Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann
Short Name: Robert Schumann
Full Name: Schumann, Robert, 1810-1856
Birth Year: 1810
Death Year: 1856

Robert Alexander Schumann DM Germany 1810-1856. Born at Swickau, Saxony, Germany, the last child of a novelist, bookseller, and publisher, he began composing music at age seven. He received general music instruction at the local high school and worked to create his own compositions. Some of his works were considered admirable for his age. He even composed music congruent to the personalities of friends, who took note of the anomaly. He studied famous poets and philosophers and was impressed with the works of other famous composers of the time. After his father’s death in 1826, he went to Leipzig to study law (to meet the terms of his inheritance). In 1829 he continued law studies in Heidelberg, where he became a lifelong member of Corps Saxo-Borussia Heidelberg. In 1830 he left the study of law to return to music, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. His teacher, Friedrich Wieck, assured him he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but an injury to his right hand (from a practicing method) ended that dream. He then focused his energies on composition, and studied under Heinrich Dorn, a German composer and conductor of the Leipzig opera. Schumann visited relatives in Zwickau and Schneeberg and performed at a concert given by Clara Wieck, age 13 at the time. In 1834 he published ‘A new journal for music’, praising some past composers and deriding others. He met Felix Mendelssohn at Wieck’s house in Leigzig and lauded the greatness of his compositions, along with those of Johannes Brahms. He also wrote a work, hoping to use proceeds from its sale towards a monument for Beethoven, whom he highly admired. He composed symphonies, operas, orchestral and chamber works, and also wrote biographies. Until 1840 he wrote strictly for piano, but then began composing for orchestra and voice. That year he composed 168 songs. He also receive a Doctorate degree from the University of Jena that year. An aesthete and influential music critic, he was one of the most regarded composers of the Romantic era. He published his works in the ‘New journal for music’, which he co-founded. In 1840, against the wishes of his father, he married Clara Wieck, daughter of his former teacher, and they had four children: Marie, Julie, Eugenie, and Felix. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career, the earnings from which formed a substantial part of her father’s fortune. In 1841 he wrote 2 of his 4 symphonies. In 1843 he was awarded a professorship in the Conservatory of Music, which Mendelssohn had founded in Leipzig that same year, When he and Clara went to Russia for her performances, he was questioned as to whether he also was a musician. He harbored resentment for her success as a pianist, which exceeded his ability as a pianist and reputation as a composer. From 1844-1853 he was engaged in setting Goethe’s Faust to music, but he began having persistent nervous prostration and developed neurasthenia (nervous fears of things, like metal objects and drugs). In 1846 he felt he had recovered and began traveling to Vienna, Prague, and Berlin, where he was received with enthusiasm. His only opera was written in 1848, and an orchestral work in 1849. In 1850 he succeeded Ferdinand Hiller as musical director at Dusseldorf, but was a poor conductor and soon aroused the opposition of the musicians, claiming he was impossible on the platform. From 1850-1854 he composed a wide variety of genres, but critics have considered his works during this period inferior to earlier works. In 1851 he visited Switzerland, Belgium, and returned to Leipzig. That year he finished his fourth symphony. He then went to Dusseldorf and began editing his complete works and making an anthology on the subject of music. He again was plagued with imaginary voices (angels, ghosts or demons) and in 1854 jumped off a bridge into the Rhine River, but was rescued by boatmen and taken home. For the last two years of his life, after the attempted suicide, Schumann was confined to a sanitarium in Endenich near Bonn, at his own request, and his wife was not allowed to see him. She finally saw him two days before he died, but he was unable to speak. He was diagnosed with psychotic melancholia, but died of pneumonia without recovering from the mental illness. Speculations as to the cause of his late term maladies was that he may have suffered from syphilis, contracted early in life, and treated with mercury, unknown as a neurological poison at the time. A report on his autopsy said he had a tumor at the base of the brain. It is also surmised he may have had bipolar disorder, accounting for mood swings and changes in his productivity. From the time of his death Clara devoted herself to the performance and interpretation of her husband’s works.

John Perry

Tunes by Robert Schumann (27)sort descendingAsInstancesIncipit
ALLAN (Schumann)Robert Schumann (Composer)455331 15556 71321
SCHUMANN (51567)Robert Schumann (Arranged from)17351567 11432 11771
CANONBURYRobert Schumann (Composer)52553334 32123 56712
[Du lieblicher Stern, du leuchtest so fern]R. Schumann (Composer)713216 64223 33166
SCHUMANN (Schumann 23671)Schumann (Composer)423671 21756 23423
[There is a name I love to hear] (Schumann)Schumann (Composer)651351 46765 34253
[God feeds the birds]Schumann (Composer)232312 34562 34342
[How dearly God must love us] (Schumann)Schumann (Composer)254326 17651 23462
[If all were rain and never sun]Schumann (Composer)355335 52255 5117
GENEVAN 42Schumann (Composer)212321 76512 34321
[Meet with us, gracious Lord]Schumann (Composer)255176 55432 17255
[Now while we gather here round the altar]Schumann (Composer)255565 55531 32132
[O Jesus, I love and adore Thee]Schumann (Composer)255444 32335 51231
[On Christmas day, glad Christmas day]Robert Schumann (Composer)251352 35165 31713
RUSSELL (Schumann)Robert Schumann (Composer)217214 33222 23275
SCHUMANN (Schumann 13333)Dr. Robert A. Schumann, 1810-1856 (Composer)213333 35432 35111
SMITH COLLEGERobert Schumann (Composer)432176 17215 54317
[So sei gegrüßt viel tausendmal, holder, holder Frühling] (Schumann)Robert Schumann (Composer)251321 64253 21325
LAWRENCE (Schumann)Schumann (Composer)353322 31122 44353
[The Savior once for sin was slain]Schumann (Composer)232143 32221 73253
[Through life's morning in wisdom direst our footsteps]Schumann (Composer)353216 56176 54354
[Watch and pray, day by day]R. Schumann (Composer)333444 51765 32167
[We bring now our gifts to the Master]Schumann (Composer)455671 32175 31763
[We lay us calmly down to sleep]Schumann (Arranger)1051713 51176 51234
[Wenn fromme Kindlein schalfen gehen]Robert Schumann (Composer)635326 17756 71712
[When shall the voice of singing] (Schumann)Schumann (Composer)235443 23355 12315
[Within our mighty Fortress]R. Schumann (Composer)251173 65566 51444
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