Schumann, Robert Alexander


One of the few really great musicians; born June 8, 1810, at Zwickau, Saxony; the youngest of five children. His parents were not musical, nor, so far as has been discovered, were any of his ancestors. His father, Friedrich Gottlob, was a bookseller with literary tastes and ability, who encouraged his son's fondness for music and literature; his mother was a practical housewife of very ordinary intellect, but warm-hearted, devoted to her children, and while not imaginative, possessed a certain sentimentality of nature which is said to have been the source of Robert's romantic tendencies. The boy showed an early inclination toward music, and was placed at seven years of age under the instruction of a school-teacher, Kuntsch, whose knowledge of music was limited; however, the boy studied for several years until his teacher declared he could go on alone, and it is said, prophesied future greatness for him. It is evident from a letter of Schumann's in 1852, that he remembered Kuntsch with loving respect and gratitude. At ten he became a student at the Zwickau Academy, where he formed a friendship with the son of a musician, and the two played together four-hand arrangements of the works of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. Schumann discovered in his father's shop a complete orchestral score of the overture to Tigranes, and organized a band among his schoolmates to perform it. Not having enough instruments for all the parts, he supplied the rest on the   piano. He also showed his originality in improvising musical portraits of the other boys, which were so true to life as to be at once recognized by his young friends. According to his own account, he composed some choral music unaided at eleven; at any rate, he set the 150th Psalm to music for this little orchestra, and also composed other sketches for them. The elder Schumann watched and sympathized with all these early experiments, and opened up correspondence with von Weber in regard to placing Robert with him for a thorough course in music; but for some reason the negotiations failed to bring about any result. At about fourteen Robert, who inherited his father's literary turn, made some contributions to a biographical dictionary published by the firm of Schumann Bros. For a year or two he hardly knew whether he preferred music or literature.

In 1826 Robert's father died, and with the loss of his sympathy and encouragement came a change in the son's disposition. Previously lively, mischievous, and ready to take the lead in everything, he became quieter, more reserved and shrinking, with occasional periods of melancholy, which increased as he grew older. His mother and his guardian planned that he should prepare for the profession of law; accordingly he entere4 Leipsic University at eighteen for that purpose, after completing his general education at the Zwickau Gymnasium. Here the lectures and the usual student life were alike distasteful, and he avoided both as far as possible, making but few friends, and spending much time at a piano in his own room; in fact, during the first few months of his course, his time was practically wasted as regarded his studies. The death of Schubert the same year affected him deeply; he had greatly admired the works of the latter, and was now inspired to compose some piano duets, a quartet for piano and strings, and songs to poems by Byron, none of which was ever published. Among his fellow students he formed no intimate friendships except with Rosen, who shared his unbounded enthusiasm for the writings of Jean Paul Richter, a writer whose somewhat fantastic, exuberant imagination had a stronger influence over young minds in Germany at that time than the more important poets, Goethe and Schiller. He also frequented the home of Dr. Cams, an old friend of his father, who had recently entered upon a professorship in Leipsic, and whose wife, a singer and enthusiastic musician, opened up new stores to Schumann's mind. He occupied himself at the piano with the clavier works of Bach, for which he felt an admiration and comprehension that has been called one of the clearest proofs of his own genius, untrained as it had been.

At the home of Dr. Carus he met Friedrich Wieck, whose daughter, Clara, a child of nine, was already noted as a pianist. Schumann took some lessons of him, but as Wieck's time was very full, he had to drop them early in 1829. He also wrote what he called Jean Pauliads, effusions based on the style of his favorite author. At Easter he followed Rosen to Heidelberg, which, through its nearness to France, Italy and Switzerland, was an especially attractive location. On the way thither Schumann met a congenial acquaintance, Willibald Alexis, for whom he formed a sudden attachment, carrying it to such an extent as to go with him down the Rhine on a pleasure trip. At Heidelberg he went on excursions with a few kindred spirits, taking with him in the carriage a dumb keyboard, on which he practised five-finger exercises. He improvised much for his companions and made deep impressions on them by his playing. He appeared in public once, at a concert given by a musical society in Heidelberg (playing Moscheles* Variations on the Alexander March), and afterward received many other invitations to play in public, all of which he declined. Professor Thibaut, a cultivated lover of music, finally advised Schumann to give up law and follow art. Meanwhile the somewhat boisterous and unrestrained pleasures of German student life, at first repulsive to Schumann, began to attract him, and he indulged too freely in smoking, drinking, and spending beyond his means, although never to such an extent as to bring himself into disrepute. There is little doubt that at this time were sown the seeds of the disease that finally proved fatal. During this time he wrote several students' songs, which are considered most vividly expressive of the life and of the spirit of his associations. In his third year he tried to settle down to study, but cramming was too late to make up the time he had lost, and he finally threw all hesitation aside and wrote to his mother a most persuasive letter, declaring his desire for a musical career to be stronger than ever. His feeling is shown in a letter written in November, 1829, in these words: "All that I have ever done in music seems like a beautiful dream which I can hardly believe has ever existed. And yet, believe me, if ever I could have done any good in the world, it would have been in music, and I feel sure, without at all overrating my capabilities, that I have got creative power. But earning one's bread is another thing."

