Lucy Parham and Joanna David

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Lucy Parham – piano
Joanna David – narrator

ROBERT SCHUMANNRomance in F sharp Op.28
CLARA WIECKPolonaise in E flat Op.1, No.1
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPINNocturne in F sharp Op.15, No.2
CLARA SCHUMANN/FRANZ LISZTGeheimes Flüstern hier und dort (Secret whispering here and there)
ROBERT SCHUMANNSonata in G minor Op. 22, 1st movt
FELIX MENDELSSOHNSong without Words in A Op.62, No.6 “Spring Song”
CLARA SCHUMANNRomance in E flat minor Op.11, No.1
ROBERT SCHUMANNFirst Loss Op. 68, No.16 (Album for the Young)
JOHANNES BRAHMSIntermezzo in A Op.118, No.1
ROBERT SCHUMANNIntermezzo in E flat minor Op.26
ROBERT SCHUMANNKind im Einschlummern (Child Falling Asleep) Op.15
JOHANNES BRAHMSBallade in G minor Op.118, No.3

I, Clara - Clara Schumann: A Life in Music

Words and Music!

Created to celebrate 200 years since Clara Wieck Schumann’s birth in 1819, I, Clara tells her extraordinary life story in her own words. It is the sixth Composer Portrait created by Lucy Parham and received its London premiere at Kings Place in October 2019.

The narrative of I, Clara, drawn from letters and diaries, is interspersed with live performances of her works, and of music by Robert Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Chopin. The narrator for this performance is acclaimed actress, Joanna David.

For more details see and

Please note that the running time for this concert is approximately 80 minutes with no interval - drinks will be available in the Town Hall bar following the event.

Sponsored by our private patrons and donors

Photo credit: Lucy Parham

This concert is part of Skipton Music’s 75th anniversary season ‘Hidden Treasures: Celebrating Women Composers Across the Ages.’


'I, Clara' enthrals Skipton

Skipton Music's 75th anniversary season 'Hidden Treasures', focusing on the works of women composers, got off to a memorable start with an evening presented by Lucy Parham (piano) and Joanna David (narrator). 'I, Clara' is a sequence of readings taken from the writings of Clara Schumann interspersed with piano pieces by Clara herself, her beloved and devoted husband Robert Schumann, and other contemporary composers.

Clara was one of those undaunted 19th-century women who had to bring up and provide for a young family after the untimely death of a husband – in her case, by undertaking arduous concert tours as one of the foremost piano virtuosos of her time. Her writings convey something of the demands of these concert tours – no EasyJet flights to St. Petersburg in those days! – as well as the emotional strain of lengthy separation from her children. She also has shrewd (and sometimes none too complimentary) comments on other musical figures of her time – Chopin, Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, Wagner, Liszt, and not least Brahms, who gave her much emotional support after Robert's agonising illness and death.

It was fascinating to hear the music in this context. For instance, Clara says that Robert was devoted to his young children and this comes out in the haunting 'First loss', written to console a child after the death of a beloved pet. Clara herself was represented by an early and brilliantly effective Polonaise, and a more meditative Romance. Several of Robert Schumann's pieces were featured, including a moving Intermezzo in the same unusual key as Clara's Romance. And the evening ended appropriately with an arrangement by Liszt of Robert's 'Dedication', a song written in the first flush of his love for Clara.

Joanna David as narrator held the evening together with her sympathetic but beautifully understated reading of Clara's words. And Lucy Parham played with the most wonderful versatility – refined and sensitive in the quieter pieces, but with all the brilliance and passion when the music called for it. Robert Schumann had a word for this kind of playing, almost untranslatable into English – 'mit Innigkeit' – with a finesse and sensitivity that goes to the emotional heart of the music.

Charles Dobson