“Suffering in life is like dissonance in music,” Robert Schumann once jokingly wrote, “it’s exciting, but it does call for resolution.” Schumann was one of the most important composers of the Romantic period as well as a writer on music of high standing. His early compositional output was centered around piano music, where he sought to combine tradition with novel sound worlds.
“More theoretical than practical reason. Strong power of imagination,” was how the young composer described himself. His life was characterized by ups and downs between euphoria and depression; even his marriage to Clara Wieck was unable to calm his emotional life. Nonetheless, his creative imagination found expression in symphonies, orchestral works, and other large-scale compositions, while the great originality of his late works was long misunderstood - they were thought to be “confused” and “the product of nervous illness.” These prejudices were finally definitively dispelled in the 20th century, when the innovative qualities of his music were recognized.