I. The World of Piano in the 1820s

• Henri Herz (1803-88): Marche et rondo sur la Clochette de Paganini [PDF]

 
1854 
• Introduction to Schumann's Collected Writings (1854): "At the end of 1833 a few musicians in Leipzig, mostly young men, found themselves together as though by accident every evening. They met principally to enjoy each other's company; but they were also fully as interested in exchanging their ideas about the art that was for them the food and drink of life—music. The state of music in Germany at that time was not very gratifying. On the stage Rossini still ruled, while at the piano it was almost exclusively Herz and [Franz] Hünten." Robert Schumann: Gessammelte Schriften, I:iii
1850
• Schumann's Muikalische Haus- und Lebensregeln were publised in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik: "So what does it mean to be musical? You are not musical if, eyes glued nervously to the notes, you play a piece painfully through to the end; you are not musical if you get stuck and cannot go on because someone happens to turn two pages at once for you. But you are, if with a new piece you almost sense what is coming, if with a familiar one, you know it completely. In a word, if you have music not just in the fingers, but in your head and your heart." NZfM 36 (June 28, 1850)
  • Erard piano, c1840
 

• Improvisation and Preluding
     • Carl Czerny: A Systematic Introduction to Improvisation [PDF]
     • Beethoven: Preludes in All Twelve Major Keys, Op. 39 [PDF]
     • Beethoven: Phantasie, Op. 77 [PDF]

 
 

