Robert Schumann
Overview
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, (8 June 181029 July 1856) was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 era.
Schumann left the study of law to return to music, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso
Virtuoso
A virtuoso is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in the fine arts, at singing or playing a musical instrument. The plural form is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine form sometimes used is virtuosa...

 pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck
Friedrich Wieck
Johann Gottlob Friedrich Wieck was a noted German piano teacher, voice teacher, owner of a piano store, and music reviewer. He is remembered as the teacher of his daughter, Clara, a child prodigy who was doing international concert tours by age eleven and who later married Robert Schumann...

 that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream.
Quotations

In order to compose, all you need do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of.

The talent works, the genius creates.

If that's what your jokes sound like, I'm afraid to hear what your serious pieces sound like.

letter to Chopin after hearing Scherzo number 2 in B Flat Minor

Hats off gentlemen; a genius.

Comment after hearing an early set of variations by Chopin.

Encyclopedia
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, (8 June 181029 July 1856) was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 era.
Schumann left the study of law to return to music, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso
Virtuoso
A virtuoso is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in the fine arts, at singing or playing a musical instrument. The plural form is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine form sometimes used is virtuosa...

 pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck
Friedrich Wieck
Johann Gottlob Friedrich Wieck was a noted German piano teacher, voice teacher, owner of a piano store, and music reviewer. He is remembered as the teacher of his daughter, Clara, a child prodigy who was doing international concert tours by age eleven and who later married Robert Schumann...

 that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.

Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lied
Lied
is a German word literally meaning "song", usually used to describe romantic songs setting German poems of reasonably high literary aspirations, especially during the nineteenth century, beginning with Carl Loewe, Heinrich Marschner, and Franz Schubert and culminating with Hugo Wolf...

er (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

 works. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
Die Neue Zeitschrift für Musik was a music magazine published in Leipzig, co-founded by Robert Schumann, his teacher and future father-in law Friedrich Wieck, and his close friend Ludwig Schuncke...

 (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

-based publication which he jointly founded.

In 1840, Schumann married pianist Clara Wieck, daughter of his former teacher, when she legally came of age at 21. They no longer needed her father's consent, which had been the subject of a long and acrimonious legal battle. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career.

For the last two years of his life, after an attempted suicide, Schumann was confined to a mental institution, at his own request.

Biography

Early life

Schumann was born in Zwickau
Zwickau
Zwickau in Germany, former seat of the government of the south-western region of the Free State of Saxony, belongs to an industrial and economical core region. Nowadays it is the capital city of the district of Zwickau...

, Saxony
Kingdom of Saxony
The Kingdom of Saxony , lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War...

, the fifth and last child of the family. Schumann began to compose before the age of seven, but his boyhood was spent in the cultivation of literature as much as music – undoubtedly influenced by his father, August Schumann
August Schumann
Friedrich August Gottlob Schumann was a German bookseller and publisher. His best-known work is the 18-volume Lexicon of Saxony, which was completed after his death by Albert Schiffner...

, a bookseller, publisher, and novelist.

Schumann began receiving general musical and piano instruction at the age of seven from Baccalaureus Kuntzsch, a teacher at the Zwickau high school. The boy immediately developed a love of music and worked at creating musical compositions himself, without the aid of Kuntzsch. Even though he often disregarded the principles of musical composition, he created works regarded as admirable for his age. The Universal Journal of Music 1850 supplement included a biographical sketch of Schumann that noted, "It has been related that Schumann, as a child, possessed rare taste and talent for portraying feelings and characteristic traits in melody,—ay, he could sketch the different dispositions of his intimate friends by certain figures and passages on the piano so exactly and comically that every one burst into loud laughter at the similitude of the portrait." (W.J. von Wasielewski
Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski
Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski was a German violinist, conductor, and musicologist.-Life:Wasielewski was born on June 17, 1822 in the village of Gross, near Danzig as the eighth of eleven children of Henriette Christina Piwko and Josef Thaddäus von Wasielewski , a landholder and later Rector of...

 17–19)

At age 14, Schumann wrote an essay on the aesthetics of music and also contributed to a volume, edited by his father, titled Portraits of Famous Men. While still at school in Zwickau, he read the works of the German poet-philosophers Friedrich Schiller
Friedrich Schiller
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

 and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, as well as Byron
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS , commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was a British poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement...

 and the Greek tragedians. His most powerful and permanent literary inspiration was Jean Paul
Jean Paul
Jean Paul , born Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, was a German Romantic writer, best known for his humorous novels and stories.-Life and work:...

, a German writer whose influence is seen in Schumann's youthful novels Juniusabende, completed in 1826, and Selene.

Schumann's interest in music was sparked by seeing a performance of Ignaz Moscheles
Ignaz Moscheles
Ignaz Moscheles was a Bohemian composer and piano virtuoso, whose career after his early years was based initially in London, and later at Leipzig, where he succeeded his friend and sometime pupil Felix Mendelssohn as head of the Conservatoire.-Sources:Much of what we know about Moscheles's life...

 playing at Karlsbad
Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is a spa city situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately west of Prague . It is named after King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who founded the city in 1370...

, and he later developed an interest in the works of Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

, Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

 and Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

. His father, who had encouraged the boy's musical aspirations, died in 1826 when Schumann was 16. Neither his mother nor his guardian thereafter encouraged a career in music. In 1828 Schumann left school, and after a tour during which he met Heinrich Heine
Heinrich Heine
Christian Johann Heinrich Heine was one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century. He was also a journalist, essayist, and literary critic. He is best known outside Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder by composers such as Robert Schumann...

 in Munich, he went to Leipzig to study law. In 1829 his law studies continued in Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

, where he became a lifelong member of Corps Saxo-Borussia Heidelberg.
(See also: Corps
German Student Corps
Corps are the oldest still-existing kind of Studentenverbindung, Germany's traditional university corporations; their roots date back to the 15th century. The oldest corps still existing today was founded in 1789...

