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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
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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Schumann: Variationen & Fantasiestucke / Andreas Staier
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902171   Number of Discs: 1
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Chopin, Schumann: Etudes / Valentina Lisitsa
Release Date: 11/10/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002224502   Number of Discs: 1
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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: 1
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Schumann: Concertos / Coin, Staier, Herreweghe, Et Al
Release Date: 06/12/2001   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951731   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Phantasie for Piano in C major, Op. 17

Browse 1-25 of 169 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Sviatoslav Richter - Complete Decca, Philips & DG Recordings [51-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002236002 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mikhail Kopelman,  Valentin Berlinsky,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Wislocki,  Kurt Sanderling,  Witold Rowicki,  János Ferencsik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moragues Woodwind Quintet members,  Borodin String Quartet,  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $160.49
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  • 2.
    Fantasy: Dorken
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38150 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Danae Dorken
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  • 3.
    Schumann / Lise De La Salle
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5364 Release Date: 06/24/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Lise De la Salle
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  • 4.
    Fantasies / Stanislav Khristenko
    Label: Steinway & Sons   Catalog: 30032 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Anton Bruckner,  Alexander von Zemlinsky,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Stanislav Khristenko
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  • 5.
    Howard Karp: Concert Recordings (1962-2007)
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1492 Release Date: 05/20/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Leon Kirchner,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Howard Karp
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  • 6.
    Perspectives 6: Beethoven, Berio, Schumann
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2293 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Luciano Berio,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Andreas Haefliger
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Emperor Concerto; Schumann: Fantasy / Yundi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002010302 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Yundi Li
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    The Storyteller / Barbara Nissman
    Label: Three Oranges Recordings   Catalog: 5638267650 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Barbara Nissman
    CD: $24.99
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  • 9.
    Stephen Hough - 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 940229 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Benjamin Britten,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Hough,  Ronan O'Hora
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson,  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Mozart: Sonate; Schumann: Fantasie; Chopin: Andante Spianto Et Grande Polonaise Brillante; Etc.
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 882132 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
    CD: $22.49
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  • 11.
    Piano Seasons / Grete Sultan
    Label: Wergo   Catalog: 4043 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  John Cage,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Grete Sultan
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  • 12.
    Vladimir Horowitz Live at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548417 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Muzio Clementi  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Isaac Stern,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Lyndon Woodside,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Oratorio Society of New York
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  • 13.
    Jorge Bolet - The Last Romantic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1037610 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Felix Mendelssohn,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Jorge Bolet
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  • 14.
    Legends Of The XX Century / Yakov Flier
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001813 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Yakov Flier
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  • 15.
    Wilde Plays Schumann
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34050 Release Date: 08/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  David Wilde
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  • 16.
    Schumann: Symphonic Studies; Fantasie In C, Op. 17; Faschingsschwank Aus Wien, Op. 26
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350070 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
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  • 17.
    Homage To Brahms / Lisiecki
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 790 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Ignacy Lisiecki
    Performer:  Ignacy Lisiecki
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  • 18.
    Schumann: Fantasiestucke Op. 12, Fantasie Op. 17 / Annika Treutler
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 13272 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Annika Treutler
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  • 19.
    Schumann: Fantaisie; Kreisleriana / Achucarro
    Label: La Dolce Volta   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Joaquín Achúcarro
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  • 20.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 21.
    Grigory Sokolov Plays Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Saint-saens
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002078 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Grigory Sokolov
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $54.49
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  • 22.
    Clara & Robert Schumann
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012069 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Clara Wieck Schumann
    Performer:  Christina Bjorkoe
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  • 23.
    Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert: Fur Den, Der Heimlich Lauschet
    Label: Tyx Art   Catalog: 12014 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Carmen Piazzini
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  • 24.
    Bicentennial Tribute - Works By Chopin & Schumann / Rebecca Penneys
    Label: Fleur De Son   Catalog: 58012 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Rebecca Penneys
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  • 25.
    Ravel: Le Tombeau De Couperin; Schumann: Fantasie C-dur Op. 17; Mussorgsky: Bilder Einer Ausstelkung
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 869122 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
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