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Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann and his close friend Frederic Chopin formed the backbone of what we nowadays call the early romantic era. Born on June 8th, 1810 (the same year as Chopin) he entered the world as the fifth and last child of his parents. After an early life that didn’t completely include the intense musical training that other composers had during the time, he finally entered proper musical tuition from Friedwich Wieck. Wieck assured Schumann that he was to become a successful concert pianist if he studied with him. All was well until he ...read more

Robert Schumann and his close friend Frederic Chopin formed the backbone of what we nowadays call the early romantic era. Born on June 8th, 1810 (the same year as Chopin) he entered the world as the fifth and last child of his parents. After an early life that didn’t completely include the intense musical training that other composers had during the time, he finally entered proper musical tuition from Friedwich Wieck. Wieck assured Schumann that he was to become a successful concert pianist if he studied with him. All was well until he permanently injured his right (stronger) hand. Several theories have arisen as to why this had occurred, but it inevitably led him to abandon a career as a performer and focus instead on pure composition.

It seems to have been this unfortunate event that physically crippled his playing, but also lead to his undivided attention towards an area that he had a gift for; composing. Despite not having the aid of a strong playing hand, he managed to compose predominantly for an instrument he couldn’t properly play with sheer brilliance.

During his travels, he married renowned pianist Clara Wieck (later Clara Schumann), daughter of his former teacher. She was only 11 when she was cited to be the future wife of Schumann himself, and in turn, this eventually happened. For Schumann, it marked a new era for composition. He moved to a more conventional approach to acquaint the playing technique and romance for his wife, for whom many of his works are dedicated. It meant he shied away from his earlier experimentations, but also meant he would go onto compose highly influential catalogues for his children, most notably Album fur die Jugend (Album for the Young).

While his compositional skill is clear, he was and is still overshadowed by Chopin, who was the defining character in music at the time. Much of Schumann’s work builds off ideas that later classical composers mastered, such as Ludwig van Beethoven’s defiance for convention. Schumann was torn between a life of experimental composition, and one of convention meaning that many of his works are well within the musical boundaries but also share commonalities with the daring attitude of a risk taker. While he never radically changed music itself, he left behind a leaning legacy towards professionalism and beauty within music that was taken onboard by composers such as Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sir Edward Elgar.

During the lasting days of his life, Schumann was institutionalised for his battle with a mental breakdown. His schizophrenia left him unaware of the unfortunate position he was under. His terminal illness resembles the side effects that accompany mercury poisoning, which was used during the time to treat his initial stint with syphilis. Despite being separated from the outside world for nearly two years, his wife Clara, maintained a continuous check-up of her husband, where she also took up upon herself to study the music of he husband, and subsequently perform it to its fullest to an audience that hadn’t properly experienced Schumann. « hide

Similar Bands: Frederic Chopin, Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Carlos Seixas

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54
1845

4.3
6 Votes
8 Novelletten, Op.21
1838

3
1 Votes
Fantasie in C major, for piano, Op. 17
1836

3.8
3 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F# minor, Op. 11
1835

3.5
2 Votes

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