The son of a bookseller and publisher, Robert Schumann was inspired as much by literature as by music. Of all the authors he esteemed, his favourite was Jean Paul (Johann Paul Friedrich Richter). He once wrote to a friend that, from Jean Paul ‘I learned more about counterpoint than from my music teacher’. What was it about this (now unfashionable) writer that so appealed to the young Schumann? And what was the nature of this ‘counterpoint’ that he learned from him? The music presented in this programme is intimately connected with Jean Paul, and in particular with his novel Flegeljahre (The Awkward Age). Between the two Schumann works, we will explore how the composer brought the fantasy of Jean Paul together with his own emotional experience (particularly his forbidden relationship with Clara Wieck) to develop a unique character as musician and writer.
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