Piano Music - Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann


1810 - 1856
Robert Schumann was a German composer, pianist, and influential music critic of the Romantic era.



"To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist."

"The flame that is naturally clear always gives the most light and heat. If I could blend my talent for poetry and music into one, the light would burn still clearer, and I might go far."

"The principal mark of genius is not perfection, but originality."

"For me, music is always the language which permits one to converse with the Beyond."

"Remember, there are more people in the world than yourself. Be modest! You have not yet invented nor thought anything which others have not thought or invented before. And should you really have done so, consider it a gift of heaven which you are to share with others."

"When you play, do not trouble yourself as to who is listening. Yet always play as though a master listened to you."

"Nothing great can be accomplished in art without enthusiasm."

"To compose is to remember music that has never been written."

"You write to become immortal, or because the piano happens to be open, or you've looked into a pair of beautiful eyes."

"Endeavour to play easy pieces well and with elegance; that is better than to play difficult pieces badly."

"Art was not created as a way to riches. Strive to become a true artist; all else will take care of itself."

"A fiery, good beginner always stands higher than a master in mediocrity."

"Let your intimate friends be chosen from such as are better informed than yourself."

"You will be most readily cured of vanity or presumption by studying the history of music, and by hearing the master pieces which have been produced at different periods."

"The poet sees better than other mortals. I do not see things as they are, but according to my own subjective impression, and this makes life easier and simpler."
Robert Schumann (1907). “The Letters of Robert Schumann”

"If we were all determined to play the first violin we should never have an ensemble. therefore, respect every musician in his proper place."

"We have learned to express the more delicate nuances of feeling by penetrating more deeply into the mysteries of harmony."

"Thus it is ever in life. The aims we once pursued no longer satisfy us; we aim, we strive, we aspire, until sight fails, and mind and body find rest in the grave."
Robert Schumann (2016). “Letters of Robert Schumann”, p.9, Ravenio Books

"We may be sure that a genius like Mozart, were he born today, would write concertos like Chopin and not like Mozart."

"That first concept is alway the most naturally and best. The mind errs, the emotion never."

"Nature best teaches how to pray, and how to reverence all the gifts the Almighty has given us. She is like a vast outspread handkerchief, embroidered with God's eternal name, on which we may dry alike our tears of sorrow and of joy; she turns weeping into ecstasy, and fills our hearts with speechless, quiet reverence and resignation."
Robert Schumann (1907). “The Letters of Robert Schumann”

"The aesthetic principle is the same in every art, only the material differs."
Robert Schumann (1983). “On Music and Musicians”, p.44, Univ of California Press

"Only when the form grows clear to you, will the spirit become so too."

"Think it a vile habit to alter works of good composers, to omit parts of them, or to insert new-fashioned ornaments. This is the greatest insult you can offer to Art."
Robert Schumann (1860). “Advice to Young Musicians”, p.14

"You should diligently play scales and finger exercises. There are many, however, who believe they'll achieve all, by practicing daily on technique for hours on end, up till high age. It's like practicing every day to enumerate the alphabet faster and faster. One would think one could make better use of their valuable time."

"Music owes as much to Bach as religion to its founder."

"Music - so different from painting - is the art which we enjoy most in company with others. A symphony, presented in a room with one other listener, would please him but little."
Robert Schumann (1983). “On Music and Musicians”, p.45, Univ of California Press

"You should neither play bad compositions, nor, unless compelled, listen to them."
Robert Schumann (1860). “Advice to Young Musicians”, p.14

"You must reach the stage where you are able to understand a piece of music, just from seeing it on paper."

"Cultivation of the ear is of the greatest importance. Try right from the beginning to distinguish each tone and key. Find out the exact notes sounded by the bell, the windowpane, the cuckoo, etc."

"Learn the fundamental principles of harmony as soon as you can. Do not be afraid of the words theory, thoroughbass, counterpoint, etc. they will become your friends if you become theirs."

"There is no end to learning."

"Do not aim for mere dexterity, or the so-called 'bravura'. Try to recreate the spirit intended by the composer, nothing more; anything else is a caricature. All mechanical brilliance fades over time; technical skill is of value only when it serves a higher purpose."

"If anyone should place before you a composition to play at sight, read it over before you play it."

"Endeavour, even with a poor voice, to sing at sight without the aid of your instrument; in that way your ear for music will constantly improve."

"The spirit of a composition will not become clear to you until you understand the form."

"Practise scales and other finger exercises diligently; but that alone is not enough."

"Through diligent study and perseverance you will rise ever higher."

"Never miss an opportunity to play music with others; as for example in Duets, Trios, etc This will give you a flowing and lively style of playing. Also accompany singers often."

"You must become acquainted by degrees with all the principal works of the important masters."

"We should need to live a hundred lives just to become acquainted with all the good works that exist."

Quotes by Robert Schumann











Selected Recordings of Schumann's Piano Music


Annie Fischer, piano (1986)