Author Jonathan Biss has written two kindle singles – the first about Beethoven and this, about his relationship with the music of Robert Schumann. Biss recalls that he first remembers playing his music at the age of nine, in a home where he grew up surrounded by music, in a family of musicians. Yet, although he states that he felt awe for so many other composers, for Schumann he felt love; musing that “he knows the meaning of solitude, and he can translate it into sound.” This is a very personal essay and it is obvious that Biss feels a sense of protectiveness about Schumann – taking criticism of his music very personally.
Although this is a short book, I like the kindle single series – they are wide ranging and informative. Biss discusses both Schumann’s music and his life. Plagued with doubts, suffering rejection and suffering professionally from his wife’s greater success, he was a man who undoubtedly found life difficult. The author discusses Schumann’s life, plus his own feelings, and discusses them in relation to many of Schumann’s compositions. An interesting read and a good, heartfelt, introduction to the work of Robert Schumann.
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