Showing Schumann Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Birthday Party i i

Some Schumann fans are wondering why the composer didn't get as big a celebration as Chopin this year. iStock hide caption

itoggle caption iStock
Birthday Party

Some Schumann fans are wondering why the composer didn't get as big a celebration as Chopin this year.

iStock

There were two big bicentennial composer birthdays earlier this year — Frederic Chopin in March and Robert Schumann in June. Both composers were true visionaries, each pushing piano music to new, poetic heights.

One of those composers was feted with a flood of fancy CD box sets and a lot of loving coverage in the classical news media. The other composer was nearly forgotten on his special day. Guess who?

Right. Schumann. Even the venerable classical music magazine Gramophone waited until September to acknowledge the great composer's 200th year — as if they hadn't seen that one coming. They redeemed themselves by inviting the brilliant cellist Steven Isserlis to write a probing article about the composer.

Why is it, that after all this time, Schumann still has that Rodney Dangerfield cloud of "no respect" hanging over him?

Composer Robert Schumann

Although one of the most popular of composers, Robert Schumann remains misunderstood. Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images

This week we are asking for your thoughts on this misunderstood composer. Tell us your favorite pieces by Schumann and tell us a Schumann story or two. And, do you agree with the common complaints about the man — that he couldn't write long pieces, that his orchestrations were inferior, that his late music suffers from his unstable mental condition.

We've asked some musicians to chime in, too, naming their favorite Schumann music. Tomorrow we’ll hear what pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has to say on the matter. In the meantime, check out this music from three of our favorite Schumann pieces.

Schumann 200th Anniversary: Piano

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Schumann 200th Anniversary: Lieder

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String Quartet No. 3 in A major, Op. 41/3 [Finale. Allegro molto vivace]

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Schumann 200th Anniversary: Lieder

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Album
Schumann 200th Anniversary: Lieder
Artist
Various
Label
EMI Classics

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Schumann: String Quartet Nos. 1 & 3

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Album
Schumann: String Quartet Nos. 1 & 3
Artist
Zehetmair Quartet
Label
ECM Records
Released
2003

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Schumann 200th Anniversary: Piano

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Schumann 200th Anniversary: Piano
Artist
Various
Label
EMI Classics

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

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