Robert Schumann was one of the most important Romantic composers of the 19th century. He was also a pianist, influential music critic and editor of 'The New Journal of Music'.
He was a champion of young composers including Chopin and Brahms.
His wife Clara, also a composer, was one of the most outstanding pianists of her day.
Robert Alexander Schumann
Born: 8 June 1810 Zwickau, Saxony
Father: August Schumann, bookseller, writer and publisher
Siblings: Youngest of 5
Wife: Clara Josephine Wieck 1819-96, (daughter of his piano teacher)
Died: 29 July 1856 age 46
Cause of death: syphilis
Buried: Zentral Friedhof, Bonn. see findagrave
Period: Early German Romantic
Influenced by: Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Paganini, Schubert, Clara Schumann
Influenced: too many to list!
- 4 Symphonies
- Piano Concerto
- Cello Concerto
many pieces including:
- Album for the Young
- Scenes from Childhood
- Fantasy Pieces
over 400 including lieder (solo voice + piano), partsongs, duets and trios
Choral music, opera and drama
- Genoveva (opera)
- Paradise and the Peris
- Scenes from Goethe's Faust
The Merry Peasant
- age 18 began studying law at Leipzig University
- age 20 attending a concert by Paganini convinced him to follow a career in music.
- age 24-34 Edited the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music) which he jointly founded. He championed young composers including Chopin and Brahms.
- age 30 - married Clara, his piano teacher's daughter, much against her father's will
- met Liszt
- doctorate from Universty of Jena
- age 40 Appointed music director in Dusseldorf.
- age 44 - attempted suicide by throwing himself into the Rhine.
- Requested to be put into an asylum where he stayed until he died.
- age 46 - died
Schumann in art
Health and personality
- As his father was a bookseller he was exposed to books and
developed a great love of literature and thought about becoming a
novelist. George Bernard Shaw once remarked that he was as much a
literary man as a musician.
- It was soon apparent that he was a good pianist. He had aspirations to becoming a concert pianist but an injury his right hand ended that possibility. One theory is that the damage to his hand was caused by a device for strengthening his fingers, but a more recent theory is that it was caused by mercury poisoning from treatment of syphilis.
- He was not an effective teacher and neither was he a popular conductor.
- He suffered various personal tragedies during his life and from the age of 43 he suffered from bipolar disorder, also called manic depression.
Uchida · Rattle · Berliner Philharmoniker
Fantasy Pieces for Piano & Clarinet
Symphony No.3 -1st Mov
Mischa Maisky cello
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra: Wiener Philarmoniker