Clara Faisst
1872–1948

Clara Faisst

Clara Faisst was a composer, pianist, and poet who spent the bulk of her life in Karslbad, Germany. In her twenties she studied music in Berlin, learning composition from the composer Max Bruch and music theory from Clara Schumann’s half-brother Woldemar Bargiel. She settled in Karlsruhe and made her living as a composer, teacher, poet, and a performing pianist. She organized chamber music concerts in her home—particularly after World War II, when much of the infrastructure and cultural life of Karlsruhe was in ruins—and performed her own works as well as works by other composers, above all Bach and Beethoven. Faisst published thirty-three opuses, among them many collections of songs. Many of her scores (including several unpublished manuscripts as well as some of her letters and poems) can be accessed via the website of the Baden State Library. Almost none of her music has been professionally recorded.

Additional Resources

Martina Rebmann (head of the music department at the Berlin State Library) has a thorough entry on Faisst on the website Musik und Gender im Internet (MUGI). There is also a short entry on Faisst by Arno Lücker in VAN Magazine. In addition to these resources, see these articles by Rebmann:

  • “’Denn Fremdling sein ist Künstlers Los auf Erden’: Zu Leben und Werk der Karlsruher Komponistin Clara Faisst (1872–1948).” In Musik in Baden Württemberg, Jahrbuch 2001, edited by Georg Günther and Reiner Nägele, 79–104. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2001.
  • “‘Mit einem Flügel kann man ja nicht fliegen’. Zum 130. Geburtstag der Karlsruher Komponistin und Pianistin Clara Faisst (1872–1948).” Eucor-Bibliotheksinformationen 18/19 (2001–2002): 15–19.
  • “‘Soll sie dazu bestimmt sein, unwirksam zu vergehen?’—Die Karlsruher Komponistin und Dichterin Clara Faisst (1872–1948).” In Klangwelten: Lebenswelten. Komponistinnen in Süddeutschland, edited by Martina Regmann and Reiner Nägele, 151–77. Stuttgart: Württembergische Landesbibliothek, 2004

Did you know?

A portfolio of Clara Faisst’s autograph manuscripts (as well as photographs and programs) was discovered at a garbage site in Karlsruhe, Germany; the manuscripts would have been lost forever were it not for an eagle-eyed passerby.

Video Recordings

Baritone Klemens Sander and pianist Chanda VanderHart perform Faisst’s “Auf dem grünen Auen,” op. 4, no. 2, ca. 1895. This is the first ever recording of the song.
Soprano Rebecca Nelsen and pianist Chanda VanderHart perform Faisst’s “Ich ging im Walde den alten Steig,” op. 4, no. 3, ca. 1895. This is the first ever recording of the song.

Accessing Scores

Clara Faisst’s published scores and manuscripts are available in digital form via the Baden State Library. The scores to many of her songs are also accessible via the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP).

Other Composers

Germany

Josephine Lang

Josephine Lang was a prolific composer of songs. She was born into a deeply musical family—her father was a violinist and her mother (who first

Read More >>
France

Lili Boulanger

Lili Boulanger had a tragically short life. She died at age twenty-four from intestinal tuberculosis, and spent much of her life in poor health, having

Read More >>
England

Dame Elizabeth Maconchy

Elizabeth Maconchy was a fiercely individual British composer who wrote music that was often highly dissonant, contrapuntal, intense, even disturbing—and far from the more pastoral,

Read More >>