• Concert Program: Henri Herz, Paris, August 21, 1833

 
II. The Hand Injury - An Overview
January 26, 1830
• "my numb ["betäubter"] finger" Tagebücher I: 222
[October] 1831
• Schumann's own later recollection: "Overdone technical studies. Laming of my right hand." Musikalischer Lebensgang, Bötticher (1941), 224
June 13, 1832
• confrontation with Wieck over his use of a mechanical device Tagebücher, I:409
June 14, 1832
• diary: "the third [finger] is completely stiff" Tagebücher, I:409
June 14 , 1832
• letter to his mother: "Eduard will tell you of the strange misfortune with which I have met. This is why I am going to Dresden next Monday with Wieck." Jugendbriefe, 184
November 6, 1832
• letter to his mother: "As you my hand hand, the doctor is always consoling, but I am quite resigned, and believe it to be incurable." Jugendbriefe, 194
June 28, 1833 • letter to his mother: "I am having my hand treated homeopathically. Dr. Hartmann laughed, and said no Allopath could cure it, and it should be all right in three months. And he produced a tiny little powder, and prescribed me a strict regimen, very little beer, and no wine or coffee. Electricity I had tried before, and perhaps it did harm, as the affected part was merely deadened by such a powerful remedy. I have not much faith in homeopathy, but was pleased with the doctor's confidence, and that is something at all events." Jugendbriefe, 210
March 19, 1834
• letter to his mother: "Don't worry about my finger, I can compose without it ... I would hardly be any happier as a traveling virtuoso." Jugendbriefe, 234
December 3, 1838
• letter to Clara Wieck: "I sometimes feel unhappy that I have an ailing hand, particularly here. I can tell you it's getting worse and worse. I've often complained to heaven and asked, 'God, why did you do this of all things to me?' It would be of great advantage to me here; the music is ready and alive within me, and playing it should be as natural as breathing. But I can barely play it at all, and one finger stumbles over the other. It's quite dreadful and has already caused me a lot of pain. Well, I have you [Clara] for my right hand, and take good care of yourself so that nothing happens to you." Briefwechsel, I: 307
January 26, 1841 
• affidavit prepared by (Schumann's acquaintance) Dr. M.E. Reuter: "In his youth he first noticed that the second and third fingers were less strong and agile than the others. Prolonged use of a machine with which the fingers were forcibly dorsiflexed led to a paralytic state of these fingers in which there was only weak sensation and their movement was not subject to voluntary control. He was compelled to give up a virtuoso career, but the fingers have remained in the same paralytic condition despite repeated attempts at treatment, so that in playing the piano he cannot use the middle finger at all and the index finger only partially. He is incapable of holding objects in his hand ..." Henson and Urich, 901
July 19, 1841
• examination for the authorities by Dr. E. W. Güntz: concluded that Schumann could not use "the index and third fingers of his right hand forcefully and voluntarily owing to partial paralysis. Therefore he cannot carry out arms drill reliably ..." Henson and Urich, 901
February 18, 1842
• examination by Dr. M.E. Reuter: "He can use the right index imperfectly and the right middle finger not at all in grasping and holding an object. These fingers have been paralysed more than ten years ..." Henson and Urich, 901
March 16, 1842
• examined again for the authorities, this time by Dr. R. D. Brachman: "The paralysis of the index and middle fingers of the right hand is only partial and does not prevent him from playing the piano, as is generally known. By the same token it should prevent him even less from handling a gun ..." Henson and Urich, 901
1853
• Friedrich Wieck (1785-1873): Clavier und Gesang (Piano and Song): "With pianists, too, I permit no cutting of the web between the fingers, no wrist guide ["Handleiter"], no finger springs ["Fingerschneller"] and no stretching machine ["Spanmaschine"], and certainly not the finger torturer ["Fingerquäler"] thought up by a famous pupil of mine to the just outrage of his third and fourth fingers, which he fashioned against my wishes and used behind my back." Clavier und Gesang, 44
1888
• the first translation of selected Schumann letters into English adds confusion (it identifies the "first finger" as the injured finger) Schumann and Herbert, Early Letters, 176
1889
• Clara Schumann was interviewed by Schumann biographer Friedrich Niecks in Frankfurt on June 12: "Madame Clara Schumann had forgotten what really passed (she was at the time only thirteen years old). On my asking her she replied that her husband lamed his finger by practising on a very stiff dumb Claviatur (keyboard), and did not make use of any other apparatus. She distinctly stated it was the second finger of the right hand—although she did not seem sure about any of the circumstances." Niecks, Robert Schumann, 102
1929
• biographer Philipp Spitta wrote: "Schumann devised a contrivance by which the greatest possible dexterity of the finger was to be attained in the shortest time. By means of his ingenious appliance the third finger was drawn back and kept still, while the other fingers had to practice exercises. But the result was that the tendons of the third finger were overstrained, the finger was crippled, and for some time the whole right hand was injured. The most serious condition was alleviated by medical treatment. Schumann recovered the use of his hand, and could, when needful, even lay the piano; but the third finger was useless, so that he was for ever precluded from the career of a virtuoso." Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 3rd. ed. (1929)
1945
• biographer Robert Haven Schauffler made several totally unsubstantiated claims:
     • "he had invented a too ingenious apparatus for acquiring technic in a hurry. In order to make the fingers independent, he would hitch one of them up in a sling, while practicing. This resulted in laming for life the right ring finger, thereby shattering all his shining hopes of a virtuoso's career."
    • "The venerable Dr. Alfred Meyer of New York tells me that in 1878, while a post-graduate student of medicine in Leipzig University, he was told by a German doctor that Schumann had cut the tissue between his fingers with the object of increasing his span."
Schauffler, Florestan, 44
1971/72
• musicologist Eric Sams, gaining access to materials held in the Leipzig City Archives, proposed the theory that Schumann's hand injury was a side effect from the common use of mercury to treat syphilis Sams, "Schumann's Hand Injury" and "Schumann's Hand Injury - Some Further Evidence"


1980

1997
• Two recent biographers mistake Johann Bernhard Logier's chiroplast for a finger stretching, strengthening device
     • Peter Ostwald, "Florestan, Eusebius, Clara and Schumann's Right Hand,"19th Century Music 4, No. 1 (Summer, 1980): 23
     • John Daverio, Robert Schumann: Herald of a "New Poetic Age" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 77
 