In this letter to his mother he begged her to write Wieck, asking a candid opinion of his fitness for the musical profession, and promised to abide by the decision of his former teacher. His mother's letter to Wieck shows that real anxiety for her son's welfare, caused by apprehension of the uncertainties of a musician's life and not mere obstinacy, dictated her previous opposition to his wishes. Wieck's reply satisfied both; Schumann was to go on, preparing for the career of a piano virtuoso, for he believed in his own powers in this direction, though faith in his creative power was not yet fully awakened. He had devoured music, as he did poetry, for its beauty, without caring to analyze its structure, and had ignored theory. Now he must take up the latter study under Heinrich Dorn, as well as piano under Wieck; but only in later years did he realize the value of the less attractive branch of study.

And now came the turning point in his career. Too impatient to attain technical proficiency quickly, because of the delay in his study, he invented what he supposed to be a short cut to the desired end. The lack of restraint in his boyhood's pursuit of music seemed to have engendered a false confidence in his own judgment, for he gave up his lessons with Wieck, and practised alone, secretly using a mechanical appliance which tied up the weakest finger of his right hand while he practised with the others. The result is well known; he permanently lamed not only that finger but the whole hand, and though he tried every possible remedy when he realized the grave nature of his mistake, all hope of a virtuoso's career had to be abandoned. Fortunately, he had become interested in composition, and the disappointment was not so severe as it might have been; while his art gained immeasurably by the transfer of his attention to the production of original works. In this first period of composition his works, while rich in musical imagery, show a lack of control of form; they include the papillons and variations on the notes represented by the letters of the surname Abegg, Schumann in that manner commemorating his meeting with a charming young lady of that name. He was a somewhat impressionable youth, judging from his letters. In 1830 he heard Paganini, and two years later he arranged for piano the caprices of that violinist, referring to them in a letter as a " dear adopted child." The next year he composed a set of impromptus on a theme by Clara Wieck, who already revealed gifts in composing as well as playing. This year, 1833, was an eventful one to Schumann. He had been residing in his teacher's home, but now took rooms in another house, although his intimacy with Wieck's family was as great as ever. He was in the habit of spending his evenings at the Kaffeebaum with a number of "kindred spirits," who discussed various musical matters. At that time, while there was much music in Leipsic well performed, musical criticism was in an enervated condition; those who essayed to pose as critics fawned on the superficial favorites of the hour. Some energetic member of Schumann's informal circle proposed a new musical journal, which was issued first in April, 1834, as the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik, edited in collaboration by Schumann, Friedrich Wieck, Ludwig Schunke and Julius Knorr. Of these, Schunke was the only thorough musician, but needed considerable assistance from Schumann in his articles. The year previous Schumann had written a sort of literary rhapsody on Chopin's second published work, which was given space in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung. The new paper was published first by Hartmann, and from the beginning of the year 1835, by Earth, both at Leipsic; with  the change of publisher Schumann became proprietor and sole editor, his tenture of this work lasting for ten years. After the summer of 1844 he contributed nothing further to it except his last work in that line, the one which introduced to the musical world, as he had before introduced Chopin and others, his worthy successor, Brahms. The style of the Neue Zeitschrift was indeed a novelty. Schumann wrote under several pseudonyms, each representing a group of faculties in his own nature. The energetic, passionate, impulsive side was called Florestan; the calmer, more thoughtful and tender, Eusebius; while Meister Raro was a sort of mediator between these two, althought used sometimes to represent Wieck. Some of his compositions also bear one or the other of the two names mentioned. Jeanquirit was another name under which Schumann wrote his articles. A kind of imaginary secret society, called the Davidsbündler Davidites appeared in these columns, although existing only in Schumann's brain. The honorary members were his favorite musical friends and objects of his admiration, including Jonathan (possibly Schunke), Serpentin (Carl Banck, a song-composer connected for some  time with the Neue Zeitschrift), Chiara (Clara Wieck, who was also called Zilia, short for Cecilia), Felix Mentis (Mendelssohn), etc. Many of these people were unaware of their membership in this society organized to combat the Philistines, or enemies, of musical progress. While this journal took much of Schumann's time, allowing him in the first few years little leisure for composition, it meant to him not only an income but a means of contact with the musical world, which his natural shyness and reserve would otherwise have avoided, as he never suffered from poverty, nor felt the need for daily bread as a spur to action. The necessity of producing something periodically was just the practical stimulus needed by his dreamy nature, and possibly delayed the ascendency of that fatal disorder which first manifested itself in 1833, after Schumann received the news of his sister-in-law's death. From that night of unnatural mental agony he dreaded sleeping on any floor higher than the first. 

