This page belongs to the Web site: The Poet Speaks - Life of Robert Schumann

Story and Picture Sources

Preface: my biography of Robert Schumann is based on a work I prepared for an evening-class presentation at school. It was not intended for the Internet, not in 1985. The line drawings are from the storyboard cards I used in planning the presentation; they were never intended to be a substitute for the images they were drawn from.

Sources for the Narrative

As faithfully as I can remember, the text is based on Walker, Litzmann (4th ed. tr. Grace E. Hadow [London 1913]), and Schumann's own musical writings and letters, as well as Boucourechliev, and Marcel Brion's Schumann and the Romantic Age (tr. Geoffrey Sainsbury, New York 1956). [Complete Bibliography below.]

The quotation about the Leipzig Churchyard is from Reiner Kunze's The Wonderful Years tr. Joachim Neugroschel (New York 1977) p. 80; the story belongs to Schumann's "A Monument to Beethoven".

The quotation that begins "The very fact of being together in the same city without any possibility of speaking to one another ..." is from Litzmann.

The page's title "The Poet Speaks" comes from the last of Schumann's Scenes of Childhood Op. 15. That music was played at the end of my presentation.

Sources for the Line Drawings


Notes: Robert Schumann does not say which "Leipzig Churchyard" he searched that evening, but in any case he could not have found Bach's grave, because it was not marked by a gravestone. Albert Schweitzer wrote in Bach: The Musician Poet (1908, tr. Joy) that "we are reduced to conjectures as to where the remains of the cantor [chapel master] of Leipzig lie". According to the registers, Bach was buried in St. Johann Cemetery in Leipzig on Friday, July 31st, 1750, "in a rather shallow grave and in an oak coffin - the ordinary caskets were made of fir". And in 1894 when the old cemetery was dug up they found such a coffin in the place where a local tradition said it should be: "south of the church six paces in a straight line from the door." However, where they reintered that body, Schweitzer does not say. But according to Deutsche Welle (28 July 2000), J.S. Bach is buried inside St. Thomas Church, Leipzig.

Both Beethoven's and Schubert's graves were removed from the Währung Cemetery in Vienna to the Central Cemetery of that city in 1888. (Newman Flower, Franz Schubert: the Man and his Circle (1928), Chapter X)

Robert Schumann's father's name was August; his mother's name was Johanna Schnabel. Robert was the youngest of their five children.

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This page belongs to the Web site The Poet Speaks - Life of Robert Schumann by Robert Wesley Angelo