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Robert Schumann also known as Robert Alexander Schumann - View Sheet Music for this Artist
  • a.k.a.: Robert Alexander Schumann
  • German
  • 8th June 1810 - 29th July 1856
  • You may know him for: Träumerei (Reverie - featured in the film Tea with Mussolini), Piano Concerto (1st movement featured in the film Shine)

As a young man, Robert Schumann was an avid pianist, composer, music critic, and lover of women. He would retain all of these characteristics throughout his short life, adding to that his love for the music of Schubert. Schumann is said to have wept the entire night he learned of Schubert's death. At the age of 18, Schumann went to Leipzig to study law, but persuaded his parents to allow him to abandon this and focus on being a pianist. At the same time, he was taking piano lessons from Friedrich Wieck, who regarded Schumann as "the hothead of the piano" and became a live-in student in 1830. Soon thereafter, Schumann developed a hand ailment likely caused by syphilitic sores that left his hand permanently damaged. His brief engagement with Ernestine von Fricken ended in separation, although Schumann's famous piano piece, Carnival (1835) was finished soon after this unfortunate episode. He turned his love to Wieck's 15-year old pianist daughter, Clara, although Wieck was wildly opposed to this affair. Schumann was ruled by his romantic heart, and was not pleased with Wieck's lack of support. Once his permission to marry was no longer needed Schumann married Clara in 1840. Clara herself was one of the most accomplished pianists and composers of her time. Schumann's work was to benefit greatly from this relationship (they had 8 children), and he produced around 150 songs, most of them dealing with love, in the first year of his marriage.

Schumann continued to compose and began his career as a music critic (editor and writer) for the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik that he founded in 1834. The result of this literary leaning was extremely well received and he became known as a brilliant and gifted critic, while at the same time furthering the musical careers of young composers, including Johannes Brahms. In 1838 Schumann had completed Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), of which Opus 15, No.7 (Träumerei) has become wildly popular throughout the world.

By 1841 Schumann turned his attentions to orchestral music, followed by chamber and choral works in subsequent years. By 1844, Schumann's lifelong depression worsened, harshly affecting his creativity and happiness. In 1850, his position as town musical director in the German city of Düsseldorf was, at first, a positive one. Sadly, his health still continued to decline. Schumann attempted suicide in 1854 by jumping into the Rhine, only to be saved. He died two years later of alleged syphilitic complications in a mental asylum at the age of 46.

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