)

1830–34

During Eastertide
Eastertide
Eastertide, or the Easter Season, or Paschal Time, is the period of fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.It is celebrated as a single joyful feast, indeed as the "great Lord's Day". Each Sunday of the season is treated as a Sunday of Easter, and, after the Sunday of the Resurrection,...

 1830 he heard the Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer Niccolò Paganini
Niccolò Paganini
Niccolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique...

 play in Frankfurt. In July he wrote to his mother, "My whole life has been a struggle between Poetry and Prose, or call it Music and Law." By Christmas he was back in Leipzig, at age 20 taking piano lessons from his old master Frederich Wieck, who assured him that he would be a successful concert pianist after a few years' study with him.

During his studies with Wieck, Schumann permanently injured his right hand. One suggested cause of this injury is that he damaged his finger by the use of a mechanical device designed to strengthen the weakest fingers, a device which held back one finger while he exercised the others. Another suggestion is that the injury was a side-effect of syphilis medication. A more dramatic suggestion is that in an attempt to increase the independence of his fourth finger, he may have undergone a surgical procedure to separate the tendons of the fourth finger from those of the third. The cause of the injury is not known, but Schumann abandoned ideas of a concert career and devoted himself instead to composition. To this end he began a study of music theory under Heinrich Dorn
Heinrich Dorn
Heinrich Ludwig Egmont Dorn was a German conductor, composer, and journalist. He was born in Königsberg , where he studied piano, singing, and composition. Later, he studied in Berlin with Ludwig Berger, Bernhard Klein, and Carl Friedrich Zelter. His first opera, Rolands Knappen, was produced in...

, a German composer six years his senior and, at that time, conductor of the Leipzig opera. About this time Schumann considered composing an opera on the subject of Hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

.

Papillons

The fusion of literary ideas with musical ones – known as Program Music
Program music
Program music or programme music is a type of art music that attempts to musically render an extra-musical narrative. The narrative itself might be offered to the audience in the form of program notes, inviting imaginative correlations with the music...

 – may be said to have first taken shape in Papillons
Papillons
Papillons, Op. 2, is a suite of piano pieces written in 1831 by Robert Schumann. Meaning 'butterflies', Papillons is meant to represent a masked ball and was inspired by the novel Flegeljahre by Jean Paul....

, Op. 2 (Butterflies), a musical portrayal of events in Jean Paul
Jean Paul
Jean Paul , born Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, was a German Romantic writer, best known for his humorous novels and stories.-Life and work:...

's novel Die Flegeljahre. In a letter from Leipzig dated April 1832, Schumann bids his brothers "read the last scene in Jean Paul's Flegeljahre as soon as possible, because the Papillons are intended as a musical representation of that masquerade." This inspiration is foreshadowed to some extent in his first written criticism, an 1831 essay on Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music and has been called "the poet of the piano"....

's variations on a theme from Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

's Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga on October 29, 1787...

, published in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung
Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung
The Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung was a German-language periodical published in the 19th century. Comini has called it "the foremost German-language musical periodical of its time"...

. Here Chopin's work is discussed by imaginary characters created by Schumann himself: Florestan (the embodiment of Schumann's passionate, voluble side) and Eusebius (his dreamy, introspective side) – the counterparts of Vult and Walt in Flegeljahre. A third, Meister Raro, is called upon for his opinion. Raro may represent either the composer himself, Wieck's daughter Clara
Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann was a German musician and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era...

, or the combination of the two (Clara + Robert).
In the winter of 1832, Schumann, 22 at the time, visited relatives in Zwickau and Schneeberg
Schneeberg, Saxony
Schneeberg is a town in Saxony’s district of Erzgebirgskreis. It has roughly 16,400 inhabitants and belongs to the Town League of Silberberg . It lies 4 km west of Aue, and southeast of Zwickau.- Location :...

, where he performed the first movement of his Symphony in G minor (without opus number, known as the "Zwickauer"). In Zwickau, the music was performed at a concert given by Clara Wieck, who was then just 13 years old. On this occasion Clara played bravura Variations by Henri Herz
Henri Herz
Henri Herz was a pianist and composer, Austrian by birth, and French by domicile.Herz was born Heinrich Herz in Vienna...

, a composer whom Schumann was already deriding as a philistine. Schumann's mother said to Clara, "You must marry my Robert one day." Although the Symphony in G minor was not published by Schumann during his lifetime, it has been played and recorded in recent times.

The 1833 deaths of Schumann's brother Julius and his sister-in-law Rosalie in a worldwide cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 epidemic brought on a severe depressive episode. The composer made his first apparent attempt at suicide.

Die neue Zeitschrift für Musik

By spring 1834, Schumann had sufficiently recovered to inaugurate Die Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
Die Neue Zeitschrift für Musik was a music magazine published in Leipzig, co-founded by Robert Schumann, his teacher and future father-in law Friedrich Wieck, and his close friend Ludwig Schuncke...

 (New Journal for Music), first published on 3 April 1834. Schumann published most of his critical writings in the Journal, and often lambasted the popular taste for flashy technical displays from figures whom Schumann perceived as inferior composers. Schumann campaigned to revive interest in major composers of the past, including Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

, Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 and Weber
Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school....

, while he also promoted the work of some contemporary composers, including Chopin (about whom Schumann famously wrote, "Hats off, Gentlemen! A genius!") and Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

, whom he praised for creating music of substance. On the other hand, Schumann disparaged the school of Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

 and Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

. Among Schumann's associates at this time were composers Norbert Burgmüller
Norbert Burgmüller
Norbert Burgmüller was a German composer.-Life:Burgmüller was born in Düsseldorf, the youngest son in a musical family. His father, August Burgmüller, was the director of a theatre. His mother, Therese von Zandt, was a singer and piano teacher. He had two brothers, Franz and Friedrich, who was...

 and Ludwig Schuncke
Ludwig Schuncke
Ludwig Schuncke was a German pianist and composer, and close friend of Robert Schumann. His early promise was eclipsed by his death from tuberculosis at the age of 23....

