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Robert Schumann: Life and Death of a Musician (Anglais) Relié – 29 mai 2007

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Description du produit

Revue de presse

'Worthen's is by far the most comprehensive account I have read of the facts of Schumann's life. His central thesis is important, and he writes clearly and freshly, bringing a wise head to an intricate tangle of evidence.' Susan Tomes, The Independent. '...beautifully written and meticulously researched and foodtnoted.' Simon Heffer, Literary Review. 'This is a biography with attitude.' Misha Donat, BBC Music Magazine. '...engaging, well written and clearly aimed at the general reader... for those wanting to read an affectionate life of one of the greatest and most loveable figures of the early 19th century, this book can be recommended.' Steven Isserlis, The Guardian. '...alongside the tragedies, this riveting account of Schumann's life also manages to encapsulate both the joy and elation of one of music's greatest, still neglected geniuses, and to express a passionate enthusiasm for his works. For this, Schumannites ought to be deeply grateful.' Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times. '...John Worthen's fine and scholarly new biography...' John Adamson, The Sunday Telegraph. --The Independent, Literary Review, BBC Music Magazine, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

This candid, intimate, and compellingly written new biography offers a completely fresh account of Robert Schumann's life. It confronts the traditional perception of the doom-laden Romantic, forced by depression into a life of helpless, poignant sadness. John Worthen's scrupulous attention to the original sources reveals Schumann to have been an astute, witty, articulate and immensely determined individual who, with little support from his background in provincial Saxony, painstakingly taught himself his craft as a musician, overcame problem after problem in his professional life, and married the woman he loved after a tremendous battle with his father-in-law. Schumann was neither manic depressive nor schizophrenic, though he struggled with financial problems and illness. He worked prodigiously hard to develop his range of musical styles and to earn his living, only to be struck down, at the age of forty-four, by a vile and incurable disease. Worthen's biography effectively demystifies a figure frequently regarded as a Romantic enigma. It frees Schumann from one hundred and fifty years of myth-making and unjustified psychological speculation. It reveals him, for the first time, as a brilliant, passionate, resolute musician and thoroughly creative human being, and as the composer of arguably the best music of his generation.

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4.0 étoiles sur 5 A tragic life 5 juin 2016
Par eledavf Vivian - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This book is extremely detailed. Many, many pages, for instance, cover the enmity of Clara's father toward Robert Schumann and then toward his own daughter. That the three of them were eventually reconciled to some degree is carefully detailed, and astonishingly it is clear that Clara herself never entirely lost her affection for the wrathful old man.

Of course the tragedy of Schumann's life was his early infection with syphilis. He was never completely well after that and he was often very sick. In the end it took his mind and his life.

Nevertheless, he pursued his career in music with determination despite the want of adequate income and the early indifference of the public. And despite the arrival of so many children, Clara continued her appearances as a piano virtuoso. Among the most interesting episodes is their long, arduous trip to Russia where she gave a performance even for the Royal Family.

For the rest of this long biography I proceeded to do much skipping. The financial difficulties of the growing family, for instance, consume many pages that become tediously repetitive.

Moreover for a reader like myself, who knows nothing about music, there are a great many discussions of Schumann's works which I chose to avoid. Those who understand music, however, will no doubt relish those portions.

Especially interesting to me are the relationships between Schumann and various other leading composers such as Liszt and Wagner.

This biography generally flows easily and logically; I found virtually no place where one must pause to figure out what the author is saying. And though it is not a page turner, still it serves an important purpose in keeping the fate of this tragic composer before the public and carefully correcting those errors and misunderstandings which have crept into previous biographies.

I believe that here you will find almost the full picture of Robert Schumann's career as a composer as well as the final distressing years of his approaching insanity and his truly heartbreaking death. He suffered greatly before the end, but Clara Schumann suffered indescribably as well, longing to help him and unable to do so.

If there is one deficiency that I might point out, it is the scanty notice of the relationship of Johannes Brahms with the Schumann family. This in itself is a fascinating story and well deserves the many other books devoted to it.
34 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Detailed Biography of Schumann the Man 17 janvier 2008
Par Corn Soup - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This is a very well written and nicely paced account of Schumann's life that draws heavily on his and Clara Schumann's diaries. Schumann's private personality emerges very nicely, and goes a long way towards dispelling the myths that were created by a tradition of biography in which the observations of those that did not know Schumann well took center stage and exaggerated the pathological elements of his personality and his eccentricities. Schumann was of course still a very unusual and unique man, but this is revealed in the context of the arc his entire life and in the context of his relationship with Clara.

This book is also a very good choice for those that are uncomfortable with the technical language of music and music notation. Schumann's music is not dealt with in these terms, but rather in the context of his life and musical development. This treatment is thorough enough, however, that those who are more familiar with music will gain much in reading it.

One quibble I have with the book is that I find Worthen's concept of manic-depressive disorder (bipolar I) very narrow, if not outright wrong at times. For example, he mentions times in which Schumann was particularly agitated and hyper-sensitive for periods of weeks or months. In doing so, he stresses that Schumann is not depressed since he is not showing the classic signs of depression that would characterize the depressive state of manic-depressive disorder, and that he was still able to work effectively through these periods. As someone who is familiar with this subject, my own thoughts are that these periods sound in fact, VERY much like dysphoric MANIC states or mixed states, which are often seen in patients with bipolar disorder and often misinterpreted by non-specialists. With this in mind, I very much doubt that this book has disproved the myth that Schumann had bipolar disorder, and in fact may make the case stronger, though I recognize the almost undeniable role that tertiary syphilis played in Schumann's final years. Worthern is very thorough in this respect, and gives very strong medical evidence to support this.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 All the world is mad - save me & thee 26 avril 2010
Par Dr. John E. Spivey - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book is well researched & written. It is, as the title indicates, about the daily life of the great composer & his interactions with those around him. There was, for me, further information about his terminal illness, some of it rather unpleasant. It fits in with Dr Oliver Sacks recent book "mucicophilia" who observes that musicians severely incapacitated by many different cerebral diseases often have their musical memory preserved in subcortical centres which can be evoked by various techniques of speech & music therapy. This might help to explain how Schumann, and Schubert, could compose such great music while suffering from a "vile disease". There are many new, for me, insights into Robert & Clara's love life. How he managed to have seven children etc.
What I found strange was that there was only a very cursory mention of Brahms in their ménage a trois. But this would probably merit another book in itself.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Well researched and interesting 21 juin 2009
Par Kevin P. Lees - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Worthen presents a very complete review of Schumann's life and character and his difficulties, both professionally - gaining recognition - and romantically. Indeed Worthen's discussion of the difficulties he and Clara overcame in getting married (eventually) read like a romance story in itself. If there is a criticism, it might be that Schumann's childhood is discussed only briefly. Worthen makes a convincing and thoroughly researched case that Schumann was not "mad" in the sense many biographers have thought. Nonetheless his last years make for sad reading.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 robert schumann: life and death of a musician 23 août 2011
Par dojo - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Absolutely the most interesting bio I've read in a while. I was pleased to find that Mr Worthen had access to Schumann's diaries and put together so much information about Robert and Clara's life together.
I was also pleased that Worthen didn't subscribe to other biographers views that Schumann was insane at an early stage of his career.
Written beautifully and with obvious admiration of the subject.
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