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Robert  Schumann

He was born on the 8th of June 1810 in Zwickau in Saxony. His father was a publisher, and it was in the cultivation of literature quite as much as in that of music that his boyhood was spent. He himself tells us that he began to compose before his seventh year.

At fourteen he wrote an essay on the aesthetics of music and also contributed to a volume edited by his father and entitled Portraits of Famous Men. While still at school in Zwickau he read, besides Schiller and Goethe, Byron (whose Beppo and Childe Harold had been translated by his father) and the Greek tragedians. But the most powerful as well as the most permanent of the literary influences exercised upon him, however, was undoubtedly that of Jean Paul Richter. This influence may clearly be seen in his youthful novels Juniusabende and Selene, of which the first only was completed (1826).

In 1828 he left school, and after a tour, during which he met Heine at Munich, he went to Leipzig to study law. His interest in music had been stimulated when he was a child by hearing Moscheles play at Carlsbad, and in 1827 his enthusiasm had been further excited by the works of Franz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn. But his father, who had encouraged the boy's musical aspirations, had died in 1826, and neither his mother nor his guardian approved of a musical career for him.

The question seemed to be set at rest by Schumann's expressed intention to study law, but both at Leipzig and at Heidelberg, whither he went in 1829, he neglected the law for the philosophers, and though—to use his own words—"but Nature's pupil pure and simple" began composing songs.



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