 (to whom Schumann's Toccata in C is dedicated).

Schumann's editorial duties during the summer of 1834 were interrupted by his relations with 16-year-old Ernestine von Fricken – the adopted daughter of a rich Bohemian-born noble – to whom he became engaged. Schumann broke off that engagement due to his growing attraction to 15-year-old Clara Wieck. They made mutual declarations of love in December in Zwickau, where Clara appeared in concert.

Having learned in August 1835 that Ernestine von Fricken was born illegitimate, which meant that she would have no dowry, and fearful that her limited means would force him to earn his living like a "day-labourer", Schumann made a complete break with her toward the end of the year. His budding romance with Clara was soon brought to an end when her father learned of their trysts during the Christmas holidays; he summarily forbade them further meetings and ordered all correspondence between them burnt.

Carnaval

Carnaval
Carnaval (Schumann)
Carnaval, Op. 9, is a work by Robert Schumann for piano solo, written in 1834-1835, and subtitled Scènes mignonnes sur quatre notes . It consists of a collection of short pieces representing masked revelers at Carnival, a festival before Lent...

, Op. 9 (1834) is one of Schumann's most characteristic piano works. Schumann begins nearly every section of Carnaval with a musical cryptogram
Musical cryptogram
A musical cryptogram is a cryptogrammatic sequence of musical notes, a sequence which can be taken to refer to an extra-musical text by some 'logical' relationship, usually between note names and letters. The most common and best known examples result from composers using ciphered versions of their...

, the musical notes signified in German by the letters that spell Asch
Aš is a town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic.-History:Previously uninhabited hills and swamps, the town of Asch was founded in the early 11th century by German colonists. Slavic settlements in the area are not known. The dialect spoken in the town was that of the Upper Palatinate,...

 (A, E-flat, C, and B, or alternatively A-flat, C, and B; in German these are A, Es, C and H, and As C and H respectively), the Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

n town in which Ernestine was born, and the notes are also the musical letters in Schumann's own name. Schumann named sections for both Ernestine ("Estrella") and Clara ("Chiarina"). Eusebius and Florestan, the imaginary figures appearing so often in his critical writings, also appear, alongside brilliant imitations of Chopin and Paganini. The work comes to a close with a march of the Davidsbündler
Davidsbündler
The Davidsbündler was an imaginary music society created by Robert Schumann in his writings. The group was created to defend the cause of contemporary music against its detractors...

 – the league of King David's men against the Philistines
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

 – in which may be heard the clear accents of truth in contest with the dull clamour of falsehood embodied in a quotation
Musical quotation
Musical quotation is the practice of directly quoting another work in a new composition. The quotation may be from the same composer's work , or from a different composer's work ....

 from the seventeenth century Grandfather's Dance
Grossvater Tanz
The Grossvater Tanz is a German dance tune from the 17th century. It is generally considered a traditional folk tune...

. The march, a step nearly always in duple meter, is here in 3/4 time (triple meter). The work ends in joy and a degree of mock-triumph. In Carnaval, Schumann went further than in Papillons, by conceiving the story as well as the musical representation (and also displaying a maturation of compositional resource).

1835–39

On 3 October 1835, Schumann met Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

 at Wieck's house in Leipzig, and his enthusiastic appreciation of that artist was shown with the same generous freedom that distinguished his acknowledgement of Chopin's greatness and most of his other colleagues, and which later prompted him to publicly pronounce the then-unknown Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 a genius.
Despite the opposition of Clara's father, she and Robert continued a clandestine relationship which matured into a full-blown romance. In 1837, he asked her father's consent to their marriage, but was refused. Wieck ridiculed his daughter's wish to "throw herself away on a penniless composer."

In the series of piano pieces Fantasiestücke
Fantasiestücke
Robert Schumann's Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, are eight pieces for piano, written in 1837. Schumann titled the work inspired by the 1814 collection of novellas Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier by his favourite author, E. T. A...

, Op. 12, Schumann expresses the fusion of literary and musical ideas as embodied conceptions in such pieces as "Warum" and "In der Nacht". After he had written the latter of these two, he detected in the music the fanciful suggestion of a series of episodes from the myth of Hero and Leander
Hero and Leander
Hero and Leander is a Byzantine myth, relating the story of Hērō and like "hero" in English), a priestess of Aphrodite who dwelt in a tower in Sestos on the European side of the Dardanelles, and Leander , a young man from Abydos on the opposite side of the strait. Leander fell in love with Hero...

. The collection begins, in "Des Abends", with a notable example of Schumann's predilection for rhythmic ambiguity, as unrelieved syncopation
Syncopation
In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced strong and weak but also powerful beats in a meter . These include a stress on a normally unstressed beat or a rest where one would normally be...

 plays heavily against the time signature, (leading to a feeling of 3/8 in a movement marked 2/8) somewhat analogous to that of the first movement of Faschingsschwank aus Wien
Faschingsschwank aus Wien
Faschingsschwank aus Wien is a solo piano work by Robert Schumann, his Op. 26. Schumann began composition of the work in 1839 in Vienna...

. After a fable – and the appropriately titled "Dream's Confusion" – the collection ends on an introspective note in the manner of Eusebius.

In 1837 Schumann published his Symphonic Studies, a complex set of étude-like variations written in 1834–1835, which demanded a finished piano technique. These variations were based on a theme by the adoptive father of Ernestine von Fricken. The work – described as "one of the peaks of the piano literature, lofty in conception and faultless in workmanship" [Hutcheson] – was dedicated to the young English composer William Sterndale Bennett
William Sterndale Bennett
Sir William Sterndale Bennett was an English composer. He ranks as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic school-Biography:...

 for whom Schumann had had a high regard when they worked together in Leipzig.

