Part of a series or song cycle:
Sechs Gesänge (Op.107)
Robert Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. 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. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.
Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. Works such as Kinderszenen, Album für die Jugend, Blumenstück, the Sonatas and Albumblätter are among his most famous. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded.
In 1840, Schumann married Friedrich Wieck's daughter Clara, against the wishes of her father, following a long and acrimonious legal battle, which found in favor of Clara and Robert. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career as a pianist, the earnings from which formed a substantial part of her father's fortune.
Schumann suffered from a lifelong mental disorder, first manifesting itself in 1833 as a severe melancholic depressive episode, which recurred several times alternating with phases of ‘exaltation’ and increasingly also delusional ideas of being poisoned or threatened with metallic items. After a suicide attempt in 1854, Schumann was admitted to amental asylum, at his own request, in Endenich near Bonn. Diagnosed with "psychotic melancholia", Schumann died two years later in 1856 without having recovered from his mental illness.
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Johann Gottfried Kinkel was a German poet also noted for his revolutionary activities and his escape from a Prussian prison in Spandau with the help of his friend Carl Schurz.
He was born at Oberkassel (now part of Bonn). Having studied theology at Bonn and Berlin, he established himself at Bonn in 1836 as a Privatdozent, or theology tutor, became master at the secondary school there, and was for a short time assistant preacher in Cologne.
Changing his religious opinions, he abandoned theology and delivered lectures on the history of art, in which he had become interested on a journey to Italy in 1837. In 1843, he married Johanna Mockel (1810–1858), a writer, composer and musician who assisted her husband in his literary work and revolutionary activities. They had four children. In 1846 he was appointed extraordinary professor of the history of art at the University of Bonn.
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Previously performed at:
- 22 Oct 2016: The Life & Times of Robert Schumann Session II
(As part of a song cycle/series:)
- 26 Oct 2016: Eichendorff Liederkreis: Felicity Lott & Eugene Asti
- 20 Oct 2016: Poetry Declaimed: Benjamin Appl & Gary Matthewman
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