Robert Schumann

Biography

Born: Jun 8, 1810; Germany   Died: Jul 29, 1856; Germany   Period: Romantic
One of the great composers of the nineteenth century, Schumann was the quintessential artist whose life and work embody the idea of Romanticism in music. Schumann was uncomfortable with larger musical forms, such as the symphony and the concerto (nevertheless, representative works in these genres contain moments of great beauty), expressing the full range of his lyrical genius in songs and short pieces for piano. Schumann's extraordinary ability Read more to translate profound, delicate -- and sometimes fleeting -- states of the soul is exemplified by works such as the song cycle Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love), after Heinrich Heine, and his brilliant collections of short piano pieces, including Phantasiestücke (Fantastic Pieces), Kinderszenen (Scenes form Childhood), and Waldszenen (Forest Scenes). In his songs, as critics have remarked, Schumann attained the elusive union of music and poetry which Romantic poets and musicians defined as the ultimate goal of art.
Schumann's father was a bookseller who encouraged Robert's musical and literary talents. Robert started studying piano at age 10. In 1828, he enrolled at the University of Leipzig as a law student, although he found music, philosophy, and Leipzig's taverns more interesting than the law. He also began studies with a prominent Leipzig piano teacher, Friedrich Wieck. There was serious mental illness in Schumann's family, and the composer, who most likely suffered from a manic-depressive condition, approached madness with the typical Romantic combination of fear and fascination. A compulsive womanizer and a heavy drinker, Schumann led a life that aggravated his psychological problems. His efforts to become a concert pianist failed after he developed partial paralysis of his right hand. According to a conventional story, the injury resulted from Schumann's compulsive use of a finger-strengthening device, but newer research points to mercury poisoning due to treatment for syphilis. Schumann settled on a career as a composer and musical writer, co-founding the influential Neue Zeitschrift für Musik and attracting attention early with his prophetic praise of Chopin. Many of his articles take the form of dialogues featuring the "League of David," young artists fighting the "Philistines," and headed by his alter egos "Florestan" and "Eusebius," intended to represent the two contrasting facets -- one ebullient, the other reserved -- of his personality. Schumann's music, with its sharp changes in mood, also reflects his tumultuous inner life. Wieck's highly talented pianist daughter Clara grew up and fell in love with Schumann, to her father's horror. Despite Wieck's opposition, Clara and Robert gained the legal right to marry in 1840, a day before Clara's 21st birthday. During this period Schumann composed feverishly. Spellbound by a musical thought, he would work himself to exhaustion, enthusiastically cultivating a particular genre for a period of time. (For instance, 1841 was a "year of songs" in which he brought the Romantic song cycle to its apex). He virtually invented the short, poetic, descriptive Romantic piano work, and produced such works in glorious profusion in the late 1830s. Schumann tackled larger forms in the 1840s, partly at Clara's urging; his four mature symphonies retain a place in the repertoire, but his opera Genoveva failed. He held several musical jobs, teaching at the newly-founded Leipzig Conservatory, eventually becoming town music director in Düsseldorf, but without much success. On February 27, 1854, he threw himself into the freezing waters of the Rhine. After his rescue, he voluntarily entered an asylum. Although he had periods of lucidity, his condition deteriorated, and he died there in 1856, probably of tertiary syphilis. Read less
Chopin, Schumann: Etudes / Valentina Lisitsa
Release Date: 11/10/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002224502   Number of Discs: 1
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Schumann Complete Recordings / Maurizio Pollini [4-CD Set]
Release Date: 01/22/2013   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001792702   Number of Discs: 4
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Mendelssohn: Symphony no 3, Hebrides; Schumann: Piano Concerto / Pires, Gardiner [SACD+Blu-ray]
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 765   Number of Discs: 2
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Schumann: Symphonies No 1-4 / Rattle, Berlin PO
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Berlin Philharmonic  
Catalog: 140011   Number of Discs: 3
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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Schumann: Fantasie / Paul Lewis
Release Date: 01/13/2015   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902096   Number of Discs: 1
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Robert Schumann


WORKS
1. Allegro affettuoso
2. Intermezzo (Andantino grazioso)
3. Allegro vivace
1. Zart und mit Ausdruck
2. Lebhaft, leicht
3. Rasch und mit Feuer
1. Andante un poco maestoso - Allegro molto vivace
2. Larghetto
3. Scherzo (Molto vivace)
4. Allegro animato e grazioso
1. Sostenuto assai - Un poco più vivace - Allegro ma non troppo - Con fuoco
2. Scherzo (Allegro vivace)
3. Adagio Espresssivo
4. Allegro molto vivace
1. Lebhaft
2. Scherzo (Sehr mäßig)
3. Nicht schnell
4. Feierlich
5. Lebhaft
1. Ziemlich langsam - Lebhaft
2. Romanze (Ziemlich langsam)
3. Scherzo
4. Langsam - Lebhaft - Schneller - Presto
1. Preambule
2. Pierrot
3. Arlequin
4. Valse noble
5. Eusebius
6. Florestan
7. Coquette
8. Replique - (Sphinxes)
9. Papillons
10. A.S.C.H.-S.C.H.A.(Lettres dansantes)
11. Chiarina
12. Chopin
13. Estrella
14. Reconnaissance
15. Pantalon et Colombine
16. Valse allemande
17. Paganini
18. Aveu
19. Promenade
20. Pause
21. Marche des Davidsbundler contre les Philistins
1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
2. Kuriose Geschichte
3. Hasche-Mann
4. Bittendes Kind
5. Glückes genug
6. Wichtige Begebenheit
7. Träumerei
8. Am Kamin
9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
10. Fast zu ernst
11. Fürchtenmachen
12. Kind im Einschlummern
13. Der Dichter spricht
1. Äusserst bewegt
2. Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch - Intermezzo I (Sehr lebhaft) - Tempo I - Intermezzo II (Etwas bewegter) - Tempo I
3. Sehr aufgeregt
4. Sehr langsam
5. Sehr lebhaft
6. Sehr langsam
7. Sehr rasch
8. Schnell und spielend
Fantasie in C Op. 17: I. Durchaus phantastisch und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen
Fantasie in C Op. 17: II. Mäßig - Durchweg leise zu halten
Fantasie in C Op. 17: III. Langsam getragen - Durchweg leise zu halten
Theme
Étude No. 1
Étude No. 2
Étude No. 3
Étude No. 4
Étude No. 5
Étude No. 6
Étude No. 7
Étude No. 8
Étude No. 9
Étude No. 10
Étude No. 11
Étude No. 12
1. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
2. Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
3. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne
4. Wenn ich in deine Augen seh'
5. Ich will meine Seele tauchen
6. Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome
7. Ich grolle nicht
8. Und wüßten's die Blumen, die kleinen
9. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen
10. Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen
11. Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen
12. Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
13. Ich hab' im Traum geweinet
14. Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich
15. Aus alten Märchen winkt es
16 Die alten, bösen Lieder


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