Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01A Law Unto Himself20100607

Donald focuses on Schumann's formative years and discovers his career doubts.

Born 200 years ago on 8th June 1810 in provincial Saxony, Robert Schumann's story is about as Romantic with a capital R as it gets - dead at 46, a love life worthy of the opera stage, his final years incarcerated in a mental asylum.

The young Robert Schumann showed promise as a pianist, had great talent as a literary writer and critic, and composed sparkling often perplexing music.

Yet, hand in hand with these qualities was a gaucheness that made Schumann misunderstood.

For much of his life he was fought over by opposing factions - his parents over his vocation, his father-in-law and bride-to-be over his marriage, critics and performers undecided about his music and skills as a conductor.

Donald Macleod sources the fascinating first-hand account of a man who knew Schumann well, his first biographer Wilhelm Von Wasielewski.

Schumann's better-known pieces such as 'Carnaval' and 'Liederkreis Op.24' join company with rarely heard works including the astonishing oratorio 'Paradise and the Peri'.

The ideal introduction to Schumann or a chance to re-evaluate a great composer in this his bicentenary year.

Donald Macleod in 'A Law unto Himself' unravels Schumann's formative years and discovers how as a young man he couldn't make up his mind whether to become a lawyer, writer, pianist or composer.

SCHUMANN

Konzertstűck - 1st movt Lebhaft

Roger Montgomery, Gavin Edwards, Susan Dent, Robert Maskell (horns)

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

ARCHIV 457 5912

CD3 Trk 1

Toccata

Sviatoslav Richter (piano)

DECCA 436 4562

Trk6

Zwickau Symphony in G Minor

Swedish Chamber Orchestra

Thomas Dausgaard (conductor)

BIS SACD 1569

Abegg Variations Op.1

Edna Stern (piano)

ZIGZAG ZZT070201

Papillons

Murray Perahia (piano)

SONY SMK89714

Trks 27-39.

01A Law Unto Himself20100607
01Piano20130729

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

For his first ten years as a composer, Schumann focused almost exclusively on the piano. He was a virtuoso pianist and had originally envisaged a solo career, so it was a natural place for him to start. Schumann's piano music is closely bound up with the circumstances of its creation, from the early Toccata in C, inspired by seeing Paganini in concert, to another C major work on an altogether grander scale, the Fantasie, op.17, which dramatizes the composer's inner life, and particularly his feelings of desolation at being separated from Clara Wieck (later to become his wife). The soberly-titled Variations in E flat major on an Original Theme are Schumann's last surviving work for solo piano, written days before his voluntary committal to the asylum where he would see out his final years. He said that the theme was 'dictated by the angels' whose voices he heard one night as he lay in bed.

Donald Macleod explores Schumann's music for solo piano.

01Piano20130729

Donald Macleod explores Schumann's music for solo piano.

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

For his first ten years as a composer, Schumann focused almost exclusively on the piano. He was a virtuoso pianist and had originally envisaged a solo career, so it was a natural place for him to start. Schumann's piano music is closely bound up with the circumstances of its creation, from the early Toccata in C, inspired by seeing Paganini in concert, to another C major work on an altogether grander scale, the Fantasie, op.17, which dramatizes the composer's inner life, and particularly his feelings of desolation at being separated from Clara Wieck (later to become his wife). The soberly-titled Variations in E flat major on an Original Theme are Schumann's last surviving work for solo piano, written days before his voluntary committal to the asylum where he would see out his final years. He said that the theme was 'dictated by the angels' whose voices he heard one night as he lay in bed.

01Poet Or Composer?20141208

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, early enthusiasms, including Lord Byron and Jean Paul Richter.

Get your head out of that book! is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

In today's programme he explores some early enthusiasms: Lord Byron; poet and physician Justinus Kerner; early-Romantic poet and indologist Friedrich Schlegel; and above all the novelist Jean Paul Richter - as fashionable in his day as he is obscure in ours - whose literary style the essayist Thomas Carlyle described as flowing onwards not like a river, but an inundation, circling in complex eddies, chafing and gurgling now this way, now that, until the proper current sinks out of view amid the boundless uproar.

Donald Macleod discusses early enthusiasms, including Lord Byron and Jean-Paul Richter.

Donald Macleod discusses early enthusiasms, including Lord Byron and Jean-Paul Richter.

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, early enthusiasms, including Lord Byron and Jean Paul Richter.

"Get your head out of that book!" is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

In today's programme he explores some early enthusiasms: Lord Byron; poet and physician Justinus Kerner; early-Romantic poet and indologist Friedrich Schlegel; and above all the novelist Jean Paul Richter - as fashionable in his day as he is obscure in ours - whose literary style the essayist Thomas Carlyle described as "flowing onwards not like a river, but an inundation, circling in complex eddies, chafing and gurgling now this way, now that, until the proper current sinks out of view amid the boundless uproar".

01Schumann Moves To Dusseldorf2017041720180402 (R3)

Donald Macleod focuses on everyday life with the Schumanns in Dusseldorf.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.
In today's episode, Robert and Clara are feted with a grand reception and a concert of Robert's own music. Despite this promising beginning, there are already domestic problems: the famiiar struggle to find suitable accommodation, away from barrel organs and other street noises. And already there are mutterings among the choir and some of the orchestra about Robert's abilities as a conductor and manager of people.

Genoveva Overture, Op.81
New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein

Sechs Gedichte von Nikolaus Lenau, Op. 90 (Meine Rose; Requiem)
Peter Schreier, tenor
Normal Shetler, piano

Myrthen, Op.25 (Widmung; Die Lotosblume)
Barbara Bonney, soprano
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Das Paradies und die Peri, Op.50 (Part 2)
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's episode, Robert and Clara are feted with a grand reception and a concert of Robert's own music. Despite this promising beginning, there are already domestic problems: the familiar struggle to find suitable accommodation, away from barrel organs and other street noises. And already there are mutterings among the choir and some of the orchestra about Robert's abilities as a conductor and manager of people.

