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In all the annals of Western music, there has never been a couple like the Schumanns: he a pioneering critic and composer (the only ever to achieve greatness as both), she one of the leading concert pianists of Europe, as well as a composer of no small talent herself.
This series of eight lectures by an award-winning composer and acclaimed teacher includes excerpts of works by both of the Schumanns as part of an introduction to an extraordinary couple and the musical legacy left to us in spite of the difficulties that dogged their marriage. Though a loving one that produced eight children, their partnership also had to withstand the pressures of raising those children, managing two careers, and overcoming the tensions posed by Robert-an emotionally unstable man who alternated between manic bouts of awesome creativity and terrifying fits of depression, exacerbating the worsening effects of the syphilis that would eventually kill him. His death left Clara to not only raise the children but also to support the family through an exhausting schedule of concertizing. Despite his ill health, Robert still left behind a magnificent legacy of compositions and insights into music that you explore in these lectures-a legacy that included his return to criticism so he could introduce to the world a then-unknown Johannes Brahms.