Schumann's journal was a power for good in bringing the younger composers of merit before the public in a favorable and kindly light. His appreciative articles were of benefit to Mendelssohn, Hiller, Heller, Sterndale Bennett, Gade, Berlioz and Franz, irrespective of nationality, and showed a wide and generous sympathy, and true culture in the writer. When his criticisms were severe, they were never without good reason, and his sharpest invectives were reserved for such sins against art as the insincerities of Meyerbeer, who lowered his really great talent to cater to unworthy popular demands. In 1835 Schumann met Mendelssohn at the home of the Wiecks, and afterward saw much of him. He greatly admired him as a man and a musician, and dedicated to him the three string quartets written in 1842. Mendelssohn seems to have held kindly personal relations with Schumann, however little he appreciated him as a composer. He seems to have thought of Schumann as a literary man and art critic, a class which he disliked on general principles, and to have been unable to dissociate his opinion of him from that first impression.

The year 1836 was an important one in Schumann's life. His mother died in February; and a little later his admiration and friendship for Clara Wieck took on a shade of warmer feeling as she grew into womanhood. His brief engagement to Ernestine von Fricken, a pretty music pupil of Wieck, who was decidedly Clara's inferior, had been dissolved by mutual consent the previous year; and after some months of separation, while Clara was away on a concert tour, and diffident hesitation on his part, he found that the only real love of his life was returned. Wieck opposed the marriage, and for four years Schumann labored in vain for his consent. Realizing that Wieck's attitude toward his uncertain financial prospects had some justice in it, he finally removed to Vienna in the hope of increasing the paper's returns; but receiving no benefit from the change he remained there only six months, then returned to Leipsic. His short stay in Vienna brought about one of the most important of his many unselfish services to music. Meeting the brother of Schubert he discovered a treasure in the latter's C major symphony, which, on his return in 1839, he succeeded in having performed under Mendelssohn's direction at the Gewandhaus. The following summer he visited Berlin, and soon afterward obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Jena. After the failure of all his attempts to satisfy Wieck, he carried the matter into court, according to the German custom, and was victorious. In September, 1840, he married Clara Wieck, and entered upon one of the happiest and most appropriate unions known in the lives of artists, a marriage paralleled only, perhaps, by that of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Clara Schumann was the inspiration of his best compositions from the time when he first became conscious of his love for her, and after their marriage brought to the notice of the world many of his works. Although they reared a family of eight children, she did not give up her public career but traveled often in concert, Schumann accompanying her on many of her tours. At that time she was so much better known than he that at one appearance where she charmed royalty by her playing, it is related, a prince asked her after the performance, "And is your husband also musical?" The struggles of the years in which Schumann was striving to gain his wife are recorded both in his letters to intimate friends and in the music produced during that time. One friend, Frau Henriette Voigt, a pupil of Ludwig Berger, appears so often in these letters, and was so often a consoler, that she is worthy of mention. She died in 1839, too soon to witness the happiness of her friend.

