Schumann: A Listener's Guide, is an essential portal to the musical works of and tempestuous life of this little-understood genius. Many, if not most, major composers improve over the course of their careers. For Schumann, however, the opposite was true: plagued throughout his life by physical and mental illnesses, he helplessly – and consciously – endured the gradual diminution of his prodigious talent until his premature death at age 46.
Throughout Schumann: A Listener's Guide, Lederer provides unflinching critiques of the weaknesses that plagued Schumann's style, contrasting them with the brilliance of his earliest triumphs. This eminently accessible account explores the full spectrum of the master composer's oeuvre, from his popular early music and lieder to his works for chamber ensembles composed in 1842 to his four beloved, if flawed, symphonies. It also accounts for Schumann's dramatic works, particularly Genoveva, his only opera, and Incidental Music to Byron's “Manfred,” a bewilderingly unappreciated musical score.
As with all volumes in the UTM series, chumann: A Listener's Guide is accompanied by a CD containing two of the master's most daring imaginative flights, both explored in detail in the text: the Davidsbündlertänze for piano and Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love), one of the all-time greatest song cycles and works for voice. Geared toward fledglings, but written with an eye turned to aficionados, the book is a must-have for Schumann buffs and classical music fans young and old.