Celebrating Clara Schumann

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Thursday is the birthday of Clara Schumann (Sept. 13, 1819), one of the most distinguished pianists of her day and one of the best-known female composers of all time.

She also inspired many great musicians, including her husband Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Joseph Joachim and even Franz Liszt, whom she didn’t like, among others. In honor of Clara Schumann, for this week’s Showdown we’re asking you to select your favorite from one work she composed and two works she was connected with in a significant way.

Despite Clara Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor leading all morning, it was Brahms' Symphony No. 3 that won with some very last-minute votes. The performance we played at noon is by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Marin Alsop.

Brahms, who some say was in love with Clara Schumann, sent her the score around the time of her 64th birthday and she responded: "I have spent such happy hours with your wonderful creation ... that I should like at least to tell you so. What a work! What a [musical] poem! What a harmonious mood pervades the whole! All the movements seem to be of one piece, one beat of the heart, each one a jewel! From start to finish one is wrapped about with the mysterious charm of the woods and forests. I could not tell you which movement I loved the most."

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