The repertoire for Dr. Reimer’s recital will include Sechs Lieder as “Jucunde” von Hermann Rollett, Op. 23 by Clara Schumann, Fruenliebe und –Leben by Robert Schumann, Weg de Lieve (I) and Wir wandelten by Johannes Brahms.
Reimer will be accompanied by pianist Michael Cotton and joined by faculty artist, Kate Butler, mezzo soprano, on Brahms’ Weg der Liebe (I).
Jamie Reimer, biography
Jamie Reimer, soprano, is highly regarded as a performer, teacher and scholar, appearing regularly in opera, oratorio and recital venues around the country. Among her favorite roles include Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflote), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Anna Maurrant (Street Scene), Tessa (Gondoliers) and Martha Jefferson (1776). She has also performed with Opera Omaha (The Tender Land, Turandot), Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra (Mozart Requiem), Lincoln Symphony (Messiah, Beethoven Symphony No. 9), Hastings Symphony (Messiah, Songs of the Auvergne), and was twice an invited soloist for the American Lizst Society (Lizst Christus, Frauenliebe und -Leben).
Her research was published in recent articles in the Journal of Singing, the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music and Pan Pipes. She is also a frequent presenter of her work throughout the country and abroad. Recent national conference presentations include the National Opera Association, National Association of Teachers in Singing and the Festival 500: The Phenomenon of Singing. Presentations at international conferences include the International Symposium on Performance Science and the International Congress of Voice Teachers. She has presented at the National Association of Negro Musicians on her work of composer Robert Owens and the Nebraska Music Educators Association in an effort to assist high school vocal directors in the selection of art song for their students.
When not on stage or in the lecture hall, Dr. Reimer is a member of the voice faculty at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln teaching applied voice and directing Opera Workshop. Her teaching experience includes Midland Lutheran College and a private studio in Omaha, Nebraska. Her scholarly work has earned several awards, including a National Association of Teachers of Singing Internship, John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Internship, the Othmer Fellowship, the Maude Hammond Fling Fellowship and the Theodore Presser Scholar award.
Dr. Reimer received her DMA and MM from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with her undergraduate work from Hastings College. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, College Music Society, the National Opera Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota.
The courtship and marriage of Robert and Clara (Wieck) Schumann is well documented and much celebrated as a triumph of love over seemingly insurmountable odds – namely, the disapproval of Clara’s father and Schumann’s teacher, Friedrich Wieck. Equally well documented is the friendship between Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, and the influence that Schumann had on the younger composer’s music. What remains a mystery is the true nature of the relationship between Clara and Johannes: written correspondence reveals a great fondness for one another, but specific details about their relationship are left to the imagination. Certainly Brahms was a source of support and comfort for Clara Schumann when her husband was permanently hospitalized for mental illness in 1854, and after his death in 1856, but it is impossible to truly know the level of intimacy present between Clara and Johannes. The music presented tonight provides a glimpse into the minds and hearts of these three composers, both through the selection of poetry for which they composed, and the way in which their music brings the poetry to life.
Trained as a concert pianist, Clara Schumann never intended to compose. In the middle nineteenth century, pianists were expected to include their own compositions and transcriptions on their concert programs, but the art form was not one in which Clara felt she excelled. After her marriage, Robert encouraged her to explore her compositional abilities, even offering to publish her works with his own. Though the obligations of household management and child rearing prevented Clara from spending as much time at the piano as she would have liked, in 1853 she was inspired to compose six settings of poetry by Hermann Rollett, a composer never set by her husband. The influence of Robert’s compositional style is evident in four of the six songs, which feature a conversational nature, an economy of accompaniment and the Volkslieder style that he wrote with ease. The other two songs, “An einem lichten Morgen” and “O Lust, o Lust,” feature the virtuosic style that Clara herself played so well. The group is indeed a marriage of the two musicians and their styles.
Frauenliebe und –Leben was written in 1840 during Robert Schumann’s Liederjahr (Year of Song). At the time, he was petitioning Friedrich Wieck to permit his marriage to Clara, which Wieck staunchly refused, preferring his daughter to pursue her concert career. Forbidden to see his beloved, Schumann was inspired by the poetry of Chamisso to reveal Clara as a woman in her own right, with her own feelings and reflections about her life and love. The musical settings allow the poetry to speak for itself, providing just enough musical underpinning to illustrate the depth of the woman’s emotion. Schumann allowed a momentary glimpse into his relationship with Clara by quoting Beethoven’s An die Ferne geliebte in the interlude of “Süsser Freund,” a favorite musical reference to his love for her. The poignant conclusion of the cycle sadly foreshadows the tragic end of the Schumann’s sixteen-year marriage.
Johannes Brahms was first introduced to the Schumann family in 1853 when he played one of his compositions for Robert. Overwhelmed with the young composer’s talent, the Schumanns became ardent advocates for Brahms’ music, and Brahms, in turn, developed into a devoted student of Robert’s work, particularly the Germanic tradition of musical cryptography and his employment of the folk style. A dear family friend, Brahms’ affection for Clara grew and he soon was regularly dedicating compositions to her. Following Robert’s illness and death, Brahms remained a source of strength and encouragement for Clara as she worked to support her family by frequent concertizing around Europe. Brahms often sought her counsel on his compositions well into her advanced years. He confided to a friend that upon hearing “Von ewiger Liebe,” a piece that bore great personal significance for Brahms, Clara sat without saying a word because she could not speak for her tears.
Tonight’s recital, given on the 193rd anniversary of Clara Wieck’s birth, celebrates the love of two men for this remarkable woman. Brahms’ enduring devotion to her appears throughout his catalog of compositions, as does the love of Robert Schumann for his wife in his own works. While the true nature of Clara’s relationship with Brahms will never be known, her diary entry to her children says this: “To every man, no matter how unhappy he may be, God sends some comfort, and we are surely meant to enjoy it and to strengthen ourselves by its means. I have you, but you are but children. You hardly knew your dear Father, you were still too young to feel deep grief and thus in those terrible years you could give me no comfort. Hope, indeed, you could bring me, but that was not enough to support me through such agony. Then came Johannes Brahms. Your father loved and admired him…He came, like a true friend, to share my sorrow; he strengthened the heart that threatened to break, he uplifted my mind, he cheered my spirits when and wherever he could, in short, he was my friend in the fullest sense of the word.”