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Films on the life of Clara Schumann
With Annotations

Primary Materials | Life & Music | Lieder Scores | Piano and Chamber Scores | Bibliographies Page | To Buy 

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Song of Love
Feature film directed by Clarence Brown, Released 1947. 
Reviews | Full Cast | Availability
Starring: Katharine Hepburn as Clara Wieck Schumann, also 
Paul Henreid, Robert Walker, and Henry Daniell
Duration: 121 minutes
Rating:  NR, Probably G
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Song of Love. “2 1/2 stars: When the writers and producers acknowledge up front that they have taken ‘certain liberties,’ you can throw away all thoughts of a factual story of the marriage of Clara Wieck (Katharine Hepburn) to Robert Schumann (Paul Henreid) and their close friendship with young Johannes Brahms (Robert Walker). Close your eyes and listen to the piano interludes, dubbed, uncredited, by Arthur Rubinstein.” Also starring Henry Daniell, Henry Stephenson, and Leo G. Carroll. Drama. Quoted from: Martin, Mick, and Marsha Porter. Video Movie Guide 1995. Rev. ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.

[‘Certain liberties,’— quite true; there are many glaring inaccuracies in the historical presentation.  However, it is quite entertaining, and helps one imagine, for instance, what the presence of young Brahms might have been like in a house crawling with children!  For a more factual presentation geared for adults, see Spring Symphony. — DKS]

Song of Love is the MGM-ified version of the lives and loves of 19th century musicians Clara Wieck Schumann (Katharine Hepburn), Robert Schumann (Paul Henreid) and Johannes Brahms (Robert Walker, who the previous year had played another composer, Jerome Kern, in Til the Clouds Roll By). Clara gives up her thriving career as a concert pianist to devote herself to her struggling composer husband Robert. Unable to cope with disappointment and failure, Robert dies in an asylum, leaving poor Clara to cope with seven children and mounting debts. At this point, the eminently successful Brahms, who has loved Clara all along, proposes to her, but Clara insists upon going it alone, perpetuating her husband’s memory on the concert stage. Also represented in this musical “through the years” pageant is Franz Liszt, played with remarkable understatement by Henry Daniell. Clearly designed to capitalize on the popularity of Columbia’s Chopin biopic A Song to Remember, Song of Love is slow and poky at times, though it’s fascinating to see Katharine Hepburn at the piano (reportedly, she learned to play enough classical music to get by in the close-up scenes, though her music is dubbed in medium and long shots).” ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide, from

Song of Love. “With a little too much leisure, but no lack of pageantry, this love story for the ages (part of Columbia’s informal Song series that began with the 1945 Chopin bio-pic, A Song to Remember) concerns the marriage of composer Robert Schumann (Paul Henreid) and Clara Wieck Schumann (Katharine Hepburn). The latter, a concert pianist with a thriving career, gives it all up to support her husband’s artistic efforts, but after years of heartbreaking disappointments he ends up dying in an asylum, leaving behind seven children and a mountain of debts. The other important player in this tale, Johannes Brahms (Robert Walker), subsequently proposes to Clara, having been infatuated with her all along. But she returns to the stage to resume her old work and keep alive the memory of her late love. There’s nothing like the guilty pleasure of watching a film with a parade of actors portraying famous contemporaries, and Song of Love even throws in Franz Liszt (played very nicely by Henry Daniell) for good measure. Hepburn, understandably, is the soul of this handsome movie directed by Hollywood stalwart Clarence Brown, and the actress learned to play several piano pieces well enough to do justice to her close-ups in performance.” — Tom Keogh, from Other good Reviews.

