Audio Programs

The World of Robert Schumann

WRITTEN, NARRATED, AND PRODUCED BY JOHN C. TIBBETTS

This 15-part educational series traces the life and work of the German Romantic composer,

Robert Schumann (1810-1856), and his wife, Clara Wieck-Schumann (1819-1896). Schumann’s

multi-facted life as a composer, journalist and critic is examined through dramatizations of key incidents in his life and commentaries by many biographers, critics and musicians.  Stream the first 3 minutes, then purchase the entire episode. 

1.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part One

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Storm and Stress: A profile of the Romantic Age, 1780-1830. Included are social, political artistic developments and themes in the post-Napoleonic age; and the emergence of the first generation of “Romantic” composers.  Commentators include Prof. Jacques Barzun (cultural historian), Prof. Albert Boime (art historian), Dr. Peter Ostwald (biographer), Prof. Ronald Taylor (biographer) and Robert Winter (historian).

2.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Two

The Romantic Apprenticeship: Student Days, 1810-1830. Traces the young Schumann’s student days in Zwickau, Heidelberg and Leipzig.  Commentaries by conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch; pianists Claude Frank, Paul Badura-Skoda and Cyprian Kataris; and historian Eric Sames and biographer Dr. Peter Ostwald.

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3.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Three

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Forestan and Eusebius: A Case Study in Dual Personality. Schumann creates and exploits alter egos to express his creative and personal conflicts and divisions. Commentary by pianists Anton Kuerti, Charles Rosen, Vladimir Feltsman, Philippe Bianconi and by biographers Dr. Peter Ostwald and Dr. Ronald Taylor.

5.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Five

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The Courtship of Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck, 1835-1840. The celebrated love story runs into numerous difficulties, parental objections and legal tangles. Commentary by biographers Dr. Peter Ostwald and Dr. Nancy Reich.

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7.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Seven

Love and Marriage: Art, Career and Family in the Schumann Household, 1840-1850.  Robert and Clara struggle in the dual careers of art and family responsibilities. Discussion by biographers Dr. Nancy Reich and Dr. Peter Ostwald; historians Susan McClary and Lawrence Kramer; and conductors David Zinman and John Elliot Gardiner.

4.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Four

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The Band of David: Schumann as Music Critic, 1834-44. In Leipzig in the 1830’s, Schumann organizes a “secret society,” the Davidsbund, and his own newspaper to promote new Romantic music.  Profiles of fellow composers include Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt and Berlioz.  Commentary by pianist Leslie Howard and Garrick Ohlsson; historians Alan Walker, Kern Holoman, Hugh Macdonald and Catherine Reeve; and critics Virgil Thompson and Martin Bookspan. 

6.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Six

Carnival: A Dance of Masks.  Profile of “Biedermeier” Germany and the rise of popular dance music and carnivals as significant Romantic expressions. Extended analysis of the Carnvial, Opus 9, by pianist Jose Feghali; commentary by Peter Ostwald and historian Lawrence Kramer.

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8.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Eight

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The World of Childhood: The Cult of the Child in the Romantic age. Schuman’s music about childhood draws upon his own experiences and upon the traditions of folklore and the fairy tales of Grimm, Andersen and E.T.A. Hoffmann.  Commetary by pianists Joerg Demus, Claude Frank, Gyorgy Sandor, Constance Keene; singer Emily Ameling; and author/illustrator Maurice Sendak.

9.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Nine

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The Romantic Piano: A Symposium of Pianists. The innovations in form and expression in Schumann’s piano music are discussed and played by many eminent concert pianists including Eugene Istomin, Joerg Demus, Peter Frankl, John Browning and Gyrogy Sandor.

11.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Eleven

The Chamber Music: A Symposium of Players. From “Hausmusik” in Schumann’s time to modern performance and recording practices. Commentary and analysis by pianist Emanuel Ax, Paul Katz of the Cleveland String Quartet, members of the Julliard String Quartet, members of the Tokyo String Quartet, violinists Peter Zazovksy and Christine Edinger, oboisit Heinz Holliger, cellist Lynn Harrell and horn player Martin Baumann.

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10.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Ten

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The Songs: A Symposium of Singers. The flowering of the Art Song Tradition in Germany in the songs of Schubert and Schumann. Commentary and analysis by performers Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elly Ameling, Joerg Demus, Dalton Baldwin, Samuel Sanders, Jan De Gaetaniand Gilbert Kalish; and historians Eric Sams and Rufus Hallmark.

12.  The World of Robert Schumann-Twelve

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The Haunted Forest: Romanticism and Nature. The Romanticists responded to new compositions and venues of travel in the early 19th century and produced in their music, poems, novels, and paintings their sense of the glories and the mysteries of nature. Commentators include song historians Rufus Hallmark, Eric Sams and David Ferris; and musicians Elly Ameling and Dalton Baldwin.

13.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Thirteen

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14.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Fourteen

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Schmann and Heine: The Romantic Irony. The poems of Heinrich Heine and the music of Robert Schumann were joined together in many of Schumann’s finest songs, including two of the greatest song cycles in music history, the Liederkreis, Opus 24 and the Dichterliebe, Opus 48.  Includes commentary by singer Thomas Hampson; songs historians Rufus Hallmark, David Ferris, and Heine biographer, Roger F. Cook.

Breakdown: The Last Years of Robert Schumann. Exploring the Romantic fascination with madness and creativity.  Commentary on Schumann’s mental and physical disorders by biographers Dr. Peter Ostwald, John Daverio, Alan Walker and Eric Sams; scholars Margit McCorkle, John Macgregor and Albert Boime; and performers Gerd Albrecht and Thomas Zehetmaire.

15.  The World of Robert Schumann-Part Fifteen

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The Young Eagle: The Arrival of Johannes Brahms. Schumann discovers the young Brahms in 1853 and promotes his career. Includes commentaries by biographers Styra Avins, John Daverio and Dr. Nancy Reich; historian Robert Winter; and pianist Eugene Istomin. 

Available Audio Programs
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