III. Methods, Exercises and the Etude
  • Louis Adam (1758-1848): Méthode de piano du Conservatoire (Paris, 1804) [Excerpt - PDF]  
  • Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837): Ausführlich theoretisch-practische Anweisung zum Piano-forte Spiel (Vienna, 1828) [excerpt - PDF]  
  • Schumann: Studien für das Pianoforte, Op. 3 [PDF] - originally published with an extensive pedagogical preface  
  • Schumann: Skizzenbuch I [excerpts - PDF]  
  • Johann Bernard Logier's (1777-1846) chiroplast (advocated by the German pianist, composer and teacher Friedrich Kalkbrenner (1785-1849) among others)
  • Logier's chiroplast fitted to a keyboard
  • Herz: 1000 exercices poour l'emploi du dactylion: instruments à ressorts, destiné à délier et à fortifier les doigts, à rendre indépendants les uns des autres et à donner au jeu l'égalité nénessaire pour acquérir une belle exécution sur le piano (Paris, 1834)
  • apparatus "designed to facilitate study of the piano [left hand]" L'illustration, 176 (July 11, 1846)
  • apparatus "designed to facilitate study of the piano [right hand]" L'illustration, 176 (July 11, 1846)
  • article by Schumann published in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik in 1839: "As to the piano etude we have somewhat more grounds than our forefathers to suppose that it has reached its greatest height. Scales are divided up in all directions, combined in all conceivable figures, the fingers and hands are arranged in every possible position, etc." NZfM 10, No. 19 (March 5, 1839)
IV. Chronology
1810-26
ZWICKAU (1810)
June 8 
• Robert Schumann was born the fifth and last child to August Schumann (1773-1826) Johanne Schnabel

Schumann's birthplace in Zwickau, now the Robert-Schumann-Haus
1817
January 26 
• began piano instruction with Johann Gottfried Kuntsch (1775-1855) a municipal organist in Zwickau Tagebücher I: 222


Johann Gottfried Kuntsch, Schumann's first piano teacher
1822/23
Project  Book  
"the 150th Psalm with orchestra, began an overture, - began some numbers of an opera" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8
   
The title page of as Schumann's manuscript for the 150th Psalm
1826 • letter from Schumann's father to C.M. von Weber exploring the possibility of piano instruction for Robert
• Schumann would later characterize his playing in Zwickau as "complete lack of technique."
Macdonald, "Schumann's Piano Practice," 539
1827
Project  Book  
"some Lieder (texts of Byron, E. Schulze and others), began a piano concerto in e minor" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8
January
• began the practice of keeping diaries Tagebücher, I: 19
1828
Project  Book  
"eight four handed polonaises, 10-12 Lieder (namely texts from Just Kerner), variations for four hand on a theme by Prince Louis, quartet for piano, violin, viola and cello in e minor" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8
January 25 
• performed Friedrich Kalkbrenner's (1785-1849) Piano Concerto in D Minor, Op. 1 [No. 1, Op. 61] [PDF] Eisman, Quellenwerk 1:20
TABLE I [click here] - Schumann's Performances at the Zwickau Gymnasium
LEIPZIG (arrived in March)
August 19 
• began piano studies with Friedrich Wieck in Leipzig Tagebücher, I:116


