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Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann, born on June 8th 1810 in Zwickau, actually wanted to become a pianist, but had to give up this plan because of a hand injury caused by excessive practicing. Until 1840, he exclusively composed works for piano and art songs, before later turning to chamber music, symphonic works, opera and oratorio. Inspired in the symphonic field by Beethoven and Schubert, Schumann advocated what might be called a more conservative style of composition oriented toward the ideal of absolute music. He defended this style, which he saw continued in the works of Johannes Brahms, sometimes aggressively and with exaggerated idealism against the compositions of the so-called "new Germans", such as Wagner, Liszt or even Bruckner. He published his music-æsthetical and philosophical views in the "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik". This magazine, which he founded and published, and on which he left an indelible imprint as editor in chief, still exists to this day. Schumann, who began suffering more and more from depression and psychological instability, was placed in a mental hospital following a suicide attempt in 1854 and died there on July 29th 1856 in Endenich near Bonn.