Genoveva Overture, Op.81

New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein

Sechs Gedichte von Nikolaus Lenau, Op. 90 (Meine Rose; Requiem)

Peter Schreier, tenor

Normal Shetler, piano

Myrthen, Op.25 (Widmung; Die Lotosblume)

Barbara Bonney, soprano

Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Das Paradies und die Peri, Op.50 (Part 2)

Monteverdi Choir

Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

Donald Macleod focuses on everyday life with the Schumanns in Dusseldorf.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.
In today's episode, Robert and Clara are feted with a grand reception and a concert of Robert's own music. Despite this promising beginning, there are already domestic problems: the familiar struggle to find suitable accommodation, away from barrel organs and other street noises. And already there are mutterings among the choir and some of the orchestra about Robert's abilities as a conductor and manager of people.

Genoveva Overture, Op.81
New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein

Sechs Gedichte von Nikolaus Lenau, Op. 90 (Meine Rose; Requiem)
Peter Schreier, tenor
Normal Shetler, piano

Myrthen, Op.25 (Widmung; Die Lotosblume)
Barbara Bonney, soprano
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Das Paradies und die Peri, Op.50 (Part 2)
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

Donald Macleod focuses on everyday life with the Schumanns in Dusseldorf.

Donald Macleod focuses on everyday life with the Schumanns in Dusseldorf.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.
In today's episode, Robert and Clara are feted with a grand reception and a concert of Robert's own music. Despite this promising beginning, there are already domestic problems: the familiar struggle to find suitable accommodation, away from barrel organs and other street noises. And already there are mutterings among the choir and some of the orchestra about Robert's abilities as a conductor and manager of people.

Genoveva Overture, Op.81
New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein

Sechs Gedichte von Nikolaus Lenau, Op. 90 (Meine Rose; Requiem)
Peter Schreier, tenor
Normal Shetler, piano

Myrthen, Op.25 (Widmung; Die Lotosblume)
Barbara Bonney, soprano
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Das Paradies und die Peri, Op.50 (Part 2)
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's episode, Robert and Clara are feted with a grand reception and a concert of Robert's own music. Despite this promising beginning, there are already domestic problems: the familiar struggle to find suitable accommodation, away from barrel organs and other street noises. And already there are mutterings among the choir and some of the orchestra about Robert's abilities as a conductor and manager of people.

Genoveva Overture, Op.81

New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein

Sechs Gedichte von Nikolaus Lenau, Op. 90 (Meine Rose; Requiem)

Peter Schreier, tenor

Normal Shetler, piano

Myrthen, Op.25 (Widmung; Die Lotosblume)

Barbara Bonney, soprano

Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Das Paradies und die Peri, Op.50 (Part 2)

Monteverdi Choir

Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

02Fantasy And Romance20141209

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, ploughman poet Rabbie Burns and ETA Hoffmann, spinner of fantastic tales.

Get your head out of that book! is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

Today's programme focuses on the 'ploughman poet' Rabbie Burns and ETA Hoffmann, a spinner of fantastic tales who was himself later transmuted into fiction as the central character in the Offenbach opera that bears his name. Schumann set a number of Burns's poems, but the influence of Hoffmann went deeper; his fictional invention the composer Johannes Kreisler, a crazed genius at odds with conventional society, lies behind one of Schumann's most characteristic piano creations, Kreisleriana, a suite of eight movements that depict Kreisler's fragmented personality. When she heard it for the first time, Schumann's future wife Clara commented: Sometimes your music actually frightens me, and I wonder, is it really true that the creator of such things is going to be my husband?

Donald Macleod explains the inspiration Schumann drew from Robert Burns and ETA Hoffmann.

Donald Macleod explains the inspiration Schumann drew from Robert Burns and ETA Hoffmann.

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, ploughman poet Rabbie Burns and ETA Hoffmann, spinner of fantastic tales.

"Get your head out of that book!" is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

Today's programme focuses on the 'ploughman poet' Rabbie Burns and ETA Hoffmann, a spinner of fantastic tales who was himself later transmuted into fiction as the central character in the Offenbach opera that bears his name. Schumann set a number of Burns's poems, but the influence of Hoffmann went deeper; his fictional invention the composer Johannes Kreisler, a crazed genius at odds with conventional society, lies behind one of Schumann's most characteristic piano creations, Kreisleriana, a suite of eight movements that depict Kreisler's fragmented personality. When she heard it for the first time, Schumann's future wife Clara commented: "Sometimes your music actually frightens me, and I wonder, is it really true that the creator of such things is going to be my husband?".

02Matters Of The Heart2010060820120103

Donald Macleod focuses on Robert Schumann's nerve-racking love life.

Donald Macleod in 'Matters of the Heart' looks into Schumann's nerve-racking love life and the surreal story of his journey to become a pianist.

Donald Macleod focuses on Robert Schumann's nerve-racking love life.

Donald Macleod in 'Matters of the Heart' looks into Schumann's nerve-racking love life and the surreal story of his journey to become a pianist.

02Matters Of The Heart2010060820120103

Donald Macleod in 'Matters of the Heart' looks into Schumann's nerve-racking love life and the surreal story of his journey to become a pianist.

02Schumann Explores The Rhineland2017041820180403 (R3)

Donald Macleod explains how a trip to the Rhineland resulted in a symphony for Schumann.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's episode, the relationship between the Schumanns and their employers sours slightly when Clara is expected to play the piano in a concert gratis. The couple later take a trip to Cologne, inspiring one of Robert's best-loved symphonies, the 'Rhenish'. The subsequent premiere is a triumph, to the delight of both Robert and the Board of the Dusseldorf Music Society. It is a period of almost unbelievable creativity - no fewer than eighteen very substantial compositions in one year alone. And yet there are signs that not all is well with Schumann's health. And his conducting technique leaves a great deal to be desired, even in the opinion of some of his staunchest admirers!

