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Chronological View of Schumann's Life.

1810. Born at Zwickau, Saxony, June 10th.
1817. Wrote his first musical composition.
1816. Studied piano with Kuntzsch, organist of the Marienkirche in Zwickau.
1821. Wrote choral and orchestral works (in his eleventh year), although he had had no instruction in musical composition.
1820-28. Attended the Zwickau gymnasium (high school).
1826. Schumann’s father died.
1828. Schumann enters the Leipsic University as a student of law.
1829. Went to Heidelberg University as the professor of law there, Thibaut was a profound student of music.
1830. Obtained mother’s permission to apply himself seriously to the subject of music, and went to Leipsic for this purpose. Studied under Wieck.
1831. Injured his finger by the use of a mechanical device he had invented to strengthen his third finger.
1831. Gave up the study of piano and devoted himself to the study of composition under Dorn.
1833. Wrote Pianoforte Concerto and part of Symphony in G minor.
1834. Founded the famous musical paper, “Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik” (New Journal for Music).
1835. Gave up editorship of the above-mentioned paper.
1839. Wrote the famous “Scenes from Childhood,” which brought him wide popular approval.
1839. Settled in Vienna in order to publish his musical journal among musical surroundings.
1839. Returned to Leipsic.
1840. Married Clara Wieck, daughter of his teacher.
1840. Schumann had hitherto devoted most of his attention to the piano. Now he commenced vocal composition, and during the ensuing year wrote over one hundred songs.
1841. Composed three symphonic works. The B flat Symphony was performed at a concert given by Clara Schumann at the Gewandhaus, Leipsic, under Mendelssohn. The other two were given in December, the same year.
1843. Appointed professor of pianoforte playing and composition at the Leipsic Conservatory when it was opened by Mendelssohn.
1844. Robert and Clara Schumann went on concert tour to Russia, where Clara was received with immense enthusiasm, and her husband’s works were much appreciated.
1844. Removed from Leipsic to Dresden.
1846. Visited Vienna on a concert tour.
1847. Schumann’s concerto, performed by his wife in Vienna, was not received with favor. It is one of the most popular concert pieces among modern virtuosi.
1850. His opera, Genoveva, was produced for the first time in Leipsic. It had been composed during his residence In Dresden, where he had been on intimate terms with Wagner. The opera was not a great success, as it was produced at a bad time.
1850. Schumann left Dresden to take up the position of director at Düsseldorf. He was very successful at first, though he was not naturally a good conductor.
1850. Composed the E flat Symphony.
1853. Owing to increasing ill-health, and to the fact that he was not very well adapted to the post he held, Schumann gave up his position as director at Düsseldorf.
1853. In an article in the Zeitschrift he pointed out Brahms as the coming genius. In spite of increasing ill-health and other difficulties, his generous nature could not resist the opportunity of calling attention to the genius of this then comparatively unknown composer. It was thought by many at the time that Schumann greatly overestimated Brahms. After events have proved how keen his critical insight was!
1854. Unmistakable fits of insanity now began to manifest themselves, and in a moment of aberration he attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself into the Rhine. He was rescued by boatmen. Upon his recovery he continued the composition upon which he had been at work. It is unpublished, but Brahms has used the theme for a set of four-hand variations, which form one of his most beautiful and touching works. It was dedicated to Schumann’s daughter Julie. After the attempt on his life, it was necessary for Schumann to be placed in an asylum.
1856. He died, forty-six years of age, in the arms of his wife, in whom he found the inspiration for all his greatest works.

 

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