The Davidsbündlertänze
Davidsbündlertänze
Davidsbündlertänze , Op. 6, is a group of eighteen pieces for solo piano composed by Robert Schumann in 1837. Schumann named them after the imaginary Davidsbündler. The pieces are not true dances, but are characteristic pieces, musical dialogues about contemporary music between Schumann's...

, Op.6, (also published in 1837 despite the low opus number) literally "Dances of the League of David", is an embodiment of the struggle between enlightened Romanticism and musical philistinism. Schumann credited the two sides of his character with the composition of the work (the more passionate numbers are signed F. (Florestan) and the more dreamy signed E. (Eusebius)). The work begins with the 'motto of C.W.' (Clara Wieck) denoting her support for the ideals of the Davidsbund The Bund was a work of Schumann's imagination, members of which were kindred spirits (as he saw them) such as Chopin, Paganini and Clara, as well as the personalized Florestan and Eusebius.

Kinderszenen
Kinderszenen
Kinderszenen , Opus 15, by Robert Schumann, is a set of thirteen pieces of music for piano written in 1838. In this work, Schumann provides us with his adult reminiscences of childhood. Schumann had originally written 30 movements for this work, but chose 13 for the final version...

, Op. 15, completed in 1838 and a favourite of Schumann's piano works, depicts the innocence and playfulness of childhood. The "Träumerei", No. 7 of the set, is one of the most famous piano pieces ever written, which has been performed in myriad forms and transcriptions. It has been the favourite encore
Encore (concert)
An encore is an additional performance added to the end of a concert, from the French "encore", which means "again", "some more"; multiple encores are not uncommon. Encores originated spontaneously, when audiences would continue to applaud and demand additional performance from the artist after the...

 of several great pianists, including Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz    was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Life and early...

. Melodic and deceptively simple, the piece has been described as "complex" in its harmonic structure.
Kreisleriana
Kreisleriana
Kreisleriana, Op. 16, is a composition in eight movements by Robert Schumann for solo piano, subtitled , written in April 1838. Dedicated to Frédéric Chopin, it is a very dramatic work and is considered to be one of Schumann's finest compositions....

 (1838), considered one of Schumann's greatest works, carried his fantasy and emotional range deeper. Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler is the name of a character in three novels by E.T.A. Hoffmann: Kreisleriana , Johannes Kreisler, des Kapellmeisters Musikalische Leiden , Lebensansichten des Katers Murr nebst Fragmentarischer Biographie des Kapellmeisters Johannes Kreisler in Zufälligen Makulaturblättern...

 was the fictional poet created by poet E. T. A. Hoffmann, and characterized as a "romantic brought into contact with reality". Schumann used the figure to express emotional states in music that is "fantastic and mad." According to Hutcheson ("The Literature of the Piano"), this work is "among the finest efforts of Schumann's genius. He never surpassed the searching beauty of the slow movements (Nos. 2, 4, 6) or the urgent passion of others (Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7)...To appreciate it a high level of aesthetic intelligence is required...This is no facile music, there is severity alike in its beauty and its passion."
The Fantasie in C
Fantasie in C (Schumann)
The Fantasie in C major, Op. 17, was written by Robert Schumann in 1836. It was revised prior to publication in 1839, when it was dedicated to Franz Liszt. It is generally described as one of Schumann's greatest works for solo piano, and is one of the central works of the early Romantic period. ...

, Op. 17, composed in the summer of 1836, is a work of passion and deep pathos, imbued with the spirit of the late Beethoven. Schumann intended to use proceeds from sales of the work toward the construction of a monument to Beethoven
Beethoven Monument, Bonn
The Beethoven Monument is a large bronze statue of Ludwig van Beethoven that stands on the Münsterplatz in Bonn, Beethoven's birthplace. It was unveiled on 12 August 1845, in honour of the 75th anniversary of the composer's birth.-Background:...

 (who had died in 1827). The closing of the first movement of the Fantasie contains a musical quote
Musical quotation
Musical quotation is the practice of directly quoting another work in a new composition. The quotation may be from the same composer's work , or from a different composer's work ....

 from Beethoven's song cycle, An die ferne Geliebte
An die ferne Geliebte
, opus 98, is a composition by Ludwig van Beethoven in April 1816. It is considered to be the first example of a song cycle by a major composer.-Beethoven's :...

, Op. 98 (at the Adagio coda, taken from the last song of the cycle). The original titles of the movements were to be "Ruins", "Triumphal Arch" and "The Starry Crown". According to Liszt, who played the work for Schumann, and to whom it was dedicated, the Fantasie was apt to be played too heavily, and should have a dreamier (träumerisch) character than vigorous German pianists tended to impart. Liszt also said, "It is a noble work, worthy of Beethoven, whose career, by the way, it is supposed to represent." Again according to Hutcheson: "No words can describe the Phantasie, no quotations set forth the majesty of its genius. It must suffice to say that it is Schumann's greatest work in large form for piano solo."

After a visit to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 during which he discovered Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

's previously unknown Symphony No. 9 in C
Symphony No. 9 (Schubert)
The Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944, known as the Great , is the final symphony completed by Franz Schubert. Nicknamed The Great C major originally to distinguish it from his Symphony No...

, in 1839 Schumann wrote the Faschingsschwank aus Wien (Carnival Prank from Vienna). Most of the joke is in the central section of the first movement, in which a thinly veiled reference is made to the "Marseillaise" (the song had been banned in Vienna due to harsh memories of Napoleon's invasion). The festive mood does not preclude moments of melancholic introspection in the Intermezzo.

After a long and acrimonious legal battle with her father, Schumann married Clara Wieck on 12 September 1840, at Schönefeld
Leipzig-Schönefeld
Schönefeld is a city quarter in the Northeast of Leipzig. Concerning administrative matters Schönefeld-Ost is a district of Leipzig, while the rest of Schönefeld, together with Abtnaundorf forms a district called Schönefeld-Abtnaundorf.- History :...

