Robert Schumann and Leipzig

In the 19th century, Leipzig belonged to the most important music metropols in Europe.
Particularly influential were Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann (cp. Petra Dießner and Anselm Hartinger: Bach, Mendelssohn und Schumann. Spaziergänge durch das musikalische Leipzig, Edition Leipzig 2005). In 1828, the 18-year-old Robert came from his home town Zwickau to Leipzig, where he supposed by the will of his mother and his guardian – his father died two years earlier to study law at the university. But Schumann’s interests in literature and music increased. The father had promoted as a book dealer, author and publisher of the talents of young Robert. These talents incorporated into the foundation of the "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik" (1834), which was led by Robert as managing editor until 1844.
Schumann took piano lessons with Friedrich Wieck and studied composing with Heinrich Dorn. His dream about a career as piano virtuoso ended with a severe injury of his hand; after that, Schumann set his focus on composing.

Clara Wieck, daughter of Friedrich, was born on 13 September 1819 in Leipzig; and she should soon become a famous pianist in all over Europe. After a year of struggle for her father's agreement into marriage, Clara and Robert were married on 12 September 1840 and lived until their departure from Leipzig at Inselstraße 5 (now No. 18). Not nearly all the compositions, which were produced here until 1844, can be performed. These included some great song cycles, chamber works and the "Spring Symphony" op. 38 premiered at the Leipzig Gewandhaus under the conduction of Mendelssohn. From 1843 onwards, Robert Schumann was also teacher of piano and composition at the Conservatory of Music, which Mendelssohn had just founded.

Variety of suggestions arose from the typical for Leipzig combination of trade, publishing and the arts. The world was guest in Leipzig often in particular at the Schumanns. All this found its expression and reflection in the salons of the Leipzig bourgeoisie, sometimes called "Musikparthien" (music games or music parties).

A lot of the big publishing houses were located in Leipzig. Schumann considered “his” publishing companies as very important: Hofmeister, Peters, Breitkopf & Härtel as well as the editor of his “Neue Zeitschrift für Musik”: Robert Friese.

(Petra Dießner, translated by Katharina Ma)



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