The Leipzig marketplace
  TABLE II [click here]
Piano works Schumann studied in Leipzig April 1828-May 1829
ZWICKAU (arrived on September 12)
LEIPZIG ( arrived on October 21)
October 27
• diary: "the musical Wieck - scales" Tagebücher, 1:128
November 20
• diary: "piano lesson with Wieck - scales and praise" Tagebücher, 1:146
November 25
• diary: "exercises at the piano" Tagebücher, 1:148
November 26
• diary: "piano exercises" Tagebücher, 1:149
November 28
• diary: "piano exercises" Tagebücher, 1:149
November 30
• diary: "with Wieck early" Tagebücher, 1:150
December 1
• diary: "at Wieck's" Tagebücher, 1:151
December 2
• diary: "piano exercises" Tagebücher, 1:151
December 11
• diary: "hour with Wieck" Tagebücher, 1:153
December 15
• diary: "hour with Wieck" Tagebücher, 1:157
ZWICKAU (December 20-January 12)
1829
LEIPZIG
February 13
• diary: " - at Wieck's - the Hummel piano method is there" Tagebücher, I:174
February 17
• diary: "the Hummel piano method" Tagebücher, I:174
February 18
• diary: "piano exercises by Hummel from 7-12 o'clock" Tagebücher, I:174
February 19
• diary: "Hummel exercises" Tagebücher, I:175
February 20
• diary: "exercises early" Tagebücher, I:175
February 27
• diary: "Hummel exercises" Tagebücher, I:176
March 2
• diary: "with Wieck early - beginning of Hummel's A Minor Concerto" Tagebücher, I:177
HEIDELBERG (arrived on May 21)
Project  Book  
"began a piano concerto in f major, Variations on the name ABEGG [my first published opus, only half the variations are printed], Toccata in C Major in first form [PDF]" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8
June 18 
• diary: "at home very feeble improvisation and anger over my piano playing" Tagebücher, I:201
June 20 
• diary: "piano and uninspired improvisation" Tagebücher, I:201
June 28 
• diary: "out-of-tune piano" Tagebücher, I:203
June 29 
• diary: "piano tuner ... played a lot of piano" Tagebücher, I:203
July 8 
• diary: "beautiful improvisation at the piano" Tagebücher, I:205
July 14 
• diary: "good improvisation" Tagebücher, I:206
July 18 
• diary: "beautiful improvisation and the subsiding hangover" Tagebücher, I:207
July 24 
• diary: "duet by Onslow and Beethoven with Klughist for cello and pianoforte" Tagebücher, I:207
August 
4-12 
• diary: "polonaises with Töpken" Tagebücher, I:208
August 13 
• diary: "rehearsal with Klughist and Töpken of the Polonaises by Schubert and of the Onslow Duets" Tagebücher, I:208
November 6
• letter to Friedrich Wieck: "Without over estimating my own abilities, I feel modestly conscious of my superiority over all the other Heidelberg pianists. You have no idea how carelessly and roughly they play, and of the noisiness, slap dash, and terrible feebleness of their style. They have no notion of cultivating "touch," and of bringing a fine tone out of the instrument; and as to regular practice, finger-exercises, and scales, they don't seem ever to have heard of anything of the kind." Jugendbriefe, 79-80.
November 11
• letter to his mother: "To one of your questions I must give a mournful answer—I mean about my music and piano-playing. Alas! mother, it is almost quite at an end; I play but rarely now, and very badly. The grand Genius of Sound is gently extinguishing his torch, and all that I have ever done in music seems like a beautiful dream which I can hardly believe has ever existed. And yet, believe me, if ever I could have don any good in the world it would have been in music, and I feel sure (without at all overrating my capabilities) that I have got creative power. But earning one's bread is another thing!" Jugendbriefe, 92
November 26
• diary: "scales" Tagebücher, I:209
November 27
• diary: "scales - study of the Alexander Variations [PDF] Tagebücher, I:209
November 28
• diary: Alexander Variations" Tagebücher, I:209
November 30
• diary: "scales - Alexander Variations" Tagebücher, I:209-10
December 1
• diary: "proper mastery of the 1st Variation" Tagebücher, I:210
December 29, 30
• diary: "little - Alexander Variations - beautiful, glorious piano playing - finger exercises" Tagebücher, I:213
1830
HEIDELBERG
January 3
• diary: "piano, studied well" Tagebücher, I:213
January 4
• diary: "2 hours of finger exercises - the Toccata 10 times - finger exercise 6 times - the Variations themselves 20 times - in the evening the Alexander Variations still did not go well at all - irritated about that - even worse"
Skizzenbuch I
Tagebücher, I:213
January 14
• diary: "Variations" Tagebücher, I:215
January 18
• diary: "extreme hangover ... played chords on the piano - in low spirits - evening rehearsal in the large hall - Alexander Variations" Tagebücher, I:216
January 24

• diary: "hangover - sleep - Alexander Variations bad"

