5 Things You Never Knew About Schumann

Robert Schu­mann’s music has never been more pop­u­lar than it is now. But dur­ing his life­time (1810–56), con­certs were more likely to include pieces by Louis Spohr, Wil­helm Taubert, Fer­di­nand Hiller, or Julius Rietz. Not exactly house­hold names today. So what led to Schumann’s increased pop­u­lar­ity? Def­i­nitely a change in taste, which included more of a will­ing­ness to accept music that sounded dif­fer­ent. But there was also a con­certed effort at reeval­u­a­tion. Much of it focused on men­tal ill­ness, a taboo topic in the 19th cen­tury. Friends and fam­ily of Schu­mann worked to cre­ate their own image of him, one which down­played the role of men­tal ill­ness in his life. At the oppo­site extreme was the pub­lic per­cep­tion. It sen­sa­tion­al­ized the final years he’d spent in an asy­lum, and tagged any of his eccen­tric­i­ties as proof of his insan­ity. In the end, Schumann’s rep­u­ta­tion was broadly dimin­ished, his music “tainted by his madness.””

Read the full story at NPR.org.

One thought on “5 Things You Never Knew About Schumann

  1. What an inter­est­ing arti­cle Eric. I didn’t know shoe man was a silent type of man. I sus­pect that the music that must have played his mind didn’t leave time for mind­less chat­ter. I think one of the inter­est­ing parts of Schumann’s life is his wife Clara who fre­quently pre­miered his music and after his death con­tin­ued to pro­mote his music. As a piano and the­ory teacher Schu­mann is an extremely impor­tant com­poser for stu­dents to be intro­duced to. Music The­ory Onlinehas mod­ules on Robert Schu­mann and intro­duces senior stu­dents to his works.

    Thank you Eric for a great post. I found it extremely inter­est­ing and I hope you don’t mind if I send some traf­fic your way and shared with some of my col­leagues and friends. I found it inspirational.

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