Full Cast:
Katharine Hepburn - Clara Wieck Schumann, Paul Henreid - Robert Schumann, Robert Walker - Johannes Brahms, Henry Daniell - Franz Liszt, Leo G. Carroll - Prof. Wieck, Elsa Janssen - Bertha, “Tinker” Furlong - Felix, Ann Carter - Marie, Janine Perreau - Eugenie, Jimmy Hunt - Ludwig, Anthony Sydes - Ferdinand, Eilene Janssen - Elise, Ludwig Stossel - Haslinger, Tala Birell - Princess Valerie Hohenfels, Kurt Katch - Judge, Henry Stephenson - King Albert, Konstantin Shayne - Reinecke, Lela Bliss - Mrs. Heller, Winifred Harris - Women at Party, Byron Foulger - Court Officer, Josephine Whittell – Lady in Box, Clinton Sundberg - Dr. Richarz, Gigi Perreau - Julie, Mary Forbes –[unknown], André Charlot - Pompous Gent, Betty Blythe - Lady with Opera Glasses, Roman Bohnen - Dr. Hoffman

Availability (Purchase or Rent) VHS New: $19.99, Used: from $8.99 VHS $13.93 DVD $21.27 Availability: Low Quantities VHS $13.14 Availability: Low Quantities

Spring Symphony (Original German version: Fruehlingssinfonie)
Feature film directed by Peter Schamoni, Released 1983. 
Reviews | Full Cast | Availability
Starring: Nastassja Kinski as Clara Wieck Schumann
also Rolf Hoppe and Gidon Kremer
English dialog carefully dubbed over the original German
Duration: 103 minutes
Rating:  NR (brief nudity)
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Click on photo for larger picture.
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Spring Symphony. “Whatever it is about 19th century composer Robert Schumann and his pianist wife Clara Wieck that fascinates filmmakers, it is a strong enough fascination to prompt a retelling of the Schumanns’ lives every few years. First, there was the 1947 Katharine Hepburn/Paul Henreid film vehicle Song of Love. Then there was a well-received 1950s episode of The Loretta Young Show. And in 1983, we were treated to the German-made Spring Symphony (originally Fruehlingssinfonie). This time around, Nastassja Kinski is Clara and Herbert Gronemeyer is Robert; the story of how fame can destroy the relationship between a sensitive woman and a workaholic man remains the mixture as before. Oddly, given the usual “warts and all” movie mentality of the 1980s, Spring Symphony is even more fanciful and romanticized than earlier versions of the Schumann saga.” ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide, from

[I must disagree with the “even more fanciful and romanticized” characterization above.  As for the actual facts of history, Spring Symphony comes far closer to reality than Hollywood’s version of the Schumann story in Song of Love. — DKS]

Spring Symphony. “A motion picture of passions, Spring Symphony is a story of love, hate and artistic ambitions. Nastassja Kinski and Herbert Gronemeyer star as Clara Wieck and Robert Schumann, star-crossed classical musicians of the nineteenth century trying to overcome the stifling objections of Wieck's father. All three of them share the same passion for music, but the battle the two men fight for Clara's affections is at the same time a fight between different artistic styles and different lifestyles, a war between the generations. When Schumann finally wins his Clara, Spring Symphony is the expression of his love and passion for her.” ~ From Other good Reviews.

Full Cast:
Nastassja Kinski - Clara Wieck, Rolf Hoppe - Friedrich Wieck, Gidon Kremer - Nicolo Paganini, Inge Marschall - Clemenza Wieck, Friedrich W. Bauschulte - Fraternity Brother, Jochen Bott – [unknown], Marie Colbin - Parisian Lady, Hanna Freitag - [unknown], Hans-Eberhard Gabel - Fencing Master, Margit Geissler - Christerl, Gunter Kraa - Karl Banck, Gesa Thoma - Nanni, Edda Seippel - Schumann’s mother, Walter Schuster - Professor Fischhof, Peter Schamoni - Publisher Härtel, G.H. Rohig - Music Director Dorn, Anja-Christine Preussler - Clara as a Child, Helmut Oskamp - Alwien Wieck, Uwe Muller - Becker, Kitty Mattern - Princess Starnitz, Bernhard Walker - Baron von Fricken, Sonja Tuchmann - Baroness von Fricken, Ursula Gerstel - Chamber Maid, Wolfgang Greese - Presiding Judge, Herbert Gronemeyer - Robert Schumann, Andre Heller - Felix Mendelssohn, Michael Sylvio Heufelder - Von der Luhe, H.H. Hochmann - Innkeeper, Gert Holtenau - Attorney

