3rd out of 99 books — 9 voters
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Robert Schumann: Life and Death of a Musician
by John Worthen
This candid, intimate, and compellingly written new biography offers a fresh account of Robert Schumann’s life. It confronts the traditional perception of the doom-laden Romantic, forced by depression into a life of helpless, poignant sadness. John Worthen’s scrupulous attention to the original sources reveals Schumann to have been an astute, witty, articulate, and immense ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published August 13th 2007 by Yale University Press
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This is an in-depth, well-done biography of a fascinating and talented composer. More than anything else, this book made me realize that while Schumann now has special meaning for me, because I feel like I KNOW him, if I were to read biographies of this depth about all the composers I know and teach, I would have a sprawling musical family, and I would find myself incapacitated in the face of choosing the "best" or most important to focus on in class. They all matter! They're all interesting! Sc ...more
This book convincingly debunks the long-standing story that Schumann suffered from mental illness. Schumann suffered from syphilis, and it attacked his brain late in life. Up until that point, Schumann led a productive life and successfully managed his complicated business affairs. Worthen's rebuttal is welcome, because it helps discredit the old wives' tale that you need to be crazy in order to be creative.