. They finally resolved the battle by waiting until she was of legal age and no longer subject to her father's consent for marriage.

1840–49

In the years 1832–1839, Schumann had written almost exclusively for the piano, but in 1840 alone he wrote 168 songs. Indeed 1840 (referred to as the Liederjahr or year of song) is highly significant in Schumann's musical legacy despite his earlier deriding of works for piano and voice as inferior.

Prior to the legal case and subsequent marriage, the lovers exchanged love letters and rendezvoused in secret. Robert would often wait in a cafe for hours in a nearby city just to see Clara for a few minutes after one of her concerts. The strain of this long courtship (they finally married in 1840), and of its consummation, led to this great outpouring of Lieder (vocal songs with piano accompaniment). This is evident in "Widmung", for example, where he uses the melody from Schubert's
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

 "Ave Maria"
Ellens dritter Gesang
Ellens dritter Gesang , in English: "Ellen's Third Song", was composed by Franz Schubert in 1825 as part of his Opus 52, a setting of seven songs from Walter Scott's popular epic poem The Lady of the Lake, loosely translated into German.It has become one of Schubert's most popular works under the...

 in the postlude—in homage to Clara. Schumann's biographers have attributed the sweetness, the doubt and the despair of these songs to the varying emotions aroused by his love for Clara and the uncertainties of their future together.

Robert and Clara had eight children, Emil (who died in infancy in 1847); Marie (1841–1929); Elise (1843–1928); Julie (1845–1872); Ludwig (1848–1899); Ferdinand (1849–1891); Eugenie (1851–1938); and Felix (1854–1879).
His chief song-cycles of this period were his settings of the Liederkreis of Joseph von Eichendorff
Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff
Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff was a German poet and novelist of the later German romantic school.Eichendorff is regarded as one of the most important German Romantics and his works have sustained high popularity in Germany from production to the present day.-Life:Eichendorff was born at Schloß...

, Op. 39 (depicting a series of moods relating to or inspired by nature); the Frauenliebe und -leben
Frauenliebe und -leben
Frauenliebe und -leben is a cycle of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso, written in 1830. They describe the course of a woman's love for her man, from her point of view, from first meeting through marriage to his death, and after. Selections were set to music as a song-cycle by masters of German Lied,...

 of Chamisso
Adelbert von Chamisso
Adelbert von Chamisso was a German poet and botanist.- Life :He was born Louis Charles Adélaïde de Chamissot at the château of Boncourt at Ante, in Champagne, France, the ancestral seat of his family...

, Op. 42 (relating the tale of a woman's marriage, childbirth and widowhood); the Dichterliebe
Dichterliebe
Dichterliebe, 'The Poet's Love' , is the best-known song cycle of Robert Schumann . The texts for the 16 songs come from the Lyrisches Intermezzo of Heinrich Heine, composed 1822–1823, published as part of the poet's Das Buch der Lieder. Following the song-cycles of Franz Schubert , those of...

 of Heine
Heinrich Heine
Christian Johann Heinrich Heine was one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century. He was also a journalist, essayist, and literary critic. He is best known outside Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder by composers such as Robert Schumann...

, Op. 48 (depicting a lover rejected, but coming to terms with his painful loss through renunciation and forgiveness); and Myrthen, a collection of songs, including poems by Goethe, Rückert
Friedrich Rückert
Friedrich Rückert was a German poet, translator, and professor of Oriental languages.-Biography:Rückert was born at Schweinfurt and was the eldest son of a lawyer. He was educated at the local Gymnasium and at the universities of Würzburg and Heidelberg. From 1816-1817, he worked on the editorial...

, Heine, Byron, Burns
Robert Burns
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide...

 and Moore. The songs Belsatzar, Op. 57 and Die beiden Grenadiere, Op. 49, both to Heine's words, show Schumann at his best as a ballad writer, although the dramatic ballad is less congenial to him than the introspective lyric. The Opp. 35, 40 and 98a sets (words by Justinus Kerner
Justinus Kerner
Justinus Andreas Christian Kerner was a German poet and medical writer.-Life:He was born at Ludwigsburg in Württemberg...

, Chamisso and Goethe respectively), although less well known, also contain songs of lyric and dramatic quality.

Franz Grillparzer
Franz Grillparzer
Franz Seraphicus Grillparzer was an Austrian writer who is chiefly known for his dramas. He also wrote the oration for Ludwig van Beethoven's funeral.-Biography:...

 said,
"He has made himself a new ideal world in which he moves almost as he wills."


Despite his achievements, Schumann received few tokens of honour; he was awarded a doctoral degree by the University of Jena in 1840, and in 1843 a professorship in the Conservatory of Music
Felix Mendelssohn College of Music and Theatre
The University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig is a public university in Leipzig . Founded in 1843 by Felix Mendelssohn as the Conservatory of Music, it is the oldest university school of music in Germany....

, which Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

 had founded in Leipzig that same year. On one occasion, accompanying his wife on a concert tour in Russia, Schumann was asked whether 'he too was a musician'. He was to remain sensitive to his wife's greater international acclaim as a pianist.
In 1841 he wrote two of his four symphonies, No. 1 in B flat
Symphony No. 1 (Schumann)
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38 was the first symphonic work composed by Robert Schumann. Although Schumann made some "symphonic attempts" in the autumn of 1840 soon after he married his beloved Clara Wieck, he did not compose his First Symphony until early 1841...

, Op. 38, "Spring" and No. 4 in D minor
Symphony No. 4 (Schumann)
The Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120, composed by Robert Schumann, was completed in 1841 . Schumann heavily revised the symphony in 1851, and it was this version that reached publication....