This period, from 1836 to 1839, gave to the world the most famous and most beautiful works for the piano that Schumann ever wrote. The Fantasia, opus 17, the F minor sonata, the Fantasiestücke, the Davidsbundlertanze, Novelletten, Kinderscenen, Kreisleriana, Nachtstücke, Humoreske, and other works of this period, are characterized by a spirit of mental and emotional conflict and unrest, with much beauty of expression, and a growing command of form in which his earlier works were deficient, although the well-known Symphonic fitudes, constituting variations on a theme, which the composer himself attributed to Ernestine yon Fricken's father, are said to be chiefly interesting because of their form. Schumann said himself that the battles which Clara cost him were largely reflected in his music, of which she was now almost the sole inspiration. The critics received Schumann's compositions well, and both Liszt and Moscheles wrote and published articles commenting very favorably on his piano works, but other musicians were silent concerning them, and it was not until the publication of the Kinderscenen, which are not properly children's music, but rather sketches of child life for older people, that the' general public began to like his music.

Up to the year of his marriage Schumann had composed almost exclusively for the piano, it being the only instrument with which he was familiar, and most of his composition being done while seated at the piano. Now the consummation of his long desired happiness sought an outlet in a veritable stream of songs, over one hundred and twenty-five in all. In his letters he says that he experienced such intense excitement and pleasure in this hitherto untried form of composition that he felt as if he could sing himself to death, " like a nightingale." By the end of the year following his marriage this passion had abated, and Schumann expressed himself as satisfied that he had done his best work in this line. He wrote no more songs for nine years, and then produced almost as many again, but none of them equal to the best of this year.

From this time Schumann followed a definite plan of composition, working on one department of music until he felt that he had accomplished in it all that he could, then turning to another. Schumann was doubtless enabled to do this by his comparatively retired life. His journal was established, he was   seldom called upon for outside affairs, and his devoted wife shielded him from responsibilities or influences that would interfere with composing and writing. From 1841 to 1845 he produced the best of his large works, composing three symphonies in the former year. The B flat symphony was performed in March of this year at a concert given by his wife at the Gewandhaus under Mendelssohn's direction. The other two were given in December, though not with equal success, and as Mendelssohn was absent in Berlin during this winter, Schumann published the B flat and laid the others away to be brought out later. The D minor symphony, although the second composed, was not published till 1851, and is known as the Fourth, while the third came out in 1845. The year 1842 was devoted to chamber-music, and the following years to choral works, the best of which, Paradise and the Peri, was produced in December, 1843, at the Dresden Opera House. This work, which has been called Schumann's climax, firmly established his reputation in Germany. Another important work composed during the same year is the Variations for two pianos.

On the organization of the Leipsic Conservatory in 1843 under Mendelssohn, Schumann became professor of piano, composition and score-playing there, but gave up the post the next year. Little is known of his work as a teacher, but from his reserved disposition and increasing disinclination to assert himself in word or action, it is surmised that he succeeded no better in this line than he did in the more public work of conducting some years later. He preferred to occupy himself with composition, even dreading the occasional trips made with his wife on her tours, and was beginning to feel his literary work a burden. All this was to a great extent the effect of ill health, and in 1844, when he had begun the music to Goethe's Faust, he was obliged to give up all work and rest the remainder of the year. He had accompanied his wife to Hamburg early in 1842, and the following summer to Bohemia. She induced him with some difficulty to go to Russia, where she played in Riga, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and introduced his works. He met Henselt in the last city, where she played with that pianist her husband's Variations for two pianos, above mentioned. In 1846 they went to Vienna, where Clara played his piano concerto; Schumann himself conducted his B flat symphony there, and then Paradise and the Peri in Berlin. These were not especially well received, but Prague gave them a cordial welcome. In 1844 Schumann was compelled to move to a quieter place, where less music could be heard, and so retired to Dresden. Even his musical memory had been affected by his health. During 1846 he became again well enough to resume work, and produced his studies and sketches for pedal piano, six fugues on Bach, and four fugues for piano. His C major symphony, composed during this year, was brought out at Leipsic under Mendelssohn in November. At Dresden he became acquainted with several musical people; Weber's widow lived there, and was intelligent and musically appreciative; Ferdinand Hiller became an intimate friend, and he met Wagner, with whom he was friendly to some extent, though their natures were antagonistic in some respects. Schumann admired Tannhauser, but with reservations. In 1847 he succeeded Hiller as conductor of the Male Choral Society in that city, but was out of his element there, and his choruses for male voices are not adapted to the tastes of the ordinary mannerchor, and have therefore been used but little. The following year he accepted the leadership of a society of mixed voices. This proved far more satisfactory; it gave him healthier interests, and brought him more into social life. He wrote much for this society, and in January, 1850, it gave two performances of Paradise and the Peri. His success as conductor of this society encouraged Schumann, as he had at first been very diffident concerning his ability to conduct. Hearing the rumor, which after ward proved erroneous, that Reitz was going to Berlin, he applied for the post of conductor at the Gewandhaus.

