Robert Schumann 

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One of the leading German composers of the early nineteenth century, Robert Schumann is known for his short piano pieces and songs. He was born at Zwickau, Saxony, in 1810. He began his musical education at the age of six, later studying the piano with the celebrated teacher Friedrich Wieck and becoming acquainted with Wieckís nine-year-old daughter Clara. At this young age, she was a brilliant pianist who was just beginning a successful concert career. 

A few years later, Schumann fell in love with the teenage Clara. She acknowledged his affection but obeyed her father when he ordered her to break off the relationship. They were separated for more than a year. She made the first move toward a reconciliation, and on September 13, 1837 ó her 18th birthday ó Schumann formally asked her fatherís permission to marry her. 

During their three-year engagement, Schumann entered one of his most fertile creative periods, producing a series of imaginative works for piano. It was during this time (1838) that he composed about thirty little pieces that reflect an adultís perception of childhood. The vignettes were formally gathered into thirteen pieces under the title Kinderscenen or Scenes From Childhood. These works are strung together like beads on a necklace to form a single chain, yet each is complete in itself. Today, the thirteen Scenes from Childhood are an important part of the concert piano repertoire. Clara Wieck and Robert Schumann married in 1840. Slowly he suffered the effects of drinking and insanity and died in 1856. 

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