Märchenbilder, Op 113 (1st movt)
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 97, 'Rhenish'
London Classical Players
Roger Norrington, conductor

Mädchenlieder, Op. 103
Felicity Lott, soprano
Ann Murray, mezzo
Graham Johnson, piano

Nachtlied, Op.108
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner.

Donald Macleod explains how a trip to the Rhineland resulted in a symphony for Schumann.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's episode, the relationship between the Schumanns and their employers sours slightly when Clara is expected to play the piano in a concert gratis. The couple later take a trip to Cologne, inspiring one of Robert's best-loved symphonies, the 'Rhenish'. The subsequent premiere is a triumph, to the delight of both Robert and the Board of the Dusseldorf Music Society. It is a period of almost unbelievable creativity - no fewer than eighteen very substantial compositions in one year alone. And yet there are signs that not all is well with Schumann's health. And his conducting technique leaves a great deal to be desired, even in the opinion of some of his staunchest admirers!

Märchenbilder, Op 113 (1st movt)
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 97, 'Rhenish'
London Classical Players
Roger Norrington, conductor

Mädchenlieder, Op. 103
Felicity Lott, soprano
Ann Murray, mezzo
Graham Johnson, piano

Nachtlied, Op.108
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's episode, the relationship between the Schumanns and their employers sours slightly when Clara is expected to play the piano in a concert gratis. The couple later take a trip to Cologne, inspiring one of Robert's best-loved symphonies, the 'Rhenish'. The subsequent premiere is a triumph, to the delight of both Robert and the Board of the Dusseldorf Music Society. It is a period of almost unbelievable creativity - no fewer than eighteen very substantial compositions in one year alone. And yet there are signs that not all is well with Schumann's health. And his conducting technique leaves a great deal to be desired, even in the opinion of some of his staunchest admirers!

Märchenbilder, Op 113 (1st movt)

Adrien Boisseau, viola

Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 97, 'Rhenish'

London Classical Players

Roger Norrington, conductor

Mädchenlieder, Op. 103

Felicity Lott, soprano

Ann Murray, mezzo

Graham Johnson, piano

Nachtlied, Op.108

Monteverdi Choir

Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique

John Eliot Gardiner.

Donald Macleod explains how a trip to the Rhineland resulted in a symphony for Schumann.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's episode, the relationship between the Schumanns and their employers sours slightly when Clara is expected to play the piano in a concert gratis. The couple later take a trip to Cologne, inspiring one of Robert's best-loved symphonies, the 'Rhenish'. The subsequent premiere is a triumph, to the delight of both Robert and the Board of the Dusseldorf Music Society. It is a period of almost unbelievable creativity - no fewer than eighteen very substantial compositions in one year alone. And yet there are signs that not all is well with Schumann's health. And his conducting technique leaves a great deal to be desired, even in the opinion of some of his staunchest admirers!

Märchenbilder, Op 113 (1st movt)
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 97, 'Rhenish'
London Classical Players
Roger Norrington, conductor

Mädchenlieder, Op. 103
Felicity Lott, soprano
Ann Murray, mezzo
Graham Johnson, piano

Nachtlied, Op.108
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner.

Donald Macleod explains how a trip to the Rhineland resulted in a symphony for Schumann.

Donald Macleod explains how a trip to the Rhineland resulted in a symphony for Schumann.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's episode, the relationship between the Schumanns and their employers sours slightly when Clara is expected to play the piano in a concert gratis. The couple later take a trip to Cologne, inspiring one of Robert's best-loved symphonies, the 'Rhenish'. The subsequent premiere is a triumph, to the delight of both Robert and the Board of the Dusseldorf Music Society. It is a period of almost unbelievable creativity - no fewer than eighteen very substantial compositions in one year alone. And yet there are signs that not all is well with Schumann's health. And his conducting technique leaves a great deal to be desired, even in the opinion of some of his staunchest admirers!

Märchenbilder, Op 113 (1st movt)
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 97, 'Rhenish'
London Classical Players
Roger Norrington, conductor

Mädchenlieder, Op. 103
Felicity Lott, soprano
Ann Murray, mezzo
Graham Johnson, piano

Nachtlied, Op.108
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's episode, the relationship between the Schumanns and their employers sours slightly when Clara is expected to play the piano in a concert gratis. The couple later take a trip to Cologne, inspiring one of Robert's best-loved symphonies, the 'Rhenish'. The subsequent premiere is a triumph, to the delight of both Robert and the Board of the Dusseldorf Music Society. It is a period of almost unbelievable creativity - no fewer than eighteen very substantial compositions in one year alone. And yet there are signs that not all is well with Schumann's health. And his conducting technique leaves a great deal to be desired, even in the opinion of some of his staunchest admirers!

Märchenbilder, Op 113 (1st movt)

Adrien Boisseau, viola

Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 97, 'Rhenish'

London Classical Players

Roger Norrington, conductor

Mädchenlieder, Op. 103

Felicity Lott, soprano

Ann Murray, mezzo

Graham Johnson, piano

Nachtlied, Op.108

Monteverdi Choir

Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique

John Eliot Gardiner.

02Song20130730

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

Today's programme is set largely in 1840, Schumann's 'year of song'. It was an extraordinary period of creative fertility that followed in the wake of his reunion with Clara Wieck, the sweetheart from whom he had been separated for many months. The year of song was far from idyllic; for much of it, Schumann had to contend with the litigation initiated by Clara's father, Friedrich, who was implacably opposed to their relationship. Implacable or not, he lost the battle, and on the 12th of September 1840, Clara Wieck became Clara Schumann. More than half of Schumann's output of lieder, much of it infused with his feelings for Clara, dates from this single year, including one of his finest song-cycles, Dichterliebe - The Poet's Love. Right at the other end of the spectrum are the 5 Hunting Songs of 1849, for male chorus and a quartet of horns.

Donald Macleod focuses on the year 1840, known as Schumann's 'year of song'.

02Song20130730

Donald Macleod focuses on the year 1840, known as Schumann's 'year of song'.

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

Today's programme is set largely in 1840, Schumann's 'year of song'. It was an extraordinary period of creative fertility that followed in the wake of his reunion with Clara Wieck, the sweetheart from whom he had been separated for many months. The year of song was far from idyllic; for much of it, Schumann had to contend with the litigation initiated by Clara's father, Friedrich, who was implacably opposed to their relationship. Implacable or not, he lost the battle, and on the 12th of September 1840, Clara Wieck became Clara Schumann. More than half of Schumann's output of lieder, much of it infused with his feelings for Clara, dates from this single year, including one of his finest song-cycles, Dichterliebe - The Poet's Love. Right at the other end of the spectrum are the 5 Hunting Songs of 1849, for male chorus and a quartet of horns.

03Chamber Music20130731

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

Schumann's first serious venture into chamber music came in 1842, and it was an exceptionally productive one: two piano quintets, three string quartets and a set of Phantasiestücke for piano trio. The first quintet is one of Schumann's most popular works and has a truly symphonic sweep. By contrast, the quartets are intimate and discursive. Ten years on, Schumann was half-way through an ill-fated post as Director of Music for the city of Düsseldorf. Perhaps it was the increasingly unsatisfactory nature of his encounters with the local symphony orchestra, of which he was now the conductor, that spurred him to an intense, late burst of chamber-music composition, including the strange and elliptical Märchenerzählungen.

Donald Macleod explores Schumann's chamber music.

03Chamber Music20130731

Donald Macleod explores Schumann's chamber music.

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

Schumann's first serious venture into chamber music came in 1842, and it was an exceptionally productive one: two piano quintets, three string quartets and a set of Phantasiestücke for piano trio. The first quintet is one of Schumann's most popular works and has a truly symphonic sweep. By contrast, the quartets are intimate and discursive. Ten years on, Schumann was half-way through an ill-fated post as Director of Music for the city of Düsseldorf. Perhaps it was the increasingly unsatisfactory nature of his encounters with the local symphony orchestra, of which he was now the conductor, that spurred him to an intense, late burst of chamber-music composition, including the strange and elliptical Märchenerzählungen.

03Falling Out Of Favour2017041920180404 (R3)

Donald focuses on the premiere of Schumann's melancholy Manfred Overture.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, Schumann presents his melancholy Manfred Overture to a half-empty concert hall and appears somewhat less than heroic to his orchestra members. With the birth of a new child, the family finally find more suitable accommodation, with rooms sufficiently large to host a choir. Only, there are now mutterings of dissent among some of the singers. As relations between Schumann and his employers deteriorate, there are demands for him to consign some of his duties to his deputy. It's a situation that would frustrate most people, and yet Robert Schumann still manages to compose popular Hausmusik to be played and enjoyed in the home. And we hear a lighter side to the cigar-smoking Robert with a charming piano duet.

Manfred - incidental music, Op. 115 (Overture)
Berlin Philharmonic
Rafael Kubelik

Waldszenen, Op. 82 nos 3, 4, 5
Andras Schiff, piano

Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112 (Part 1)
Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir
Gustav Kuhn, conductor

Ballszenen, Op. 109 (No. 7, Ecossaise)
Hector Moreno & Norberto Capelli (piano duet).

Donald focuses on the premiere of Schumann's melancholy Manfred Overture.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, Schumann presents his melancholy Manfred Overture to a half-empty concert hall and appears somewhat less than heroic to his orchestra members. With the birth of a new child, the family finally find more suitable accommodation, with rooms sufficiently large to host a choir. Only, there are now mutterings of dissent among some of the singers. As relations between Schumann and his employers deteriorate, there are demands for him to consign some of his duties to his deputy. It's a situation that would frustrate most people, and yet Robert Schumann still manages to compose popular Hausmusik to be played and enjoyed in the home. And we hear a lighter side to the cigar-smoking Robert with a charming piano duet.

Manfred - incidental music, Op. 115 (Overture)
Berlin Philharmonic
Rafael Kubelik

Waldszenen, Op. 82 nos 3, 4, 5
Andras Schiff, piano

Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112 (Part 1)
Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir
Gustav Kuhn, conductor

Ballszenen, Op. 109 (No. 7, Ecossaise)
Hector Moreno and Norberto Capelli (piano duet).

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, Schumann presents his melancholy Manfred Overture to a half-empty concert hall and appears somewhat less than heroic to his orchestra members. With the birth of a new child, the family finally find more suitable accommodation, with rooms sufficiently large to host a choir. Only, there are now mutterings of dissent among some of the singers. As relations between Schumann and his employers deteriorate, there are demands for him to consign some of his duties to his deputy. It's a situation that would frustrate most people, and yet Robert Schumann still manages to compose popular Hausmusik to be played and enjoyed in the home. And we hear a lighter side to the cigar-smoking Robert with a charming piano duet.

Manfred - incidental music, Op. 115 (Overture)

Berlin Philharmonic

Rafael Kubelik

Waldszenen, Op. 82 nos 3, 4, 5

Andras Schiff, piano

Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112 (Part 1)

Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir

Gustav Kuhn, conductor

Ballszenen, Op. 109 (No. 7, Ecossaise)

Hector Moreno and Norberto Capelli (piano duet).

Donald focuses on the premiere of Schumann's melancholy Manfred Overture.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, Schumann presents his melancholy Manfred Overture to a half-empty concert hall and appears somewhat less than heroic to his orchestra members. With the birth of a new child, the family finally find more suitable accommodation, with rooms sufficiently large to host a choir. Only, there are now mutterings of dissent among some of the singers. As relations between Schumann and his employers deteriorate, there are demands for him to consign some of his duties to his deputy. It's a situation that would frustrate most people, and yet Robert Schumann still manages to compose popular Hausmusik to be played and enjoyed in the home. And we hear a lighter side to the cigar-smoking Robert with a charming piano duet.

Manfred - incidental music, Op. 115 (Overture)
Berlin Philharmonic
Rafael Kubelik

Waldszenen, Op. 82 nos 3, 4, 5
Andras Schiff, piano

Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112 (Part 1)
Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir
Gustav Kuhn, conductor

Ballszenen, Op. 109 (No. 7, Ecossaise)
Hector Moreno & Norberto Capelli (piano duet).

Donald focuses on the premiere of Schumann's melancholy Manfred Overture.

Donald focuses on the premiere of Schumann's melancholy Manfred Overture.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, Schumann presents his melancholy Manfred Overture to a half-empty concert hall and appears somewhat less than heroic to his orchestra members. With the birth of a new child, the family finally find more suitable accommodation, with rooms sufficiently large to host a choir. Only, there are now mutterings of dissent among some of the singers. As relations between Schumann and his employers deteriorate, there are demands for him to consign some of his duties to his deputy. It's a situation that would frustrate most people, and yet Robert Schumann still manages to compose popular Hausmusik to be played and enjoyed in the home. And we hear a lighter side to the cigar-smoking Robert with a charming piano duet.

Manfred - incidental music, Op. 115 (Overture)
Berlin Philharmonic
Rafael Kubelik

Waldszenen, Op. 82 nos 3, 4, 5
Andras Schiff, piano

Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112 (Part 1)
Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir
Gustav Kuhn, conductor

Ballszenen, Op. 109 (No. 7, Ecossaise)
Hector Moreno and Norberto Capelli (piano duet).

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, Schumann presents his melancholy Manfred Overture to a half-empty concert hall and appears somewhat less than heroic to his orchestra members. With the birth of a new child, the family finally find more suitable accommodation, with rooms sufficiently large to host a choir. Only, there are now mutterings of dissent among some of the singers. As relations between Schumann and his employers deteriorate, there are demands for him to consign some of his duties to his deputy. It's a situation that would frustrate most people, and yet Robert Schumann still manages to compose popular Hausmusik to be played and enjoyed in the home. And we hear a lighter side to the cigar-smoking Robert with a charming piano duet.

Manfred - incidental music, Op. 115 (Overture)

Berlin Philharmonic

Rafael Kubelik

Waldszenen, Op. 82 nos 3, 4, 5

Andras Schiff, piano

Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112 (Part 1)

Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir

Gustav Kuhn, conductor

Ballszenen, Op. 109 (No. 7, Ecossaise)

Hector Moreno and Norberto Capelli (piano duet).

03In Sickness And Health20100609

Donald Macleod discusses the disorders that plagued Schumann for much of his life.

Donald Macleod in 'In Sickness and in Health' introduces the disorders that plagued Schumann for much of his life.

And find out what happened in the nail-biting saga of Robert and Clara's engagement.

03In Sickness And Health20100609

Donald Macleod in 'In Sickness and in Health' introduces the disorders that plagued Schumann for much of his life.

And find out what happened in the nail-biting saga of Robert and Clara's engagement.

03The Art Of Song20141210

The influence on Schumann of Hans Christian Andersen, Schiller and Heine.

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, Hans Christian Andersen, Friedrich von Schiller and Heinrich Heine.

Get your head out of that book! is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

Today's writers are Hans Christian Andersen, whom Schumann's wife Clara unflatteringly described as still somewhat young, but very ugly, and also frightfully vain and egotistic; Friedrich von Schiller, of Ode to Joy fame; and Heinrich Heine, a divisive figure to this day, who has the distinction of having been set to music more often than almost any other German-language poet. According to Andersen's autobiography he was delighted by Schumann's settings of his poetry, which he heard at a dinner in 1844 at which the composer was also present. Schumann considered writing an opera based on Schiller's tragedy The Bride of Messina, but got no further than the overture, which condenses the essence of the play into eight searing minutes. Heine is the poet behind Schumann's first Liederkreis cycle. The two men met just once, in 1828; Schumann, then a student on a visit to Munich, paid a house-call to Heine, who showed him the sights of the city. When twelve years later Schumann sent Heine a copy of his new song-cycle, the poet didn't even acknowledge it.

The influence on Schumann of Hans Christian Andersen, Schiller and Heine.

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, Hans Christian Andersen, Friedrich von Schiller and Heinrich Heine.

"Get your head out of that book!" is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

Today's writers are Hans Christian Andersen, whom Schumann's wife Clara unflatteringly described as "still somewhat young, but very ugly, and also frightfully vain and egotistic"; Friedrich von Schiller, of Ode to Joy fame; and Heinrich Heine, a divisive figure to this day, who has the distinction of having been set to music more often than almost any other German-language poet. According to Andersen's autobiography he was delighted by Schumann's settings of his poetry, which he heard at a dinner in 1844 at which the composer was also present. Schumann considered writing an opera based on Schiller's tragedy The Bride of Messina, but got no further than the overture, which condenses the essence of the play into eight searing minutes. Heine is the poet behind Schumann's first Liederkreis cycle. The two men met just once, in 1828; Schumann, then a student on a visit to Munich, paid a house-call to Heine, who showed him the sights of the city. When twelve years later Schumann sent Heine a copy of his new song-cycle, the poet didn't even acknowledge it.

04Music Drama20130801

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

Today's programme is largely devoted to Schumann's one and only opera, Genoveva, a tale of conjugal suspicion - and devotion - set in the time of the Crusades. It's been widely criticised for its lack of real drama, but contains some wonderful music and deserves to be better known. Schumann's other major dramatic project started off as an opera but metamorphosed into an oratorio; Scenes from Goethe's Faust kept its composer occupied, on and off, for nearly ten years. Like Genoveva, it's had a mixed reception critically, and is equally deserving of performance.

Donald Macleod focuses on Schumann's music drama, including his only opera, Genoveva.

04Music Drama20130801

Donald Macleod focuses on Schumann's music drama, including his only opera, Genoveva.

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

Today's programme is largely devoted to Schumann's one and only opera, Genoveva, a tale of conjugal suspicion - and devotion - set in the time of the Crusades. It's been widely criticised for its lack of real drama, but contains some wonderful music and deserves to be better known. Schumann's other major dramatic project started off as an opera but metamorphosed into an oratorio; Scenes from Goethe's Faust kept its composer occupied, on and off, for nearly ten years. Like Genoveva, it's had a mixed reception critically, and is equally deserving of performance.

04Turning The Tables2017042020180405 (R3)

Donald Macleod focuses on signs of a decline in Schumann's mental and physical health.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for the composer, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, the composer develops an unhealthy interest in table-tapping and séances, whilst also writing a Mass and a Requiem. Donald Macleod recounts the remarkable story of his Violin Concerto (unearthed, it is claimed, partly through psychic activity), and the Schumanns' successful tour of Holland, where they discovered that Robert's music was almost as well known as at home. Despite ominous signs of declining mental and physical health, the Holland tour will end with popular acclaim, and also a baffling question from the Queen of Holland: "And are you musical, too?"!

Mass, Op. 147 (Tota pulchra es, Maria; Offertorium)
Cologne Chamber Chorus
Peter Neumann, director

Violin Concerto in D minor
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132 (movts 1 & 2)
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Pierre Genisson, clarinet
Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Introduction and Concert Allegro, Op. 134
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Jan Lisiescki, piano
Antonio Pappano, conductor.

Donald Macleod focuses on signs of a decline in Schumann's mental and physical health.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for the composer, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, the composer develops an unhealthy interest in table-tapping and séances, whilst also writing a Mass and a Requiem. Donald Macleod recounts the remarkable story of his Violin Concerto (unearthed, it is claimed, partly through psychic activity), and the Schumanns' successful tour of Holland, where they discovered that Robert's music was almost as well known as at home. Despite ominous signs of declining mental and physical health, the Holland tour will end with popular acclaim, and also a baffling question from the Queen of Holland: "And are you musical, too?"!

Mass, Op. 147 (Tota pulchra es, Maria; Offertorium)
Cologne Chamber Chorus
Peter Neumann, director

Violin Concerto in D minor
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132 (movts 1 and 2)
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Pierre Genisson, clarinet
Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Introduction and Concert Allegro, Op. 134
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Jan Lisiescki, piano
Antonio Pappano, conductor.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for the composer, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, the composer develops an unhealthy interest in table-tapping and séances, whilst also writing a Mass and a Requiem. Donald Macleod recounts the remarkable story of his Violin Concerto (unearthed, it is claimed, partly through psychic activity), and the Schumanns' successful tour of Holland, where they discovered that Robert's music was almost as well known as at home. Despite ominous signs of declining mental and physical health, the Holland tour will end with popular acclaim, and also a baffling question from the Queen of Holland: And are you musical, too?!

Mass, Op. 147 (Tota pulchra es, Maria; Offertorium)

Cologne Chamber Chorus

Peter Neumann, director

Violin Concerto in D minor

Christian Tetzlaff, violin

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Paavo Järvi, conductor

Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132 (movts 1 and 2)

Adrien Boisseau, viola

Pierre Genisson, clarinet

Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Introduction and Concert Allegro, Op. 134

Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Jan Lisiescki, piano

Antonio Pappano, conductor.

Donald Macleod focuses on signs of a decline in Schumann's mental and physical health.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for the composer, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, the composer develops an unhealthy interest in table-tapping and séances, whilst also writing a Mass and a Requiem. Donald Macleod recounts the remarkable story of his Violin Concerto (unearthed, it is claimed, partly through psychic activity), and the Schumanns' successful tour of Holland, where they discovered that Robert's music was almost as well known as at home. Despite ominous signs of declining mental and physical health, the Holland tour will end with popular acclaim, and also a baffling question from the Queen of Holland: "And are you musical, too?"!

Mass, Op. 147 (Tota pulchra es, Maria; Offertorium)
Cologne Chamber Chorus
Peter Neumann, director

Violin Concerto in D minor
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132 (movts 1 & 2)
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Pierre Genisson, clarinet
Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Introduction and Concert Allegro, Op. 134
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Jan Lisiescki, piano
Antonio Pappano, conductor.

Donald Macleod focuses on signs of a decline in Schumann's mental and physical health.

Donald Macleod focuses on signs of a decline in Schumann's mental and physical health.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for the composer, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, the composer develops an unhealthy interest in table-tapping and séances, whilst also writing a Mass and a Requiem. Donald Macleod recounts the remarkable story of his Violin Concerto (unearthed, it is claimed, partly through psychic activity), and the Schumanns' successful tour of Holland, where they discovered that Robert's music was almost as well known as at home. Despite ominous signs of declining mental and physical health, the Holland tour will end with popular acclaim, and also a baffling question from the Queen of Holland: "And are you musical, too?"!

Mass, Op. 147 (Tota pulchra es, Maria; Offertorium)
Cologne Chamber Chorus
Peter Neumann, director

Violin Concerto in D minor
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132 (movts 1 and 2)
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Pierre Genisson, clarinet
Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Introduction and Concert Allegro, Op. 134
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Jan Lisiescki, piano
Antonio Pappano, conductor.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for the composer, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In today's programme, the composer develops an unhealthy interest in table-tapping and séances, whilst also writing a Mass and a Requiem. Donald Macleod recounts the remarkable story of his Violin Concerto (unearthed, it is claimed, partly through psychic activity), and the Schumanns' successful tour of Holland, where they discovered that Robert's music was almost as well known as at home. Despite ominous signs of declining mental and physical health, the Holland tour will end with popular acclaim, and also a baffling question from the Queen of Holland: "And are you musical, too?"!

Mass, Op. 147 (Tota pulchra es, Maria; Offertorium)

Cologne Chamber Chorus

Peter Neumann, director

Violin Concerto in D minor

Christian Tetzlaff, violin

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Paavo Järvi, conductor

Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132 (movts 1 and 2)

Adrien Boisseau, viola

Pierre Genisson, clarinet

Gaspard Dehaene, piano

Introduction and Concert Allegro, Op. 134

Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Jan Lisiescki, piano

Antonio Pappano, conductor.

04Weathering The Storm20100610

Donald Macleod on Schumann's precarious mental health and revolution in Dresden.

Donald Macleod brings together two unsettling strands in Schumann's life in the late 1840s, his precarious mental health and the revolution in his new home town of Dresden.

04Weathering The Storm20100610

Donald Macleod brings together two unsettling strands in Schumann's life in the late 1840s, his precarious mental health and the revolution in his new home town of Dresden.

04Whatever Happened To Christian Friedrich Hebbel?20141211

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, Christian Friedrich Hebbel, the writer behind Schumann's only opera.

Get your head out of that book! is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

A great honour has befallen our house - Friedrich Hebbel visited us on his journey through. He is arguably the greatest genius of our day. Well that's as may be, but for us, Hebbel - the focus of today's programme - is certainly one of the less familiar giants in Schumann's literary pantheon. He wrote novellas, poems and essays, but was best known to his contemporaries for his biblical and historical dramas, and it was one of these - Genoveva, a decidedly pre-feminist tale of male weakness and wifely devotion set in the 8th century - that gave Schumann the impetus for his one and only opera.

Donald Macleod discusses the influence on Schumann of Christian Friedrich Hebbel.

Donald Macleod discusses the influence on Schumann of Christian Friedrich Hebbel.

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, Christian Friedrich Hebbel, the writer behind Schumann's only opera.

"Get your head out of that book!" is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

"A great honour has befallen our house - Friedrich Hebbel visited us on his journey through. He is arguably the greatest genius of our day." Well that's as may be, but for us, Hebbel - the focus of today's programme - is certainly one of the less familiar giants in Schumann's literary pantheon. He wrote novellas, poems and essays, but was best known to his contemporaries for his biblical and historical dramas, and it was one of these - Genoveva, a decidedly pre-feminist tale of male weakness and wifely devotion set in the 8th century - that gave Schumann the impetus for his one and only opera.

05Ghost Variations2017042120180406 (R3)

Recounting the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In this final episode, Donald recounts the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum, from which he would never reappear. Enraptured by the voices of angels, and later tormented by demons, Schumann frantically composes a set of piano variations on a theme dictated to him by an 'angel'. Even the regime at Endenich did not put a complete stop to his urge to compose, or at least review his compositions. Meanwhile, for Clara and her new friend and supporter Johannes Brahms there is some measure of consolation in playing through some of Robert's music.

Theme and Variations, Wo024
Andras Schiff, piano

Scenes from Goethe's Faust, Wo0 3 (Overture; Garten; Dom)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Daniel Harding, conductor

Violin Fantasy, Op. 131
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Paavo Jarvi, conductor

Gesänge der Fruhe, Op. 133
Maurizio Pollini, piano

Requiem, Op. 148 (Requiem aeternam)
Chorus Musicus Koln and Das Neue Orchester
Christoph Spering, conductor.

Recounting the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In this final episode, Donald recounts the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum, from which he would never reappear. Enraptured by the voices of angels, and later tormented by demons, Schumann frantically composes a set of piano variations on a theme dictated to him by an 'angel'. Even the regime at Endenich did not put a complete stop to his urge to compose, or at least review his compositions. Meanwhile, for Clara and her new friend and supporter Johannes Brahms there is some measure of consolation in playing through some of Robert's music.

Theme and Variations, Wo024
Andras Schiff, piano

Scenes from Goethe's Faust, Wo0 3 (Overture; Garten; Dom)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Daniel Harding, conductor

Violin Fantasy, Op. 131
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Paavo Jarvi, conductor

Gesänge der Fruhe, Op. 133
Maurizio Pollini, piano

Requiem, Op. 148 (Requiem aeternam)
Chorus Musicus Koln & Das Neue Orchester
Christoph Spering, conductor.

Recounting the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In this final episode, Donald recounts the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum, from which he would never reappear. Enraptured by the voices of angels, and later tormented by demons, Schumann frantically composes a set of piano variations on a theme dictated to him by an 'angel'. Even the regime at Endenich did not put a complete stop to his urge to compose, or at least review his compositions. Meanwhile, for Clara and her new friend and supporter Johannes Brahms there is some measure of consolation in playing through some of Robert's music.

Theme and Variations, Wo024

Andras Schiff, piano

Scenes from Goethe's Faust, Wo0 3 (Overture; Garten; Dom)

Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra

Daniel Harding, conductor

Violin Fantasy, Op. 131

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Christian Tetzlaff, violin

Paavo Jarvi, conductor

Gesänge der Fruhe, Op. 133

Maurizio Pollini, piano

Requiem, Op. 148 (Requiem aeternam)

Chorus Musicus Koln and Das Neue Orchester

Christoph Spering, conductor.

Recounting the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In this final episode, Donald recounts the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum, from which he would never reappear. Enraptured by the voices of angels, and later tormented by demons, Schumann frantically composes a set of piano variations on a theme dictated to him by an 'angel'. Even the regime at Endenich did not put a complete stop to his urge to compose, or at least review his compositions. Meanwhile, for Clara and her new friend and supporter Johannes Brahms there is some measure of consolation in playing through some of Robert's music.

Theme and Variations, Wo024
Andras Schiff, piano

Scenes from Goethe's Faust, Wo0 3 (Overture; Garten; Dom)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Daniel Harding, conductor

Violin Fantasy, Op. 131
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Paavo Jarvi, conductor

Gesänge der Fruhe, Op. 133
Maurizio Pollini, piano

Requiem, Op. 148 (Requiem aeternam)
Chorus Musicus Koln and Das Neue Orchester
Christoph Spering, conductor.

It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.

In this final episode, Donald recounts the tragic events leading up to Schumann's voluntary admission to an asylum, from which he would never reappear. Enraptured by the voices of angels, and later tormented by demons, Schumann frantically composes a set of piano variations on a theme dictated to him by an 'angel'. Even the regime at Endenich did not put a complete stop to his urge to compose, or at least review his compositions. Meanwhile, for Clara and her new friend and supporter Johannes Brahms there is some measure of consolation in playing through some of Robert's music.

Theme and Variations, Wo024

Andras Schiff, piano

Scenes from Goethe's Faust, Wo0 3 (Overture; Garten; Dom)

Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra

Daniel Harding, conductor

Violin Fantasy, Op. 131

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Christian Tetzlaff, violin

Paavo Jarvi, conductor

Gesänge der Fruhe, Op. 133

Maurizio Pollini, piano

Requiem, Op. 148 (Requiem aeternam)

Chorus Musicus Koln and Das Neue Orchester

Christoph Spering, conductor.

05Of Stars And Angels

05 LASTMusic For Orchestra20130802

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

Schumann's orchestral output is the focus of the last of the week's programmes, with a complete performance of his 4th Symphony of 1841 (in its lusher 1851 revision). Donald also introduces an extract from one of Schumann's most exuberant and original works, the KonzertstĂĽck for 4 horns and orchestra, written during the composer's most productive year, 1849; and the strangely haunting Phantasie for violin and orchestra, one of Schumann's last completed works. It was written in the afterglow of encounters with the 18-year-old Joachim - six years into his career and already one of the foremost violinists in Europe - and a little-known composer, recently turned 20, who had the chutzpah to pitch up on the famous man's doorstep with a satchelful of his own compositions: Johannes Brahms.

Donald Macleod focuses on Schumann's orchestral output.

Donald Macleod focuses on Schumann's orchestral output.

When Robert Schumann abandoned his legal studies, the world may have lost a lawyer, but it gained one of the freshest, most distinctive musical voices of the 19th - or any other - century. In this 70th anniversary week of the programme, Donald Macleod explores the work and life of this prototypically Romantic composer, who drew his inspiration as much from literature and the dramas of his own life as from the music of the composers he revered - above all, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

Largely self-taught, Schumann immersed himself in one musical medium until he felt ready to move on and tackle another. So this week's programmes look in turn at his five major fields of compositional activity: solo piano; song; chamber music; music drama; and music for orchestra.

Schumann's orchestral output is the focus of the last of the week's programmes, with a complete performance of his 4th Symphony of 1841 (in its lusher 1851 revision). Donald also introduces an extract from one of Schumann's most exuberant and original works, the KonzertstĂĽck for 4 horns and orchestra, written during the composer's most productive year, 1849; and the strangely haunting Phantasie for violin and orchestra, one of Schumann's last completed works. It was written in the afterglow of encounters with the 18-year-old Joachim - six years into his career and already one of the foremost violinists in Europe - and a little-known composer, recently turned 20, who had the chutzpah to pitch up on the famous man's doorstep with a satchelful of his own compositions: Johannes Brahms.

05 LASTOf Stars And Angels20100611

Donald Macleod focuses on Schumann's move to Dusseldorf and his last days.

Donald Macleod in 'Of Stars and Angels' discovers whether Schumann could stomach a move to Dusseldorf with its neighbouring mental asylum.

And he reveals the heart-breaking conclusion to Schumann's story - surely the most pitiful passing of any composer - incarcerated in an asylum.

05 LASTOf Stars And Angels20100611
05 LASTThe Ascent Of Mt Goethe20141212

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, the high priest of German literature - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Get your head out of that book! is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

In today's programme he explores Schumann's creative engagement with the high priest of German literature - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Schumann admired Goethe immensely; he owned the 40-volume edition of his works that was issued in the late 1820s, as well as the 20-volume set of his unpublished works. Above all he is a poet, he told his wife Clara. Adapting Goethe's words was inconceivable, so Schumann decided to set them straight in his Scenes from Goethe's Faust - a kind of secular oratorio on the theme of redemption.

Donald Macleod explores Schumann's creative engagement with Goethe.

Donald Macleod explores Schumann's creative engagement with Goethe.

Donald Macleod investigates the literary catalysts that fired Schumann's musical imagination. Today, the high priest of German literature - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

"Get your head out of that book!" is probably not a reprimand the young Robert Schumann was used to receiving. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed literature. His father was a novelist, bookseller and publisher who made a small fortune from his pocket editions of foreign-language classics in translation. As a teenager Schumann wrote copiously, trying his hand at fiction, poetry and plays, and it took him several years to satisfy himself that he was a composer rather than a writer. But his literary passion persisted, informing not only the texts he set but his whole conception of musical narrative and structure.

In today's programme he explores Schumann's creative engagement with the high priest of German literature - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Schumann admired Goethe immensely; he owned the 40-volume edition of his works that was issued in the late 1820s, as well as the 20-volume set of his unpublished works. "Above all he is a poet", he told his wife Clara. Adapting Goethe's words was inconceivable, so Schumann decided to set them straight in his Scenes from Goethe's Faust - a kind of secular oratorio on the theme of redemption.