Robert Schumann’s most characteristic work is introverted and tends to record precise moments and their moods. The subject of Genoveva—based on Ludwig Tieck and Christian Friedrich Hebbel's plays—was not seen an ideal choice. On March 4 he was removed to a private asylum at Endenich, near Bonn, where he lived for nearly two and a half years, able to correspond for a time with Clara and his friends. Music returns to Benaroya Hall! 17, composed in the summer of 1836, is a work of passion and deep pathos, imbued with the spirit of the late Beethoven. In late February 1854, Schumann's symptoms increased, the angelic visions sometimes being replaced by demonic ones. 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. Composer Sir Edward Elgar called Schumann "my ideal.". [26] It has also been hypothesised that he suffered from schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder; bipolar type,[27] or bipolar disorder and bipolar II disorder. It has been the favourite encore of several great pianists, including Vladimir Horowitz. 22a (5) In the winter of 1832, at age 22, Schumann visited relatives in Zwickau and Schneeberg, where he performed the first movement of his Symphony in G minor (without opus number, known as the "Zwickauer"). Robert Schumann and Clara Schumann at the piano. 38, Spring and No. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). In July he wrote to his mother, "My whole life has been a struggle between Poetry and Prose, or call it Music and Law." Britannica now has a site just for parents! Two years later at Schumann's request, the work received its first English performance conducted by William Sterndale Bennett. 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. His family encouraged him to enter the University of Leipzig as a law student. 120). In 1851 he revised what would be published as his fourth symphony. In the autumn of 1844 his work was interrupted by a serious nervous collapse. 3, "Rhenish" (a work containing five movements and whose 4th movement is apparently intended to represent an episcopal coronation ceremony). From 1850 to 1854, Schumann composed in a wide variety of genres. The work ends in joy and a degree of mock-triumph. During Schumann’s work on The Peri, the newly founded Leipzig Conservatory had been opened with Mendelssohn as director and Schumann as professor of “piano playing, composition, and playing from score”; again he had embarked on activities for which he was unsuited. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Robert Schumann was a German Romantic composer renowned particularly for his piano music, lieder (songs), and orchestral music. By the end of that year he completed his Symphony No. After this, his compositions were not confined to any one form during any particular period. (Schumann was not at home, and would not meet Brahms until the next day.) 39 (depicting a series of moods relating to or inspired by nature); the Frauenliebe und -leben of Chamisso, Op. Schumann intended to use proceeds from sales of the work toward the construction of a monument to Beethoven, who had died in 1827. He began his musical education at the age of six, studying the piano. He appeared to recognize her, but was able to speak only a few words. BEETHOVEN Symphony No. He spent the first half of 1844 with Clara on tour in Russia, and his depression grew worse as he felt inferior to Clara as a musician. In 1854, after attempting suicide by drowning, he was sent to a private asylum, where he died two and a half years later at the age of 46, though the exact cause is debated. [28] His medical records from this illness were released in 1991, and suggest a "progressive paralysis", a term used for neurosyphilis at the time, although a diagnostic test for Treponema pallidum did not become available till 1906. An accident to one of the fingers of his right hand, which put an end to his hopes of a career as a virtuoso, was perhaps not an unmitigated misfortune, since it confined him to composition. Until 1840, Schumann wrote exclusively for the piano. [6] Clara Schumann discredited the story, saying the disability was not due to a mechanical device, and Robert Schumann himself referred to it as "an affliction of the whole hand." At first things went tolerably well; in 1850–51 he composed the Cello Concerto in A Minor and the Symphony No. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. 1 in B-flat Major and Rhenish Symphony. In 1827 he came under the musical influence of the Austrian composer Franz Schubert and the literary influence of the German poet Jean Paul Richter, and in the same year he composed some songs. On the other hand, Schumann disparaged the school of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. His teacher, Friedrich Wieck, a German pianist, had assured him that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. The Bund was a music society 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. There he composed waltzes in the style of Franz Schubert, afterward used in his piano cycle Papillons (Opus 2; 1829–31), and practiced industriously with a view to abandoning law and becoming a virtuoso pianist—with the result that his mother agreed to allow him to return to Leipzig in October 1830 to study for a trial period with Wieck, who thought highly of his talent but doubted his stability and capacity for hard work. Another possibility is that his neurological problems were the result of an intracranial mass. 54, originally conceived and performed as a one-movement Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra in 1841. 1 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. 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. The insurrection of Dresden caused Schumann to move to Kreischa, a little village a few miles outside the city. "[citation needed]. Assistant Controller of Music, British Broadcasting Corporation, London, 1962–67. Under family pressure, he entered the University of Leipzig to study law in 1828, while taking piano lessons with Friedrich Wieck. 