On June 8, 1810 the German Romantic Era composer, pianist, and music critic Robert Schumann was born in Zwickau, [Central] Germany. Happy 213th Birthday Robert Schumann!
From Wikipedia-Robert Schumann: “He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. 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. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.
In 1840, Schumann married Freidrich Weik’s daughter Clara Wieck, after a long and acrimonious legal battle with Friedrich, who opposed the marriage. A lifelong partnership in music began, as Clara herself was an established pianist and music prodigy. Clara and Robert also maintained a close relationship with German composer Johannes Brahms.” [for more on that relationship, please check out my post: “Robert, Clara, and Johannes”]
From NPR’s Morning Edition with Miles Hoffman: “Robert Schumann, A Romantic Hero”: “When it comes to what moved Robert Schumann to compose exquisite music, he said, “You write to become immortal, or because the piano happens to be open, or you’ve looked into a pair of beautiful eyes.”
“Although Schumann may not be on the same level as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, Hoffman says his music represents a complete picture of what humans have been able to accomplish in music.
“[It’s] because of the depth, because of how well Schumann was able to capture the human spirit, also in a vast range of works, in all sorts of combinations of instruments for voice, for large forces, for small forces. There’s an encyclopedic body of work,” Hoffman says.”
[Sadly] “Schumann’s life was filled with beauty, and the great love for his wife, but he was also tormented with psychological problems. He suffered from mental illness most of his life,” Hoffman says. “Some people say it was schizophrenia, some say it was bipolar syndrome. It was terribly serious. He heard voices. He had hallucinations. Eventually, he threw himself from a bridge into the Rhine, and he spent the last 2 1/2 years of his life in a sanatorium.”
From Wikipedia-Robert Schumann: “After a suicide attempt in 1854, Schumann was admitted at his own request to a mental asylum in Edenich (now in Bonn). Diagnosed with psychotic melancholia, he died of pneumonia two years later [on July 29, 1856] at the age of 46, without recovering from his mental illness”.
While sadly, Robert Schumann had a troubled life and a very sad death, we are blessed with much beautiful, romantic, and melodic music that he was still able to create. So, please turn up the volume and enjoy some of his beautiful compositions, on this day, what would be Robert Schumann’s 213th Birthday.
Symphony #1 in B Flat Major, “Spring”:
“Träumerei”, from “Kinderszenen” No. 7, Scenes from Childhood:
Piano Concerto in A minor:
Symphony #3 in E Flat Major, “Rhenish”:
Kreisleriana [8 pieces for piano]:
RIP Robert Schumann on this your 213th Birthday