, (first published in one movement, but later revised extensively and published as Op. 120 – a work that is a pioneering essay in 'cyclic form'). He devoted 1842 to composing chamber music, including the Piano Quintet in E flat
Piano Quintet (Schumann)
The Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44, by Robert Schumann was written in 1842. Like most piano quintets, it is written for piano and string quartet .- Background :...

, Op. 44, now one of his best known and most admired works; the Piano Quartet and three string quartets. In 1843 he wrote Paradise and the Peri
Paradise and the Peri
Paradise and the Peri, in German Das Paradies und die Peri, is a cantata for soloists, chorus, and orchestra by Robert Schumann. Completed in 1843, the work was published as Schumann's Op. 50....

, his first essay at concerted vocal music, an oratorio
Oratorio
An oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias...

 style work based on Lalla-Rookh
Lalla-Rookh
Lalla Rookh is an Oriental romance by Thomas Moore, published in 1817. The title is taken from the name of the heroine of the frame tale, the daughter of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb...

 by Thomas Moore
Thomas Moore
Thomas Moore was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of The Minstrel Boy and The Last Rose of Summer. He was responsible, with John Murray, for burning Lord Byron's memoirs after his death...

. After this, his compositions were not confined to any one form during any particular period.

The stage in his life when he was deeply engaged in setting Goethe's Faust
Faust
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical...

 to music (1844–53) was a critical one for his health. He spent the first half of 1844 with Clara on tour in Russia. On returning to Germany, he abandoned his editorial work and left Leipzig for Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, where he suffered from persistent "nervous prostration". As soon as he began to work, he was seized with fits of shivering and an apprehension of death, experiencing an abhorrence for high places, for all metal instruments (even keys), and for drugs. Schumann's diaries also state that he suffered perpetually from imagining that he had the note A5 sounding in his ears.

His state of unease and neurasthenia
Neurasthenia
Neurasthenia is a psycho-pathological term first used by George Miller Beard in 1869 to denote a condition with symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, headache, neuralgia and depressed mood...

 is reflected in his Symphony in C
Symphony No. 2 (Schumann)
The Symphony in C major by German composer Robert Schumann was published in 1847 as his Symphony No. 2, Op. 61, although it was the third symphony he had completed, counting the B-flat major symphony published as No. 1 in 1841, and the original version of his D minor symphony of 1841 The Symphony...

, numbered second, but third in order of composition, in which the composer explores states of exhaustion, obsession and depression, culminating in Beethovenian spiritual triumph. Also published in 1845 was his Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Piano Concerto (Schumann)
The Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54, is a famous Romantic concerto by Robert Schumann, completed in 1845.Schumann had begun several piano concerti before this one: In 1828, he had begun one in E-flat major; from 1829-31 he worked on one in F major, and in 1839, he wrote one movement of a concerto...

, originally published as a one-movement Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra. It is one of the most popular and oft-recorded of all piano concertos; pace Hutcheson "Schumann achieved a masterly work and we inherited the finest piano concerto since Mozart and Beethoven".

In 1846, he felt he had recovered. In the winter, the Schumanns revisited Vienna, traveling to Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 and Berlin in the spring of 1847 and in the summer to Zwickau, where he was received with enthusiasm. This pleased him, since at that time he was famous in only Dresden and Leipzig.

His only opera, Genoveva
Genoveva
Genoveva is an opera in four acts by Robert Schumann in the genre of German Romanticism with a libretto by Robert Reinick and the composer. The only opera Schumann ever wrote, it received its first performance on 25 June 1850 at the Stadttheater in Leipzig, with the composer conducting...

, Op. 81, was written in 1848. In it, Schumann attempted to abolish recitative
Recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

, which he regarded as an interruption to the musical flow (an influence on Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

; Schumann's consistently flowing melody can be seen as a forerunner to Wagner's Melos). The subject of Genoveva—based on Ludwig Tieck
Ludwig Tieck
Johann Ludwig Tieck was a German poet, translator, editor, novelist, writer of Novellen, and critic, who was one of the founding fathers of the Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.-Early life:...

 and Christian Friedrich Hebbel
Christian Friedrich Hebbel
Christian Friedrich Hebbel , was a German poet and dramatist.-Biography:Hebbel was born at Wesselburen in Ditmarschen, Holstein, the son of a bricklayer. He was educated at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums...

—was not an ideal choice. The text is often considered to lack dramatic qualities; the work has not remained in the repertoire. As early as 1842 the possibilities of German opera had been keenly realized by Schumann, who wrote, "Do you know my prayer as an artist, night and morning? It is called 'German Opera.' Here is a real field for enterprise . . . something simple, profound, German." And in his notebook of suggestions for the text of operas are found amongst others: Nibelung
Nibelung
The German Nibelungen and the corresponding Old Norse form Niflung is the name in Germanic and Norse mythology of the royal family or lineage of the Burgundians who settled at Worms....

en, Lohengrin
Lohengrin (opera)
Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself...

 and Till Eulenspiegel
Till Eulenspiegel
Till Eulenspiegel was an impudent trickster figure originating in Middle Low German folklore. His tales were disseminated in popular printed editions narrating a string of lightly connected episodes that outlined his picaresque career, primarily in Germany, the Low Countries and France...

.

The music to Byron's Manfred
Manfred
Manfred is a dramatic poem written in 1816–1817 by Lord Byron. It contains supernatural elements, in keeping with the popularity of the ghost story in England at the time. It is a typical example of a Romantic closet drama...

 was written in 1849, the overture of which is one of Schumann's most frequently performed orchestral works. The insurrection of Dresden
May Uprising in Dresden
The May Uprising took place in Dresden, Germany in 1849; it was one of the last of the series of events known as the Revolutions of 1848.-Events leading to the May Uprising:...

 caused Schumann to move to Kreischa
Kreischa
Kreischa is a municipality in the Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge district, Saxony, Germany. It directly borders the Saxon capital Dresden and consists of 14 districts.Kreischa was first mentioned in 1282...