15, completed in 1838 and a favourite of Schumann's piano works, depicts the innocence and playfulness of childhood. [16] Again, according to Hutcheson: "No words can describe the Phantasie, no quotations set forth the majesty of its genius. 67 (65) Quintet for Piano and Strings in G minor, Op. Despite her delicate appearance, she was an extremely strong-willed and energetic woman, who kept up a demanding schedule of concert tours in between bearing several children. 102, String Quartet No. The original titles of the movements were Ruins, Triumphal Arch, and The Starry Crown. James and Constance Alsop Professor of Music, University of Liverpool, 1947–62.... Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-Schumann, Classical Net - Biography of Robert Schumann. In 1850, Schumann succeeded Ferdinand Hiller as musical director at Düsseldorf, but he was a poor conductor and quickly aroused the opposition of the musicians. [6], Kinderszenen, Op. 14 "Concerto without orchestra", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Robert_Schumann&oldid=1001876060, University of Music and Theatre Leipzig faculty, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2010, Wikipedia articles incorporating the Cite Grove template, Wikipedia articles incorporating the Cite Grove template with a url parameter, Pages using Sister project links with hidden wikidata, Pages using Sister project links with default search, Articles with Encyclopædia Britannica links, Articles with dead external links from April 2018, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with International Music Score Library Project links, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CINII identifiers, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 21 January 2021, at 20:16. Many of his best-known piano pieces were written for his wife, the pianist Clara Schumann. 57 (39) Age of Gold Suite, Op. His father, who had encouraged his musical aspirations, died in 1826 when Schumann was 16. Today’s audiences are bearing witness to the greatest displays of skill in history.” Rescued by boatmen and taken home, he asked to be taken to an asylum for the insane. 81 (103) Variations on a theme by Haydn (116) Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1 (10) 3, all from 1853, have entered the repertoire. The Op. 70, Three Romances for oboe and piano, Op. 102 (87) Academic Festival Overture in C minor, Op. They married in 1840—despite her father’s objections—and had eight children. The festive mood does not preclude moments of melancholic introspection in the Intermezzo. Also published in 1845 was his Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. After four years at a private school, the boy entered the Zwickau Gymnasium (high school) in 1820 and remained there for eight years. Concerto per violoncello e orchestra in La minore op. In 1837 Schumann published his Symphonic Studies, a complex set of étude-like variations written in 1834–1835, which demanded a finished piano technique. On returning to Leipzig he resigned the editorship of the Neue Zeitschrift. 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." Diagnosed with psychotic melancholia, he died of pneumonia two years later at the age of 46, without recovering from his mental illness. He composed four symphonies, one opera, and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. The couple were finally married in 1840 after Schumann had gone to court to set aside Wieck’s legal objection to the marriage. 2. 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? Carnaval, Op. From late 1844 to 1850 he and Clara lived in Dresden, where his health was gradually restored. Later, he composed piano and orchestral works, and many Lieder (songs for voice and piano). The stage in his life when he was deeply engaged in setting Goethe's Faust to music (1844–53) was a turbulent one for his health. In the days leading up to his suicide attempt, Schumann wrote five variations on this theme for the piano, his last completed work, today known as the Geistervariationen (Ghost Variations). 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, or "philistines". [23], Given his reported symptoms, one modern view is that he died from syphilis, which he could have contracted during his student days, and which could have remained latent during most of his marriage. The work comes to a close with a march of the Davidsbündler—the league of King David's men against the Philistines—in which may be heard the clear accents of truth in contest with the dull clamour of falsehood embodied in a quotation from the seventeenth century Grandfather's Dance. Robert Schumann, in full Robert Alexander Schumann, (born June 8, 1810, Zwickau, Saxony [Germany]—died July 29, 1856, Endenich, near Bonn, Prussia [Germany]), German Romantic composer renowned particularly for his piano music, songs (lieder), and orchestral music. She became the authoritative editor of her husband's works for Breitkopf & Härtel. 41 No. Partly through his protégé Brahms, Schumann's ideals and musical vocabulary became widely disseminated. Many of his best-known piano pieces were written for his wife, the pianist Clara Schumann. Even though he often disregarded the principles of musical composition, he created works regarded as admirable for his age. His most powerful and permanent literary inspiration was Jean Paul, a German writer whose influence is seen in Schumann's youthful novels Juniusabende, completed in 1826, and Selene. view cookie policy It is called 'German Opera.' 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. 