Op. 51 no.5
Part of a series or song cycle:
Lieder und Gesänge, ii (Op. 51)
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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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Marianne von Willemer was an Austrian actress and dancer best known for her relationship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and her appearance in his poetry. At the age of 14 she moved to Frankfurt am Main, where she became the third wife of Frankfurt banker Johann Jakob von Willemer. He introduced her to Goethe, who met Marianne in 1814 and 1815. Goethe immortalised her in the Buch Suleika of his late work West-östlicher Diwan; she later revealed that several of its poems were authored by her.
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Previously performed at:
- 26 Oct 2016: Eichendorff Liederkreis: Felicity Lott & Eugene Asti