Availability (Purchase or Rent) DVD New: $22.49, Used: from $17.63 VHS New: $16.95, Used: from $3.99 DVD $21.24 DVD $21.27 Availability: Low Quantities

Films on Robert Schumann
(Listing from

· Robert Schumann Oder Die Unerhoerte Zeit Der Kindheit (1982)
Director and writer Klaus Kirschner has deftly put together a combination of musical scores, visual images, and the philosophical writings of Robert Schumann (1810-1856), himself to extract the best qualities of each medium. While Schumann's words provide a textual mode of thought, the music conveys an array of emotional tonalities, and the visual images (such as rain in a summer landscape) evoke a setting that encompasses the whole. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide
· Song of Love (1947)
· Spring Symphony (1983)

Robert Schumann connection unclear: (perhaps his music is used?)
· Nous Sommes Tous Encore Ici (1997)
· A Tale of Springtime (1990)
· Vent De L'illa (1989)
· Satisfaction (1988)
· Sceny Dzieciece A Zycia Prowincji (1986) (Childhood Scenes of Provincial Life)
· Colonel Redl (1985)
· Heller Wahn (1983)
· Meine Sorgen Möcht Ich Haben (1975)
This intelligent film is also rollicking, slapstick farce and musical comedy. It tells the story of a large extended family involved in all phases of the music business, from classical to pop. As the story unfolds, an eccentric music publisher (Otto Sander), his wife, mistress, and daughter (Angelica Milster) live in a Berlin villa. Newly welcomed into the family fold is their recently discovered relative Rita (I Sa Lo), who is simultaneously a stepdaughter and a half-sister. Rita's fondness for the band "The Coconuts" brings two of their players, Rod (Roderick Melven) and Franz (Franz Hummel), into the villa. The hijinks grow fast and furious when a long-lost Chopin piano piece is discovered. Filled with musical spoofs and brilliant pastiches of classical works, as well as send-ups of the pop music world of the time (1975), this movie also finds time to spoof surrealism. One highlight is the deadpan pianistic comedy of concert pianist Franz Hummel, who composed the phony Chopin piece. Angelika Milster's ragtime improvisations in this film won an Ernst Lubitsch Film Prize. Director: Wolf Gremm. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide
· Ludwig(1973)
Regarding Ludwig, about the castle-building "mad king" of Bavaria; concerns Richard Wagner more than Schumann, since Ludwig was Wagner's main sponsor.
· Rachel, Rachel (1968)
· Made in USA (1966)
· Gertrud (1965)
· Summerskin (1961)
· Song of Love (1947)
· The Court Concert (1936)
In this German musical, set in 19th-century Vienna, a young singer discovers that her father is the king. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide

Films and Screenplays under development
Also, scripts for plays, concerts, and other performances
With Contact information where available

Sally Adams — wrote and performed an enactment drama entitled “Clara Schumann” in the UK

Jane Cox, Associate Professor of Music — wrote a drama as a one-woman show, performed at Iowa State University

Boman DesaiTrio, a novel about the Schumanns and Brahms.  Read chapter one, To the Gewandhaus.

Muriel Hogue — has a script that was performed in Canada, apparently available now through publishers in the U.S.

Bill Jensen — runs a production company out of New York, investigating a film on Clara Schumann

Kerwin Productions — producing a feature film entitled “Four Short Pieces”

Dianna Nixon performs Virtuosa: a one-person play in two acts by Diane Seymour

Miriam Queensen — has written an award-winning script “Clara” — to perform it, please call (612) 825-2688

Lee Renee — doing research for a screenplay on Clara Schumann

Sanda Schuldmann — Pianist and Managing Director for Chamber Music PLUS in Hartford CT; working on a script exploring the relationship between Clara, Robert, and Johannes.