107 (52) Gadfly, Op. [22] Brahms published it in a supplementary volume to the complete edition of Schumann's piano music. Eusebius and Florestan, the imaginary figures appearing so often in his critical writings, also appear, alongside brilliant imitations of Chopin and Paganini. He also conducted eight subscription concerts, but his shortcomings as a conductor became obvious, and in 1853 he lost his post as music director at Düsseldorf. [2] 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, a bookseller, publisher, and novelist. In Zwickau, the music was performed at a concert given by Clara Wieck, who was then just 13 years old. 2 (Butterflies), a musical portrayal of events in Jean Paul's novel Flegeljahre. [6], Schumann had considerable influence in the nineteenth century and beyond, despite his adoption of more conservative modes of composition after his marriage. These variations were based on a theme by the adoptive father of Ernestine von Fricken. The strain of this long courtship and its consummation may have led to this great outpouring of Lieder (vocal songs with piano accompaniment). Third movement, “Sehr lebhaft” (“Very lively”), of Robert Schumann's. [21] In January 1854, Schumann went to Hanover, where he heard a performance of his Paradise and the Peri organized by Joachim and Brahms. Cookies. In 1846, he felt he had recovered. And in his notebook of suggestions for the text of operas are found amongst others: Nibelungen, Lohengrin and Till Eulenspiegel. Schumann abandoned the idea of a concert career and devoted himself instead to composition. 3 in E-flat Major (the Rhenish) and drastically rewrote the 10-year-old Symphony in D Minor, ultimately published as No. The text is often considered to lack dramatic qualities; the work has not remained in the repertoire. On 27 February, he attempted suicide by throwing himself from a bridge into the Rhine River (his elder sister Emilie had committed suicide in 1825, possibly by drowning herself). [6] 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. In another new departure, Schumann in 1842 wrote several chamber works, the finest being the Piano Quintet in E-flat Major. 15 (134) Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. Moore, Lindsay. To this end he began a study of music theory under Heinrich Dorn, a German composer six years his senior and, at that time, conductor of the Leipzig Opera. He entered Dr. Franz Richarz's sanatorium in Endenich, a quarter of Bonn, and remained there until he died on 29 July 1856 at the age of 46. Most of Schumann's late works, particularly the Violin Concerto, the Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra and the Violin Sonata No. 1 in B-flat Major, which was immediately performed under the composer Felix Mendelssohn at Leipzig; an Overture, Scherzo, and Finale (April–May); a Phantasie for piano and orchestra (May), which was expanded into the famous Piano Concerto in A Minor by the addition of two more movements in 1845; another symphony, in D minor (June–September); and sketches for an uncompleted third symphony, in C minor. Schumann found himself abandoned for 16 months, during which he wrote the great Fantasy in C Major for piano and edited the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a periodical that he had helped to found in 1834 and of which he had been editor since early 1835. Robert often waited for hours in a cafe in a nearby city just to see Clara for a few minutes after one of her concerts. From mid-career on, she mainly performed music by leading composers. Schumann’s nervous constitution had never been strong. Schumann had by now entered upon one of his most fertile creative periods, producing a series of imaginative works for piano. 23, based on this theme. Schumann's fusion of literary ideas with musical ones—known as program music—may have first taken shape in Papillons, Op. For Schumann, this was a period of prolific composition in piano pieces, which were published either at once or, in revised forms, later. 42 (relating the tale of a woman's marriage, childbirth and widowhood); the Dichterliebe of Heine, Op. These characters bled into his editorial writing in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig-based publication that he co-founded. This pleased him, since until that time he was famous in only Dresden and Leipzig. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. Schumann wrote the incidental music to Lord Byron’s drama Manfred in 1848–49. Updates? From 1851 to 1853 he visited Switzerland, Belgium and Leipzig. Schumann’s attempts to obtain posts in Leipzig and Vienna had also been abortive, and in the end he accepted the post of municipal director of music at Düsseldorf. ", "Robert Schumann's contribution to the genetics of psychosis", "Robert Schumann: Music amid the Madness", "Bipolar music – and how to get the mood swinging on Today: Robert Winston's Musical Analysis, R4", Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, Robert and Clara Schumann and their teacher, Johann Sebastian Bach, International Music Score Library Project, Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, Adagio and Allegro for horn and piano, Op. The critics received Robert's music coolly, with Henry Fothergill Chorley being particularly harsh. The year 1843 was marked by Schumann’s most ambitious work so far, a “secular oratorio,” Das Paradies und die Peri (Paradise and the Peri). Sempre Fantasticamente ed Appassionatamente, Hutcheson ("The Literature of the Piano"), "Robert Schumann: Variations on an original theme, for piano in E flat major ("Geister-Variationen"), WoO 24", "Does Schizoaffective Disorder Explain the Mental Illness of Robert Schumann and Vincent Van Gogh? He fell in love with Wieck’s gifted daughter, Clara. Prior to the legal case and subsequent marriage, the lovers exchanged love letters and rendezvoused in secret. 1, Variations on the name "Abegg" in F, Op. 9 in C, in 1839 Schumann wrote the Faschingsschwank aus Wien (Carnival Prank from Vienna). Schumann, Märchenbilder; Shostakovich, Sonata; Shulman, Theme and Variations; Vieuxtemps, Sonata, Op. For the French statesman and founding father of the European Union, see, According to Daverio, there is no evidence of the middle name "Alexander" that appears in some sources, Robert Schumann's "Artikel Neue Bahnen", 28 October 1853. May be explained by `` lucid experimentation ''. 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