• performance of the Alexander Variations

Tagebücher, I:221
Macdonald, "Schumann's Earliest Compositions," 264
January 25
• diary: "hangover ... Champagne" Tagebücher, I:222
January 26
• diary: "hangover and weariness ... my numb ["betäubter"] finger" Tagebücher I: 222
January 27
• diary: "hangover" Tagebücher, I:222
January 30/31
• diary: "slept on Rosen's lap - awoke at 4:30pm - absolute misery [Jammer]" Tagebücher, I: 224
March 5
• diary: "short piano exercises, entirely neglected for 4 weeks"" Tagebücher I: 232
March 11
• diary: "piano good" Tagebücher I: 234
March 12 
• diary: "morning piano" Tagebücher I: 234
March 14 
• diary: "Fantasie and Kalkbrenner's op. 12" Tagebücher I: 235
March 21
• diary: "piano" Tagebücher I: 236
March 22
• diary: "morning piano" Tagebücher I: 237
March 23
• diary: "piano ... studied Kakbrenner's Fantasie" Tagebücher I: 237
March 24
:• diary: "piano beautiful" Tagebücher I: 237
March 25
• diary: "piano and Kalkbrenner" Tagebücher I: 237
March 30
• diary: "piano playing" Tagebücher I: 234
April 11
• heard Paganini perform in Frankfurt; diary: "after Paganini - delightful sleep and gentle dreaming" Tagebücher I: 283
June 3
• letter to his brother Karl reports that he is playing the piano daily from eight to ten o-clock every morning Briefe und Notizen, 28
July 30
• letter to his mother: "My whole life has been a twenty years' struggle between poetry and prose, or, if you like to call is so, Music and Law. There is just as high a standard to be reached in practical life as in art ... Now I am standing at the cross-roads, and am scared at the question: 'Which way to choose.' ... Now I have a favor to ask you, my dear mother, which I hope you will grant me. Write yourself to Wieck and ask him point-blank what he thinks of me and my career." Jugendbriefe, 117
September 25
• letter to Dr. Ernst August Carus reports that he had practiced 3 - 4 hours a day for the past twelve weeks Jugendbriefe, 111

• completed composition of the Exercice pour le Pianoforte (?1829-1830) [PDF]
     • an earlier version of the Toccata [revised and later published in 1834 as Op. 7]
     • the first substantial completed composition for the piano

The Morgan Library & Museum (New York City)
TABLE II [click here] - Schumann's Music Library in Heidelberg
TOUR OF SWITZERLAND AND ITALY (August 28 - October 25)
LEIPZIG (settled in Wieck's house on October 20)
Project  Book  
"continuation of the piano concerto [in f major]. Etudes for piano" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8

• there are no diary entries for the first six months back in Leipzig
• diary entries resume in May 1831
• Schumann later recalled that "In 1830 I went back to Leipzig. Diligent, constant studies: I played over 6 - 7 hours daily."