, a little village a few miles outside the city. In August 1849, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Goethe's birth, such scenes of Schumann's Faust
Scenes from Goethe's Faust
Written between 1844 and 1853, Szenen aus Goethes Faust has been described as the height of composer Robert Schumann's accomplishments in the realm of dramatic music....

 as were already completed were performed in Dresden, Leipzig and Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

. Liszt gave him assistance and encouragement. The rest of the work was written later in 1849, and the overture (which Schumann described as "one of the sturdiest of [his] creations") in 1853.

After 1850

From 1850 to 1854, Schumann composed in a wide variety of genres. Critics have disputed the quality of his work at this time; a widely held view has been that his music showed signs of mental breakdown and creative decay. More recently, critics have suggested that the changes in style may be explained by "lucid experimentation".

In 1850, Schumann succeeded Ferdinand Hiller
Ferdinand Hiller
Ferdinand Hiller was a German composer, conductor, writer and music-director.-Biography:Ferdinand Hiller was born to a wealthy Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main, where his father Justus was a merchant in English textiles – a business eventually continued by Ferdinand’s brother Joseph...

 as musical director at Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

, but he was a poor conductor and quickly aroused the opposition of the musicians. According to Schonberg (The Great Conductors) "The great composer was impossible on the platform...There is something heartrending about poor Schumann's epochal inefficiency as a conductor." His contract was eventually terminated. From 1851 to 1853 he visited Switzerland, Belgium and Leipzig. In 1851 he completed his Symphony No. 3, "Rhenish"
Symphony No. 3 (Schumann)
Composed from November 2 to December 9, 1850, the Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish” in E flat major, Op. 97, is the last symphony that Robert Schumann composed, although it was not the last symphony that he published...

 (a work containing five movements and whose 4th movement is apparently intended to represent an episcopal coronation ceremony). He revised what would be published as his fourth symphony
Symphony No. 4 (Schumann)
The Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120, composed by Robert Schumann, was completed in 1841 . Schumann heavily revised the symphony in 1851, and it was this version that reached publication....

.

On 30 September 1853, the 20-year-old composer Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 knocked unannounced on the door of the Schumanns carrying a letter of introduction from violinist Joseph Joachim
Joseph Joachim
Joseph Joachim was a Hungarian violinist, conductor, composer and teacher. A close collaborator of Johannes Brahms, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant violinists of the 19th century.-Origins:...

. (Schumann was not at home, and would not meet Brahms until the next day). Brahms amazed Clara and Robert with his music, stayed with them for several weeks, and became a close family friend. (He later worked closely with Clara to popularize Schumann's compositions during her long widowhood.)

During this time Schumann, Brahms and Schumann's pupil Albert Dietrich
Albert Dietrich
Albert Hermann Dietrich , was a German composer and conductor, remembered less for his own achievements than for his friendship with Johannes Brahms.Dietrich was born at Golk, near Meissen...

 collaborated on the composition of the F-A-E Sonata for Joachim; Schumann also published an article, "Neue Bahnen" ("New Paths") in the Neue Zeitschrift (his first article in many years), hailing the unknown young Brahms from Hamburg, a man who had published nothing, as "the Chosen One" who "was destined to give ideal expression to the times." It was an extraordinary way to present Brahms to the musical world, setting up great expectations which he did not fulfill for many years. In January 1854, Schumann went to Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

, where he heard a performance of his Paradise and the Peri organized by Joachim and Brahms. Two years later at Schumann's request, the work received its first English performance conducted by William Sterndale Bennett
William Sterndale Bennett
Sir William Sterndale Bennett was an English composer. He ranks as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic school-Biography:...

.
Schumann returned to Düsseldorf and began to edit his complete works and make an anthology on the subject of music. He suffered a renewal of the symptoms that had threatened him earlier. Besides the single note (possibly evidence of tinnitus
Tinnitus
Tinnitus |ringing]]") is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom that can result from a wide range of underlying causes: abnormally loud sounds in the ear canal for even the briefest period , ear...

), he imagined that voices sounded in his ear and he heard angelic music. One night he suddenly left his bed, having dreamt or imagined that a ghost (purportedly the spirit of either Schubert or Mendelssohn) had dictated a "spirit theme" to him. The theme was one he had used several times before: in his Second String Quartet, again in his Lieder-Album für die Jugend, and finally in the slow movement of his Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Schumann)
Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23 was his only violin concerto and one of his last significant compositions, and one that remained unknown to all but a very small circle for more than 80 years after it was written.- Composition :...

. In the days leading up to his suicide attempt, Schumann wrote five variations on this theme for the piano, his last published work. Brahms published it in a supplementary volume to the complete edition of Schumann's piano music. In 1861 Brahms published his Variations for Piano Four Hands, Op. 23, based on this theme.

In late February 1854, Schumann's symptoms increased, the angelic visions sometimes being replaced by demonic visions. He warned Clara that he feared he might do her harm. On 27 February 1854, he attempted suicide by throwing himself from a bridge into the Rhine River. Rescued by boatmen and taken home, he asked to be taken to an asylum for the insane. He entered Dr. Franz Richarz's sanatorium in Endenich
Endenich
Endenich is a neighborhood of Bonn, Germany, since 1904.The village of Endenich was founded in the 8th century, first mentioned in 804 as Villa quae vocatur Antiche .Today, about 12,000 people live in Endenich....

, a quarter of Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, and remained there until his death on 29 July 1856.

Given his reported symptoms, one modern view is that his death was a result of syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

, which he may have contracted during his student days, and which would have remained latent during most of his marriage. According to studies by the musicologist and literary scholar Eric Sams
Eric Sams
Eric Sams was a British musicologist and Shakespeare scholar.Born in London, he was raised in Essex; his early brilliance in school earned him a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge at the age of sixteen. His life-long passion for puzzles and ciphers stood him in good stead in his...

