The critics of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik idealized the private performance as an enlightened alternative to the public concert, and it was in private settings that Clara Wieck Schumann typically played Robert Schumann's music in the early years of her career. In the winter of 1839-40 she was in Berlin, abandoned by her father, Friedrich Wieck, and struggling to continue her career on her own. At Schumann's suggestion she performed his Sonata No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 in a public soirée. Afterwards Schumann decided his music was too personal for a public audience, and his major piano works were not heard again until the year of his death.

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