While in Dresden, Schumann went frequently to the opera, and began to compose Genoveva. Ever since 1840 he had desired to begin an opera, but could not undertake it with his editorial work. The libretto of Genoveva was commenced by Reinicke who gave it up, continued by Hebel, and finally finished by Schumann himself. Its production was delayed by evasions and promises on the part of the director of the Leipsic Theatre till after several years his patience was exhausted, and he was on the point of going to law about it, but was dissuaded by friends. The opera was not produced until 1850, in the unpropitious month of June. However, his friends and admirers filled the house, but only Spohr commended it, as it coincided with his own ideas of opera without recitative. Schumann could not see its lack of real dramatic effect as did the public and the critics; it contained many beauties, was nobly conceived, and the overture is pronounced by Spitta a masterpiece of its kind, worthy to rank with classical models; but it did not please the public as a dramatic work, and Schumann felt deeply a lack of appreciation.

Genoveva was finished in 1848; he next took up the work begun in 1844, the setting of the Faust scenes to music. He worked at the various scenes for several years, and the overture was not composed until 1853. The year 1849 was marked by political disturbances, which the composer escaped by retiring from Dresden to a neighboring village, where he occupied himself with composition. This year was the most prolific of any since the first year of his marriage, and he is said to have worked with an ease and power of concentration never experienced before, and undisturbed by any sort of noise around him. He produced all kinds of music this year, that to Byron's Manfred being probably the most important. It was brought out by Liszt at the theatre in Weimar, June, 1852, but had been previously given at a Leipsic concert in 1851. His work was affected, to some extent, by mental agitation; he spoke afterward of 1849 as his "most fruitful year, as if the external storms moved men to greater inner action; " but his opus 76, for piano, shows the beginning of confusion in his methods of work. From this time an increasing bewilderment and weakness of judgment is revealed in his compositions for the piano, although those for piano with other instruments remain comparatively clear. A number of the later songs show this painful decline in creative power, and The Pilgrimage of the Rose, a setting for solos, chorus and orchestra, exemplifies the loss of critical intelligence which preceded more serious symptoms of mental disorder, although the opening song, a hymn to spring, is said to surpass in melodiousness and spontaneity the other songs of this period. The libretto as a whole, however, is considered too trivial a subject for such a work.

In 1850 Schumann was called upon to succeed Hiller in the directorship at Düsseldorf, from which the latter was about to retire to accept a call to Cologne. He was not anxious to make this change, but it seemed best, although he feared that the musical conditions in his new field would be uncongenial. In this he was agreeably disappointed, finding a good vocal society and a capable orchestra, both well trained by his predecessors, while his duties also included conducting the subscription concerts of the winter season. At first everything seemed auspicious; more interest than had ever been known before was shown in the concerts, and the directors found it practicable to maintain several more than the wonted half-dozen of the winter. Schumann's lifelong desire to assist young musicians was gratified to a greater extent than before; now he found it within his province to devote one of these concerts to the works of living composers. This position won him other recognitions. In 1851 he was invited to act as one of the judges in awarding the prizes at a choral contest in Antwerp, while in Leipsic, which he revisited in 1852, a week was given over to the performance of his most important works at the Gewandhaus. Liszt, Joachim and other artists had come to Leipsic for the purpose of hearing these works, but the attitude of the public was neutral. In fact, he found that his music was received with more enthusiasm in foreign countries than in Germany.

