Saturday, 16 April 2016


German composer Robert Schumann
Today's Quote of the Day comes to us from 19th century German Romantic composer Robert Schumann.

"To send light into the darkness of men's hearts:

Such is the duty of the artist."

-Robert Schumann

Did You Know?

Music aficionados and concertgoers whom often patronized concert halls in 19th century Europe were less likely to hear any composition by Herr Schumann during the composers lifetime compared to what their modern counterparts would experience today.

It's difficult to imagine a time in which this Icon of Western Classical Music was not likened as a master of the genre - much less recognized as a household name - but it was due to a lifetime of serious mental illness highlighted by the composer frequently taking up residence at institutions (which Schumann's family desperately tried to cover up, such was the public distaste for discussing such matters) combined with a public ignorance of matters of psychological well-being that caused any would-be patrons to shun the composer and his works.

To compound the already disastrous issue, the then burgeoning "field" of psychiatry was arguably still in it's infancy stages which proved especially unfruitful for the relatively young composer (Schumann died at the age of 46), as, unaware of a correct diagnosis or treatment for the ailing musician, asylum officials effectively banned him from composing altogether, considering it a mental-health risk.

It would not be until the advancement of the medical sector, particularly in the area of psychiatry, that melophiles in the 20th century would re-discover the works of the late composer, in spite of his 'handicap' (as mental illness had previously been considered).

Today, Schumann's life of emotional instability exists as an after-fact, with many newcomers to the glorious world of Classical Music unaware the composer had even been ill to begin with, much less that he spent a lifetime in and out of institutions.

Schumann died whilst still in asylum of neurosyphilis in July of 1856, having never officially known what it was that ailed him so, and having never known of the legacy he would leave behind.

Enjoy below Schumann's "Mondnacht" ("Moonlit Night") from his song cycle Liederkreis (Op. 39, no. V)



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