Robert Schumann: Life and Death of a Musician

Robert Schumann: Life and Death of a Musician

by John Worthen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300163983

ISBN-13: 9780300163988

Pub. Date: 05/18/2010

Publisher: Yale University Press

This candid, intimate, and compellingly written new biography offers a fresh account of Robert Schumann’s life. It confronts the traditional perception of the doom-laden Romantic, forced by depression into a life of helpless, poignant sadness. John Worthen’s scrupulous attention to the original sources reveals Schumann to have been an astute, witty,

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Overview

This candid, intimate, and compellingly written new biography offers a fresh account of Robert Schumann’s life. It confronts the traditional perception of the doom-laden Romantic, forced by depression into a life of helpless, poignant sadness. John Worthen’s scrupulous attention to the original sources reveals Schumann to have been an astute, witty, articulate, and immensely determined individual, who—with little support from his family and friends in provincial Saxony—painstakingly taught himself his craft as a musician, overcame problem after problem in his professional life, and married the woman he loved after a tremendous battle with her father. Schumann was neither manic depressive nor schizophrenic, although he struggled with mental illness. He worked prodigiously hard to develop his range of musical styles and to earn his living, only to be struck down, at the age of forty-four, by a vile and incurable disease.

Worthen’s biography effectively de-mystifies a figure frequently regarded as a Romantic enigma. It frees Schumann from 150 years of mythmaking and unjustified psychological speculation. It reveals him, for the first time, as a brilliant, passionate, resolute musician and a thoroughly creative human being, the composer of arguably the best music of his generation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300163988
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
05/18/2010
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.60(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Maps: Saxony xii

Travels in Europe and Russia xiii

Preface xv

Note on the Text xvi

Part I Early Years

1 Birth and upbringing: Zwickau 1810-1828 3

2 Leipzig and Wieck: 1828-1829 18

3 Decision for music: 1829-1830 35

4 A numbed finger: 1830-1832 51

5 On syphilis: 1831-1832 72

6 Other fears and tremblings: 1832-1833 77

7 Ernestine von Fricken: 1834-1835 93

Part II Clara Wieck

8 'No longer a child': 1835 109

9 Apart: 1836-1837 123

10 Engaged: 1837-1838 136

11 Enduring: 1838-1839 150

12 Fighting: 1839-1840 166

13 Success: 1840 186

Part III Marriage and Career

14 Thin walls in Inselstrasse: 1840-1841 203

15 The composer at home: 1842-1843 218

16 To Russia: 1844 233

17 Illnesses: Dresden 1844-1845 249

18 Offspring: 1846-1847 266

19 Choral, operatic and financial: 1847-1849 282

20 A new career? 1849-1850 299

21 Düsseldorf: 1850-1852 314

22 While the daylight lasts: 1852-1853 333

23 Catastrophe: 1853-1854 344

Part IV Ending

24 Diagnosis: 1854-2007 361

25 Endenich: 1854-1856 370

Epilogue 386

Appendix: Autopsy Report on the body of Robert Schumann 390

Acknowledgements 397

Cue-Titles, Abbreviations and Conventions 399

Notes 405

Index 474

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