Although when he first came to Düsseldorf Schumann's reputation and personality impressed the musical element, and enabled him to succeed for a time in his conductorship, it became evident that he was unfitted for the post, both by lack of natural qualifications and by increasing symptoms of mental disorder. The nervous troubles of his former period of ill health returned with renewed violence. From 1850 he was annoyed by hearing one tone or several ringing in his ears; he had difficulty in expressing himself in words, and all music seemed too fast for him. This materially affected his conducting, as he would take the time too slowly; moreover, his growing lack of self-assertion rendered his beat indecisive, and instead of explaining his conception of a number, correcting mistakes, and directing the men how to play certain passages, he simply made them play the music over without comment. He was also easily tired, and had to rest during the rehearsals. It is said that he even continued beating time after the orchestra had ceased to play. For several years he held the post through the tolerance of the directors, influenced by the general love and esteem in which he was held; but in time these considerations had to be laid aside for the good of the musical organizations. In May, 1853, the Lower Rhine Festival was held at Düsseldorf, and, while Schumann conducted Handel's Messiah and his own D minor symphony, the performance of his other works was entrusted to Hiller. By the autumn of that year matters had become so serious that the directors authorized a committee to suggest to him the advisability of a rest from directing, except in the case of his own compositions, until he should have recovered his health, Julius Tausch, his former associate in the management of the Choral Club, offering to take his place temporarily. Although this was undertaken with the utmost tact and delicacy, Schumann, in his growing irritability and sensitiveness, misconstrued the action and failed to appear at the next rehearsal. After waiting some time for him Tausch took his place, and this ended Schumann's career as a conductor.

After this Schumann sought rest and change in a tour with his wife through the Netherlands, where they were enthusiastically received. With one exception, this was the last pleasant event of Schumann's life. That exception was the appearance of Brahms with a letter of introduction from Joachim. Schumann became deeply interested in the young genius, and wrote in his behalf an article in the Neue Zeitschrift. A few last efforts in composition followed. He wrote, in collaboration with Brahms and Albert Dietrich, a sonata for violin and piano, dedicated to Joachim, who was expected to appear in Düsseldorf soon. He also met Joachim and Brahms once more at Hanover in January, 1854, at a performance of Paradise and the Peri.

Schumann's morbid nervous condition, manifested as early as his eighteenth year in what he called "an ingenuity in clinging to unhappy ideas," often expressed itself in dark forebodings. In 1837 he writes, " I often feel as if I should not live much longer, and I should like to dp a little more work." His marriage quieted his fears for several years, then the old symptoms returned with renewed force. For the last few years of his life he was silent and taciturn; he had always been reserved with all but intimate friends, and now became uncommunicative even to them. In the beginning of 1854 he grew rapidly worse; various illusions and hallucinations revealed the dangerous condition of his mind, and he realized it himself to such an extent that he desired to be taken to a sanitarium, a place the very sight of which had for years filled him with horror. One night he arose in excitement, saying that Schubert and Mendelssohn had brought him a theme, and commenced some variations on this for the piano; Brahms finished the composition, and dedicated it to Schumann's daughter, Julie. On Feb. 27, 1854, when he was sitting among his friends in the gloomy silence which was habitual with him, he arose and went quietly away, and not long afterward it was discovered that he had thrown himself into the Rhine, whence he was, however, rescued. He was now taken to a private asylum at Endenich, near Bonn, in  charge of Dr. Richarz, where he remained until the end, two years later. During his infrequent lucid intervals he received a very few of his nearest friends, and also carried on some correspondence with his wife, but was not allowed to see her until near his death. Most of his time was spent in a deep melancholy, relieved by occasional attempts at composition and improvisation. He died on July 29, 1856, in the arms of his wife, leaving three daughters and four sons to mourn his loss. In 1880 a fine monument was erected by Denndorf on his grave at Bonn. A memorial statue was unveiled at Leipsic in 1875, and one in Zwickau in 1889.