Eismann, Quellenwerk, I:77
1831
LEIPZIG
Project  Book  
"Papillons for piano - first movement of a sonata in b minor later published under the title Allegro as op. 8 - Variations on an original theme for piano in g major" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8
May 11
• diary: "Practiced and played beautifully in the morning - Field's Third Rondo [from the Piano Concerto No. 3]" - it sparkled and flashed" Tagebücher, I:329
May 12
• diary: "Played a lot of piano. Field's Rondo, Moscheles's Third Etude [Op. 70, No. 3], my middle movement - [?Piano Concerto in F Major] - the scales very relaxed" Tagebücher, I:330
May 13
• diary: "Up early - my sobriety repaid itself; played very beautifully - delicate purling attack and purling improvisation." Tagebücher, I:331
May 15
• letter to his mother: "I have four possibilities open to me—conducting, teaching, playing, and composing. Hummel combines all four, but in my case it will probably be one of the last two." Jugendbriefe, 144
May 23
• diary: "Oh this theory, all this theory! If only I could be agenius and kill all the scoundrels with it, wouldn't I like to load them all in a cannon and shot something dead with it." Tagebücher, I:331
May 24
• diary: "Wieck on the 23rd ... Concerning my concerto [PDF]: he claims that it is my best work - that I play it too monotonously and that the passages are too similar in and of themselves." Tagebücher, I:333
May 25
• diary: "Piano badly - I am to study the Variations by Herz, Op. 48 - the Moscheles Etude nervous and insecure - how come? played it two weeks, studied attentively and persistently. "It seems as if in the first [week] the mere life, fresh spirit and charm elevate the mechanics above themselves; later, when [the spirit] fades and [the charm] weakens, only the dry, cold keys remain for a long time. But shouldn't the time come when the piece plays? It ought to be so complete. To be sure, I have an ideal, and it is also attainable. If I continue like this I won't tremble."" Tagebücher, I:333
May 27
• diary: "In the morning everything went miserably -- completely miserablinsky - in the afternoon at Wieck's - very sympathetic toward me - he said I tossed out the Herz Variations like a dog - properly characterized - I cannot possibly dissemble or people will notice the pretense in a moment ... Chopin's Variations [Op. 2] to review." Tagebücher, I:334
May 29
• "Piano nothing, entirely bad - also no strength to study further" Tagebücher, I:335
June 4
• "No mood to play." Tagebücher, I:336
June 8
• diary introduces the members of the Davidsbündler: "From today on, I want to give my friends nicer and more suitable names. I therefore baptize you as follows: Wieck as Master Raro - Clara [Wieck] as Cilia - Christel zur Charitas - " Tagebücher, I:339
June 15
• diary: "Piano bad ... Florestan, the improvisor." Tagebücher, I:342
June 19
• diary: "Reveling in Chopin [Op. 2]" Tagebücher, I:344
July 1
• diary: "a new period - new resolutions ... practiced Chopin [Op. 2] for eight hours ... completely new person enters today in the diary, two of my best friends ... Florestan and Eusebius" Tagebücher, I:344
July 2
• diary: "lovely statement of Don Juan in Chopin [Op. 2]" Tagebücher, I:345
July 5
• diary: "The Chopin [Op. 2] goes admirably; today is the fifth day that I have practiced four hours every day" Tagebücher, I:346
July 7
• diary: "with Wieck .. mostly what we spoke about pertained to Chopin, the Viennese piano teachers and instruments, etc." Tagebücher, I:347
July 9
• diary: "From 7-10 exclusive study of Chopin with the greatest possible stillness of the hand; I pursue my plan from page to page, but then choose from among them places for practice. At 11 o'clock I usually begin with Czerny's trill studies, which cannot be played relaxed, quietly and lightly enough. Then come the Hummel finger exercises in the 4 classes according to the compass of their intervals, to each of which I add every day five new ones. The afternoon I give over entirely to the inclination of my mood, but all the same, I always continue with the F# Minor Sonata by Hummel." Tagebücher, I:348-49
July 17
• diary: "With Chopin it's always going well, as with everything. But I cannot readily attain the ideal I carry inside myself of its performance. Zilia [Clara] plays them childishly and too brilliantly." Tagebücher, I:350
July 18
• diary: "For the second time I have gotten through my Chopin tolerably. If I don't learn it now, I'll never learn it. I think there are three periods for artists who are already of a certain rank: in the first period of study the spirit and the recent fascination of the object keep one fresh and vigorous and lift the fingers beyond themselves; in the second the imagination's flower gradually falls off, the notes are written there, they must be reckoned with, the keys are depressed, sounds fail to come out. Many things don't work; that is the period of doubt, which now twice in my life I have overcome, with the A Minor Concerto [by Hummel] and with the Alexander Variations [by Moscheles].
