?“

Barbara Schumann: "No, I still own some personal things. For example a letter from Robert Schumann, and a beautiful plate of Clara Schumann, that I keep in my sideboard. It was a gift from the Austrian Empress, when she played piano for her. I use it only for very special occasions.”

SZ: "Do you play concerts, too?"

Barbara Schumann: "I have never thought that possible, because I do not play piano well enough. When I wanted to play something for Sontraud Speidel before her concert, I came to a standstill right in the midst - though I know that piece virtually by heart. I am, however, a music teacher. When I did this formerly, it was rather unsatisfactory. You know, how it works: music school - not everybody goes there with much enthusiasm. Now, I only have three pupils, studying piano or flute. This gives me time for travelling, and for beginning and maintaining contacts throughout Germany.”

SZ: "What made you travelling to Sindelfingen?“

Barbara Schumann: "Sontraud Speidel, who is a good friend of mine, played rare pieces today, which are scarcely played elsewhere. I listened to them with great pleasure. Today, I listened to Robert Schumann’s 'Grand Sonata' just for the second time. In this expressive work, there is his entire ability, his greatest pieces are reflected. All of him lies therein.”

Sindelfinger Zeitung

Translation: Dr. Jürgen Rodeland, John Nisbet