Schumann

Schumann looking way too intense. Image from Wikipedia

Schumann’s life could not fit better with the Romantic period:

He had to fight a legal battle to marry the daughter of his tutor (Clara, a composer and piano virtuoso), who opposed the wedding because he was too poor. He had terrible mood swings (the arsenic he had taken to cure his syphilis did not help), he had visions and heard voices (according to the occasion these seemed to come from Heaven or Hell). His mental conditions got so bad that he even jumped off a bridge, apparently trying to escape from demons. He finally decided to confine himself at a mental asylum, where he eventually died. His wife Clara did not die until 40 years later; but still she never married again (she raised the kids and gave concerts dressed in black). Her decision reminded me of that Gothic short story by Villiers de l’Isle Adam (another 19th century dude with its own intense story), “Vera”,

L’Amour est plus fort que la Mort, a dit Salomon : oui, son mystérieux pouvoir est illimité

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