- Schumann (1810 – 1856) was born in Zwickau, Germany. HIs father was a book seller and publisher who died when Schumann was 16, soon after his sister commited suicide.
- At age 18, Schumann’s mother allowed him to quit law and pursue musical studies with Wieck, who had a 9 year old daughter, Clara. She was a child prodigy who performed throughout her life, including Variations on a Theme by Schumann. The two admired Schubert and was saddened by his death.
- In 1830, Schumann was inspired by Paganini’s playing, and resolved to become a virtuoso pianist.
- Schumann began the ‘Journal for New Music’ when he in 1834, and promoted neglected works and composers, e.g. Chopin and Brahms. He wrote articles for the journal for the next ten years.
- Schumann inflicted irreversible damage to his fourth finger, and his dreams of becoming a virtuoso were shattered. Luckily, his composing provided as a source of income.
- Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) was born in Hamburg (Germany) and died in Leipzig (Germany). Mendelssohn’s family was prominent; his father was a banker and his mother was an amateur musician. Mendelssohn’s music education began with his sister Fanny, who taught him how to play the piano, and studied music and composition as a child.
- Mendelssohn composed his first piece at age 11, and at age 12, he was considered a fellow musician, no longer a student, by his theory teacher Carl Zelter, who recognized his tremendous abilities as an artist. Thus, Zelter introduced Mendelssohn to Goethe, the poet, in Weimar. Mendelssohn returned to visit Goethe twice after that, with his sister Fanny, and dedicated his Piano Quartet in B minor to Goethe.
- At age 16, Mendelssohn and his family moved to Berlin; Mendelssohn attended the University of Berlin in 1827. At age 20, Mendelssohn conducted Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion, with 400 singers– this was the first performance of the piece since Bach’s death, and renewed interest in his works.
History notes for Liszt, Romantic Era Composer: complete with Liszt’s life, works, contributions, influences, and musical styles.
- Liszt (1811 – 1886) was born in Raiding, Hungary, and died in Bayreuth.
- Liszt’s father, Adam, played the cello in the local orchestra, and taught Liszt how to play the piano. He was employed as a secretary of Prince Estérhazy and asked for extended leave to further Liszt’s music education. Later on, Liszt studied with Salieri and Czerny.
- At age 12, Liszt was a music prodigy and played with established professionals in the field. He applied to the Paris Conservatory but was not accepted– instead, he studied with Paeer and Reicha in Paris.
- In 1833, Liszt met Comtesse Marie D’Agoult, who wrote under the pen name Daniel Stern. They had three children together over the next decade, although the two never married because she was already married. They lived in Switzerland until their parting. From 1839 – 1847, Liszt toured around Europe performing, achieving such fame which was unheard of at the time. The Lisztomania swept Europe like a storm.
- In 1847, he met the Tsar’s sister, Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, and retired from the performing stage. By retiring while still at the prime of his virtuosity, Liszt’s virtuosity was forever preserved in the hearts of his fans. He took up a conducting post in Weimar and spent his time writing and rewriting his pieces, becoming the figurehead for the “New German School” (“Neudeutsche Schule”).
- Liszt studied theology and became a lay cleric; he began the Conservatory of Music in Budapest and was elected its first president at age 50.
- Liszt caught pneumonia at age 56 while attending his daughter Cosima’s Wagner fest, and died.