What should I say about the third, where spirit and form, mechanics and imagination flow into each other, that a person is corporeal music? Let me see your paradise!"
Tagebücher, I:353-54
July 21
• diary: "With the piano it went heartily miserable for a few days; yesterday I cried from rage." Tagebücher, I:354
July 22
• diary: "How I have been driven to compose for the past two days." Tagebücher, I:348-49
July 18
• diary: "For the second time I have gotten through my Chopin tolerably. If I don't learn it now, I'll never learn it. I think there are three periods for artists who are already of a certain rank: In the first period of study the spirit and the recent fascination of the object keep one fresh and vigorous and lift the fingers beyond themselves; in the second the imagination's flowering gradually falls off, the notes are written there, they must be reckoned with, the keys are depressed, sounds fail to come out. Many things don't work; that is the period of doubt, which now twice in my life I have overcome, with the A Minor Concerto [Hummel] and the Alexander Variations [Moscheles].
"What should I say about the third, where spirit and form, mechanics and imagination flow into each other, that a person is corporeal music? Let me see your paradise.!"
Tagebücher, I:353-54
July 25
• diary: "I've been driven to compose for two days! ... Since Master Raro has been gone, I've been feeling an emptiness that the beer mug is supposed to fill. Yet I've kept myself under control. I'm compelled to compose! Yet I don't want to leave my Chopin. Tomorrow it will be page after page again." Tagebücher, I:355
July 30
• diary: "From the first until today, at least I studied and played continuously. Today I will be completely done with Hummel's finger exercises. I have begun the Chopin for the third time. It goes and it doesn't - I myself don't know; to me it seems it should sound differently; or could it perhaps be the spirit that doesn't sound any more. With the 'Hummel' F-sharp Minor Sonata I have trouble and glimpses of the sun." Tagebücher, I:358
August 14
• diary: reports that Schumann played the solo parts of the first movement of his Piano Concerto in F Major for a group of friends: "The Maestro [Probst] and Zilia liked the second theme very much, Dorn the entire second solo, Meister Raro [Wieck] the beginning, and unknown student the first them, Knorr the complete last solo, Lühe a fewf passages ... tomorrow I will send the first solo to Hummel." Tagebücher, I:362
August 19
• diary: Eusebius writes: "Now, to give a few observations about you ... If you could only become master of your manner of playing, of your attack; don't you have a different one every day? yesterday you had the one that I also like: I'll describe it, your hand lies down unforced on the keys, the front section somewhat curved, your fingers meet the key like a little hammer that moves on its own power, your arm and hand remain quiet, your finger hardly lifts itself for the attack and presses the key completely down." Tagebücher, I:363
August 20
• cover letter to J.N. Hummel (enclosing copy of the first movement of his Piano Concerto in F Major and asking Hummel to accept him as a pupil) Schumann and Jansen, Schumanns Briefe, 30-32
October 13
• diary: "Naturally it's going wonderful with the piano, splendid these past days. The variations are terrifying and the tones roll like pearls lately. I'm only playing tonal scales from the juvenile exercises. I'm holding my wrist up a bit higher, without danger like the Belleville, yet the grandiose waves are missing."  
October
• Schumann's later recollection: "Around October 1831, laming of my right hand - internal conflicts" Eismann, Quellenwerk, I:78
December 7 
• review of Chopin's Variations on La ci darem la mano, Op. 2, published in Leipzig's Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung [excerpt] Leipzig Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung 49 (December 7, 1831)
1832
Project Book
"Etudes after Paganini's Caprices, first book [PDF] - Intermezzos for piano two hand [op. 4] - first movement of a symphony in g minor for orchestra" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8
May 5
• letter to his mother: "Every one advises me not to go to Hummel at Weimar, as they say he is ten years behind the times ... I do not dream of becoming a 'traveling Virtuoso;' it is a bitter and ungrateful existence ... If I am industrious I shall have reached Op. 20 in two years." Jugendbriefe, 176-77
May 7
• diary: "my third finger is tolerable with the cigar-mechanism [Cigarrenmechanik]. The attach is now independent" Tagebücher, I:386
May 9
• diary: "The weakness in my third finger is beginning to disappear. Played well and worked on composition of the Intermezzis." Tagebücher, I:386
May 22
• diary: "the third finger seems really incorrigible" Tagebücher, I:394
June 13
