Image for A Law unto Himself

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A Law unto Himself

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Monday 07 June 2010

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.

Music Played

5 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Robert Schumann

    Robert Schumann Konzertstuck – 1st movt Lebhaft

    Performers: Roger Montgomery, Gavin Edwards, Susan Dent, Robert Maskell (horns), Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

    ARCHIV 457 5912

  • Image for Robert Schumann

    Robert Schumann Toccata

    Performer: Sviatoslav Richter (piano)

    DECCA 436 4562, 6

  • Image for Robert Schumann

    Robert Schumann Zwickau Symphony in G Minor

    Performers: Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard (conductor)

    BIS SACD 1569, 6

  • Image for Robert Schumann

    Robert Schumann Abegg Variations Op.1

    Performer: Edna Stern (piano)

    ZIGZAG ZZT070201, 6

  • Image for Robert Schumann

    Robert Schumann Papillons

    Performer: Murray Perahia (piano)

    SONY SMK89714, 27 to 39

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