Robert Schuman Composer

Suicidal Schumann


(b. Zwickau in Saxony, June 8, 1810; died July 29, 1856) Robert Schuman (Schumann) was a famous German composer. He lived during the Romantic period. He had to give up his plans for being a concert pianist because he injured his hand. He published a music magazine and wrote a lot of articles about music that had just been composed. Some of this music is hard to play, but other pieces are quite easy. Many children learn to play some of the pieces in his Album for the Young. His songs (Lieder) are among the best ever written. He also wrote larger works like symphonies and concertos and chamber music. Sometimes he felt very happy but at other times he was very depressed. These changes of mood can be heard in a lot of his music.

Robert Schumann was the fifth and youngest child of a bookseller. He began to compose when he was seven. At school he was extremely good at music and literature. He passed his school-leaving examination with very high marks. His family wanted him to be a lawyer, so he went to Leipzig to study law but he hardly ever went to any lectures. He was much more interested in music and literature, but also in women and drinking. He took piano lessons from a teacher called Friedrich Wieck. Schumann fell in love with Wieck’s daughter Clara. Many years later she was to become his wife. Clara was a brilliant pianist.

Schumann started to compose short piano pieces and songs.  He often practised the piano for seven hours a day. However, he started to have problems with his fingers. It has often been said that he hurt his hands because he made something to stretch his fingers, but it is possible that this was due to mercury poisoning as he was under treatmet for syphilis. Schumann spent the rest of his life composing and writing about music. He started a  journal called Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music)

In 1853 he met Brahms. Brahms was just 20 years old at that time.Schumann told the young man of 20 to play the piano for him but aftr only a few bars of musci, Schumann sto[[ed him and called to Clara that she must come and listen to Brahms. Brahms was to become a great friend of the Schumann family. Schumann published an article in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik with the heading “Neue Bahnen” (“New Paths”) in which he said that Brahms  was going to be a very great composer. He was right. During the dark days when Schumann was admitted to the asylum, it was Brahms who reached out and comforted Clara. In Düsseldorf, Brahms comforted Clara; they played music and read the stories of E.T.A.Hoffman together. Brahms dedicated the Adagio of his DM Piano Concerto to her.

Schumann had often thought of trying to kill himself. In February 1854 he threw himself into the river Rhine. He was rescued by some boatmenand admittted to an asylum where he spent the last two years of his life. He died on 29 July 1856.
 
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