“It’s fascinating that Clara could maintain such a long career as a pianist while having a large family and coping with the difficulties of her husband’s mental illness. Her strength across her long life impressed, inspired and hugely intrigued me.”

The pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason identifies strongly with Clara Schumann, not only through her music but also through her large family. Clara had eight children. Isata has six siblings, all musical, including the cellist of the moment, her brother Sheku. In notes for her debut recording of Clara’s work entitled Romance (Decca), Isata says: “It’s fascinating that Clara could maintain such a long career as a pianist while having a large family and coping with the difficulties of her husband’s mental illness. Her strength across her long life impressed, inspired and hugely intrigued me.”

That inspiration comes across loud and clear in her grand, sweeping interpretation of the Piano Concerto in A minor, a hugely virtuosic piece that Clara began writing at the age of 13. With conductor Holly Mathieson and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Kanneh-Mason brings real verve and excitement to both opening allegro and the romping finale.

Her innate sense of shape and line are apparent again in the Piano Sonata in G minor, a work that, astonishingly, lay unpublished until 1991. Kanneh-Mason invests its singing opening with an almost reverential delicacy, interrupted with restless bursts of youthful energy, a quality she also brings to the glorious, turbulent Scherzo No 2 in C minor.

Read the full article via The Guardian.