One of the greatest love stories in the history of Western music is that of Robert and Clara Schumann. These two musical greats were crazy about each other from the very beginning and for a while even had to keep their relationship a secret because Clara’s father didn’t approve of Robert as a suitor. After a long courtship, they finally got married in 1840 and thus began Robert’s most musically productive period in his life. Robert was so happy with his new wife that he composed a song cycle, Myrthen, as a wedding present to Clara.
What a wedding present it is! The beautiful opening song, “Widmung” (“Dedication”) states from the get-go how much Robert loved and admired Clara. The song eventually fell into the hands of the Romantic era’s “rock-star” pianist, Franz Liszt, who then transcribed the work into a virtuosic solo piece that remains faithful to what it originally was: a musical depiction of a very happy husband and wife.