Schumann was above medium height, rather stout, with a dignified bearing and slow movements; he could not be called handsome, the lower part of his face being too heavy, and the head, though strong in outline, did not render the expression of his face intellectual; it was pleasant and kindly, however, and when talking with intimate friends was still further lighted up by eyes usually downcast, in keeping with his absent, introspective habits of thought. The connection between Schumann's life and works is more intimate than that of any other of the great composers except Chopin, with whom he is often compared as an exponent of the romantic movement in music, and in his being first and foremost a composer for the piano. While Chopin received the education of a virtuoso as a child, and wrote brilliantly as well as poetically for his instrument, Schumann's thorough technical training, as well as his theoretical study, was delayed till early manhood, and then  :ut short. His was a stronger, broader nature than Chopin's, and the peculiar technical difficulties of his compositions are invariably those that arise purely from the multitude of musical images crowding his mind and clamoring for existence. He never wrote for effect; all his music expresses phases of his mind and soul. As he advanced in years he valued all the experiences and sensations of life according to their adaptability for translation into music; and thus he deserves the title of the most subjective and psychological of composers. " In a certain sense," says Kelterborn in Famous Composers and Their Works, " Schumann's works may be regarded as a musical commentary on his life . . . particularly in the earlier piano compositions." Although he bears some resemblance to Schubert, to Beethoven and to Bach, which cannot be called in any sense an imitation of any of them; this is traceable in his later works alone, not taking into consideration those marked by the decline of his powers. In melody, harmony and rhythm, as well as in musical content, he was original from the first. The influence of poetry is directly noticeable in his songs. Finck ranks him in the same category with Schubert, Franz and Grieg. Schumann had the advantage of Schubert in a wider variety of poems from which to select, and is given much credit for popularizing the best German poets of his time. The very intimacy of the union of Schumann's music with the German words of poems by Heine, Ruckert, Eichendorff, Chamisso and Kerner causes them to lose some of their beauty when translated into other languages, and hence to lessen their appreciation among other than German-speaking peoples. His genius was akin to that of Heine in the power to suggest unexpressed depths of feeling in a few lines, both in his short piano-pieces and in his treatment of the piano ' accompaniment and the postlude to many of his songs, which intensifies their emotional atmosphere.

His best songs include those dedicated to his bride, the Myrthen cycle, including Die Lotusblume, Du bist wie eine Blume, and Der Nussbaum; other cycles, to songs by Kerner, including Wanderlust; by Eichendorff, the cycle, Woman's Love and Life; Heine's Liederkreis; Dichterliebe (Poet's Love), in which is included Ich Grolle Nicht, considered his very finest song; Liebesfruhling (Springtime of Love) cycle, of which the best two were written by his wife, without a suspicion of any assistance from her husband. Finck, in comparing Schumann with Schubert, says that the latter surpassed him in descriptive power, as in Erl King, but that Schumann possessed a vein of humor which enabled him to give adequate expression to what Fuller-Maitland calls " that mirth of Heine's, which seems always on the verge of tears." The same quality has been remarked in his Humoreske for piano.

A well-known ballad is The Two Grenadiers; the part-song, Gipsy Life, is popular, and other less known partsongs of greater musical value are the Advent and New Year's Songs of Ruckert, and the Requiem to Migjnon, from Goethe's Wilhelm Meister.

Of his chamber-music, the finest number is a quintet for piano and strings, dedicated to his wife. Berlioz heard this and had it performed in Paris; it was the work which made Dr. Schumann's reputation general throughout Europe, and has been pronounced the best piece of chambermusic since Beethoven, and a classical masterpiece for all time. A trio and quartet for piano and strings were also written in 1842, the latter being played in December, 1844, by Mme. Schumann, David as violinist, and Gade, then director at Leipsic, violaplayer. The three string quartets dedicated to Mendelssohn were composed within a month, and show the peculiarity w.hich dominates to some extent all of Schumann's compositions which may be called the idiom of the piano, for which he so long composed exclusively that all his musical thoughts were expressed in it as a native tongue. He was at his best, in this field, in the works which include the piano.

Schumann's early attempts at large works were hampered by his want of theoretical knowledge, especially the piano sonatas, of which the G minor is considered the best. He never attained the same command of orchestration as Mendelssohn or Beethoven, yet at times displayed originality in writing for instruments as well as his customary unfailing freshness of invention. Of the overtures, those to Manfred and to Genoveva rank the highest. He also wrote overtures to the Faust scenes, to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a festival overture with chorus on the Rhine Wine Song, and two to proposed operas that were never written, viz., Schiller's Bride of Messina, and Goethe's Hermann und Dorothea. Of his choral works Paradise and Peri, The Pilgrimage of the Rose, and the part-songs have been reviewed. "The rest," says Hadow, " belong to Schumann's period of exhaustion."

