Robert Schumann: Paganini of Piano

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For many, Robert Schumann is the most intimate of the Romantic troubadours and lived only 46 years. He was born three months after Chopin in 1810 and died in an insane asylum in 1856.

Schumann began his schooling including rather un-serious piano lessons at age six. At nine, he was stunned when his father took him to hear pianist Ignaz Moscheles. He loved literature and music equally and he immersed himself in the novels of Jean Paul Richter, that was his favorite, and often the morbid German poetry of the day.

On his own, Schumann began dabbling in composition and poetry as early as age 12. He entered the University of Leipzig to study law and seldom went to any classes, devoting much time to reading and sitting at the piano, dreamily improvising.

Schumann's music often has literary implications and, in his case, a fierce autobiographical content.

 

Playlist:

Romance for Piano, Op. 28: no 2 in F sharp major / Van Cliburn

Theme and Variations for Piano on the name ABEGG, Op. 1 / Clara Haskil

Phantasiestücke for Piano, Op. 12: no 7, Traumes Wirren / Alfred Brendel

Sonata for Piano no 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 11: Aria / Emil Gilels

Posthumous Variation No 2: Symphonic Etude / Claudio Arrau

Sonata for Piano no 3 in F minor, Op. 14 "Concert sans orchestre": First Movement / Vladimir Horowitz

Waldszenen, Op. 82: no 7, Vogel als Prophet / Samuel Feinberg

Clara Wieck Schumann: Soirées musicales, Op. 6: Mazurka / Joseph Kalichstein

Davidsbündlertänze for Piano, Op. 6 / Joseph Kalichstein

Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26 / Magda Tagliaferro 

Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26 / Alicia De Larrocha

Carnaval, Op. 9: Preambule / Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli