Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

A Law unto Himself

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 bicentennary 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.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 2 Jan 2012 18:30

Composers A to Z

composers-promo.jpg

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.