Although Schumann declared that sacred music was the "highest aim of every true artist," he did not turn to it until his latter years; owing partly to this, and perhaps also in part to the fact that his early home atmosphere had not been strictly religious, he did not succeed especially in his sacred compositions. Then, too, his sympathies were with the Protestant Church, and the prevailing sentiment at Düsseldorf, where he wrote these works, was Catholic, and the immediate incentive to this kind of composition was doubtless the demand for music to be performed at the periodical church concerts there. The Advent and New Year's Hymn, previously mentioned, a mass, a requiem, a motet with organ accompaniment, were all settings of poems by Rückert. Although their conception is grave and noble enough, they were not entirely satisfactory as choral music. The sketches, studies, and fugues for pedal piano may be considered Schumann's contribution to organ music ; it is comparatively unimportant, and unequal in value and character. A canon, in B minor, is frequently heard on modern organ programs.

His dramatic music comprises Genoveva, the Faust scenes, and music to Byron's Manfred. In the last he found a subject which appealed closely to him, and the result was one of his most inspired works, although a compromise between theatre and concert room, and not wholly adapted to either. It is a work for a musician rather than for the ordinary listener. His piano concerto in A minor is considered one of his most beautiful and mature works. He established a deeper relation between the piano and the orchestra than his predecessors. There are several other works of the kind for piano, and also two concertos and a fantasie, dedicated to Joachim, which belong properly to the period of decline. A violin concerto in manuscript by Schumann was found after the death of Joachim among his papers, which he had refrained from publishing because of the too evident traces of his friend's insanity. Schumann's violin sonatas, and various pieces for other instruments with piano, such as oboe, clarinet, etc., were all written after his climax had been reached.

A number of piano-pieces have already been mentioned. Other important ones are the toccata, opus 7, and the allegro, opus 8, both brilliant concert-pieces of originality and power. The Papillons and Carnival are well-known works of his first period; to that of his engagement to Clara Wieck belong the well-known smaller numbers, Evening, Soaring, Why, Tangled Dreams; and other miniature gems which appeal alike to musician and to music-lover are the Traumerei (Dreaming), and the Bird as Prophet, from the Waldscenen (Wood Scenes). Others worthy of mention are the Arabeske, Blumenstuck, and the Nachtstucke, especially the familiar one in F. The Album for the Young is what its name implies, and differs in purpose and character from the Scenes from Childhood. In the fantasia, opus 17, dedicated to Liszt, we find a highly-inspired composition, which recalls Beethoven, upon whose monument the composer originally intended to bestow it as an " Obolus." Schumann also wrote a small sonata for each of his three daughters.

Schumann was the first Composer who grasped the deepest significance and possibilities in rhythm, and the first who possessed both creative genius in music and the qualities   of a just, broad-minded and appreciative musical critic. He is one of the most original of musicians. Bach exercised a stronger influence over him than any other, but Schumann's use of counterpoint differs from the earlier master's in that it deals with harmonic forms rather than in melodic passages. By natural gifts he was the strongest of the group of contemporary romanticists. In speaking of his contemporaries, Mendelssohn and Schubert, he stated that, while he could learn something from the former, Mendelssohn could also learn something from him, and that if he himself had been situated in the same happy circumstances he would have surpassed all of them. This shows at once his modesty and his self-respect.

It is true that the piano and his individual style of writing for it, while it placed him at the head of composers for that instrument, influenced all his work to the extent of interfering with the technique of composition for orchestra, chorus, or stringed instruments.

He made a critical review of all the representative examples of the various musical forms, which was valuable in his own development as well as to his readers. Nowhere was his true generosity and charitableness shown so strikingly as in his treatment of Mendelssohn, whose works he praised and upheld so warmly without any reciprocation, and whom he refused to believe insincere toward himself, even when told so by others. After his retirement from the  editorship of the Neue Zeitschrift his adherents and those of Mendelssohn formed parties antagonistic to each other; but with this t Schumann himself would have nothing to do.

But it is ever as a composer that Schumann will be remembered. While his more involved works appeal more to the cultivated musician, and for years he was not fully appreciated in his own country, he grows more and more in favor with all classes of music-lovers.