[Schumann, Robert. (1810–1856] Schumann, Clara. (1819–1896)
"Gesammelte Schriften über Musik und Musiker" - INSCRIBED BY CLARA TO THEIR DAUGHTER ELISE
Leipzig: Georg Wigand. 1854. First.
Hardcover 8vo. 4 volumes in 2: [1-2]: XXII; 328 pp; [Title]; 286 p; [3-4]: Title; 293 pp; Title; 304 pp. Each volume signed "Elise Schumann" to the front endsheet and the first volume inscribed on the following ffe "Meiner theuren Elise zur Erinnerung an den 10. September 1863 / Clara" [To my dear Elise in memory of September 10, 1863 / Clara." Dark brown boards, half leather with 4 raised bands, nicely rebacked with original spines adhered and fresh inner hinges. Occasional light foxing, small stain to the inscription page, overall fine. An important copy.
Elise Schumann (1843-1928) was the first of the Schumann children who became independent by being appointed a domestic music teacher for the owner of the ironworks in Gräffenbach, near Kreuznach. During the winter months 1864/65 she was the lady’s companion of Princess Anna von Hessen. Afterwards she worked as piano teacher in Frankfurt/Main, until in 1872 she became the lady’s companion of her friend Marie Berna at Büdesheim Castle. In 1877 Marie Berna matched the then 34 years old Elise with her cousin Louis Sommerhoff. The couple lived in New York for six years, then the family moved to a magnificent country estate in Frankfurt/Main and lived off the interest of the capital Louis Sommerhoff had made at the stock market.
Schumann's genius as a composer is well known; perhaps less well known is the fact that he was also a gifted music critic who wrote hundreds of perceptive essays, articles, and reviews for the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik, the influential music journal he founded in 1834. The present collection of his criticism was published in 1854, the year of his suicide attempt and subsequent admission at his own request to a mental asylum in Endenich (now in Bonn). Diagnosed with psychotic melancholia, he died of pneumonia two years later at the age of 46, without recovering from his mental illness.