, Schumann's symptoms during his terminal illness and death appear consistent with those of mercury poisoning
Mercury poisoning
Mercury poisoning is a disease caused by exposure to mercury or its compounds. Mercury is a heavy metal occurring in several forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses...

, mercury being a common treatment for syphilis and other conditions. Another possibility is that his neurological problems were the result of an intracranial mass. A report by Janisch and Nauhaus on Schumann's autopsy indicates that he had a "gelatinous" tumor at the base of the brain; it may have represented a colloid cyst, a craniopharyngioma, a chordoma, or a chordoid meningioma. In particular, meningiomas are known to produce musical auditory hallucinations, such as Schumann reported. Still other sources surmise that Schumann had bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder, historically known as manic–depressive disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or...

, citing his mood swings and changes in productivity.

From the time of her husband's death, Clara devoted herself to the performance and interpretation of her husband's works. In 1856, she first visited England, but the critics received Schumann's music coolly. Critics such as Henry Fothergill Chorley
Henry Fothergill Chorley
Henry Fothergill Chorley was an English literary, art and music critic and editor. He was also an author of novels, drama, poetry and lyrics....

 were particularly harsh in their disapproval. She returned to London in 1865 and made regular appearances there in later years. She became the authoritative editor of her husband's works for Breitkopf & Härtel
Breitkopf & Härtel
Breitkopf & Härtel is the world's oldest music publishing house. The firm was founded in 1719 in Leipzig by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf . The catalogue currently contains over 1000 composers, 8000 works and 15,000 music editions or books on music. The name "Härtel" was added when Gottfried...

. It was rumoured that she and Brahms destroyed many of Schumann's later works, which they thought to be tainted by his madness. However, only the Five Pieces for Cello and Piano are known to have been destroyed. Most of Schumann's late works, particularly the Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Schumann)
Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23 was his only violin concerto and one of his last significant compositions, and one that remained unknown to all but a very small circle for more than 80 years after it was written.- Composition :...

, the Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra and the Third Violin Sonata, all from 1853, have entered the repertoire.

Legacy

Schumann had considerable influence in the nineteenth century and beyond, despite his adoption of more conservative modes of composition after his marriage. He left an array of acclaimed music in virtually all the forms then known. Partly through his protégé Brahms, Schumann's ideals and musical vocabulary became widely disseminated. Composer Sir Edward Elgar
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

 called Schumann "my ideal."

Schumann has not often been confused with Austrian composer Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

, but one well-known example occurred in 1956, when East Germany issued a pair of postage stamps featuring Schumann's picture against an open score that featured Schubert's music. The stamps were soon replaced by a pair featuring music written by Schumann.

Compositions


Fictional portrayals

  • Song of Love
    Song of Love (film)
    Song of Love is a biopic starring Katharine Hepburn, Paul Henreid, Robert Walker, and Leo G. Carroll, directed by Clarence Brown and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer....

     was a 1947 film starring Paul Henreid as Schumann, Katharine Hepburn
    Katharine Hepburn
    Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an American actress of film, stage, and television. In a career that spanned 62 years as a leading lady, she was best known for playing strong-willed, sophisticated women in both dramas and comedies...

     as Clara Wieck, Robert Walker as Johannes Brahms
    Johannes Brahms
    Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

     and Henry Daniell
    Henry Daniell
    Henry Daniell was an English actor, best known for his villainous movie roles, but who had a long and prestigious career on stage as well as in films....

     as Franz Liszt
    Franz Liszt
    Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

    .
  • Peter Schamoni's 1983 movie Frühlingssinfonie (Spring Symphony) tells the story of Robert and Clara's romance, against her father's opposition. Robert was played by Herbert Grönemeyer
    Herbert Grönemeyer
    Herbert Grönemeyer is a German musician and actor, popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He starred as war correspondent Lieutenant Werner in Wolfgang Petersen's movie Das Boot, but later concentrated on his musical career...

    , Clara by Nastassja Kinski
    Nastassja Kinski
    Nastassja Kinski is a German-born American-based actress who has appeared in more than 60 films. Her starring roles include her Golden Globe Award-winning portrayal of the title character in Tess and her roles in two erotic films , as well as parts in Wim Wenders' films The Wrong Move; Paris,...

    , and Clara's father by Rolf Hoppe. The role of Niccolò Paganini
    Niccolò Paganini
    Niccolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique...

     was played by the violinist Gidon Kremer
    Gidon Kremer
    Gidon Kremer is a Latvian violinist and conductor. In 1980 he left the USSR and settled in Germany.-Biography:Kremer was born in Riga to parents of German-Jewish and Latvian-Swedish origins. He began playing the violin at the age of four, receiving instruction from his father and his grandfather,...

    . The score was written by Grönemeyer and conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Wolfgang Sawallisch is a retired German conductor and pianist.-Biography:Sawallisch was born in Munich, and studied composition and pianoforte there privately: at the conclusion of the war, in 1946 he continued his studies at the Munich High School for Music and passed his final examination for...

    .
  • The Andrew Crumey
    Andrew Crumey
    Andrew Crumey is a novelist and former literary editor of the Scotland on Sunday newspaper. He was born in Kirkintilloch, north of Glasgow, Scotland. He graduated with First Class Honours from the University of St Andrews and holds a PhD in theoretical physics from Imperial College, London. In...

     novel Mobius Dick
    Mobius Dick
    Mobius Dick is a novel by Andrew Crumey.It features a parallel world in which Nazi Germany invaded Britain and Erwin Schrödinger failed to find the wave equation that bears his name. This world becomes connected to our world due to experiments with quantum computers.The science-fiction plot...

     has a chapter depicting Schumann at Endenich
    Endenich
    Endenich is a neighborhood of Bonn, Germany, since 1904.The village of Endenich was founded in the 8th century, first mentioned in 804 as Villa quae vocatur Antiche .Today, about 12,000 people live in Endenich....

    .

Life and works


Sheet music


Recordings and MIDI

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