Beverly Serra-Brooks performs Clara Schumann at the Piano is a multi-media, multi-disciplined, historical blend of the traditional Piano Recital and Theater; written, produced and directed by Lee Brooks

Kerwin Productions: “Four Short Pieces” A Feature Film of Clara Schumann (Sept. 8, 1996)

We recently stumbled across your Clara Schumann Society website while performing some online research on Clara

Kerwin Productions/The Midsummer Partnership, L.L.C. is a feature film production company (“The Garden,” next year’s
upcoming “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) whose producers are currently in development on our next major theatrical motion
picture, “Four Short Pieces,” based on the life of Clara. The film is currently in the writing/development stage at our studios, and is planned to go into production after the completion and distribution of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” next year.

The executives at our company were originally attracted to the idea of developing Clara’s life into a film last year. We feel that
Clara is a sadly underappreciated composer whose life and music need to be communicated to the world on a more significant
scale than they have been in recent years.

We are delighted to become aware of the existence of the Clara Schumann Society, and are hopeful that our company can
work in tandem with the efforts of your organization, especially with respect to research, historical accuracy, etc.

“Four Short Pieces” is in the early developmental stages. Our company is currently in extensive pre-production on “A
Midsummer Night’s Dream”, which shoots in the spring. After this, “Pieces” will be on the front burner, so to speak. As you may or may not know, it usually takes about two years for a film to be made, from concept to completion. It will therefore be a
while before “Pieces” shoots... It would've been nice to have a wide release date during the 100th Anniversary year, but alas, it is not to be.

The “four short pieces,” or “Quatre pieces fugitives,” are from Clara's Opus 15 and consist of four brief piano solo pieces. The
third, “Andante espressivo,” is my personal favorite of all of Clara's works. In the film, the four pieces are used to illustrate the
different stages of Clara's changing life.

James Kerwin
Kerwin Productions

Virtuosa: one-person play in two acts (June 19, 1996 )

Having browsed through your wonderful Clara Schumann files, we thought you might like to know what is happening in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia! Virtuosa: a one-person play in two acts (based on the life of Clara Schumann) by Diane Seymour from a story by Amy Specher and George W George. The rights for this Australian premier have been obtained from Asher Suss in New York (who was formerly an executive with the Steinway Company).

As 1996 is the centenary of Clara's death it is fitting that this work be premiered here this year. This piece tells the remarkable love story of Robert and Clara Schumann through Clara's eyes and requires the actor playing Clara to perform live on piano (as well as singing) while playing a variety of characters, from the young Clara at her first piano lesson, to her own father, to Clara as a 59 year old.

The piece is underscored with the music of the period (recorded, or played live by Dianna Nixon) throughout and features compositions by Clara Schumann; Robert Schumann; Johannes Brahms; Felix Mendelssohn; Ludwig van Beethoven and others. The piece celebrates Clara's achievements as a performer, teacher and composer; and as mother and breadwinner for a family of eight children; and as muse for both Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. Clara was one of the top concert performers of her day, but history hasn't served her memory and contribution as well as it might have.  This play will go some way towards correcting that.

Dianna Nixon will be the solo performer in this production of Virtuosa. Dianna is co-directing the piece with Beth Child; and Graham Clarke is vocal (and piano) coach. Virtuosa is unique in its incorporation of words and music, and is the perfect vehicle for pianist, singer and actor Dianna Nixon.  It is a highly romantic piece that will appeal to lovers of music of all kinds. Virtuosa will be staged at Theatreworks, St Kilda, from September 25 to October 6 as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival and is booked for four performances at the Castlemaine Festival, November 1996. Dianna Nixon is the founding force behind the music theatre company, Lorelei's Voice.  She can be contacted through Joy Durston at email  Look forward to hearing from you!

Tracking down other films ...
There are rumors of other films about Clara Schumann ... if you know of one which is not listed above, please contact the Webmaster.

Here are some leads that could be followed:

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