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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000661.txt from 2002/05

From: "Gene Nibbelin" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Clara Schumann
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 18:50:10 -0400

Michael -

With all those diagnosed ailments, it is surprising that old Robert lived as
long as he did. Sort of an indication of the state of medical science in
those days.

Any of you old-movie buffs remember the 1947 movie, "Song of Love" about
which Leonard Malkin, movie critic, writes in his "1996 Movie & Video

"2 1/2 Stars, Directed by Clarence Brown. Katherine Hepburn, Paul Henreid,
Robert Walker (Sr.),Henry Daniell, Leo G. Carroll, Gigi Pereau, Tala Birell,
Henry Stephenson, Elsa Janssen. Classy production but slow-moving story of
Clara Schumann (Hepburn), her composer husband (Henreid) and good friend
Brahms (Walker)."

As I recall, it had some very touching scenes. Sort of a musical "tear

Just some additional trivia.

Gene N.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Bryant []
Subject: Re: [kl] Clara Schumann

The Australian medical doctor John O'Shea's book
'Music and Medicine', J. M. Dent 1990, may help on the
medical conditions of many composers, including Schumann.

He discusses Eliot Slater's suggestion in 'Robert Schumann:
The Man and his Music' (London 1972), that he suffered
from Neurosyphilis, as well as his psychiatric condition and
hand injury. He points out that 19th cen. reports of syphilis
should be regarded with caution since the agent (treponema
pallidum) was not identified until 1905 and not isolated until 1913.
He concludes that syphilis was most probably not the cause
of Schumann's decline in health. He summarised his findings as
follows (scanned): Causes of Mental Illness as postulated by his

Franz Richarz (1856): Incomplete general paralysis Paul Mobius (1856):
dementia praecox (schizophrenia)
Hans Gruhle (1856), Eric Sams (1972), Eliot Slater (1972):
Neurosyphilis (general paralysis of the insane)
Hans Martin Sutermeister (1959): Involutional and situational depression
Peter F. Ostwald (1985):
Axis 1 Mental disorder: bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive
Axis 2 Personality disorder: unusual personality characterized by
obsessive, compulsive elements and `divided self'
Axis 3 Physical disorders: alcohol abuse, obesity, possible hypertension,
cardiovascular disease and other occult organic illness
iatrogenic illness - inappropriate medication by medical attendants
Axis 4 Psycho-social stress factors:
difficult relationship with wife, Clara; isolation at Endenich
failure of career as pianist
loss of creativity as a composer
Axis 5 Highest level of adaptation recently achieved
Letters and communications from Schumann during his stay at Endenich
do not indicate that he suffered from a dementing disorder. Schumann
was unsuited to his position as music director at Dusseldorf by
temperament and because of recurring illness. Failure in this position
was a key factor in precipitating his final depression.
Dieter Kerner (1963) : Hypertensive encephalopathy
Other: Psychosis of mercurialism. Chronic alcoholic hallucinosis


Mike Marmer wrote on Saturday, May 25, 2002 2:38 AM
Subject: [kl] Clara Schumann

> There is a great book about Clara Schumann by Nancy B. Reich, "Clara
> Schumann The Artist and the Woman" and there is no mention of Robert
> Syphilis and Clara had eight children and 7 lived to a ripe old age for
> 1800's, several into the 1900's. He suffered form "nerve illness" that
> effected him most of his life the last 10 to 15 years. Nerve illness is
> a very bad cold, with great weakness, cold, fever, aches, pains, caused by
> anxiety and melancholia, depression, basically. He suffered physical and
> mental breakdowns.
> Clara's father just didn't like the guy. Robert was basically a depressed
> person and died in 1856. Brahm's was many years younger than Clara, and
> they could of married, since they both live in to the late 1800's. Brahms
> died in 1897 and Clara in 1896, some 40 years longer than Robert, so Clara
> was available. Robert did have an affair before Clara.
> Clara's and Robert's children were Marie (1841-1916), Elise (1843-1928),
> Julie (1845-1872 ), Emil (1846-1847), Ludwig (1848-1899), Ferdinand
> (1849-1891), Eugenie (1851-1938) and Felix (1854-1879), so only one died
> an infant and all had pretty long lives for the times. Many had problems.
> Marie was with Clara till the end, as a companion.
> Clara and women had a hard life in the 1800's. Women basically played
> to entertain families, reason why piano sales in the early 1800's boomed.
> It was unheard of for a woman to have a career earning money. She made
> money than Robert and was the breadwinner in the family, as Robert became
> more and more depressed.
> Women were not allowed to travel alone as she did. She played up until
> day she gave birth. She was a cold mother for the most part, as she
> care about Felix's need for her in the end and he died alone. There is no
> mention in this book about them having Syphilis. Nancy has done allot of
> research on her.
> It been several years since I read this book, but Clara's father JUST
> the guy, like in many marriages of today. Robert was many years older
> Clara. Clara's father was a music teacher to Robert for awhile.
> Robert and Clara didn't see each other for 1 and half years during the
> courtship. They wrote letters to keep in touch while engaged.
> I highly recommend this book, as Clara had allot talent and wrote allot,
> that is not played much or recorded in the music world.
> Mike Marmer
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 8:48 PM
> Subject: RE: [kl] More Brahms Trivia
> >
> > There was a discussion of the Brahms/bordello story on the AMS (American
> > Musicological Society) list about a year ago in the context of the
> > reliability of various Brahms biographies.
> >
> > The true version is apparently the non-sensational one. Brahms gigged
> around
> > in various clubs, but the bordello story is simply embroidery, with no
> basis
> > in any historical data.
> >
> > Also, Brahms was desperately in love with Clara Schumann. The
> is
> > that, at least during his adulthood, the reason he never married was
> > Clara was unavailable. There's further speculation that Robert
> > had syphilis, which was the reason for his insanity and why Clara's
> > opposed the marriage. He was reconciled only when Clara had apparently
> > healthy children. However, the all died young, perhaps indicating
> congenital
> > syphilis. If Clara contracted syphilis from Robert, that would explain
> why
> > she and Brahms didn't marry.
> >
> > I haven't read anything to indicate that Brahms was closeted gay, but
> > certainly a possibility.
> >
> > Best regards.
> >
> > Ken Shaw
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------



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