From Library Journal
Biographies of 19th-century composer Robert Schumann abound, but room should be made on library shelves for one more. Daverio (chair, musicology, Boston Univ. Sch. for the Arts) has written a scholarly but entertaining history of the quintessential Romantic composer. Drawing on diaries, travel notes, and household accounts, he portrays Schumann as a tragic figure who experienced euphoric periods of creativity and bouts of depression and despair. His father was an author and publisher, and as a young man, Schumann showed great promise as a writer. His marriage to Clara Wieck, a brilliant pianist; his years in a lunatic asylum; and his death at 46 from syphilis make compelling reading. Of even greater value is the way Daverio connects Schumann's largely autobiographical music to the events in his personal life as well as to his passion for literature. Recommended for academic libraries and large music collections in public libraries.?Kate McCaffrey, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse,
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Plagued by depression and eventually by syphilis, the arch-Romantic Schumann (1810^-56) would compose music frenetically and then endure excruciating periods of creative drought. Pianist and composer Clara Wieck, whom he married in 1840, exerted a stabilizing influence on him, and together they concertized, traveled, and raised several children. Following his 1850 appointment as director of the municipal music organizations of Dusseldorf, his health gradually declined until he committed himself to an asylum in 1854. He was also a writer who edited and published a music review and who, throughout his life, read the major German and English novelists, poets, and playwrights. Moreover, he incorporated poetry into his instrumental music as well as his lieder, and Daverio describes Schumann through his music, showing how his love of literature influenced his compositions. This is a cogent and sensitive biography of a pioneering composer who sought to and did capture poetry in his music. Alan Hirsch