• diary: "Yesterday I had a long conversation with Wieck about my old hypochondiacal 'music mechanism.' He was mistaken about everything he said. My last reply was: "If you are a bad master, then at least be a good pupil." He was not going to let anyone tell him differently about Clara and his [teaching] system, he replied. "And you expect that from me?" I said "Experience [is] me" he said - ["] Have you had that teacher? ["] I said. His final word was that he saw the benefits and advantages of this procedure, but that the cost of these exaggerated applications would be of no benefit and rather a disadvantage. That I knew all along." Tagebücher, I:409
June 14
• diary: "the third [finger] is completely stiff"
• letter to his mother: "Edward will have told you of the singular accident I have met with. This is why I am going to Dresden next Monday with Wieck. Although I go partly by the advice of my doctor, and partly for the sake of the change. I shall still have to work a good deal.
Tagebucher, I:409
Jugendbriefe, 184
June 18
• letter to his brother Julius: "my 'Exercice Fantastique' has been running through my head to such an extent that I had better conclude, lest I should be writing music unawares." Jugendbriefe, 185
August 9
• letter to his mother: "My whole house has been turned into a doctor's shop. I really got quite uneasy about my hand, but carefully avoided asking a surgeon, because I was so afraid he would say the damage was irretrievable. I had begun to make all sorts of plans for the future ... At last I went to Professor Kühl, and asked him to tell me on his honor whether my hand would get well. After shaking his head a good deal, he said, 'Yes, but not for some time, not for about six months.' When I once heard the word a weight was taken off my heart, and I readily promised to do all he required. It was quite enough, namely, to take animal baths [Thierbäder]—let Schurig describe them to you—to bathe my hand in warm brand and water all day long, to put on a herb poultice at night, and to play the piano as little as possible. The remedies are not exactly pleasant ones, and I very much fear that some of the nature of the ox may pass into mine; but on the whole they appear to be very beneficial." Jugendbriefe, 188
November 6
• letter to his mother: "As to my hand, the doctor is always consoling, but I am quite resigned, and believe it to be incurable. At Zwickau I shall take up the violoncello again (for which one only wants the left hand), as it will be always very useful in orchestral compositions.. Then the right hand will be resting, and for me rest is the best doctor." Jugendbriefe, 194
1833-40
Project  Book, 1833 
"Etudes after Paganini's Caprices, second book [PDF] - Impromptus on a theme by Clara Wieck for piano [op. 5] - began the sonatas in g and f-sharp minor - Toccata in c major in new setting made ready - Variations on the Sehnsuchtswalzer of Schubert for piano - Variations on the allegro from the a major symphony by Beethoven for piano" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8
June 28, 1833 
• letter to his mother: "I am having my hand treated homeopathically. Dr. Hartmann laughed, and said no Allopath could cure it, and it should be all right in three months. And he produced a tiny little powder, and prescribed me a strict regimen, very little beer, and no wine or coffee. Electricity I had tried before, and perhaps it did harm, as the affected part was merely deadened by such a powerful remedy. I have not much faith in homeopathy, but was pleased with the doctor's confidence, and that is something at all events." Jugendbriefe, 210
March 19, 1834
• letter to his mother: "Don't worry about my finger, I can compose without it ... I would hardly be any happier as a traveling virtuoso." Jugendbriefe, 234
Project  Book, 1834 
"Symphonic Etudes [Op. 13] for piano - likewise Carnaval [Op. 9] for piano - and Sonata in F-Sharp Minor [Op. 11] for piano begun and completed in the following year [1835]" Projektbuch, R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8
 


Title page of the first edition of the Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

V. Links
Robert Schumann's birthplace. Now a combination museum (with a recital hall) and archive.
Projektenbuch 
Compiled by Schumann himself it provides a chronological overview of his compositional activity. Unpublished (R-S-Haus, Archive No. 4871/VII, C8) it is now available online.
The library which houses a large number of Schumann manuscripts is preparing to put the collection online in full color digitized images. The images have already been produced but the timeline for making them available online is not yet established.
The Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) houses the worlds largest collection of manuscript images. Digital copies and/or microflim of many of Schumann's manuscripts are available from the HMML.
 Part of the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) the Petrucci Music Library is an online repository of thousands of musical scores now in the public domain.
VI. Literature Review

Literature Review [PDF]



ThomasLabé.com