Chernaik gets the incredible essence of this: how he offloaded his difficult emotional world onto an imaginary band of alternative identities, partly for survival, to fight the philistine world on better terms.
I wish she had dug a bit further into the way he translated them into music. The difference is not just contrast. In other words, the masks allow Schumann to capture love as a spectrum: He gets more of it than his fellow Romantics, even Chopin, with whom love can sometimes feel like a performance.
Chernaik, drawn to this supercharged story and the music, has backed up her affection with solid research.
Robert Schumann | Music
Unabashed love and rational skepticism are natural companions, even symbiotic enemies. Schumann understood this as well as anyone. But after the singer goes silent, Schumann uses the pianist for an astounding catharsis. First, a hint of melody, syncopated against a hidden beat, ascending to some unknown goal.
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Then this melody gathers itself, trying to say something in the absence of words, reaching up once, twice, and a third time reaching the top of the arc of loss while the singer remains mute, listening to his own sorrow. This phrase arrives without arriving, as life often does; when at last it recedes through various painful notes, you get something like comfort, but with all preceding heartbreak folded in.
When you contemplate these great Schumann passages, humble, vulnerable and unflinching in the face of human emotions, it feels heartless to doubt. Although Geck rarely uses the term "romantic irony" if ever , this is romantic irony at its highest. Without this literary background, you're all too likely to say "this is the music of someone who was going to die in an asylum.
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Fortunately, the translator includes the original German. Unfortunately, rather than translating the poetry himself, he uses awful translations that sound like they came from the late Victorians. All the directness and immediacy of the German is lost. What German would ever say that? My German isn't great, but if I couldn't read the German originals, I really wouldn't get the point of this book. This problem is obviously at its worst where Geck is discussing Schumann's Lieder, but it's an issue throughout.
As a pianist, I've always avoided Schumann, except for a few of the chestnuts. Assembling all the fragments into a whole was too much work, compared to playing Mozart or Beethoven even late Beethoven. Now that I've read this book, I don't think I can avoid Schumann any more. Mar 21, Peter Galamaga rated it it was amazing. Fascinating and often moving story of the life of a great composer. For those not well-versed or interested in the technical intricacies of music, there are several sections that can be skimmed over, but the story itself is a worthwhile one.
I was left wanting to know more about his amazing wife, Clara, the mother of Schumann's 7 children, a respected composer and performer in her own right, who stayed loyal and loving to her husband even as he descended into madness and died at the young age of Fascinating and often moving story of the life of a great composer. I was left wanting to know more about his amazing wife, Clara, the mother of Schumann's 7 children, a respected composer and performer in her own right, who stayed loyal and loving to her husband even as he descended into madness and died at the young age of Knowing what we know now about mental illness, it is difficult to read of the man's struggles and how he might have been relieved of his pain if modern treatments were available.
I read this while playing his music in the background. View all 6 comments.
Der Musiker und Komponist Robert Schumann - erlebte seine Werke in einer unbeschreiblichen Leidenschaft, die aber auch derart verzehrte, dass er mit 46 Jahren im Privatsanatorium Endenich bei Bonn verstarb. Diese Biographie ist sehr interessant, da Leben und Werk nicht voneinander getrennt wurden. Nov 26, Rich Italiano rated it it was amazing. I was profoundly moved by this great biography.
It was extremely in-depth and handled Schumann's life and music with all its complexities in a loving and sensitive manner. This book was a real revelation. Max Tsai rated it really liked it Mar 17, Alice Ho rated it really liked it Jun 19, Linda rated it liked it Jan 12, Neusovita rated it it was amazing Jun 22, Lou rated it liked it Feb 12, Vanessa rated it it was amazing May 06, Manic rated it it was amazing Dec 28, Christina rated it it was amazing Jul 13, Ka rated it it was amazing Apr 27, Margit rated it it was amazing Jan 02, Andrew rated it really liked it Jul 16, Patrick Bormann rated it really liked it Jan 19, Craig Zeichner rated it really liked it Dec 25, Otto rated it really liked it Dec 28, Charles Milliken rated it it was ok May 01, Hadrian marked it as to-read Dec 12, Michael Sylvester added it Jan 02, Daniel marked it as to-read Jan 03, University of Chicago Press added it May 01, Brian marked it as to-read Dec 29, Ellen is currently reading it Jul 23, Sarah Los added it Aug 12, Rayana marked it as to-read Aug 30, Gemseeker marked it as to-read Sep 07, Ted Feder marked it as to-read Oct 19, Abby Ang marked it as to-read Feb 19, Mustis added it Jan 09, Kayla Mae marked it as to-read Jan 10, David is currently reading it Jan 24, James marked it as to-read Feb 18, Jiayi marked it as to-read Feb 22, John Morgan marked it as to-read Feb 24, Chris Moran marked it as to-read Feb 25, Natalia marked it as to-read Mar 21,