In the Seinfeld episode "The
Schumann is mentioned. Here is what was said:
Jerry: What is that
George: Oh, it's from
Les Miserables. ["Master of the
House" is the tune he was humming.] I went to see it last
week. I can't get it out of my head. I just keep singing it
over and over. It just comes out. I have no control over it.
I'm singing it on elevators, buses. I sing it in front of my
clients. It's taking over my life.
Jerry: You know, Schumann
went mad from that.
George: Artie Schumann?
From Camp Hatchapee?
Jerry: No, you idiot.
George: Who are you,
Bud Abbott? What, are you calling
me an idiot?
Jerry: Don't you know
Robert Schumann, the composer?
George: Oh, Schumann.
Jerry: [trying to scare
George] He went crazy from one
note. He couldn't get it out of his head. I think it was an A.
He kept repeating it over and over again. He had to be
George: Really? What
if it doesn't stop? [Jerry gestures,
"That's the breaks." George gasps.] Oh, that I really
needed to hear. That helps a lot! All right, just say
something. Just start talking. Change the subject...
Schumann did indeed hear an "A"
at the end of his life. It
was a form of tinnitus, or perhaps an auditory hallucination
related to his major depressive episode. At times, he had
musical hallucinations which were longer than just the
single "A", but his diaries include lots of comments from
him about hearing that annoying single note. However, he
didn't go mad from hearing it; he was suffering from a
major depressive episode and he experienced problems
with his mental health long before he mentioned the tinnitus.
"SINCE YOU ASKED ...," Robert
Schumann: Then, Now and Always.(Accessed  [Nov]
These are little masterpieces, composed
for students, but great to
play on any special occasion. Not every famous composer was so
kind like Schumann and presented his technique and style in an
Album For The Youth, Op. 68:
There are a few of Schumann's songs with three asterisks on the top of the page.
Do you know what this
The answer to this question came a few
days later from the same person who asked the question in the first place, Kurt
Kurt sent me the following answer to his
Three songs in his Album for the Young have this marking, Nos. 21 (C minor), 26 (F major) and 30 (C
Once, the asterisks appear as:
When asked by Eugenie about the meaning of the asterisks, Clara responded enigmatically, "Perhaps
wanted the stars to indicate parents' thoughts about their children." (From Bernhard Appel,
"Family Life: Robert Schumann's
Album fuer die Jugend" in R. Larry Todd, Schumann and His World, Princeton: Princeton University
Can you tell me about Schumann's self-projections,
Florestan and Eusebius, and when and why he used them?
Thanks for a very interesting question that is of great personal interest to me! Robert created
Florestan and Eusebius in 1831.
Florestan was "born" on June 8, 1831, Schumann's 21st birthday, as a reaction to Jean Paul
Richter's use of twins to express
the duality of a man's personality. (In his book, Flegeljahre, Jean Paul uses this technique via twins,
Vult and Walt.) On July 1,
1831, Schumann completed this double personality he imagined for himself. Florestan represented
side, and Eusebius his feminine characteristics.From this, Schumann continued creating a
"parallel universe" (collectively
called "The Davidsbuendler") filled with fictional representations of his real-life friends
(and enemies!). This world existed in
his diaries and letters to friends for a time before it moved into Schumann's actual work, namely in
his "Neue Zeitschrift fuer
Musik." The fictional characters, in particular Florestan, Eusebius and Meister Raro (formerly
this personality belonged to
Friedrich Wieck, and later he represented the two united personalities of Florestan and Eusebius) became
writers and editors
of the Neue Zeitschrift articles. They critiqued music by many important composers of Schumann's day,
and as a group they
were able to discuss the many different sides of a piece of music. Leon Plantinga (author of "Schumann
as Critic") says that
this use of different personalities in his writing did not indicate a mental disorder on Schumann's
part, rather he was just
extremely creative and such criticism was typical for his time. These personalities helped him to cope
and complete his job
effectively without fear of reprisal when he gave a bad review of a piece. He did sign his own name
to many of the articles in the
Neue Zeitschrift, but usually he counted on one of his fictional personalities for any negative reviews
as a form of self-
protection. Eusebius made his last appearance in 1836, and Florestan was laid to rest in 1842.
"SINCE YOU ASKED ...," Robert Schumann: Then, Now and
Always.(Accessed  [Nov] ).